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LEED-ND issues | Congress for the New Urbanism

LEED-ND issues

Steve Mouzon's picture

Nora Beck asked me to post some of my thoughts about the LEED-ND rating system in advance of the upcoming member ballot.

I support the approval of LEED-ND for public launch, but with the caveat that the current system is seriously flawed, and needs to advance. The most glaring example is the fact that a single building can qualify for "Neighborhood Development" opens us all up for ridicule of the worst sort... ridicule that has the potential to sink the entire LEED-ND rating system. A single building is by no means a neighborhood, and we've seen examples of people gaming the system with projects that can never be considered as contributing to a neighborhood. The fact that a developer can also pick and choose what parts of his or her development they want to get rated sets us all up as stooges of the development community. This is humiliatingly problematic beyond my ability to describe it. So please count this as a very tentative vote of support... we have very much work to do. But it's work that needs to be done... so count me in.

Comments


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good points

I tend to agree, Steve. We wanted to institute a no-single-building rule, but were blocked by a last-minute procedural requirement hidden in the Kafka-esque annals of standard-setting arcanity and something called ANSI. It would have meant several more weeks, and maybe months, of delay. I do think we should fix that as soon as we can. I want small-scale infill to qualify, but it really doesn't make sense when it is that small.

And I hear you on gerrymandering, too. It's a definite flaw that we were unable to work our way through in this initial round. We probably should require that all development falling under the same permit or simultaneous permits should be considered together. I have a feeling we'll find more that we need to fix as we go along, but it's still important to start.

LEED-ND & Prerequisites

We have been debating the LEED-ND checklist in our office and are quite divided due to some of the prerequisites.

As with all things LEED, this first version is not perfect. CNU is fully aware that at first many good, suburban located, New Urbanist projects will not be able to use the LEED-ND system. However, the larger purpose for the checklist is to educate the green building population about the importance an urban context plays in achieving sustainability. And with the Charter and the Transect embedded in the system it is expected that the list will become more New Urbanist as updated versions are released.

From a more inside perspective, if CNU is not able to successfully pass & continue to govern LEED-ND we risk USGBC & NRDC grabbing control of the system which will end in a less urban evolution of the check list. It is critical that we get the system out on the street and can bring marketplace case studies back to the partnership for how the list can be improved.

By voting no, we are turning down an opportunity to challenge ourselves on how we can improve our projects as well as how we define our best practices.

By voting no, we also negatively effect a long term effort that CNU has committed to be a partner of with USGBC and NRDC. In these economic times, we shouldn't be eliminating any options.

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