An Introduction to LEED-ND for CNU Members

To encourage informed participation in the LEED-ND vote, the CNU DC Chapter has released An Introduction to LEED-ND for CNU Members.

This six-page article covers the essential points that CNU members should know as they consider their ballot. Topics include the background of LEED, how the system is administered, credits of special interest to new urbanism, what the system does and does not do, and the purpose and meaning of the vote. The article is written by Laurence Aurbach, CNU DC Chapter secretary and member of the LEED Location and Planning Technical Advisory Group.

The vote will be taken at the CNU web site. Stay tuned -- look for more information about the LEED-ND vote to be posted as it becomes available.

Cross-posted from CNU DC


norabeck's picture

LEED-ND, NU exposure to new audiences, and NIMBYs

Be sure to check out Laurence Aurbach's detailed introduction to LEED-ND. It provides a great overview of the development and intent and highlights several of the prerequisites and credits of particular concern.

Aurbach reflects on the current success of the LEED rating systems to attract a larger number of projects and professionals to participate. With 8,000 commercial projects registering annually, it seems that the principles of New Urbanism will have an opportunity to reach an even wider audience.

How should new urbanists prepare for this? Aurbach points out that with the development of LEED rating systems, a new industry of LEED consultants has popped up. And given the complexity of the system, will new urbanists be able to lend a hand and perhaps add the quality components of new urbanism that Aurbach mentioned -- like beauty, spirit, composition, harmony?

Regardless of application to specific sites, can the existence of LEED-ND help the building industry address NIMBY complaints based on environmental concerns? Can the density and street connectivity requirements provide a good reference point when talking with neighbors concerned about mixed use and traffic?

NRDC's perspective on LEED-ND

NRDC has been honored to be CNU's partner in the construction of LEED-ND over seven long years. Personally, I also have been a member, supporter and defender of CNU for twice that long. When our two groups first hatched the idea to create an evaluation system, I was co-chair with Doug Farr of CNU's environmental task force (all task and no force, but I digress).

Institutionally, NRDC's perspective on LEED-ND has differed from CNU's. To oversimplify, NRDC would prefer a more demanding system; CNU would prefer a more flexible one. Our third partner, the Green Building Council, added additional perspectives. So it is not perfect from any of the partners' perspectives. It is the product of compromise, and no rating system based on measured standards can capture all of our important values, anyway.

But, all that said, it deserves our support, and yours, because it is an important step along the way of replacing sprawl with smarter, greener urbanism. I greatly appreciate the posting made by my former LEED-ND colleague Tom Richman on the matter, and I hope other CNU framers of the system will speak up in favor as well. For NRDC's perspective on the current approval process, please visit my NRDC blog, here.


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