Certification of entire communities under LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED ND) and EarthCraft Communities (ECC) is becoming more common. Certification provides benefits to community members and developers, who frequently can take advantage of housing tax credit incentives. These community certification programs encourage low-impact development, including minimizing land disturbance, improving water quality, reducing both building and transportation energy use, and creating walkable communities by including local businesses, community services, and public plazas and green space in their design.
Community certification starts with a design charrette early in the conceptual planning stage to review program requirements, develop appropriate site and building plans, and engage local residents. Next, we perform regular site visits to confirm the project is meeting program goals. And finally, we train development, construction, sales, and management teams on building and maintaining a sustainable community.
The majority of EarthCraft Communities projects are completed under the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program, administered in Georgia by the Department of Community Affairs.