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Thread: LEED-GA application and past experience

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    Cyburbian JimPlans's avatar
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    LEED-GA application and past experience

    I am thinking of applying to take the LEED-GA exam, as it now seems to be a pre-requesite for other LEED certifications (including LEED-ND when it is released). http://www.gbci.org/

    I am a bit wary of the requirements, though:
    • EITHER documented involvement on a LEED-registered project
    • OR employment (or previous employment) in a sustainable field of work
    • OR engagement in (or completion of) an education program that addresses green building principles.

    I would think that planning itself qualifies as a "sustainable field of work," but GBCI defines that as "employment in a profession or at a company that relates to environmentalism or the green building industry." So are only environmental planners going to be allowed to take the LEED-GA exam? I have never worked on a LEED-certified project, and my "official" education finished years ago (though I get involved in environmentally-oriented AICP certificate maintinence classes, I don't think that qualifies).

    So, any planners here ever apply for the LEED-GA test? What kind of experience did you use on the applications?

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    Cyburbian transguy's avatar
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    Planning is considered a sustainable field of work.
    Much work remains to be done before we can announce our total failure to make any progress.

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    Cyburbian
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    I took the LEED-NC exam (2008 version) on June 30th, 2009. From what I recall, the LEED-GA exam under the 2009 rollout does not require previous experience on related projects. I thought that was only for the more specialized second exams. Areforum.org has an entire subforum devoted to LEED.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

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    Cyburbian JimPlans's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    I took the LEED-NC exam (2008 version) on June 30th, 2009. From what I recall, the LEED-GA exam under the 2009 rollout does not require previous experience on related projects. I thought that was only for the more specialized second exams. Areforum.org has an entire subforum devoted to LEED.
    That was my understanding, too, which is why their prerequisites for taking the GA exam struck me as odd. But, if just being involved in planning is acceptable as prior experience, I guess it's time to apply.

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    Cyburbian transguy's avatar
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    I think the only thing you need to do is make sure that the letter you submit from your boss addresses how your position involves sustainability. All in all, the application process for this part is easy, fast, and pretty affordable ($50 for the application and $150 for the test).

    I know a lot of people are ticked off about the new requirements for the specialties (mainly the requirement that you have to have experience on a LEED project) but I think they did a good job in trying to protect the integrity of the accreditation. Some argue that this tells people that they can't practice their discipline in a sustainable fashion without first having passed the test. I believe this is incorrect. LEED+ accreditation should show a client that you have the expertise in managing the LEED process.

    The real question in my opinion is whether or not this will be seen as desirable for planners, especially in the public sector.
    Much work remains to be done before we can announce our total failure to make any progress.

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    Cyburbian
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    You don't need LEED to practice sustainability. Best management practices (BMPs) have been around for practically millions of years, in one form or another, from turning off the light, to closing the door, to recycling. We just didn't coin the term until a decade or two ago.

    The LEED-ND will include planners as a key player in the certification process. But again, unless the Innovation and Design credit for LEED-AP professionals is amended, there is still no incentive for anyone but one person on the team to be LEED accredited. Let's face it, even on a neighborhood design project, there is bound to be an architect or an engineer on the team who is already LEED-AP, so the need for any planner (private or public sector) to be accredited is not important.

    Having worked on a few LEED projects in consulting, the cost to accredit and maintain accreditation for a public sector planner is just not feasible. Who pays for the cost of certifying a project? The developer, not the municipality. From a cost/benefit analysis, if a municipality forks over money for a municipal planner/planners to sit for the two sequential exams, register through GBCI, continuing education credits, not to mention having to take the second exam every few years, what good is that doing the municipality? Even if the developer going after project certification didn't have anyone on their project team who was LEED-AP accredited, the municipality is essentially paying the developer for that one credit. Keep in mind, LEED-AP accreditation is NOT a prerequisite in a project certification. There are other points that can be earned that don't even need LEED-AP.

    I wrote a letter to GBCI recommending that ID Credit 1.2 of the LEED-NC be amended to provide additional incentives for other types of professionals to be accredited. The same rules could apply to LEED-ND (see previous posts). Even if there are incentives for more planners to be accredited on a project team, including public sector planners, I don't understand why a municipality would risk paying a developer for doing his own work. I guess an exception would be if the municipality were trying to LEED certify a city hall, sanitation facility, or other municipal facility where the public sector planner would have a more prominent role in the design and construction process. Again, this would be more for new construction, existing buildings, O&M, but probably not neighborhood development.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
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