Resource: Green Neighborhood Certification
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Title: Green Neighborhood Certification
Resource type: Program/project
Topics: Buildings, Communities, Ecosystems, Energy, Land Use, Transportation, Water
Keywords: sustainable urbanism, high-performance infrastructure, sustainable city, green city
Audience: All
Region: Minnesota Statewide, Outside Minnesota
Summary: A new rating system, LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND), integrates the principles of smart growth, new urbanism, and green building into the first national standard for neighborhood design.
Content: 370 developers across the country submitted proposals to pilot a new Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system: LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED - ND). Existing LEED standards, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), are nationally accepted benchmarks for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings.

Recognizing the need to also evaluate a building's context while building in more sustainable patterns, USBGC has joined with the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to develop a new rating system which integrates the principles of smart growth, urbanism, and green building into the first national standard for neighborhood design. Read more about these principles in The Canons of Sustainable Architecture and Urbanism at

LEED-ND evaluates a proposed or existing development's use of existing infrastructure and energy, water and materials, proximity to existing areas, connections to transit, walkability, density, mixed use, green space, and many other elements. The LEED-ND standard will serve as a concrete signal of, and incentive for, better location, design, and construction of neighborhoods and buildings. With the aim of creating "compact, complete and connected" neighborhoods, the LEED-ND score (or a threshold score) could be tied to language in comprehensive plans, zoning, impact fees, and public and private funding for developments.

Massachusetts, for example, will soon be requiring new large-scale developments that trigger an environmental review to consider the amount of greenhouse gases they will create, and to address them with green technologies. Site and context are part of the equation for measuring the environmental impact of projects, and LEED-ND is a metric for such measurement.(Contact the - - for details). The 2006 Illinois legislature passed a Green Neighborhood Grant Act that provides financial aide to three LEED-ND projects. Local governments using LEED-ND criteria include Kane County, Illinois, which started offering developers discounts on road impact fees, and Sarasota County, Florida, which expedites action on rezoning.

The Chicago-based Campaign for Sensible Growth and the Metropolitan Planning Council in Chicago estimate that a family living in a LEED-ND neighborhood could reap annual savings of $3,148.

The LEED-ND standard did not become official until 2009. Based on feedback gathered during the pilot, the rating system was revised to improve its effectiveness and applicability to the marketplace. The revised rating system was then voted upon according to USGBC's consensus process and was approved by CNU and NRDC.

See the web site below to access the LEED 2009 for Neighborhood Development Rating System (Updated October/November, 2010).

Also see the LEED-ND Public Health Report (May 2006) at This data-rich and extensively footnoted 137-page paper explores the relationship between how our communities are designed -- land use, design character, transportation system, and density -- and a series of public health outcomes such as physical activity, traffic crashes, respiratory health and mental health.

* Minnesota LEED-ND pilot projects were Excelsior & Grand in St. Louis Park (see, Library Green in Moorhead, and Longfellow Station in Minneapolis.
* The LEED-ND potential of five St. Paul Ford Motor plant redevelopment site scenarios:
* An assessment of Minneapolis's Loring Park Neighborhood sustainability based on LEED-ND:

Suggested by: Philipp Muessig
Added: 07/5/07
Updated: 08/30/12