2011: Looking Back and Moving Forward
Happy new year to everyone! Here's hoping that you all had a restful and joyful break this holiday season. While usually this time of year is about making resolutions and looking ahead, I want to take a moment to reflect on this past year. The LEED for Neighborhood Development program achieved some major milestones: The Smart Location & Linkage Prerequisite Review launched in April and the complete certification submittal forms became available in November. We are excited to see that over 60 projects have registered so far and have started the process of pulling together their documentation materials. Of the 238 projects that signed up for the LEED for Neighborhood Development pilot, 94 have achieved one stage of certification and several are fully constructed. We spoke to several local municipalities about how they plan to incentivize LEED for Neighborhood Development in their area, and in turn saw several communities account for LEED for Neighborhood Development as part of the development process. Finally, we enjoyed meeting many of you at Greenbuild this past November in Chicago.
What is new for 2011? We have an exciting set of projects in the works. Some are well underway: We'll be bringing the exciting Neighborhoods Go Green exhibit, which we co-curated, to several cities in the coming months. We'll be working with the great group of Affordable Green Neighborhoods grant program recipients, and also promoting the LEED for Neighborhood Development program. Other projects are in the planning stages: Measuring the performance of the completed LEED for Neighborhood Development projects, providing technical assistance to local governments, and finding ways of providing valuable resources for project teams. Please feel free to reach out to us about LEED for Neighborhood Development at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, I want to leave you with an impression from my visit to see family in England over the break. My father leads a voluntary design review program in South West England (like father, like daughter!) and he took me to a project that his panel had evaluated: A 26-acre infill project on the site of a former Clarks shoe factory site, in the small Victorian town of Street in Somerset. We toured the first phase of the 400-home development, Lime Tree Square, which was designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and developed by Crest Nicholson and affordable housing developer Knightstone Housing Association. Given the energy-efficient design, stormwater best management practices, striking design (albeit with a few more garage entries than I would have liked), location less than a quarter mile from the town center, and proximity to a bus line and supermarket, it is not surprising that the project achieved the highest score ever awarded under CABE's Building for Life rating for residential developments.
Lime Tree Square in the town of Street in Somerset
There is a lot we can learn from the compact development patterns in England. I can't wait to see what new and innovative building strategies we employ in 2011.
Best regards for the new year,
Director, Neighborhood Development
LEED 2009 for Neighborhood Development Certification
USGBC is proud to announce that full certification is available! Registered project teams may now access all prerequisite and credit forms and submit their documentation in LEED Online. For more information on the registration and certification process, please visit the GBCI website at www.gbci.org/leednd.
LEED 2009 sample forms are now available to all registered projects in LEED Online. To access, login and click "Sample Form Download" at top right of your screen.
LEED AP for Neighborhood Development Credential
Still searching for a New Year's resolution but fresh out of ideas? How about becoming an expert in creating sustainable communities by passing the Green Associate or LEED AP Neighborhood Development specialty exam? Check out the candidate handbook and the LEED AP for Neighborhood Development Credential webcast and FAQ sheet for more information on the exam. Don't forget to pick up a copy of the newly released LEED AP for Neighborhood Development Study Guide, too.
Passed the exam in 2010? Maintain your credentials through LEED approved courses! Check out the full listing of online trainings and workshops and our new Webinar Subscriptions.
Affordable Green Neighborhoods Grant Program
USGBC and the Bank of America Charitable Foundation are excited to announce the following recipients of the 2010 Affordable Green Neighborhood Grant Program. The winners were announced on Nov. 16, 2010, during the Affordable Housing Summit at the 2010 Greenbuild Conference and Expo.
- 9th and Berks TOD (Philadelphia, Pa.)
- Church Lane Gardens (East St. Louis, Ill.)
- Clackamas Heights Redevelopment (Oregon City, Ore.)
- Jordan Downs (Los Angeles, Calif.)
- Lamar Station TOD (Lakewood, Colo.)
- Old Colony Redevelopment (South Boston, Mass.)
- Sunnydale Hope SF (San Francisco, Calif.)
- The Village at Market Creek (San Diego, Calif.)
- Veterans Place at the Lancaster Corridor (Dallas, Texas)
- Wyandanch Rising (Wyandanch, N.Y.)
To view the full press release, project images, and related information, please visit www.usgbc.org/affordablegreenneighborhoods.
We hope you were able to make it to Greenbuild 2010! Check out the highlights of Neighborhood Development events:
Neighborhoods Go Green Exhibit at the Chicago Architecture Foundation
Curated by the U.S. Green Building Council and Farr Associates with the Chicago Architecture Foundation, the Neighborhoods Go Green exhibit discusses scaling up sustainability to a neighborhood framework and highlights LEED for Neighborhood Development as a tool to achieve more sustainable communities. The exhibit is on display until March, so check it out if you are in the Chicago area. The exhibit will travel to select cities in 2011. If you are interested in bringing the exhibit to your community, please contact email@example.com.
- The Building Blocks of Green Neighborhoods
The Chicago-area Metropolitan Planning Council with Fregonese Associates and Farr Associates adapted their Corridor Initiative Tool to help Greenbuild attendees conceptualize the potential layout of LEED for Neighborhood Development projects. For more information, check out this blog post by the Metropolitan Planning Council.
- Closing Plenary with Shaun Donovan, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
"Better buildings in smarter places." Sounds like LEED for Neighborhood Development, don't you think? Shaun Donovan remarked on incorporating sustainability not only into the homes and communities they support, but also into the mission of the department, through the office of Sustainable Communities. To view the full speech, visit greenbuildexpo.org.
