Beijing Olympic Village Earns a Gold

Some 17,000 athletes in Beijing for the 2008 Olympic Games are making their temporary home at a first-of-its-kind, environmentally friendly Olympic Village. Today, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced that the plan for the village has won Gold--that is, a LEED®-Gold certification under USGBC's pilot LEED for Neighborhood Development certification program.

The Beijing Olympic Village is the first Olympic Village to receive LEED certification, and as part of the pilot program, it is one of only eight developments--and the first international project--to thus far achieve certification under LEED for Neighborhood Development, a program that began with a call for pilot projects in early 2007. Nearly 240 projects from 39 states and six countries are now registered to participate in the pilot. USGBC says the information learned during the pilot program will be used to make further revisions to the rating system and certification process, and the resulting draft rating system will be posted for public comment before it is submitted for final approvals and balloting. For more information on LEED for Neighborhood Development, visit www.usgbc.org/leed/nd.

"The world's most pressing issues--including climate change, habitat destruction, water and energy shortages, human health, and social inequities--require global cooperation to solve," says Rick Fedrizzi, USGBC president, CEO, and founding chair. "The Olympic Games represent the exciting possibilities that emerge when the world comes together. The commitment of the Olympic Village, demonstrated through its success in the LEED for Neighborhood Development pilot program, is an important part of that effort. It sets an inspiring example while the world is watching, and the real, measurable environmental and health effects will be a real benefit to the people of Beijing for years to come."

The Neighborhood Development program--a collaboration among USGBC, the Congress for the New Urbanism, and the Natural Resources Defense Council--certifies neighborhoods for their design and performance in four categories: Smart Location & Linkage, Neighborhood Pattern & Design, Green Construction & Technology, and Innovation & Design Process. The Green Construction & Technology category awards developments for their integration of green infrastructure elements and the green building principles promoted by the other LEED certification programs. Depending on the number of points a development receives in each category, LEED for Neighborhood Development certification is awarded at four levels: Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.

In 2004, the U.S. Department of Energy and China's Ministry of Science and Technology developed a "Protocol for Cooperation in Clean Energy Technologies for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing." The protocol resulted in plans to seek LEED certification for the Olympic Village--a goal now achieved. USGBC says the village's Gold certification is the latest example of the council's commitment to engaging the people of China in USGBC's vision of buildings and communities that regenerate and sustain the health and vitality of all life within a generation. Most recently, USGBC has supported the formation of the new China Green Building Council and anticipates working with the China GBC as it grows and continues to promote sustainable, healthy building practices in a country that builds nearly half the world’s new buildings every year.

"China's growing population, its emerging economy, and the opportunities and challenges it represents ensure that China will play a key role in the future of our planet," Fedrizzi said. "The fact that one of the world's first LEED for Neighborhood Development-certified plans is a cause for great optimism that China's growth in the coming years can be a model of sustainable development."

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