When You Need to Get LEED Certified Fast

The principles that comprise the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standard apply to a myriad of professionals in the construction, architecture, and engineering industries. Depending on your company and your job title, you may be more involved with LEED projects than others. Oftentimes these projects necessitate having someone on the team who has earned their LEED accreditation. Somehow, you’ve entered into your position and its responsibilities without a LEED credential, and now you’re scrambling to figure out how you can “get LEED certified” in a hurry.

Here’s what you have to do.

First, you will want to sign up for LEED exam prep training.

The most successful strategy for passing your LEED Green Associate exam is to prepare for it! Given that you’re under a time crunch, you don’t want to waste your time trying to memorize EVERYTHING and also trying to figure out what’s actually going to be on the test. Instead, focus your efforts in a LEED exam prep class where you will learn from a training company that has experience with the test. There are a number of LEED training companies out there; you’ll want to look for one that has been marked as a USGBC Education Provider. The USGBC is the standard-bearer for LEED, so you’ll know that you’ve chosen a reputable and effective training company if it has the USGBC stamp of approval.

During your LEED Green Associate training, you’ll not only get insight into the test material, but you’ll also gain a familiarity with the exam interface. This is incredibly important because it removes any nerves or uncertainty that you may have going into your LEED exam. When you arrive at the Prometric Testing Center for your exam appointment, you’ll know exactly what to expect.

A LEED training course generally lasts 2 days, or 14 hours. No matter what class you attend, your trainer is going to recommend an additional 2-3 weeks of self-study time to make sure you really understand the information inside and out. You will also be encouraged to schedule your exam appointment following that 3-week mark. If you don’t schedule your exam shortly after training, you’ll end up losing some of the knowledge you gained. And do not procrastinate scheduling the exam – if you tell yourself that you’re not ready or that you’ll do it later, you never will. Having an exam deadline looming over your head will actually help keep you on track.

The LEED GA exam lasts two hours. Because the test is delivered over the Internet, you will know your score immediately after you’re done.

All in all, you can expect a time commitment of around 36 hours to prepare for your LEED Green Associate exam. If you have experience in sustainability and green building, you can cut out some of the self-study time. It all really depends on what type of learner you are and how much experience you have in the industry.

So you’re in a hurry to earn your LEED credential. Go ahead and sign up for a LEED prep class. Get the process started. You’ll learn an immense amount of information in class that will be immediately applicable to the LEED projects that you’re working on. If anyone asks, you’ll be well on your way to earning your LEED Green Associate!

August 19, 2014 at 5:08 pm Leave a comment

How to Get Started With LEED

One of the most common questions we see is, “How do I get started with LEED?” LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the leading green building standard around the world. If you’re working in the architecture, engineering, or construction industries, you’ve probably heard the acronym tossed around by your colleagues. Before you dive into the rabbit role of Google searches (because trust me, there will be THOUSANDS of websites about LEED Certification), let’s go over the major things you need to know.

History of LEED
The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) created the LEED standard in 1993 to set a benchmark for the design, construction, and operations of “green” buildings. Since its inception, LEED has undergone a series of updates in order to stay relevant and provide effective solutions for the future.

Enter LEED Version 4
We’re now in the fourth version of the LEED standard. The LEED v4 exams debuted on June 30, 2014. Anyone who pursues LEED at this point will be preparing for a LEED v4 credential.

Speaking of Credentials…
The first step you will take to enter the LEED industry is to earn a LEED Green Associate credential. This designation is required for all green building professionals who want to pursue LEED. The LEED Green Associate designation is for anyone who wants an understanding of basic green building principles.

What Comes Next?
After you earn your LEED Green Associate, you have two options.

If you are satisfied at the LEED Green Associate level, you will need to work toward acquiring 15 hours of continuing education over the next two years. That’s all it takes to maintain your credential. This must be done every two years.

If you are interested in diving deeper into the LEED industry, you might consider earning an advanced LEED credential, known as a LEED Accredited Professional with Specialty. There are five specialties to be had – Building Design and Construction, Operations and Maintenance, Interior Design and Construction, Homes, and Neighborhood Development. As you can see, each of these specialties aligns with different roles or goals in the green building process. Should you decide to pursue a LEED AP credential, your continuing education requirements increase to 30 hours over two years.

