The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) opened the first public comment period for its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Neighborhood Development rating system. The program is the first national certification system for green neighborhood design and development. LEED for Neighborhood Development is a collaboration between the USGBC, the Congress for the New Urbanism, and the Natural Resources Defense Council and integrates the principles of smart growth, new urbanism, and green building.

USGBC began pilot testing LEED for Neighborhood Development in early 2007, and accepted nearly 240 pilot projects into the program, representing 39 states and 6 countries. The rating system will evaluate projects on criteria related to smart location and linkage to the community at large; neighborhood pattern and design; and green construction and technology.

"The development of LEED for Neighborhood Development speaks to the breadth of what ’green building’ means," said Sophie Lambert, director of LEED for Neighborhood Development, U.S. Green Building Council. "What was once a rating system solely designed for commercial construction, LEED is now evolving beyond single buildings to address development at the neighborhood scale."

LEED 2009, an update to the LEED green building certification program, passed member ballot and will be introduced in 2009 as the next major evolution of the existing LEED rating systems for commercial buildings. It includes a series of major technical advancements focused on improving energy efficiency, reducing carbon emissions, and addressing other environmental and human health outcomes. In addition, LEED 2009 will incorporate regional credits.

Public comment for LEED for Neighborhood Development opened on Nov. 17, 2008, and will run until Jan. 5, 2009. View the LEED for Neighborhood Development draft and submit comments online.