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LEED for Neighborhood Development

Why build sustainable communities with LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND)? There are many good reasons, including: combating sprawl; fostering healthy living; protecting threatened species; increasing transportation choices, and decreasing automobile dependence - to name a few.

  • To combat typical sprawl development. To reduce the impacts of sprawl and create more livable communities, LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) gives preference to: locations that are closer to existing town and city centers, sites with good transit access, infill sites, previously developed sites, and sites adjacent to existing development. Typical sprawl development — low-density housing and commercial uses located in automobile-dependent outlying areas — can harm the natural environment in a number of ways. It can consume and fragment farmland, forests, and wildlife habitat; degrade water quality through destruction of wetlands and increased stormwater runoff; and pollute the air with increased automobile travel.


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  • To encourage healthy living. LEED-ND emphasizes the creation of compact, walkable, vibrant, mixed-use neighborhoods with good connections to nearby communities. Research has shown that living in a mixed-use environment within walking distance of shops and services results in increased walking and biking, which improve cardiovascular and respiratory health and reduce the risk of hypertension and obesity.

  • To protect threatened species. Fragmentation and loss of habitat are major threats to many imperiled species. The rating system encourages compact development patterns and the selection of sites that are within or adjacent to existing development to minimize habitat fragmentation and also help preserve areas for recreation.

  • To increase transportation choice and decrease automobile dependence. These two things go hand-in-hand; convenient transportation choices such as buses, trains, car pools, bicycle lanes and sidewalks, for example, are generally more available near downtowns, neighborhood centers, and town centers, which are also the locations that produce shorter automobile trips.
Additional benefits for project developers
  • Increasingly, municipalities are reducing fees or waiting periods associated with the approval process for projects that can demonstrate a commitment to sustainability.
  • LEED-ND will assist projects that are still in the planning stages to gain the necessary approvals as expediently and cost-effectively as possible.
  • Rising demand for housing in highly walkable or transit-accessible areas can result in higher tenancy rates at premium prices.


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HHI is committed to accuracy of content and correcting information that is incomplete or inaccurate. With our broad scope of coverage of healthful indoor environments, and desire to rapidly publish info to benefit the community, mistakes are inevitable. HHI has established an error correction policy to welcome corrections or enhancements to our information. Please help us improve the quality of our content by contacting with corrections or suggestions for improvement. Each contact will receive a respectful reply.

The Healthy House Institute (HHI), a for-profit educational LLC, provides the information on as a free service to the public. The intent is to disseminate accurate, verified and science-based information on creating healthy home environments.


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LEED for Neighborhood Development:  Created on November 4th, 2008.  Last Modified on June 19th, 2011


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About The U.S. Green Building Council

The U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ is a nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance green homes and buildings. LEED gives home and building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their homes' or buildings’ performance. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality. The Green Home Guide is a resource created by the U.S. Green Building Council.



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