There is no doubt that LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is gaining momentum despite the lagging economy. According to the 2013 study done by the US Green Building Council (USGBC), there are more than 44,270 USGBC LEED registered and/or certified projects in North America alone. The same study also points out that there are currently 185,000 LEED Accredited Professional credential holders and 1.7 million square feet of buildings (and counting) that are getting LEED certified each day.The 2013 Dodge Construction Green Outlook Report by McGraw-Hill Construction points out that the value of green building has seen growth from $10 billion in 2005 to $78 billion in 2011, and is projected to rise to between $98 billion and $106 billion by 2013. The value of green buildings is expected to reach $248 billion and represent 55 percent of all commercial and institutional constructions by 2016.These numbers shows that the demand for LEED certified buildings is on the rise and so is the demand for LEED accredited professionals. Therefore, there has never been a more crucial time for professionals to add LEED accreditation into their credentials because very soon, LEED will (if not already) become the new standard and a LEED accreditation will help determine their competitiveness and their ability to stay relevant in the building industry.
What It Means To Obtain LEED Accreditation
To get yourself LEED accredited is to obtain the proof that you, as a professional have demonstrated your current knowledge of green building technologies, best practices, and the rapidly evolving LEED rating systems. You need to have this particular accreditation in your credentials before getting involved in designing or building a LEED certified building. Having a LEED AP (LEED Accredited Professional) credential under your belt proves that you are an expert in the green building field with the technical knowledge, experience, and credibility to contribute to the design and construction, or operations and maintenance of green buildings and environmentally sustainable neighborhood.For employers, policymakers, building owners, and other stakeholders, a LEED accredited credential provides them with the assurance of the individual’s competence and is the indicator of the most qualified, educated, and influential green building professionals in the marketplace as they increasingly rely on the LEED Accreditation process to obtain professionals who possess this skill set. McGraw-Hill Construction in their 2013 Dodge Construction Green Outlook points out that 68 percent of firm executives report that having workers with green credentials helped them grow their green business.
The Accreditation Process
There are three levels of individual accreditation within the LEED accreditation process. The first level is the LEED Green Associate Accreditation which covers the basics for the LEED project processes, LEED rating systems, core sustainability concepts and terminology. If you are about to get yourself LEED accredited, this area will be the first one that you learn and the first accreditation that you will obtain.The second level is the LEED AP in which a candidate (you) will be tested on the fundamentals of green building and a LEED specialty of your own choosing. You may choose to specialize in one of the following specialties: Green Interior Design & Construction, Green Building Operations & Maintenance, Building Design & Construction, LEED for Homes, and LEED for Neighborhood Development. It should also be noted that you must have work experience in a LEED project in order to be eligible to take the certification exam.
And finally, the third level is the LEED Fellow which is a non-exam accreditation since the candidate can only be nominated from a LEED AP accredited individual after obtaining ten or more years of experience in the field.