Louisville’s Downtown Development Corporation has won a grant to pursue LEED designation for the city’s East Market—or NuLu—neighborhood.

LEED stands for “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design,” and the certification is usually given to buildings that incorporate various energy efficient and sustainable features. But there’s also a LEED neighborhood designation, and now the DDC has   $25,000 to pursue it.

There’s already been an initial application filed for the certification. The grant money will be used for the extensive, several years of data gathering necessary to get the status. Louisville Sustainability Director Maria Koetter says if NuLu is LEED certified, it will attract national attention.

“I think one of the very unique things about this project, which is one of the reasons I feel like we got this grant from USGBC, is because this is an old part of town,” she said. “And the LEED neighborhoods that you see that are certified now, and there’s only a handful, those are brand new developments.”

The exact boundaries for the LEED designation haven’t been finalized, and LEED certification isn’t a sure thing. But Koetter says the fact that the city was even awarded the grant is a positive sign.

“We really see the LEED-ND status for this neighborhood as being an important signal of the neighborhood’s commitment to sustainability,” said Rebecca Matheny of the DDC. “There are lots of buildings that care about sustainability very profoundly, and there are lots of sustainably-oriented businesses. For them, being in a sustainable neighborhood would be very positive.”

Koetter says if NuLu is successful in pursuing the LEED status, it’s possible that efforts could be extended to other Louisville neighborhoods.