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Belvedere Inter-Active Neighborhood is Accepted Into New LEED for Neighborhood Development

Stonehaus, a premier full-service real estate development company in Central Virginia, announced today that its Inter-Active Neighborhood located in Charlottesville, Belvedere, has been accepted into the LEED for Neighborhood Development Pilot Program, which is being conducted by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Belvedere is the first neighborhood in Central Virginia to participate in this new LEED program, which has developed the highest benchmark system for environmentally responsible and sustainable development.

Located on 207 acres off of Rio Road East in Albemarle County and close to downtown Charlottesville, Virginia, Belvedere will be a mixed-use neighborhood comprised of more than 400 Energy Star and EarthCraft certified homes, neighborhood retail space, green office buildings, loft apartments, and a civic core. Belvedere's Inter-Active Neighborhood design reflects three key elements: showing a commitment to nature and sustainability, encouraging social interaction, and embracing healthy lifestyles.

"We are thrilled to be part of the LEED for Neighborhood Development Pilot Program. From the outset, Belvedere was not just about building green homes, but designing an entire neighborhood that supports a vibrant, interactive, healthy community based on sustainability. Receiving LEED certification for an entire neighborhood will be a challenge, but one that Stonehaus is ready and willing to meet for the residents of Charlottesville and Central Virginia," said Chris Schooley, Director of Development at Stonehaus.

The LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system integrates the principles of smart growth, urbanism, and green building into the first national rating system for neighborhood design. The rating system will be a tool to help planners and developers create communities that not only protect the environment, but also address important public health issues such as physical activity, traffic accidents, respiratory illnesses, and affordable housing.

"Communities such as Belvedere can play a tremendous role in community development and serve as an example for other developments," said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, U.S. Green Building Council. "LEED for Neighborhood Development is designed to recognize and certify neighborhoods, such as Belvedere, that encourage a healthier lifestyle by placing services, workplaces and schools within walking distance, provide attractive and safe pedestrian paths, and create neighborhoods in a smarter, healthier, more sustainable manner."

LEED for Neighborhood Development is a collaboration between the U.S. Green Building Council, the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The rating system will evaluate communities on criteria related to smart location and linkage to the community at large; neighborhood pattern and design; and green construction and technology. LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a development's location and design meet accepted high standards for environmentally responsible, sustainable, development.

The pilot program is expected to conclude in 2008. Based on feedback gathered during the pilot, the rating system will be revised to improve its effectiveness and applicability to the marketplace. The revised rating system will then be balloted according to USGBC's consensus process and undergo approval by CNU and NRDC.

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