Feature Article

Thinking Beyond Buildings: LEED for Neighborhood Development

February 26, 2009

Imagine: on a Monday, you wake to breakfast in your energy- and water-efficient condominium. The kids head off to their neighborhood school on their bicycles, along the pathway that weaves through the park and adjoining housing clusters. Your spouse leaves for work, walking to the transit station several blocks away, and you walk to your office above the bookstore on Main Street. The walk to work is a pleasant one, along tree-lined streets past homes, shops, and offices in buildings of all shapes and sizes. Crossing the street is no problem at any of the intersection bump-outs that naturally calm the morning traffic on the narrow, sidewalk-lined streets.

When you return from work, you stop at the grocery store only a block or two out of your way. On another night you might meet your family at the new Mexican restaurant, and on Saturday you might catch a concert or a movie. Whatever your day looks like, you are spending it in a project designed to meet the requirements of LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND).

The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, which will be built in Las Vegas, is pursuing LEED certification in part because of its involvement in a LEED-ND development.

Rendering: The Smith Center

Imagine: on a Monday, you wake to breakfast in your energy- and water-efficient condominium. The kids head off to their neighborhood school on their bicycles, along the pathway that weaves through the park and adjoining housing clusters. Your spouse leaves for work, walking to the transit station several blocks away, and you walk to your office above the bookstore on Main Street. The walk to work is a pleasant one, along tree-lined streets past homes, shops, and offices in buildings of all shapes and sizes. Crossing the street is no problem at any of the intersection bump-outs that naturally calm the morning traffic on the narrow, sidewalk-lined streets.

When you return from work, you stop at the grocery store only a block or two out of your way. On another night you might meet your family at the new Mexican restaurant, and on Saturday you might catch a concert or a movie. Whatever your day looks like, you are spending it in a project designed to meet the requirements of LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND).

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) hopes to have a final version of the rating system available for member ballot late in the summer of 2009. Because the system is not yet final, many details are unknown, documentation requirements and certification costs among them. In the meantime, the pilot projects offer insights into how the final rating system might work. LEED-ND is unlike any other LEED system; it requires the joint efforts of architects, developers, and planners for success. It also sets a fairly high bar for entry, with 13 prerequisites that cover the location and layout of a project and require green buildings within the development.