This document includes guidance for LEED v4 Neighborhood Development projects. Looking for LEED 2009? View the policies and guidance for LEED 2009 for Neighborhood Development.
You’re on your way to increasing the value and environmental integrity of your community. This guide will lead you through the process.
LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED ND) certification involves four main steps:
If you need assistance at any time, please contact us.
Before you begin, you’ll want to make sure that your project or plan meets all of the LEED Minimum Program Requirements, the minimum characteristics that make a project appropriate for pursuing LEED.
LEED v4 ND projects must:
Visit the LEED Credit Library to read the specifics on Minimum Program Requirements.
Next up: select the appropriate LEED rating system using our Rating System Selection Guidance.
The content in this guide applies to:
Note: If you are unsure about your project’s rating system selection or LEED ND eligibility, you are encouraged to contact us for additional guidance.
Now, onward to registration: While functionality for LEED v4 is not yet live in LEED Online, we have established an alternative process through which interested project teams can still register, document, and submit LEED ND applications to GBCI. If you are interested in learning more about this process, please contact us and specify that you are ready to register a LEED v4 ND Built Project or Plan.
After you have registered your project, the next step is to assemble your project team!
Individuals on your project team will be called on to perform certain roles throughout the LEED certification process. Here’s a rundown of who’s who so you can select your team wisely:
Now comes the fun part: you’re ready to collect and submit the appropriate documentation for review by GBCI. Working with your project team, you will identify LEED credits to pursue and assign them to project team members. Your team will then collect information, perform calculations and analysis, and prepare documentation demonstrating your achievement of the prerequisites and your selected credits.
Once your application is prepared, submit your completed materials and make sure to perform a rigorous quality check of your entire application before submitting for review. We suggest that you open each form and check that you have included all required information, and open each file to verify that you have submitted the correct document. Cross-check credits and prerequisites to make sure that you have reported common data points, such as total project acreage, number of dwelling units, and nonresidential square footage consistently across your application. Want more tips? Here are some characteristics common among high quality submissions:
All finished? Ready, set, submit! Don’t forget to pay your certification review fee - and remember, your review will commence once your payment has cleared our system.
One of the key elements of LEED ND projects and documentation is the LEED ND project boundary. Note that any changes to the boundary between reviews must be communicated to GBCI in advance of submitting for review and additional documentation and/or fees may be required.
Note: When registering your project, you should always consider what its eligibility status will be at the time you submit for review. For example, if your project is not yet fully entitled, but will be by the time you submit for plan review, it’s okay to register for LEED ND: Plan certification and complete your application accordingly. The same is true for projects approaching substantial completion. They may register for LEED ND: Built Project and submit when ready.
The LEED ND prerequisite review is an optional review of the Smart Location and Linkage (SLL) prerequisites and/or the Neighborhood Pattern and Design (NPD) prerequisites. These prerequisites address the location of your project site, the avoidance of sensitive areas like wetlands and endangered species habitat, and the project’s contextual site design and urban design criteria. This path is most beneficial if you are uncertain whether your project can meet the requirements of these prerequisites.
Note: Project information as detailed in the project information workbook and form must be provided to compliment documentation of the prerequisites.
If your project is in the early conceptual phase (i.e., less than 100% of project’s total floor area entitled by the local governing authority), you may opt to pursue a letter of support review prior to a plan review. The optional letter of support review is designed to help your team gain support for the project during the local planning approval process.
If your project is fully entitled and up to 75% constructed (based on floor area), you can pursue LEED ND: Plan certification.
If your project is substantially complete with all certificates of occupancy awarded, your project is eligible to pursue LEED ND Built Project certification.
In a time crunch? Contact GBCI at least five business days (please allow longer if you are paying by check) prior to submitting an application to request an expedited review to cut your review time in half. Please note that there is an additional charge for this service, and GBCI’s ability to fulfill your request depends on their current review capacity. If GBCI can accommodate your request, they will confirm availability and provide a custom review schedule for your project.
While the type of review you’ll choose to pursue will vary depending on your sustainability goals, the specific needs of your project, and how far along in the development process the project is, the process for each of the reviews described in the section above is the same:
|LEED v4 for Neighborhood Development: Plan||Letter of Support||Preliminary and final reviews available for all options|
|Prerequisite (SLL & NPD)|
|LEED v4 for Neighborhood Development: Built Project||Prerequisite (SLL & NPD)|
Having difficulty fulfilling a rating system prerequisite or credit? Have you thought of an alternative way to interpret a credit or path to fulfill it? We’ve established inquiries so that you can gain clarification before you register your project or plan or as you’re working through your LEED application. All inquiries are filed through LEED Online and should address only one credit or prerequisite at a time. Here are your options:
LEED ND Plan projects are required to submit for review before greater than 75% of project floor area is complete. LEED ND Built Project projects must submit for review no later than three years after the project is substantially completed. If you decide you no longer want to pursue LEED certification for your project, we understand. Please contact GBCI so that they can close your application, in order to maintain accurate records.
