Buildings have long been third-party certifiable as green/sustainable via the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards administered by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), but what about neighborhoods?
Given that more than a third of greenhouse gases are generated by buildings (primarily heating and cooling them) and another third is generated transporting people and goods to and from those buildings, the USGBC is collaborating with the Congress for the New Urbanism and the Natural Resources Defense Council to launch LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND). The revolutionary program measures the environmental benefits of:
– Compact, mixed-use neighborhoods that make walking and transit more attractive options for commuting and other trips, as well as reducing driving.
– Positive public health outcomes regarding physical activity, traffic crashes, respiratory health and mental health.
The USGBC is launching a pilot program to fine tune the certification system – click here for more info.
Image: Downtown Montgomery, AL masterplan by Dover-Kohl & Partners