Posts tagged ‘LEED Certification’

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

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 Certified Buildings Must Do Green Cleaning

A recent change to the indoor environmental quality section of the LEED Rating System mandates that buildings must implement a green cleaning policy in order to qualify for LEED Certification and re-certification. What this means is that companies and facility owners must approach cleaning in the same serious and committed fashion that they approach the building’s overall sustainability.

Healthy alternatives to traditional cleaners must also meet LEED standards in order to qualify. Such cleaning programs are highly accessible through the USGBC, International Sanity Supply Association, Green Seal, EPA, and other resources. One safe measure is to keep an eye out for labels that include caution statements such as “may cause severe eye irritation.” If these statements appear on a product label, the cleaning program probably does not qualify under LEED’s new standard. Some believe is costs less money to trade in traditional cleaning products for certified sustainable products than it does to pay for exposure control devices such as gloves, masks, goggles, and other methods of protection.

In addition, the new LEED standard asks suppliers to be fully transparent about the chemicals used in their products and then asks them to provide certified, safe alternative products. Under current U.S. regulations, cleaning product suppliers are not required to fully disclose chemicals in their products.

The updated 2012 LEED Rating System intends to ensure the long-term “staying power” of LEED Certification. In the process, the USGBC will be implementing more stringent criteria to help raise the bar for buildings.

January 17, 2012 at 3:01 pm 1 comment

LEED Certification Project Submittal Tips

For anyone who has participated on a LEED-registered project, you are certainly aware of all the documentation that is involved in the process. You may be a LEED Green Associate or a LEED AP with Specialty, but no matter what your title is or how much experience you have in the building industry, it can be overwhelming and intimidating to submit a project for LEED Certification. You may be wondering what information the reviewers at the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) need to fully assess your work.

After years of individuals fretting over the LEED Certification project submittal process, the GBCI decided to post a set of LEED Project Submittal Tips for the five major commercial LEED rating systems, including both the current 2009 (v3) versions and the previous 2008 (or v2) versions.

These public documents share a wealth of tips for each credit and prerequisite. Before the GBCI made these documents available to all, individuals had to register with LEEDuser and consult the various Checklist tabs on the interface for credit guidance. Having a comprehensive resource like this, especially from the organization that ultimately determines the fate of your LEED project, will certainly benefit many who have worried and stressed over the process.

For those looking for more experience with LEED projects, Everblue Training Institute offers a class fully dedicated to earning LEED Project Experience. Not only do LEED Green Associates need project experience before attempting to achieve the LEED AP with Specialty status, but participating on a real project provides enhanced knowledge unmatched anywhere. Everblue assigns its students to a real project and walk them through the project submittal process every step of the way. Learn more about Everblue’s LEED Project Experience Online course.

What was once an overwhelming process has certainly been fine-tuned over time. There are a number of resources available to those who want experience working on a LEED project and who need guidance when going through the process. Take advantage of these resources so you can relax, enjoy the experience, and go through the project submittal process correctly the first time!

January 12, 2012 at 8:15 pm Leave a comment

LEED Certification More Affordable in 2012

Dan Probst, chairman of energy and sustainability at Jones Lang LaSalle, recently published a report in which he discussed the affordability of LEED Certification. For years, individuals criticized the LEED Certification process for being too costly. Probst now makes the case the LEED is the standard for building design and construction certainly in the United States, and potentially around the world.
Due to its massive growth and international acceptance, LEED Certification has become a more affordable process for those wanting to participate.In the beginning, LEED Certification was expensive. Just like any new product that fills individuals with excitement and apprehension, LEED was this mysterious and exclusive green building standard that was hot on the market. Architects, engineers, and other building professionals who wanted to be on the cutting edge of their industries looked into LEED Certification and were faced with question of whether or not to pursue it. It was so new, and the results weren’t exactly quantifiable. Was it worth it to spend so much?
In the beginning, LEED Certification was probably more of a marketing tool. It was a standard not 100% for reducing environmental impact but more for showing a commitment toward green building and sustainability. It was a status symbol to show that you were a building professional who went through extensive sustainability training, passed a challenging exam, gained a new certification, and went on to consult and advise others on how to implement sustainability into their business practices. Yes, LEED Certification was expensive back in the day, especially when you consider this reasoning.