LEED AP Profile: Lorrie Pearson
Name: Lorrie Pearson
Title: Land Development Manager
Workplace: City of Champaign, Ill.
What kind of work do you do?
I coordinate the development process for the City of Champaign and manage the annexation agreements and planned development projects proposed by developers. From time to time I am also responsible for implementation of components of our Comprehensive Plan, from transportation design standards to new zoning districts for walkable neighborhoods.
How does LEED for Neighborhood Development relate to your work at the City?
The current draft of our update to the Comprehensive Plan recognizes the benefits of more compact growth in areas served by existing infrastructure. It is possible that as we rewrite our zoning ordinance to reflect the new Comprehensive Plan that some provisions within LEED for Neighborhood Development may provide guidance on how to ensure the built environment reflects the plan's vision. Already, LEED for Neighborhood Development has informed aspects of three new zoning districts created to establish walkable neighbhorhoods around a recently-constructed interstate interchange.
What LEED project experience did you have prior to taking the exam?
I achieved my LEED project experience for eligibility for the LEED AP for Neighborhood Development exam a few years ago when I worked as a site plan reviewer for Arlington County, VA, where nearly every new development project asked for discretionary approval and had to submit a LEED-NC or LEED-CS scorecard as part of the process. I became familiar with the LEED credits and how design changes that are made between concept and construction might impact the project's scorecard.
What value have you found out of becoming a LEED AP for Neighborhood Development?
Becoming a LEED AP for Neighborhood Development not only formally recognizes my understanding of sustainable neighborhoods, but studying for the exam may be the most effective way to learn the details of LEED for Neighborhood Development.
What is the most unexpected thing you learned while studying for the exam?
As aging in place is such an important part of maintaining a sustainable neighborhood, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Visitability and Universal Design is a possible credit within LEED for Neighborhood Development.
The Syracuse SALT District: Applying LEED for Neighborhood Development to Existing Neighborhoods
by Aaron Welch
If we're serious about sustainability, we need to be serious about reinvesting in existing neighborhoods. And while LEED for Neighborhood Development - like most green building rating systems - was designed to guide projects where the majority of square footage will be new construction and major renovations, a recent project in Syracuse, New York shows the rating system includes valuable sustainability metrics for existing neighborhoods.
The 156-acre "SALT District" (Syracuse Arts, Life, and Technology) is located directly west of downtown Syracuse, south of a once-burgeoning industrial port along the old Erie Canal. It is a historic neighborhood with a traditional neighborhood layout, already exhibiting many of the characteristics called for in the LEED for Neighborhood Development Rating System. This includes a mix of turn-of-the century housing, flexible commercial space, a school and community park at its center, well-connected and walkable streets, and proximity to a high number of jobs. At the same time, the SALT District has suffered from disinvestment over the last several decades, resulting in vacant lots and buildings, gaps and barriers in the street and walking network, and high rates of unemployment and poverty.
Against this backdrop, a coalition of neighborhood partners - including residents and community groups, the Syracuse Center of Excellence, Home Headquarters affordable housing development, the School of Architecture at Syracuse University, and the City of Syracuse - have created a certified LEED for Neighborhood Development Gold Plan for the existing SALT District. It features extensive reuse and rehabilitation of existing buildings, energy and water efficiency retrofits in existing buildings, redevelopment in targeted locations, and green building requirements for new construction. It also includes several new streets and pedestrian facilities to connect better to surrounding areas, improved transit service and facilities, multiple new parks, enhanced stormwater management, and protection of the neighborhood's creek and floodplain. The neighborhood will continue to feature a diversity of housing types and affordability levels, enabling a wide array of people to call it home.
"We believe we've created a blueprint for the SALT District's future while advancing the practice of sustainability and neighborhood planning at a national level," says Ed Bogucz, Executive Director of the Syracuse Center of Excellence and one of the early champions of the project.
The SALT District project provides a replicable model for using LEED for Neighborhood Development to guide investment in existing neighborhoods across the country. For most neighborhoods, this process will involve three main steps, whether or not they choose to pursue LEED for Neighborhood Development certification:
Assess the existing neighborhood. Audit your neighborhood using the LEED for Neighborhood Development prerequisites and credits. This can range from a quick audit performed in an afternoon to an in-depth evaluation, depending on your needs.
- Identify strengths and weaknesses. Identify areas where the neighborhood performs well under LEED for Neighborhood Development and where it does not.
- Respond with a plan. Propose retrofits, targeted redevelopment, infrastructure improvements, or policies for the future that build on the neighborhood's strengths and address its weaknesses. The level of detail and effort can vary widely - from an informal list of suggestions to a detailed design and policy proposal that becomes the backbone of a neighborhood plan.
For those seeking to apply LEED for Neighborhood Development in existing communities elsewhere: be creative. LEED for Neighborhood Development can be useful in a variety of contexts and levels of effort. Here's to better neighborhoods and a better world.
The SALT District LEED for Neighborhood Development project was managed by Raimi + Associates of Berkeley, CA. The design phase of the project involved a design charrette that included Opticos Design of Berkeley, CA; Jessica Millman from the Agora Group, of Skaneateles, NY; and Northeast Green Building Consulting, of Syracuse, NY.
Aaron Welch, LEED AP, is a Senior Planner at Raimi + Associates, in Berkeley, CA. He was the project manager for the SALT District LEED-ND project and has helped numerous other projects pursue LEED for Neighborhood Development certification. He also wrote portions of USGBC's LEED for Neighborhood Development Reference Guide, and is working with the Natural Resources Defense Council to create A Citizen's Guide to LEED for Neighborhood Development.