Catalyzing Investment in Urban Sustainability
U.S.-Brazil Joint Initiative on
Urban Sustainability


Green Design and Certification

Policy Overview

Communities across the United States and in other countries are looking for opportunities to decrease energy consumption, this has led to the development of green building standard-setting organizations. In addition, some standards are beginning to include location and neighborhood design criteria as research has shown that location, from siting to design, can dramatically improve energy efficiency and environmental performance.

Currently, there are a number of sources for guidance on green building certification, including third-party evaluation processes, such as the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, which created LEED ND (LEED for Neighborhood Development) as a rating system for neighborhoods. These standards provide an objective tool for evaluating how new projects will influence the environment and everyday quality of life.

Additional sources of guidance include green construction codes that outline specific building code and site requirements, which can enhance accessible jobs and services, increase green buildings, include greener infrastructure and public services, and especially promote more sustainable urban landscapes. Both rating systems and code standards provide detailed information on how to achieve green building and environmental development.

How to Apply this Policy

Many U.S. municipalities are now adopting neighborhood-wide standards (wholly or in part) into their land development regulation. For example, Philadelphia has two existing policies pertaining to green buildings. In 2010, the Philadelphia City Council passed legislation requiring that all new construction and major renovation projects of city-owned property 10,000 square feet or larger meet LEED Silver certification. The City also offers zoning bonuses for privately owned buildings that achieve LEED Gold certification.

This trend is not limited to the U.S.-Rio de Janeiro intends for its Ilha do Bom Jesus Green District to be the first LEED-ND certified neighborhood in Latin America.

Contact Information
U.S. Green Building Council, LEED-ND Program

The Alliance Town Center In Fort Worth, TX, USA has been recognized by the USGBC for its LEED ND certification, becoming one of only two projects in Texas, and among only 80 in the U.S., to receive the top designation. Centrally located within the North Fort Worth Alliance Corridor, Alliance Town Center is a diverse 900-acre mixed-use growth node providing walkable connections to amenities, restaurants, shopping, housing, and major employment.

The Brazilian program Selo Casa Azul, created by the Brazilian Federal Savings Bank (CEF), certifies CEF-financed sustainable housing developments. This program often applies to public interest housing and avoids driving up costs. With Selo Casa Azul, CEF seeks to acknowledge development projects that reduce impact on the environment by evaluating projects based on criteria related to urban quality of life, accessibility, energy efficiency, conservation of building materials, water management, and societal benefits.