The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) has finalized the Canadian Compliance Paths for the LEED for Neighbourhood Development 2009 rating system, and they are now available to the public online. These Alternative Compliance Paths (ACPs) were developed by the CaGBC to provide clarity and guidance for Canadian Neighbourhood Development projects, addressing sections of the rating system that contain US-specific standards or wording.
LEED 2009 ND is the latest version of the LEED-ND rating system, which was developed to guide and assess sustainable community development. It awards points to developments for elements like walkability of the neighbourhood, and design that encourages people to frequent local shops and public spaces. The ACPs were developed under the guidance of the Canadian LEED-ND Core Committee, which endeavoured to make the tool as applicable as possible to all regions of the country. This is fitting, as there are currently eight Canadian LEED 2009 ND projects underway across the country.
Dan Leeming, Co-Chair of the Canadian LEED-ND Core Committee, and Principal at The Planning Partnership in Toronto, thinks that these new ACPs offer Canadians added accessibility to a rating system that will define the future of green building.
“LEED-ND is a valuable tool for evaluating and guiding sustainable neighbourhood planning and design,” he said. “It also provides a thorough set of benchmarks through a sustainability program that encourages a means of considering other current issues such as public health promotion, high quality urban design, food security accessibility, providing for an aging society, as well as increasing housing choices. The interrelated nature of these issues allows concurrent improvements on multiple levels and in many different areas of concerns.”
There are many neighbourhoods across Canada that weren’t designed to be models of sustainability, but are now regarded as such due to their location, walkability, access to public transit, or affordable housing. Several new neighbourhood developments are also being planned and designed to incorporate these types of features, using the LEED for Neighbourhood Development (LEED-ND) rating system as a guide.
In Montreal, for example, there is a LEED-ND project called “Les Bassins du Nouveau Havre” – a 23-acre infill redevelopment project located close to downtown, along the Lachine Canal. This mixed-use development will include both market-rate and affordable dwelling units, with a focus on units large enough for families with children. The location and design of the project encourages modes of transport other than the automobile, while construction will be according to LEED-ND criteria for green infrastructure and buildings.
Mark Laroche, president and CEO of Canada Lands Co. (which owns the land for Les Bassins du Nouveau Havre) and a CaGBC board member, says LEED-ND is a great system to use as a basis for undergoing these types of community developments. “We have found LEED-ND to be an excellent measuring stick for the sustainability of our projects,” he said. “It is also a very practical tool for producing a high quality neighbourhood design. By striving for LEED-ND certification with our projects, we ensure that Canadian communities are at the forefront of global standards in both environmental sustainability and urban design.”
Canadian projects interested in pursuing LEED 2009 ND certification are encouraged to review and employ the ACPs as needed, as part of their certification process.