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Kaid Benfield’s Blog

HUD to use LEED-ND criteria in judging federal grant competitions

Kaid Benfield

Posted May 21, 2010

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One more reason to applaud HUD secretary Shaun Donovan:

"You've probably heard me say that I believe the real size of HUD's sustainability budget is nearly $44 billion--the size of HUD's overall budget--and how we intend to begin using every dollar of it to put more power in the hands of communities and more choices in the hands of consumers.

"Well, today I'm excited to share with you one way we're doing just that.

"One of the most important ways we can drive funding toward sustainable development and the plans is through our grant competitions.

"It probably won't surprise you that for all of our NOFAs this year, we've established criteria that will incentivize our grantees to think about how they can incorporate green building and features into their plans. This year, however, we've decided to take an additional step.

"You and I both know that for decades, the Federal government has actually encouraged sprawl -- whether it's building the beltways and highways in the second half of the 20th century that connected employment centers outside city limits or, more recently, a housing finance system that perpetuated the "Drive to Qualify" myth.

"But you also know that today, we live in a changing world where cities, suburbs and the rural areas that surround them share an economic future and metropolitan regions are the engines of our economy.

"Where people are voting with their feet more and more -- in search of walkable neighborhoods with transportation options.

"And where the global threat of climate change is very real.

"That's why, for the first time in the history of federal grant competitions, I want to announce today that HUD will be using location-efficiency to score our grant applications.

"Using the 'LEED-ND' green neighborhood rating system CNU developed in partnership with the Natural Resources Defense Council and Green Building Council, it's time that federal dollars stopped encouraging sprawl and started lowering the barriers to the kind of sustainable development our country needs and our communities want.

"And with $3.25 billion at stake in these competitions, that's exactly what they will start to do."

Full text of the secretary's remarks before the Congress for the New Urbanism in Atlanta - which contain more good stuff - here.

Kaid Benfield writes (almost) daily about community, development, and the environment.  For more posts, see his blog's home page


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Laurence AurbachMay 23 2010 08:55 AM

The news about using location efficiency is also well worth highlighting. That item definitely got more applause from the audience of new urbanists than LEED ND. Maybe because it is more familiar and establishd, while LEED ND was just launched?

Kaid @ NRDCMay 23 2010 05:19 PM

If the audience heard 'location efficiency' and 'LEED-ND' as two different pieces of news, I think they misunderstood what the secretary was saying. Reading the text, it becomes apparent that he was referring to 'location efficiency' as interpreted in LEED-ND. That would make sense, given that LE is a concept without a standard to apply (albeit a critical one) and LEED-ND is a standard that can be used in evaluations.

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