Posts filed under ‘LEED Certification’

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

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

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