LEEDing you into a Greener Neighborhood

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LEED-ND for neighborhoodsIs your apartment building LEED certified? Who cares - that's sooo last year.

Now, LEED certification is expanding from buildings to entire neighborhoods with the arrival of LEED-ND ("Neighborhood Development"). This is the first year projects can apply for this designation.

LEED for Neighborhood Development is a collaboration among the United States Green Building Council, Congress for the New Urbanism, and the Natural Resources Defense Council. The emphasis is on smart growth, urbanism, and green building - and apartment dwellers are likely to play a central role.

Here are the requirements for the LEED-ND certification and how those in apartments and other renters fit into the picture.The LEED-ND designation is on a 110 point scale. Twenty-seven of the possible points go to "smart location and linkage", such as proximity to transit options. Metropolitan apartment residents are more likely to have nearby access to bus systems, subways, or commuter trains. As you know, apartments convenient to transit command a higher rental price.

Another forty-four points go to the overall neighborhood pattern and design. Older urban cores - from major cities to small towns - provide one thing better than other locations: sidewalks and greater walkability. Developments seeking LEED-ND are encouraged to model themselves on older neighborhood designs. They are also encouraged to think about smart growth vertically. Renters often already select housing based on pattern and design of the surrounding area.

There are twenty-nine possible points for green infrastructure and buildings. Renters generally use fewer resources since apartments are typically smaller than the average house. Same for renters in tiny houses.

The remaining ten points are split between design innovation and regional priority.

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