Illinois to become first state to offer an incentive for sustainably designed LEED–Neighborhood Development communities
Ill.) … A new bill known as the Green
Neighborhood Award Act (SB 135), which would make
leader in sustainable neighborhood development, has been approved unanimously by
both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly.
“The Green Neighborhood
Award Act is a low-cost, common-sense proposal for supporting sustainably
designed neighborhoods, which are known to reduce energy consumption, encourage
strong local economies, improve public health, and save communities and
consumers money,” said Rep. Careen M. Gordon (D-Coal City), who was the bill’s
chief sponsor in the House and who chairs the new Smart Growth and Regional
Planning Committee. “It’s hard to argue with a bill that can achieve all of this
without imposing additional land regulations on the private
The Green Neighborhood Award Act provides incentives for
development projects in Illinois that are consistent with LEED-ND standards of
the U.S. Green Building
Council, Congress for the New
Urbanism, and Natural Resources
. Leadership in
Energy and Environmental Design for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) is an
extension of LEED certification, the nationally accepted benchmark for the
design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. LEED-ND
certification guarantees neighborhoods adhere to core principles of sensible
growth, from promoting housing near jobs, services and transit, to improving
access to open space.
“By providing developers of green neighborhoods with
financial incentives, Illinois will be a national pacesetter in sustainable
development,” said Randy Blankenhorn, executive director of the Chicago Metropolitan
Agency for Planning and co-chair of the Campaign for Sensible
, the bill’s primary civic supporter.
Just as LEED certification
has increased the popularity and, thus, the property values of green buildings
region and nationwide, LEED-ND certification is expected to spur the development
of sustainably designed, energy-efficient neighborhoods.
U.S. Green Building Council’s pilot for LEED-ND development drew some 371
proposals from across the country, including 11 from
sustainable community design is a burgeoning real estate trend.
The Green Neighborhood
Award Act will:
- Designate three LEED-ND certified developments in Illinois to be
eligible for Green Neighborhood Award grants, issued by the Ill.
Dept. of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
- Help Illinois achieve energy independence, protect natural
resources, and position Illinois as a national leader in sustainable
development. LEED-ND-certified neighborhoods couldn’t come at a
better time: they are designed to reduce car trips for residents and build
more energy-efficient buildings. The legislation also offers a way for
Illinois to adapt to climate change by supporting communities that promote
more efficient energy and water use.
- Save consumers money. Next to housing, transportation is
the second largest household expense. Energy costs are also high on the list
and rising. A family living in a LEED-ND certified neighborhood stands to cut
annual costs by $3,148, due to energy savings and reduced car trips. If the
Green Neighborhood Award funds three LEED-ND pilot developments resulting in
300 new Illinois households, more than $944,400 could be redirected annually
into the state’s economy through consumer spending from energy and vehicle
- Support economic development. Developers benefit from
building “green” neighborhoods and would receive state incentives.
LEED-certified buildings have increased their market values by up to $0.80 per
square foot; it follows that neighborhoods that are LEED-ND-certified, with
LEED-certified buildings at their foundation, also will boast above-average
“Nationwide and in Illinois, the market is struggling to
catch up with a booming consumer demand for neighborhoods with a variety of
housing types, access to public transportation, and streets that serve
pedestrians and bicyclists to reduce car trips,” said MarySue Barrett, president
of the Metropolitan
co-chair of the Campaign for Sensible Growth. “
could become one of only a handful of
states helping provide consumers with greater options by encouraging the market
to respond to the demand for sensible growth.”
For more information about the Green Neighborhood Award
Act, visit the Campaign for Sensible Growth Web site, or contact Michael
Davidson, manager of the Campaign for Sensible Growth, at 312-863-6009 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or Mandy Burrell, Metropolitan
Planning Council communications associate, at 312-863-6018 or email@example.com.