WASHINGTON, D.C. – After a two-and-a-half year pilot program, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) launched its LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED ND) rating system in April. LEED ND was developed by USGBC in partnership with the Congress for the New Urbanism and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

LEED ND certifies projects of all sizes — whether a third of an acre or 300,000 acres — in four credit categories: Smart Location and Linkage, Neighborhood Pattern and Design, Green Infrastructure and Buildings, and Innovation and Design Process. According to USGBC, these credit categories integrate the principles of smart growth, new urbanism, and green building into the first national rating system for neighborhood design.

Unlike other LEED rating systems, LEED ND projects go through three stages toward certification. At the end of Stage 1, a successful project is awarded conditional approval of a LEED ND plan. At the end of stage 2, an approved plan becomes a pre-certified LEED ND plan. At the end of stage 3, a project that earns certification can be referred to as a LEED-certified project.

When a project registers at any stage of the process, it must certify under the currently open version of LEED ND. That means that a project that registers at stage 1 under LEED 2009 for Neighborhood Development may have to register at stage 2 and/or stage 3 under a later version of LEED for Neighborhood Development if a new version has launched when the project reaches that point.

Neighborhood development professionals can receive LEED AP ND credentials through the USGBC. LEED ND resources are available at www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx? CMSPageID=2122.