If your project has already been certified as a LEED ND: Plan and you’re seeking an additional certification as a LEED ND: Built Project, you’ll need to proceed through the registration process as though the project were being newly registered. Note: projects are limited to registering under versions of the rating system that are open for registration. View the LEED registration close and certification close deadlines.
If you feel that the results of a review appeal or a CIR appeal are incorrect and wish to challenge those results, you may do so by contacting GBCI.
You’ve made it to the finish line: accepting your review results is the final step in the LEED review process. Once your final application review is complete, your project team can either accept or appeal GBCI’s final review report. Once you’ve accepted the final review report, you will no longer be able to appeal the review decisions for specific credits or prerequisites, so please double (or triple) check that you have achieved all prerequisites and targeted credits before accepting the final review results. If you have completed a prerequisite review or letter of support review, we applaud you on setting yourself up on a path towards ND: Plan or ND: Built Project certification. If you’ve achieved ND: Plan or ND: Built Project certification: congratulations from all of us at USGBC and GBCI!
While all LEED-certified projects and plans are a cut above the rest, each is assigned one of four levels of certification to acknowledge the degree of achievement. The number of points that your project earns determines the level of LEED certification that you will receive.
The number of points a project earns determines the level of LEED Certification that the project will receive.
Once you’ve earned certification, it’s likely that you’ll want to tell the world. You should. LEED certification benefits your business’s bottom line and underscores your sustainability efforts. It’s a cause for celebration!
Our public relations guide can help you do that. You’ll also have the option to order formal certificates of recognition. Teams that have earned ND: Built Project certification may also choose to order LEED plaques.
Note: the public relations guide will also describe how to talk publicly about your project if you have completed a prerequisite review or a letter of support review.
(Psst… did you know that USGBC Platinum-level members receive 20 hours of dedicated public relations support from USGBC’s in-house communications team? Learn more about Platinum membership.)
Your work with LEED is something to be celebrated – and communicated to the world at large. Achieving LEED certification gives you the opportunity to share your project strategies, photos and insight, and play a pivotal role in educating other project teams.
We use your project data for the greater good: to educate and provide resources for LEED project teams and others around the world, showcase your strategies, and share the size and power of the green building movement.
LEED-registered and certified projects are, by default, considered “public” projects, and thereby included in USGBC’s public LEED project directory. A listing in this directory allows the general public and members of the media to look up your project listing and its related details.
Here’s a full list of the data and project elements that may be listed in the project directory:
Project directory information:
All “public” projects also benefit from publicity opportunities: we may utilize your project data to create case studies highlighting your project’s features, reference your project on our website or to the media, or create other derivative works.
Information that may be used for articles, project profiles, other features:
You are free to opt-out of the LEED project directory and publicity opportunities as a “private project” at the time of registration. All private projects that earn certification will be prompted once more to transition to public status (we can’t help ourselves, we love sharing good news!). You will need to re-confirm your “private” status at that time, if you wish to retain it.
Each rating system will remain open and available for certification for at least six years after the rating system registration close date. To certify your project under a specific rating system, you must submit for certification by that rating system's certification close date, also called the sunset date. If you have difficulty meeting this deadline, please reach out to GBCI—they’ll work with you on a solution for your project. View the LEED registration close and certification close deadlines.
In rare situations, LEED certification may be revoked. We’ve created the Certification Challenge Policy to ensure that all LEED project submittals and subsequent reviews by GBCI team members are done so with integrity, accuracy and truthfulness. A certification challenge may be initiated by GBCI or by any third party within 18 months of a project’s certification. In line with the policy, you’ll need to retain all project documentation related to your certification, and the achievement of prerequisites and credits, on-site at your certified project for two years after receiving certification, to ensure that this information is available in case of a challenge.
This Certification Challenge Policy has been put in place to protect the integrity of the LEED certification program as a credible, accurate, and industry-recognized system for evaluating the design and construction of sustainable buildings. GBCI intends this policy to function as both a quality check on GBCI LEED reviews, as well as an instrument designed to detect and remedy incidents of intentional or inadvertent misrepresentation which result in the inappropriate award of LEED certification. This policy is not meant to serve as a vehicle for the adjudication of disputes between outside parties. Accordingly, this policy and the certification challenge process detailed herein do not replace any applicable judicial or other alternative dispute resolution processes that third parties may have available to resolve such disputes between themselves. Complaints that might warrant initiation of the Certification Challenge Process should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To the extent a project is subject to revocation of LEED certification, such project will be removed from the LEED certified project database and may no longer be referred to as a LEED certified project. GBCI shall identify the project’s certification as having been revoked. Additionally, if GBCI revokes certification of any project for which a Platinum-level certification was previously awarded, and for which the project owner received a rebate of any or all certification fees, the owner of such project shall be liable for refunding all monies so received to GBCI. Further, the owner of such project shall immediately terminate all use and display of any LEED trademarks, associated logos, and other intellectual property licensed by GBCI.