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Jeanne Allen

In this two-part series, we’re looking at ways to maximize the potential of your development by combining LEED ND and LEED BD+C certification. Read the first installment.

USGBC recently released a set of streamlined paths for LEED BD+C 2009 projects located in LEED ND 2009 projects. In this article, we’ll present the additional strategies at your disposal to facilitate the certification of your LEED ND project and its buildings.

Recognize the accomplishment that your LEED certification represents.
We know that LEED for Neighborhood Development projects are well located and encourage the use of walking and biking, which is why in the Location and Transportation (LT) credit LEED for Neighborhood Development location in LEED BD+C v4, a building project can achieve up to 16 points based on the certification level of the LEED ND project within which the building is located. Being eligible for this one credit, with its minimal documentation requirement, provides LEED BD+C projects with the opportunity to forgo the documentation of several other credits. Likewise, in recognition of the many aspects of green building that are not otherwise incentivized in the LEED ND rating system, a LEED ND project can achieve up to five points based on the number of certified green buildings located in the project in the Infrastructure and Buildings (GIB) credit certified green buildings in LEED ND v4.

Identify the credits that work together.
The documentation for your BD+C submittal can also support the larger project’s achievement of LEED ND credits and vice versa. For example, since LEED ND and LEED BD+C v4 reference the same version of AHSRAE 90.1, the energy model submitted and approved on a LEED BD+C v4 project under the Energy and Atmosphere (EA) prerequisite minimum energy performance can be submitted as part of the documentation for the GIB credit minimum building energy performance. Carefully documenting and tracking such elements as part of a LEED BD+C submittal will save you time when documenting these elements on your ND project.

In the case of credits where the requirements differ more substantially, a single strategy can still contribute to the achievement of multiple credits spread across ND and BD+C. For example, restoration activities documented under the Smart Location and Linkage (SLL) credit restoration of habitat or wetlands and water bodies could help a New Construction v4 project achieve the Sustainable Sites credit site development—protect or restore habitat, even though the exact requirements differ between the two credits. Setting this goal at the neighborhood level can bring additional resources and allow for a coordinated strategy across multiple sites.

Leverage streamlined certification models.
The LEED Campus Guidance is also a useful reference when certifying multiple LEED buildings on the same site or campus. It explains how a master site registration in LEED Online can be used to document site-related credits, such as the LEED NC v2009 SSc5.2 site development—maximize open space or the LEED NC v4 SS credit open space, in a single LEED submission for a whole development. Especially for BD+C credits where a direct streamlined path between the two rating systems is not available, it can be helpful to document the credit via a master site. Additionally, attaching your individual projects to a master site can help you organize your projects in LEED Online. Note that a master site is a tool that can streamline your documentation, but is not a certification in its own right. Group certification, which allows a group of buildings to be certified under one LEED application, is available as well, and can be useful if a group of buildings are being constructed at the same time and as a part of the same contract.

Never underestimate the role of good communication.
To fully achieve the benefits of combining LEED ND and LEED BD+C certification, it’s important to have an integrated team and open communication between the master developer and the developers of the individual building projects. This allows each team to know what strategies were attempted and achieved on each project and allows everyone to avoid redundant work. Establishing these lines of communication and collaboration early on will help make the project a success.

Has your project benefited from the combination of LEED ND and LEED BD+C? Use the comment section below to share your experience! We’d love to hear your story.