Wednesday, August 19 2009
In former years, mostly only architects or engineers became LEED-accredited as professionals with the latest knowledge and understanding of green building practices.
But as green building projects are becoming more well-known across the nation and are expected to increase in popularity in the Tri-State, the accreditation also is being sought today by policymakers, stakeholders, interior designers, contractors and their associates, and product vendors, among others.
LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
LEED is a rating system of the nonprofit U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), which includes industry leaders working to make green buildings more widely available.
While the USGBC certifies sustainable businesses, homes, hospitals, schools and neighborhoods, it accredits professionals who demonstrate a thorough understanding of green building techniques, the LEED Green Building Rating System and the certification process.
The LEED AP (Accredited Professional) program is administered by the Green Building Certification Institute, established with the support of the USGBC to allow for an objective, balanced management of the credentialing program.
"Though LEED accreditations have become kind of buzz words, having the accreditation does give credibility to professionals seeking clients for green building projects," said Thomas W. Blythe, a LEED-accredited architect with Evansville's Hafer Associates PC.
Most of the green projects today require a LEED-accredited professional on its team, he said.
"The accreditation is a good standard of measure for building green buildings," said Blythe.
The accreditation is provided on different levels, based on accumulating points in these categories:
n Sustainable sites
n Water efficiency
n Energy and atmosphere
n Materials and resources
n Indoor environmental quality
The LEED rating system for buildings is a voluntary, consensus-based national rating system for developing high-performance sustainable structures.
Study courses — for professionals to attain the LEED AP accreditation — are mostly self-taught via USGBC's Web site, which offers study materials and other helpful resources. Locally, the Prometric Testing and Assessment Center on South Kenmore Drive provides computerized testing for the LEED accreditation.
"Though the standardized test for becoming accredited may feature mostly multiple-choice questions and can be taken in a portion of an afternoon, it's no slam dunk," said Blythe. "A candidate needs to allow plenty of time to study the manual at his or her own pace before taking the exam."
For more details, visit www.usgbc.org or call the local Prometric Testing and Assessment Center at (812) 479-6855.