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What’s New in LEED for Neighborhood Development v4

Technical changes to LEED–ND have gotten lost in the BD&C shuffle.
Paula Melton
June 4, 2013

With all the furor over the U.S. Green Building Council’s complete overhaul of LEED v4 for building design and construction (BD&C) rating systems, no one seems to have been paying a lot of attention to how the next version of LEED (if approved under the current member ballot) is set to affect LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED–ND).

Yet three-year-aged SRI values have been added, and the method for calculating BMPs has been tweaked. Where’s the outrage?!

Mostly technical

In truth, LEED–ND is still pretty new, with the first community achieving certification under the LEED 2009 rating system just this March (see our story about the Presidio neighborhood). Most alterations to LEED–ND v4 have been relatively minor technical updates involving name changes.

Also, new reference standards have been used to align LEED–ND with current industry norms as well as with the BD&C rating systems.

Not a cancer diagnosis

LEED–ND used to be divided up into stages: Stage 1 was conditional approval of the neighborhood plan; Stage 2

The Presidio neighborhood in San Francisco, seen in this aerial photo, is the first Stage 3 ND-certified community. 

Photo Robert Campbell. License: CC BY-SA 3.0.
involved pre-certification of a plan after initial review; Stage 3 was actual certification of the neighborhood after completion.

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LEED v4 moves away from this cancer-diagnosis-like naming scheme, making Stage 1 into its own separate mini-rating system called LEED for Neighborhood Development Plan (LEED–NDP). Stage 2 is now simply LEED–ND, with Stage 3 still signifying formal LEED–ND certification (sources suggest this stage will now be called “Built Neighborhoods”).

Credit name changes

Various credits are seeing name changes that better reflect their intent or echo credit names in the BD&C rating systems. These include:

  • Access to Quality Transit (formerly Preferred Locations)
  • Bicycle Facilities (formerly Bicycle Network and Storage)
  • Indoor Water Use Reduction (formerly Minimum Building Water Efficiency)
  • Rainwater Management (formerly Stormwater Management—see our guide to LEED v4 for why that’s a bigger deal than it seems to be)

Alignment with BD&C

Finally, several credits now more closely reflect the requirements and underlying standards in LEED for New Construction and other BD&C rating systems. Examples:

  • Brownfield Remediation (formerly Brownfields Redevelopment) includes a broader definition of a brownfield in need of remediation.
  • Bicycle Facilities (formerly Bicycle Network and Storage) is now marked as n LT (Location & Transportation) credit, even though ND doesn’t have an LT credit section, and the number of required storage facilities is now based on occupancy.
  • Minimum Building Energy Performance (formerly Minimum Building Energy Efficiency) has been updated along with the BD&C prerequisite of the same name.

What’s next?

The Presidio neighborhood is the only post-pilot project with Stage 3 certification, but many communities are in the process, so we’ll probably start seeing more of these soon.

Meanwhile, here’s a partial list of certified projects, and Kaid Benfield has a neat map of ND projects in Washington, D.C.

If you’re working on an ND project, let us know how it’s going and what you think of the changes (or lack thereof) introduced with v4.

LEEDuser's LEED-ND webcast

LEEDuser is also offering a members-ony webcast with LEED Faculty member Eliot Allen, Welcome to the Green Neighborhood: Getting Started with LEED-ND. It's a great way to get oriented to the key opportunities—and challenges—that can come along with an ND project. Check it out!


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