So last December I passed the LEED Green Associate Exam, and that was amazing.
My tips for those of you studying for the LEED GA? Make flash cards of the vocabulary terms you learn from the various books/sources. Learn/memorize those 5-8 ASHRAE standards that relate to green building functions (know the basic function of which is which). Take as many online practice exams as you can find and study harder than you have for anything in your life. Use your best judgement on the questions and you’ll surprise yourself with how good of a score you get—after you think “there’s no way I passed this”.
Okay LEED GA pep talk over, now onto what this post is actually about: my research on LEED v4 and my prospects of taking the LEED AP exam for ID+C. For those of you new to LEED in it’s entirety I will quickly break down the basics:
LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) is a certification body under USGBC (United States Green Build Council). LEED is the main green building/sustainability certification body in the United States (there are others but LEED is the most recognized in the design/building industry). Buildings can be LEED CERTIFIED if they meet a certain amount of sustainable building criteria. There are 4 levels of LEED Certification (from lowest LEED points to highest) Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. An individual working in the design/building industry who is an expert in sustainable building practices would likely have attained this title by being LEED ACCREDITED. The appellation LEED AP stands for LEED Accredited Professional and there are several categories that someone can obtain their expertise in. The one I am interested in as it pertains most closely to my profession is the ID+C (Interior Design & Construction) specialty. To obtain a LEED AP appellation you have to pass two parts of the LEED exams: Part One is the LEED Green Associate (LEED GA) portion which can be taken as a student or interested party. The second part is the LEED AP specialty of your choice which is taken after you have real-life experience working on a LEED Certified project and/or under/with a LEED AP.
As far as what I mean by “LEED v4” is that they are in the process of updating the current system and lots of minor changes are being made. Supposedly the tests are going to be more difficult since the structure is changing—(eg. you already learned it one way and now it’s a whole new setup that you have to re-learn) so I’ve been getting bombarded for months with emails telling me to take the LEED AP while its still in the old system. I thought, “Gee that actually sounds like a great idea—why not take it while the LEED GA material is still relevant and fresh in my mind?” Well, it turns out I can’t do this since nothing I have done to date would count for my real-life LEED expereince qualifying me to take the LEED AP exam.
I fully read through the eligibility requirements in the LEED AP candidate exam booklet to find out that I can’t (and shouldn’t) take this test (or any specialty AP exams) until I’ve worked on a LEED project with a LEED AP. I also asked a young instructor from my Professional Practices in Interior Design class her thoughts since she is a LEED AP what her opinion was. She doubted my class project of the LEED home from last year would qualify me —also since you have to know the website inside and out for the exam it helps if you actually used it for a real project. (Makes sense).
For those of you like me who are making progress towards your LEED AP and still need CEU/ credit hours: check out the “Principles of LEED Series” for 6 hours of free credits through USGBC. You choose a “specialty” pathway but since its through USGBC your hours will update automatically on your profile.
I’m still in the process of finding out more about LEED v.4 since that’s coming out “soon” but I’m not really certain how soon “Soon” really is, since right now they are in Beta testing. Here’s what I could find about “LEED v4”,http://www.usgbc.org/leed/v4 it looks like things are combined a bit more as far as rating systems so yes—studying for it will definitely be some un-learning of old ways but that’s okay by me.