The Washington-based U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is accepting public comments on its LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system. The rating system would serve as a guide to ensure that projects follow the principles of smart growth, new urbanism and green building.

USGBC collaborated with the San Francisco-based Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) and the New York-based Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to create the LEED for Neighborhood Development system. It began pilot testing the program in 2007, and eventually accepted almost 240 pilot projects in 39 states and six countries. The system will evaluate projects on their connection to the surrounding community, neighborhood pattern and design, and use of green construction and technology.

Previously, USGBC's LEED rating was reserved for individual buildings. "The development of LEED for Neighborhood Development speaks to the breadth of what ‘green building' means," said Sophie Lambert USGBC's LEED for Neighborhood Development director. "What was once a rating system solely designed for commercial construction … is now evolving beyond single buildings to address development at the neighborhood scale."

The public comment period will last until Jan. 5. View the LEED for Neighborhood Development draft and submit comments online.

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