Las Vegas Mayor Oscar B. Goodman and Steve Rypka, member, board of directors, U.S. Green Building Council - Nevada Chapter, announce today the acceptance of Union Park into the LEED for Neighborhood Development pilot program developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Union Park is the 61-acre, mixed-use master-planned urban center currently under development on land owned by the city of Las Vegas in the heart of downtown. Union Park is the only project in Las Vegas participating in this national pilot program.
The LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system integrates the principles of smart growth, urbanism, and green building into the first national rating system for neighborhood design. The program is a collaboration between the U.S. Green Building Council, the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
“We are pleased to be a part of the LEED for Neighborhood Development pilot program, particularly as Union Park is the only such Las Vegas project announced to date,” said Las Vegas Mayor Oscar B. Goodman.“Union Park is a development whose time has come in Las Vegas. It is playing a central role in the revitalization of downtown Las Vegas and by embracing environmentally sound development practices, is forging new ground for ‘green’ neighborhood development in our valley.
According to Rita Brandin, vice president and development director for Newland Communities, the national real estate development firm retained by the city of Las Vegas to act as development manager for Union Park, the 10-million-square-foot,mixed-use project is creating an in-town culture, entertainment, working and living environment on currently unused railroad lands. “Not only will Union Park embrace environmentally sensitive development practices going forward, it embodies the very essence of land recycling,” she said.
The LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system evaluates communities on criteria related to smart location and linkage to the community at large; neighborhood pattern and design; green construction and technology; and water and energy conservation. It is a tool to help planners and developers create communities that not only protect the environment, but also address important public health issues such as physical activity, traffic accidents, respiratory illnesses, and affordable housing. The LEED certification process includes independent, third-party verification that a development's design, construction and performance meet accepted high standards for environmentally responsible, sustainable, development.
The pilot program is expected to conclude in 2008. Based on feedback gathered during the pilot, the rating system will be revised to improve its effectiveness and applicability to the marketplace. The revised rating system will then be balloted according to USGBC's consensus process and undergo approval by CNU and NRDC.
“Communities can play a tremendous role in mitigating global climate change,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, U.S. Green Building Council. “Buildings and the infrastructure that surround them are major sources of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions. The LEED for Neighborhood Development program will enable us to make efficient use of our natural resources and design communities that make an immediate, positive impact on our planet.”
About Union Park
Union Park is a 61-acre mixed-use master-planned urban center located in the heart of downtown Las Vegas on land owned by the city of Las Vegas. Situated just east of I-15, Union Park is bounded on the east by the historic Union Park rail yards across the street from World Market Center, Clark County Government Center and the Las Vegas Premium Outlets shopping center. Newland Communities, a privately owned national real estate developer with offices in more than 20 U.S. cities and more than 40 developments underway in 14 states, was retained by the city of Las Vegas as development manager to oversee day-to-day development of Union Park. Considered the single most important element of the revitalization of downtown Las Vegas, Union Park is anchored by two key public facilities: the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute designed by famed architect, Frank Gehry; and The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, designed by architect David Schwarz. Planned to encompass more than 10 million square feet of office, medical, residential, retail, civic and hotel/hospitality space, Union Park has a value of more than $6 billion and a build-out of approximately 11 years (2018). http://www.unionparkvegas.com/.
The LEED® Green Building Rating System is a voluntary third party rating system where credits are earned for satisfying specified green building criteria. Projects are evaluated within six environmental categories: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, and Indoor Environmental Quality. Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum levels of green building certification are awarded based on the total credits earned. The LEED standard has been adopted nationwide by federal agencies, state and local governments, and interested private companies as the industry standard of measurement for green building.
About the U.S. Green Building Council
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is a non-profit composed of leaders from every sector of the building industry; including corporations, builders, universities, government agencies, and non-profit organizations; working together to transform the way buildings are designed, built and operated. Green buildings are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work. Since its founding in 1993, the Council has grown to more than 10,000 member companies and organizations, a 90-person professional staff, a broad portfolio of LEED® green building products and services, and produces the industry's popular Greenbuild International Conference and Expo (http://www.greenbuildexpo.org/). The USGBC’s network of over 75 local chapters, affiliates and organizing groups are united to advance their mission of transforming the building industry to sustainability.