LEED for Neighborhood Development

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LEED for Neighborhood Development, or LEED-ND, is a rating system that integrates the principles of smart growth, urbanism and green building into the first national[where?] system for neighborhood design. LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a development's location and design meet accepted high levels of environmentally responsible, sustainable development. LEED for Neighborhood Development is a collaboration among the United States Green Building Council, Congress for the New Urbanism, and the Natural Resources Defense Council.[1][2] [3][4]

Significance of LEED for Neighborhood Development certification[edit]

LEED for Neighborhood Development recognizes development projects that successfully protect and enhance the overall health, natural environment and quality of life. The rating system encourages smart growth and New Urbanism best practices by

  • Promoting the location and design of neighborhoods that reduce vehicle miles travelled (VMT) and
  • Creating developments where jobs and services are accessible by foot or public transit.
  • Promoting an array of green building and green infrastructure practices, particularly more efficient energy and water use.

Project types[edit]

LEED for Neighborhood Development is designed to certify exemplary development projects that perform well in terms of smart growth, urbanism, and green building. Projects may constitute whole neighborhoods, portions of neighborhoods, or multiple neighborhoods. Projects are often mixed-use, though small single-use projects that complement existing neighborhood uses may also use the rating system. Local jurisdictions should not use LEED-ND as a replacement for comprehensive planning, however, many local jurisdictions may find that LEED for Neighborhood Development is a meaningful tool to help promote sustainable land development if incentivized or used as a guideline when revising local codes and regulations.

Credit Categories[edit]

The following credit categories are included in the rating system:

  • Smart Location and Linkage: encourages communities to consider location, transportation alternatives, and preservation of sensitive lands while also discouraging sprawl.
  • Neighborhood Pattern and Design: emphasizes vibrant, equitable communities that are healthy, walkable and mixed-use.
  • Green Infrastructure and Buildings: promotes the design and construction of buildings and infrastructure that reduce energy and water use, while promoting more sustainable use of materials, reuse of existing and historic structures, and other sustainable best practices.
  • Innovation and Design Process: recognizes exemplary and innovative performance reaching beyond the existing credits in the rating system, as well as the value of including an accredited professional on the design team.
  • Regional Priority: encourages projects to focus on earning credits of significance to the project’s local environment.

Stages of Certification[edit]

LEED for Neighborhood Development differs from other commercial and residential LEED rating systems as it has three stages of certification, which relate to the phases of the real estate development process.

  • Stage 1 – Conditionally Approved Plan: provides the conditional approval of a LEED-ND Plan available for projects before they have completed the entitlements, or public review, process. It is envisioned that completing Stage 1 will help projects get support from the local government and from the community.
  • Stage 2 – Pre-Certified Plan: pre-certifies a LEED-ND Plan and is applicable for fully entitled projects or projects under construction. Completing this review can help projects secure financing, expedited permitting or attract tenants.
  • Stage 3 – Certified Neighborhood Development: completed projects formally apply for LEED certification to recognize that the project has achieved all of the prerequisites and credits attempted.

LEED for Neighborhood Development and other LEED rating systems[edit]

All LEED-ND projects are required to have at least one certified green building. Points are also available within the LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system for having certified green buildings in the development and for integrating green building and infrastructure practices within the project. These credits relate to energy efficiency, reduced water use, building reuse, recycled materials, and heat island reduction.[5]

See also[edit]

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design
New Urbanism
United States Green Building Council


  1. ^ http://www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx?CMSPageID=148
  2. ^ Sharifi, Ayyoob; Murayama, Akito (2013). "A critical review of seven selected neighborhood sustainability assessment tools". Environmental Impact Assessment Review 38. doi:10.1016/j.eiar.2012.06.006. 
  3. ^ Sharifi, Ayyoob; Akito Murayama. "Neighborhood Sustainability Assessment in Action: Cross-Evaluation of Three Assessment Systems and Their Cases from the US, the UK, and Japan". Building and Environment. doi:10.1016/j.buildenv.2013.11.006. 
  4. ^ Sharifi, Ayyoob; Murayama, Akito (28 January 2014). "Viability of using global standards for neighbourhood sustainability assessment: insights from a comparative case study". Journal of Environmental Planning and Management: 1–23. doi:10.1080/09640568.2013.866077. 
  5. ^ http://www.usgbc.org/ShowFile.aspx?DocumentID=6423