Let’s Take a Step Back

If you’re reading this article, you are probably brand new to the industry or fairly new to LEED. To get started, you will want to enroll in a LEED training course – a LEED Green Associate course, to be specific. In this class, you will get an introduction to LEED and learn about the concepts that will be on the credentialing exam. Following your LEED exam prep course, you will schedule your LEED exam at a nearby Prometric Testing Center. The LEED Green Associate exam has 100 multiple-choice questions. You will be required to score 170 out of 200 to pass.

Right now, you may be feeling overwhelmed, but I promise, it doesn’t have to be this way. The great thing about taking an exam prep course is that you not only hone in on the exam concepts, but you’ll gain a holistic view of why LEED is important, how it benefits the environment, what you can do with a LEED credential, and information about the exam interface. The purpose of an exam prep course is to put you at ease and make the process of acquiring a LEED designation less stressful! And it works, too. Check out our reviews page where our students talk about how effectiveness their LEED exam prep course was. To find the closest LEED course to you, please visit our LEED Green Associate Training page.

July 31, 2014 at 3:08 pm 1 comment

How to Continue Working on LEED 2009 Projects

Are you working on a LEED 2009 project? Did you miss the cutoff for the LEED v3 accreditation exams? If you answered yes to both questions, this post is for you!

The newest version of the LEED Rating System, called LEED Version 4, launched this year. With this change, the requirements for LEED Certification (buildings) and LEED Accreditation (people) also changed. However, LEED project teams can continue to register projects under the v2009 rating systems until June 27, 2015. You may be in a situation where you’re working on a LEED 2009 project but don’t quite have a handle on all the concepts.

The good news is, we’ve got you covered.

Everblue has LEED 2009 education available for your situation. We want to help you navigate the credit categories and project registration process with confidence. The concepts you learn in a LEED v4 exam prep course are not going to help you with your project. Too much has changed, and we wouldn’t want to steer you in the wrong direction. On the other hand, there is no reason to take LEED 2009 exam prep training – because the exams were discontinued on June 15.

If you have yet to receive your LEED accreditation and need some knowledge to participate on a LEED 2009 project, we have a solution for you. It’s called our LEED Certification Package.

The LEED Certification Package pertains exclusively to LEED 2009 projects. It is not an exam prep course. This bundle was developed to give you a comprehensive overview of the steps to take to achieve LEED Certification under the 2009 standard.

Many projects will be pursuing LEED Certification under v3, not v4, well into 2015. Here’s why…

  • The energy requirement under LEED v4 is much more strict! Just to meet the MINIMUM ENERGY PERFORMANCE prerequisite under v4, projects must be 20% more energy efficient than under v3. This will mean significant costs to projects pursuing certification under v4. If I want that plaque on my building, I’m taking the easy road; I’m going in under v2009 as long as possible. Only the most hardcore projects will attempt LEED v4.
  • When it comes to the Materials & Resources requirements under v4, the market simply is not ready to provide what’s needed in terms of EPDs, documented life-cycle impacts, etc. The hope (for us all) is that the market will once again transform itself, as it did years ago. IF there is enough on the demand side (LEED projects, requests, etc.) then the supply side will step up. We’re just not there yet.

If you are a practitioner in the industry who wants to better understand the LEED v2009 project process and requirements, you’re in luck! Call us at 1-800-460-2575 or visit our LEED Certification Package for more information.

July 18, 2014 at 12:50 pm Leave a comment

LEED v3 Exam Scheduling Comes to a Close

As you may be aware, the current version of the LEED Exam will be expiring on June 15, 2014. There will be a period from June 15-30 where there will be no LEED Exams administered. The LEED v4 Exam will launch on July 1 at a Prometric Testing Center near you.

Many are cramming to schedule their LEED v3 exam before the June 15 cut-off. Unfortunately, what they’re finding is that the exam slots are filling up at a rapid pace.

If you are new to LEED or thinking about pursuing an advanced LEED credential, you should first visit the Prometric website and see what kind of availability exists for the LEED v3 exam in your area.

How to Schedule Your LEED Exam

  1. Visit the Prometric website here: https://www.prometric.com/en-us/clients/gbci/Pages/landing.aspx
  2. Choose the Locate a Test Center icon.
  3. Select your country and state.*
  4. Choose the LEED exam in question (LEED Green Associate, LEED AP Building Design and Construction, etc.)
  5. Identify the city or zip code for your location.
  6. Click the Availability link for the test center(s) in your area.
  7. Review the calendar (through June 15) to determine availability.

*The Prometric website may ask you to submit your county/state location information several times before allowing you to advance.

