About LEED ND Certification & Credentials

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LEED for Neighborhood Development (ND) is an expansion of the growing demand for green homes and commercial buildings to the community at large.  The rating system is a collaboration between the USGBC (United States Green Building Council), the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Congress for the New Urbanism.

Whether the neighborhood project is in the planning phases, partially constructed, or recently completed, the LEED Neighborhood Development rating system can be applied and certification earned.

LEED ND can refer to both the rating system and the professional credential.  These work hand-in-hand, as the LEED AP ND accreditation prepares an individual to work on LEED Neighborhood Development certification projects.  Projects and buildings are LEED certified, whereas people are accredited.  The same professionals whose current or desired careers are focused around community planning are some of the most logical candidates for earning the ND credential:

  • City Planners & Urban Designers
  • Architects (particularly popular with landscape architects)
  • Real Estate Developers & Investors
  • Engineers
  • Contractors
  • Local Government Employees & Politicians

How Difficult is the LEED Neighborhood Development Exam?

The 100-question LEED AP ND exam is comprised of the below concentrations as of the latest August 2019 revision.  The LEED Green Associate exam  is a prerequisite for taking the LEED AP ND exam.  Although not advised, both can be taken at the same time if you are up for four hours of official testing.

The LEED AP ND exam is highly technical in nature, whereas the Green Associate is more broadly focused on green building principles.  This is a test for which you’ll need to study in order to pass.  As shown in the LEED ND rating system focus areas in the next section, these questions align closely with the rating system.

  • LEED Process (LP)- 13 Questions
  • Smart Location and Linkage (SLL)- 21 Questions
  • Neighborhood Pattern and Design (NPD)- 23 Questions
  • Green Infrastructure and Buildings (GIB)- 21 Questions
  • Project Surroundings and Public Outreach- 7 Questions

Additionally, there are a handful of unscored questions.  Scored and unscored questions aren’t labeled as such and are used to testing new questions’ viability as scored questions on future tests.

Our study materials are created by experts in the LEED ND rating systems and our practice tests designed to closely resemble actual test questions.  You’ll know when you’re ready to take the exam and pass on your first attempt.  GBES is a USGBC Education Partner and verified leader in green building education.  In fact, sustainable building education is our sole focus.  Ready to prepare for the exam?  Select one of our proven study tools below.


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Focus Areas of the LEED ND Rating System (V4)

LEED Neighborhood certification is comprised of five areas:  Smart Location and Linkage (SLL), Neighborhood Pattern and Design (NPD), Green Infrastructure and Buildings (GIB), Innovation (IN), and Regional Priority (RP).

Examples of LEED ND project sustainability goals include:

  • Limit the neighborhood’s geographical footprint
  • Redevelop existing locations when practical
  • Protect and preserve local ecology
  • Design and construct new buildings and/or retrofit existing structures using green building practices
  • Take advantage of existing public transit options
  • Reduce heat island and light pollution effects
  • Provide open public spaces that encourage community and physical activities
  • Encourage renewable energy production
  • Preserve existing historical buildings or landscapes
  • Reduce pollution from construction activities, transportation, etc.
  • Promote local food production
  • Consider housing proximity to employment opportunities
  • Reduce automobile distances traveled and dependency
  • Encourage physical modes of transportation such as walking and cycling through convenient and safe infrastructure
  • Promote demographic variety in residents through socially equitable housing options


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