The LEED v4 stories article series features the people the behind diverse LEED v4 projects. Project team members and project owners tell of their experiences—both the wins and the challenges.
For more perspectives on LEED v4 Neighborhood Development, check out our interviews with team members from Brooklyn Basin and Kashiwa-no-ha Smart City. To dive deeper into LEED v4 Neighborhood Development, take a look at “Getting to know LEED: Neighborhood Development.”
NOI Techpark Suedtirol achieved LEED Gold under LEED ND: Plan in February 2017. Originally home to an aluminum factory in Northern Italy, this site is being transformed into a hub for innovative sustainable technologies through a partnership between the City of Bozen, Business Location Südtirol (BLS), and private developers.
The project has been designed to revive the surrounding area through a combination of private and public amenities, including four large parks. To ensure the project’s high design standards are implemented, strict guidelines are provided to developers for the design and construction of all new buildings.
I spoke to Alexander Alber, engineer at BLS, about their project and their experience implementing LEED ND.
What drew you to pursue LEED for Neighborhood Development for the project?
NOI Techpark is a regional development project with a long-term perspective. Over 1 million cubic meters of construction volume are going to be developed for public and private businesses. The goal: a new and innovative, thus sustainable, district that responds to excellent quality standards. From a single building, up to a large scale area. To achieve this objective, it was necessary to define and find a standard that emphasizes holistic and well-established practices that benefit all parties involved. LEED perfectly responds to that demand.
Another positive effect, needless to say, is the international reputation LEED has gained. Using the LEED standard has helped NOI Techpark create the foundations for authentic communication and marketing. It is one of the largest infrastructure projects of the region of Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy. Considering that NOI Techpark aims to attract young talent and create an innovative working environment, LEED is a tool to foster innovation and the competitive landscape of the region.
Having these two aspects in mind, the planning team decided to apply for LEED ND: Plan certification, which would not only help promote the project internationally, but also identify the project’s main characteristics regarding sustainable development. Our Gold-level certification represents a huge step forward, and we hope it can foster the development of more sustainable projects within the region.
What is the coolest credit in LEED ND?
The credits on Access to Quality Transit and Bicycle Facilities, within the Smart Location and Linkage section. The topic of green mobility has been under special attention worldwide in recent years. We know that climate change is real, and reducing emissions is an important step to tackle it. The LEED credits regarding access to public transit and connection to cycling infrastructure are important tools to foster the implementation of sustainable initiatives in the mobility sector of new planned areas.
NOI Techpark is happy to surround itself with more than 20 bus stops, a train station within a 400-meter reach, and a well-established bike lane network that connects our location with the city center in approximately 15 minutes. Combined, these strategies made a significant contribution to our total points.
Was there a cost difference between this and other projects you’ve done?
NOI Techpark is the first project of this type carried out by BLS. Since the project was based on sustainability claims right from the beginning, acquiring LEED ND certification did not interfere much with the project´s budget composition.
What were the biggest lessons learned in pursuing LEED v4?
One of the most important lessons learned in this process is that considering and implementing sustainability guidelines during the project planning phase can be done easily without increasing the project´s costs, but massively improving the overall project quality on a long-term scale.
How are you preparing for LEED ND: Built certification?
Currently we are focusing on the implementation of our sustainability objectives, which were defined in the planning phase. In this context, it is necessary to find the right detailed solutions in the now given framework. NOI Techpark will grow in multiple expansion stages. Once the appropriate development grade is obtained, we will apply for certification as a Built Project.
Learn more about LEED ND pathways to certification