Sustainable by Design?: Insights From U.S. LEED-ND Pilot Projects

Since its introduction in 2007, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) rating system has become increasingly popular as a way to promote sustainable development. This paper examines common trends in the planning and development and the extent to which certain planning and design criteria are incorporated in LEED-ND pilot projects. The author surveyed LEED-ND registered pilot projects in the United States to examine the extent to which the projects satisfy rating system criteria and used the results of the survey to evaluate the rating system. Developers, designers, and LEED consultants were asked to provide their insights, based on their experience with the certification process of pilot projects. Projects that expect to achieve LEED-ND gold or higher certification are compared with those that expect to achieve less than LEED-ND gold certification to determine their differences. Findings from this study show how the rating system works and reveals which criteria are used most and least in pilot projects. The results indicate that projects aiming to achieve LEED-ND gold or platinum certification are more likely than those projects that are trying to be LEED-ND or LEED-ND silver certified to incorporate green construction and technology criteria that improve the efficiency of their use of energy and water. The article concludes with a discussion of the rating system's strengths and limitations and the policy implications of using it. The findings from this study suggest that LEED-ND certification alone cannot guarantee sustainable neighborhood development. Planners should also consider local conditions in developing appropriate approaches for encouraging and promoting sustainable neighborhood development projects.


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  • Accession Number: 01145120
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Nov 25 2009 7:43PM