Tuesday, May 5

LEED-ND needs you

LEED for Neighborhood Development has just opened up their second public comment period. It will continue for 45 days until June 14. I learned this from Kaid Benfield, who has just highlighted the first LEED-ND platinum neighborhood in the San Francisco Bay Area on his must-read blog. In reality, some stellar examples to point to are probably just as important for getting LEED-ND off the ground as fine-tuning the language. As long as it gets built, I'd definitely say this one qualifies. The proof is in the pudding, as they say.

I haven't brought up LEED-ND here yet, but I really am fascinated by the whole experiment - and I do believe it is still in the experimental stages at this point. The goal is to develop an objective, even quantifiable, measure for good, sustainable urban design. Just as the more popular LEED rating system allocates points to buildings for energy-efficient insulation, passive solar design, reuse of materials, and other green building elements, LEED-ND seeks to put those buildings into a wider context. As many have pointed out, even a platinum-certified building does little good sitting on the exurban fringe, only accessible by a long automobile commute. This is an attempt to capture the broader elements of green design. I'm eager to see if it works.

USGBC seems to be going about this the right way, very methodically, through a guided public participation process. An early pilot program put the concept out there to see what sort of results it would yield. While the standards were first written in-house, they were submitted for a public comment period earlier in the year, revised according to the comments, and now opened up for a second round of public comment. After this, members of USGBC will vote on the final document. What a smart process. It's like the masses of Wikipedia and the experts of Encyclopedia Britannica putting their heads together.


Kelly said...

Hello Daniel,

I have closely followed your blog for about a year now and consider you the fellow student and mentor I never have had as an interdisciplinary student at a midwestern liberal arts university (and currently studying in Australia for the semester). I have made a comment on your blog once or twice before.

I just wanted to recommend a book. Sustainability and Cities: Overcoming Automobile Dependence by Peter Newman & Jeffrey Kenworthy. The book follows the progression of cities around transportation and is filled with heaps of examples. Judging by your recommended reading list, I think you'll enjoy it.


Daniel said...

Thanks Kelly. I'm somewhat familiar with Peter Newman, but I haven't heard of this book. I'll have to check it out. Sounds like something I'd enjoy.

CarFree Stupidity said...

I actualy have Sustainability and Cities sitting on my bookshelf. I borrowed it from one of my professors and have only thumbed through it at this point, but it certainly looks interesting.

Another coincidence is that the same professor was just discussing LEED in class yesterday, funny. We have a building going up on campus right now that will be certified Platinum once completed, of course we also have buildings with asbestos in them.