The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently announced that it would use a new LEED standard as part of grant considerations.

Secretary Shaun Donovan said that the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design neighborhood development standard criteria will be used as a factor in deciding which projects receive the department’s sustainable communities planning grants.

“It’s time that federal dollars stopped encouraging sprawl and started lowering the barriers to the kind of sustainable development our country needs and our communities want,” Donovan said.

The LEED green building rating system was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. The LEED-ND standard was written with the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Congress for the New Urbanism to help grow sustainable communities and encourage use of public transit, council officials said.

“The federal government has been a pioneer in the green building movement – not only seeking high-performance from its own buildings, but through incentives and grants that encourage environmental stewardship,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and Founding chairman of the U.S. Green Building Council. “HUD has been a powerful voice in encouraging and creating sustainable communities in which residents will have access to alternative transportation, jobs, and an increased quality of life. LEED for Neighborhood Development serves as an important tool to help evaluate and fund these new communities.”