Initiated in 1993, the U.S. Green Building Council formed when David Gottfried, Mike Italiano, and Rick Fedrizzi met with representatives from architecture firms as well as numerous nonprofits to develop a rating system for green buildings. The rating system considered how construction might impact both people and nature and evolved into the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. When applied to neighborhood developments, the certification seeks to create connected and sustainable communities.
Neighborhood developments qualify for the Leadership in Energy Environmental Design (LEED) v4 for Neighborhood Development Plan if they are currently in any phase of design or planning and at least 75 percent of the project is completed. The project must meet other requirements, including occupying a location that does not impact habitats of endangered species, wetlands, or other protected areas. Additionally, the project should also aim to promote healthy living conditions for residents and restore and protect water resources, along with other environmental and sustainability goals.