Port applies for LEED Neighborhood Development pilot project

Heidi Schiller
   The Port of Bellingham has applied for the Georgia-Pacific waterfront site to be a pilot project in the U.S. Green Building Council’s new LEED for Neighborhood Development program.
   The program offers potential applicants the ability to participate in developing a rating system that uses principles of smart growth, urbanism, and green building to certify a neighborhood as meeting LEED standards.
   Until now, LEED has been used to certify only specific buildings or structures that meet such standards, not entire neighborhoods.
   The new certification process, once it is fully developed and launched in 2009, will provide an independent, third-party verification that a development’s location and design meet accepted high standards for environmentally responsible, sustainable development, according to the program’s Web site.
   LEED for Neighborhood Development is a collaboration of the U.S. Green Building Council, the Congress for the New Urbanism, and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
   Mike Stoner, port environmental director, said the port applied for the pilot project program in April and expects a positive response.
   “We will get the benefit of their expertise on how to apply different concepts on a neighborhood scale, and they will get an understanding of the challenges of doing it in a real-world project,” Stoner said.
   If accepted, the U.S. Green Building Council would work with the port to establish ranking criteria that would meet LEED for Neighborhood Development’s objectives.
   He said port consultants are working to include these standards in the waterfront site’s environmental impact statement, and that all of the port’s proposed cleanup scenarios would fit with the LEED standards.
   The LEED criteria for ranking developments include standards addressing land, shorelines and water, as well as building materials and energy efficiency.

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