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WASHINGTON, D.C.—The first public comment period for LEED for Neighborhood Development, the first national certification system for green neighborhood design and development, closed in early January. According to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), "the more than 5,000 comments received indicate community and market readiness to extend the benefits of green building into the neighborhoods they occupy."

A collaboration between USGBC, the Congress for the New Urbanism and the Natural Resources Defense Council, this certification program integrates the principles of smart growth, new urbanism, and green building. LEED for Neighborhood Development program goals include reducing urban sprawl, increasing transportation choice, decreasing automobile dependence, encouraging healthy living, and protecting threatened species.

"The feedback we received during the comment period demonstrates a thoughtful participation and will shape the future of green communities and define a new vision of green," said Sophie Lambert, USGBC’s director of LEED for Neighborhood Development.

LEED for Neighborhood Development is also the first of the LEED certification programs to seek official status as an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard. Accreditation by ANSI signifies that the procedures used by USGBC will meet the Institute’s essential requirements for openness, balance, consensus, and due process.

The scope of the LEED for Neighborhood Development program ranges from small projects to whole communities and encompasses a broader set of stakeholders in the process. To ensure every group with a stake in their neighborhood’s future has a chance to ratify the new certification program, USGBC is pre-identifying a consensus body that will vote during the member balloting process, which will take place later this year. The member ballot is the final stage of the process used to approve the LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system.

"Because the LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system will involve a larger group of stakeholders than those who are typically part of LEED rating system balloting, it’s important to be sure that all groups are represented in our consensus body pool," said Lambert. "All USGBC members are urged to sign up to be part of the consensus body between now and Feb. 15, 2009, in order to be eligible to vote during member balloting."

USGBC members can opt in to join the consensus body that will vote during the member balloting process by visiting www.zoomerang.com/Survey/survey-intro.zgi?p=WEB228MBLCR8WB.

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