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If you do not see any available exam appointments in your area, don’t worry. Everblue has LEED v4 Exam Prep Training available for you NOW so you don’t have to delay your efforts. We are currently the only LEED training provider with this content available. Whether you are looking for live classroom training or online learning, Everblue is the perfect choice to help you pursue a LEED Accreditation.

June 4, 2014 at 12:25 pm 1 comment

The “LEED AP Without Specialty” Controversy

You may have heard the term LEED AP before, though you might not be aware of the layers that live within this title.

When the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Rating System was established in 1993, it was determined that an individual who passed the LEED Exam would earn the title of a LEED AP, or LEED Accredited Professional.

LEED Version 3’s arrival in June 2009 brought a number of changes and enhancements with it, including a new tiered credentialing system. No longer would a successful exam candidate become simply a LEED AP. LEED v3 introduced new titles called LEED Green Associate, LEED AP (with Specialty), and LEED AP Fellow.

So what did this mean for the so-called Legacy LEED APs, and what does this mean now that we are entering LEED Version 4?

2009-2013: To Opt In or Not to Opt In

When LEED v3 debuted, the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) invited the Legacy LEED APs to upgrade their accreditation by declaring a specialty and then completing a 30-hour credential maintenance program before fall 2011. The other option was to simply re-take the LEED Exam.

LEED AP not wanting to re-take the LEED Exam

In November 2012, the GBCI offered another route for remaining Legacy LEED APs to earn a specialty, which was to complete a “Principles of LEED” program, which was comprised of six online modules and corresponding quizzes. In order to upgrade to the v3 credential, a Legacy LEED AP had to agree to the USGBC Disciplinary Policy, agree to complete continuing education requirements, and pay the biannual maintenance fee.

At the end of the day, Legacy LEED APs could carry their credential to their grave, if they had wanted. The GBCI indicated that LEED APs who did not want to opt into the new requirements could stay a LEED AP and remain in the GBCI database. In addition, LEED APs could work on LEED v3 projects and earn a point in the Innovation in Design category for being a LEED AP. (In 2013, it was announced that LEED APs without Specialty would no longer earn the Innovation point. In fact, LEED APs withSpecialty who want to earn the extra point now have to be working on a LEED project related to their specialty.)

What would you have done?

2014 and Beyond

Here we are in 2014 on the cusp of the LEED Version 4 launch (set for June 30). The “Legacy LEED AP” title has now been replaced by the “LEED AP without Specialty” title for this group of professionals.

In a discussion on the USGBC LinkedIn Group page, a LEED AP without Specialty recently noted that his listing on the GBCI directory was no longer visible. This led many LEED APs without Specialty to believe that they were being permanently ommitted due to not opting into Version 3 or 4.

Quite a debate ensued, with some LEED APs arguing that they felt pressure to upgrade simply as a means of being included publicly among their esteemed peers in the industry. For them, the omission from the GBCI directory would add a layer of complication for times when they needed to assure a client that they have, in fact, earned a LEED designation. It would also mean having to retain their official certificates and keeping their GBCI numbers on file in case they needed to show proof of their accreditation.

Others argued that it wasn’t appropriate to recognize the LEED APs without Specialty to the same degree as the newer professionals who have made a point to stay abreast of the current developments in green building through continuing education. Many LEED APs without Specialty, they said, might have passed the exam half a decade ago but since remained inactive and disconnected to the green building world of today. 

Thankfully, a representative from the USGBC commented on the discussion and noted that some individuals’ listings were not set to “Viewable.” She recommended that LEED APs without Specialty log into their accounts, complete their profiles, and make sure that the profile is set to Viewable. This would resolve any misunderstanding about whether LEED APs without Specialty are still included in the GBCI directory. 

Legacy LEED AP is Now LEED AP without Specialty

Keep checking in with us for the latest news regarding LEED Version 4 and LEED Accreditation. Visit our LEED Training page to view a full listing of our green building courses.

May 23, 2014 at 1:29 pm Leave a comment

Oldest Building to Achieve LEED-EB Platinum

This year, the Hurt Building was awarded the TOBY award for Outstanding Historical Building of the Year, in Atlanta, but this isn’t the only award the building is racking up this year. Boxer Property recently announced that its historic Hurt Building has been awarded LEED-EB Platinum certification, making it the oldest commercial office building to achieve this rating.

A Monument of Historic Architecture
The Hurt Building—a member of the National Register of Historic Places since 1977—is an Atlanta icon. The building opened in 1913 and exemplifies the craftsmanship of the early 1900s. The original 1913 plaster chandelier continues to provide light in the building’s three story domed rotunda. Many other original elements of the building remain intact including the uninterrupted marble, glazed brick piers, ornamental terra cotta spandrels, and heavy decorative cornice. Despite these old-fashioned fixtures, the Hurt Building truly has been getting wiser as it has been getting older.

