Louisville’s Downtown Development Corporation has been awarded a grant to pursue formal 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 LDDC has been awarded $25,000 to pursue that certification.

According to the U.S. Green Building Council’s website, the grant includes:

  • A $25,000 cash award, to be used to pursue LEED-ND certification;
  • Refunded LEED-ND project registration fee by GBCI;
  • $300 discount on national membership to the U.S. Green Building Council;
  • One LEED-ND Reference Guide;
  • One registration for a LEED-ND online training/webinar;
  • Registration for one LEED-ND workshop;
  • Access to USGBC technical assistance and monthly conference calls;
  • One registration for the National Affordable Green Homes & Sustainable Communities Summit in San Francisco, CA.

Evaluating NuLu’s potential for LEED certification was one of the goals of consultants from non-profit Global Green, who visited Louisville in May.

Chris Marshall with the U.S. Green Building Council is along on the tour. He says the goal isn’t necessarily to certify NuLu as a LEED neighborhood, but to apply the standard’s ideas to make it more sustainable.

“We are evaluating land use designs, urban design, transportation decisions,” Marshall says. “Basically, built environment characteristics that are more pertinent to the neighborhood level instead of the building level.”

He says many neighborhoods that end up seeking LEED certification are newer, planned communities. But there’s no reason that an older, established community can remake itself as environmentally sustainable.