August 2007 

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City Project Accepted To National Program

The city’s Union Park project was recently accepted to the LEED ® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) 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 USGBC, the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) , and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) .  

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.

One of the city’s priorities is to support and encourage sustainability, livability and pride in our neighborhoods. The city has developed many programs to help residents and businesses meet that priority such as the Green Building Program, which encourages residential developers to bring environmentally sensitive homebuilding to the Las Vegas valley. Another program, the Mayor’s Urban Design Awards, recognizes projects that foster the city’s commitment to sustainability and livability. The city also has a nationally-recognized alternative fuel program and has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as one of America’s “Best Workplaces for Commuters.” The city has also been recognized as a “Tree City U.S.A.” for the last 15 years by the National Arbor Day Foundation.

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