The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) oversees the certification for green buildings under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) program. LEED is the most widely recognized green certification program in the world. Individual building projects may apply to the USGBC for certification and are scored based on energy efficiency, green building design and performance criteria. Until recently, the LEED program was only available for individual buildings. However, the USGBC recognized that energy efficiency and environmentally sustainable solutions reach far beyond the building envelope, and in fact extend to entire neighborhoods where people live, work and play.
In 2007, the USGBC began a pilot certification program for large-scale developments called LEED for Neighborhood (LEED ND). LEED for Neighborhood Developmentis a certification program developed by USGBC in collaboration with the Congress for New Urbanism (CNU) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Through the efforts of the USGBC, CNU and NRDC, the LEED ND certification program integrates the principles of smart growth, new urbanism and green building into the first national system for neighborhood design. LEED ND certification identifies projects as pioneering examples of sustainable design, and such projects demonstrate leadership in transforming the development industry.
MarketStreet Enterprises spearheaded the initiative to pursue LEED ND certification for The Gulch with LEED facilitator Looney Ricks Kiss as soon as the pilot program was launched. Of 239 projects in the United States, The Gulch was one of only four projects in Tennessee to be accepted. After an 18 month effort, MarketStreet received official confirmation that the Gulch achieved LEED ND certification at the Silver level in January 2009. With this certification, The Gulch has earned recognition for excellence in the built environment and a place among the finest developments incorporating the principles of smart growth, urbanism and green design.
The Gulch is the tenth project in the United States to be awarded the LEED ND distinction and the thirteenth LEED ND project in the world. This elite group of projects includes the Olympic Village in Beijing, China. As a Silver certified plan, The Gulch is the fourth project in the world with that designation. As the first LEED ND certified plan in the Southern US, The Gulch has become a model for sustainable community design in the region.
GREEN GULCH FACTS
• 1,123 daily bus rides available in Gulch within a quarter mile walk
• 6,124 area jobs located within a half mile walk of Gulch
• On-street parking is available on 73 percent of new streets in Gulch
• 58 percent of businesses and residents are within a quarter mile of bike and walking paths
• 13 diverse uses and amenities (post office, gym, church) within a half mile walk
• 82 percent of old Javanco/Farber buildings reused to create mixed-use projects
• Music City Star commuter rail shuttle has 37 daily stops at five Gulch locations
• Using efficient L.E.D. traffic signals saves 90 percent in energy costs vs. old signals