Do you want to become a LEED-Accredited Professional, but are not sure whether any LEED specialty suits you as a landscape architect? Or are you already a LEED-AP, accredited before the revised credentialing system took effect, and are considering becoming a LEED-AP in a specialty?
If your answer is “yes” to either question, then consider accreditation for LEED-ND (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Neighborhood Development). This rating system was launched in April 2009, after going through a pilot stage and subsequent revisions. LEED-ND evaluates neighborhood planning and development based on the combined principles of smart growth, New Urbanism, and green infrastructure and building. Developed jointly by the US Green Building Council, the Congress for the New Urbanism, and the Natural Resources Defense Council, LEED-ND is intended to establish a national leadership standard for assessing and rewarding environmentally superior green neighborhood development practices within the framework of the LEED Green Building Rating System. (Learn more about the LEED-ND rating system.)
Of the five LEED AP specialties available, LEED AP for Neighborhood Development (LEED AP ND) is especially well-suited for landscape architects. Becoming a LEED AP ND provides another avenue for landscape architects to advocate sustainable design at the community level. The training for landscape architecture practice is ideal for the “big picture” and multidisciplinary nature of the LEED-ND system. Compared with other LEED rating systems (developed for buildings), LEED-ND offers more opportunities for landscape architects to be involved in (and to lead) the documentation process, and the rating system also can be used as a teaching tool to help educate clients and colleagues about what makes a neighborhood more sustainable.
As a LEED AP ND, you can reinforce the value that landscape architects bring to sustainable development projects, and help keep the profession at the leading edge of green building. Learn more about professional accreditation for LEED-ND here and here.