Now, however, numerous sustainability reports have shown the effectiveness of LEED Certification. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has updated the LEED Rating System to make its certifications more impactful and substantial. By adjusting and validating the process, LEED Certification has found its way to the top. It is now standard for building professionals to be aware of the LEED Certification process and to make plans to pursue a certification.

Probst goes on to say, “It’s actually less expensive to design and build to the U.S. Green Building Council LEED standards today. Recycled building materials used to be rare, and cost more, but now they’re so common that they cost less. In other cases, the upfront cost of sustainable features is still higher, but the payback period is so short that it’s an easy call. A good example is lighting; if you need to retrofit a lighting system, LED may cost more but the savings in energy and labor costs are far greater than the upfront cost.”

When the iPod was first introduced, it cost hundreds of dollars. Now you can purchase one for less than $100. All new products are expensive in the beginning. It takes consumer passion and commitment to validate the product, but once it is proven to be legitimate and successful, the cost goes down.

The total amount of square feet of LEED certified space now stands at about 1.7 billion, and there’s still a long way to go. It’s much easier now to become involved in the LEED Certification process, so let’s continue this momentum!

January 9, 2012 at 1:18 pm Leave a comment

Making LEED Certification More Efficient

The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) is hoping to streamline the LEED Certification process to make it faster, with the goal of reducing the process to less than six months.

There is currently a backlog of projects waiting for LEED Certification approval. The CaGBC hope their new streamlined process will fix backlog problems and speed up the application process for participants.

Now that the CaGBC is seeing more demand for LEED Certification, they also see a need to create a more streamlined process. This is their attempt to better serve the market and encourage growth and expansion of LEED Certification across the country.

Changes include shortening the three-stage certification process to two stages for LEED Canada NC 1.0 and LEED Canada CS 1.0 projects, investing in more sophisticated technology to improve the administration of certification, and introducing a design review process. The CaGBC has also hired four new review teams to work on certifying projects and addressing backlogs.

These changes should make LEED Green Associates and LEED APs happy, as concerns have risen that LEED documentation is too confusing and that LEED Certification takes too long. The CaGBC changes should please the individuals who participate in LEED projects.

December 28, 2011 at 3:41 pm Leave a comment

More LEED Retrofits Than New Construction

The U.S. Green Building Council announced this month that LEED Certification for existing buildings has surpassed LEED Certification for new construction. The square footage of LEED certified existing buildings surpassed LEED certified new construction by 15 million square feet. The explosive growth of existing building retrofits since 2008 certainly illustrates a change in the sustainability and green building fields. Historically, LEED Certification for new construction (which corresponds with the LEED AP Building Design & Construction credential for individuals) was overwhelmingly most popular, both in volume and square footage. Over the last three years, however, existing building retrofits have taken off and become more commonplace than new construction. New construction in general has slowed down, and sustainability professionals have seen a need in the marketplace to retrofit the buildings we already own and operate to lower costs and increase efficiency.“The U.S. is home to more than sixty billion square feet of existing commercial buildings, and we know that most of those buildings are energy guzzlers and water sieves,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair of the U.S. Green Building Council, in a statement. “Greening these buildings takes hands-on work, creating precious jobs, especially for construction workers.” He goes on to note that making these existing buildings energy and water efficient has an enormous positive impact on the building’s cost of operations, while the improvements in indoor air quality that go with less toxic cleaning solutions and better filtration systems create healthier environments for those who live and work in such buildings.

Three high-profile LEED: Existing Buildings O&M skyscraper retrofits in recent years are the case in point: the Empire State Building (New York City), Taipei 101 (Taipei) and the Transamerica Pyramid (San Francisco). Green upgrades to these buildings have resulted not only in certification, but in energy savings of $4.4 million, $700,00 and $700,000, respectively.

If you are looking to achieve your LEED Accreditation, it might behoove you to learn about the LEED AP Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance credential. This is the direction green building is going, for now. Until new construction ramps up, it is certainly of paramount importance to retrofit the buildings we currently use to become more sustainable.

December 20, 2011 at 3:40 pm Leave a comment

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