Following the construction industry and related legal topics in the United States.


Monday, October 1, 2007

LEED for Neighborhood Development

The U.S. Green Building Council recently announced that 238 development projects throughout the nation will participate in its pilot program for LEED for Neighborhood Development. The Neighborhood Development Rating System "integrates the principles of smart growth, urbanism, and green building into the first national standard for neighborhood design."

Commercial Real Estate Week notes that the one-of-a-kind standard has a flexible definition of "neighborhood," allowing for project sizes to vary widely, from small, mixed-use infill projects to entire urban communities. The Neighborhood Design Rating System considers a variety of issues, including land use, environmental impact, public health and transportation patterns, and is intended to focus on the incorporation of buildings into a neighborhood.

The pilot program participants are not guaranteed LEED certification. Projects will be evaluated by the USGBC as it does under its other rating systems. But being a program participant is beneficial: it opens up a dialogue between developers and the USGBC, provides developers with a significant amount of feedback, and introduces them to new technology and design principles.

There are over a dozen pilot participants located in the Washington, DC metro area, including The Yards, a mixed-used development in Southeast D.C. located near the site of the new baseball stadium, the Solea in Columbia Heights, the old convention center site, and NoMa (short for North of Massachusetts), a neighborhood in Northwest and Northeast D.C that straddles North Capitol Street.

The pilot program is expected to conclude in 2008. It will be followed by a public comment period to gather feedback, and the LEED for Neighborhood Development Rating System will be launched in 2009.

Sources: Commercial Real Estate Week; USGBC

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