One big shortcoming of the LEED green building code is its focus almost entirely on the building rather than the location. A building could get high marks in LEED with a green roof, cutting-edge stormwater management, effective heat insulation, electricity-saving equipment, and more, but be located in the middle of a former forest where the average employee drives 30 miles to work. Is that really saving the environment?
Enter LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND), a new type of LEED for new large-scale developments. LEED just opened up their draft for public comment. It’s fascinating to read. They have to quantify every element, like whether a site has good linkage to the surrounding neighborhood, or too many dead-end streets within.
The draft also gives points for the bicycle network, buildings fronting onto the street, avoiding blank walls, mixed-income housing, unbundling parking, car sharing, historic preservation, and of course green building practices in the structures themselves.
LEED-ND isn’t replacing the regular building LEED, but it’s bringing good urban design practices into the LEED system. Next, LEED should adapt some of the concepts of LEED-ND into their code for individual buildings, giving more credit to developers who locate their office buildings near transit.