Energy Efficient Retrofits
Energy retrofits implemented over the years have replaced aging infrastructure and taken advantage of new technologies as they have become cost effective. These included replacement of the chillers and cooling tower, as well as multiple lighting retrofits that have evolved along with the development of lighting technology. When ownership changed to Boxer Property in early 2012, the new owners recognized that continued investment in energy efficiency could provide further savings with an attractive return on investment. The first project undertaken was a retrofit of lighting in the parking garage. After completion of the project, electricity use in the garage was reduced by 59 percent, and electric costs dropped 68 percent. Another project involved the installation of solar window film on more than 23,000 square feet of glazing. The film cut solar heat load of the windows by 65 percent.

LEED for Existing Buildings Platinum Certified
Already the first commercial office building to achieve LEED-EB Gold in the state of Georgia in 2009, the Boxer Property team decided to go for the big prize of getting recertified as LEED-EB Platinum. This LEED-EB Platinum certification demonstrates the property team’s commitment to operating a sustainable building that exceeds standards. The Hurt Building is among one of a small group of LEED-EB Platinum buildings over 100 years old.

Other Energy Efficient Achievements Earned
The Hurt Building has achieved ENERGY STAR seven years in a row since 2007. It was the first LEED-EB Gold commercial office building in Georgia in 2009, the first Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International 360 building in Georgia in 2009, and the first BOMA Southern Region Earth Award in 2010. The Hurt Building is a key member of Central Atlanta Progress (CAP) and the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District (ADID). These organizations are helping to bring downtown to the next level through game-changing initiatives and programs, like the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge (BBC). The BBC initiative was launched by the Department of Energy in 2011 and aims to accelerate private sector investment in energy efficiency and encourage commercial building owners to make their properties 20 percent more efficient by 2020. The Hurt Building has already met the requirements of the Better Buildings Challenge.

For more information about LEED-EB certification, consider Everblue’s LEED Operations and Maintenance Accreditation page.

May 21, 2014 at 2:27 pm Leave a comment

LEED AP Exams Will Cover LEED Online Material

With the development of LEED Version 4, the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) has proposed a number of changes to the LEED exam process. One of the items that we’re going to discuss today is the LEED project experience requirement.

First, let’s discuss how things currently work. After acquiring the LEED Green Associate accreditation, professionals are encouraged to participate on a real LEED project. The goal is to gain exposure to and familiarity with the LEED project process. You must secure a Letter of Attestation from the project manager, confirming your participation. This Letter of Attestation essentially qualifies you to sit for the LEED AP with Specialty exam. You submit the letter to the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI, the sister organization to USGBC that handles accreditation). At that point, you are able to move forward with taking your LEED AP exam. The exam has few questions that touch upon your LEED project experience, namely identifying that LEED Online is the software tool used to manage the project documentation. The bulk of the exam questions relate to the LEED Rating System for which you are attempting a specialty. This will be the process until June 15, 2014.

After June 15, the Letter of Attestation will no longer be required to sit for the LEED AP exam. However, the project experience requirement won’t totally be null and void. In fact, it will actually be more important than ever because the LEED AP exam will start to feature more in-depth questions about LEED Online. According to the USGBC, students can expect to be asked questions about how to use LEED Online; it will no longer be sufficient to simply know what LEED Online is used for. The exam will actually test a candidate on the real application of LEED Online. “Without ever registering a project, or observing someone register a project, the candidate will not know how to answer the LEED Online questions,” stated USGBC. “Without participating in a charette, the candidate may not be able to answer questions on the integrative process.”

So what does this mean for your professional journey and aspirations to acquire an advanced LEED credential? You could look at it two ways…

  • Before June 15, you must participate on a LEED project to receive your Letter of Attestation and qualify for the LEED AP exam (under LEED Version 3), or
  • After June 15, you must participate on a LEED project to utilize LEED Online, and be ready to answer questions about it on the LEED AP exam (under LEED Version 4).

Whichever path you choose, consider that Everblue’s LEED Project Experience course will prepare you for both scenarios. Our course will supply you with the Letter of Attestation needed pre-June 15 and will also give you in-depth experience working within LEED Online should you choose the post-June 15 path. For more questions about the LEED project experience changes, please call 800-460-2575.

April 21, 2014 at 12:56 pm Leave a comment

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