How Green Is Your Neighborhood?
With the release of the LEED-Neighborhood Development pilot rating system this week, it is clearer than ever that green building design and community form shouldn't go it alone. The most powerful strategy for achieving environmental sustainability is incorporating high-performance buildings in compact, mixed-use neighborhoods that reduce driving by making walking and transit attractive options for commuting and other trips.
A joint venture of the Congress for the New Urbanism, the US Green Building Council, and the Natural Resources Defense Council, LEED-ND acknowledges that more than a third of greenhouse gases and a similar share of other environmental impacts are generated by buildings (primarily heating and cooling them) but another third is generated transporting people and goods to and from those buildings. Through a multi-year research and review process, the LEED-ND partners have identified draft criteria that will guide developments to achieve significant improvements in sustainability on both of these fronts, as well as related ones such as water management and habitat preservation.
During the pilot phase, the LEED-ND rating system is tested against real world projects in order to improve the system and its applicability in the marketplace. In addition, participants in the pilot program have the opportunity for their development to be among the first projects to be recognized with LEED-ND certification. New Urbanist practitioners -- with their expertise in developing compact, complete, and connected neighborhoods -- can help in the refinement of the LEED-ND rating system by participating in the pilot program.
Thanks to Nora Beck