Sunday, August 14, 2011

Better Know a LEED-ND Credit: Compact Development

Continuing with my recent obsession with LEED, today I'd like to take a closer look at the LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) green neighborhood rating system (available as a free download from the U.S. Green Building Council).

This system has three principal themes: Smart Location and Linkage, Neighborhood Pattern and Design, and Green Infrastructure and Buildings. You need to meet all of the prerequisites and get at least 40 credits (out of a possible 110) to be certified at the lowest level.

The credit to be better known today is Neighborhood Pattern and Design Credit 2: Compact Development. You can get up to six points for this credit as described in the table below.


The densities are measured in dwelling units per acre, with acres being understood to be buildable land excluding public rights of way, like streets. Detached houses in my suburban neighborhood sit on about 7,000 square feet (650 square meters) of land, which is 6.2 dwelling units per acre (15.4 dwelling units per hectare). FAR is a building's floor area divided by its lot area. Higher numbers translate to higher lot coverage and/or taller buildings.

In other words, you have to get beyond single-story buildings with low lot coverage and wasteful surface parking arrangements to get a significant number of points.

I'd like to close by quoting the intent of the credit, which is densely packed with meaning:
"To encourage development in existing areas to conserve land and protect farmland and wildlife habitat. To promote livability, walkability, and transportation efficiency, including reduced vehicle miles traveled (VMT). To improve public health encouraging daily physical activity associated with alternative modes of transportation and compact development."

No comments:

Post a Comment