Green Community Push in the US

green building on US map

While Australia welcomes the Green Building Council Australia’s (GBCA) release of the Green Star – Communities rating tool, it seems as though the rest of the world is also becoming increasingly motivated by the possibilities that coming with sustainable developments that go beyond singular buildings.

The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) is reinvigorating efforts both nationally and internationally with their current LEED ND (Neighbourhood Developments) certification push.

Though the standard was launched back in 2009, the popularity of green buildings in the US means that larger, more infrastructure-inclusive developments are now being strongly targeted under current promotions.

While Boston is the only city that actually requires LEED ND zoning, many others are picking up the certification for all public housing projects, finding the financial and social benefits of sustainable building a successful solution to a serious national issue.

At a recent conference in Detroit at the Henry Ford Community College ‘Making LEED ND Happen for Your Development’, founding principal of architecture firm Farr and Associates Doug Farr pointed out numerous developments both nationally and internationally that have already been built and planned that fit the criteria.

green community

These include the implementation of an intermodal transportation station to run between different areas of Detroit and the retrofitting of barren spaces into community hubs.

Moving outside the US, the benchmark for LEED ND projects is Vancouver’s Dockside Green development. Although it has not yet been completed, Dockside Green will host a range of green technologies throughout the urban development, including mandatory LEED platinum building ratings, an onsite biomass cogeneration and biodiesel plant and a featured treated sewerage pond.

LEED ND is pushing for greater standards of urban planning. Its appeal is spreading as positive results amass, leading Farr to call building for the certification a risk eliminator.

“My assertion is that requiring ND reduces long term risk,” he says.

With industries across the globe now pushing for a higher green benchmark and larger-scaled green developments, it seems the only risk is in not developing in ways that meet these new and increasingly accepted standards.

By Tim Moore
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