Wednesday, January 20, 2010

2009-2010: New Challenges and New Ideas

By Ed LeBard, Associate AIA | LEED AP+
With one of the most trying years in the construction industry officially in the books, the USGBC announced significant marks and changes throughout the LEED community. This article summarizes these points that will greatly impact the rapidly growing green construction arena.

- 27,373 people attended the GreenBuild conference in Phoenix, Arizona on November 11-13, 2009.*

- From 2000 through 2008, according to USGBC, there were 2,238 LEED-certified projects. A record 2,090 projects achieved certification in 2009. That translates to 49% of all certifications in LEED's 9 year history occurring during the last 12 months with the overall tally now at 4,238 certified projects. *

- As of December 5th, 2009, 4,238 LEED projects out of 26,385 registered achieved certification, a success rate of 16.0% . This is an improvement over the 12.6% success rate achieved from 2000 - 2008.*

1) LEED project registration fees will double by January 11, 2010:(from**
Current Registration Fees: Effective through January 10, 2010
- USGBC Members: $450
- Non Members: $600

Project Registration Fees:
Effective on January 11, 2010
- USGBC Members: $900
- Non Members: $1,200

2) LEED project certification fees will increase substantially by January 11, 2010:
Green Building Certification Institute - LEED Registration and Certification Fees

3) The US Green Building Council also introduced the latest LEED rating versions - LEEDv3 for the following ratings:
- LEED - BD+C (New Construction, Core & Shell, Schools, Healthcare*, Retail*)
- LEED - EBO&M (Existing Building Operations and Maintenance, Existing Schools*)
- LEED - ID+C (Commercial Interiors, Retail Interiors*)
- LEED - ND (Neighborhood Development -release date sometime in 2010)*

*under development or in pilot

4) For LEED APs accredited since 2000 (version 1.0 through version 2.2), they are given several options:
1) Do nothing and automatically become a Legacy LEED AP without specialty in the LEED Professional Directory
2) Sign up onto the new Credential Maintenance Program requirements (CMP) by 2011 (or 2 years after your exam) and fulfill roughly 30 continuing education units in 24 months. Enrollment must occur during your enrollment window,
3) Become a LEED AP with Specialty by passing one of the new specialty exams. Current LEED APs would only take 1 exam (specialty part of the exam). When applying for the exam, you will need to sign onto the disciplinary policy and agree to the CMP. Once you pass the exam, you may use one of the new specialty designations (BD+C, EBO+M, ID+C) after your name.
4) If your enrollment window expired without updating to LEED AP with specialty, and you decided to update, you must apply and take both the LEED Green Associate (LEED GA) exam as well as the specialty exam. The fees for both exams, plus 2 year CMP fee, can total over $800.

5) LEED APs and the Credential Maintenance Program (CMP)
According to the USGBC and GBCI (Green Building Certification Institute), as of Jan 1, 2010, roughly 11.1% of 135,000 LEED APs worldwide have signed onto the new CMP program and will take the specialty exam to become LEED AP+. The low number of signees indicates that current LEED APs are uncertain of the direction of the USGBC's credential program and many blogs / social sites are filled with LEED APs protesting the increasing exam fees, 2 year maintenance fees, multi-layered requirements. There seems to be a minor backlash brewing in that regard.

If a LEED AP wants to add a specialty, the requirements are that to earn 30 continuing education hours (CEUs) in 2 years, those 30 are split into 7 specific categories. Each category has a minimum number of required hours. For instance, "project site factors" requires 4 hours, "project systems & energy impacts" requires 6 hours.

Once the LEED AP pick from the categories, the format then requires them to be specific as to what sub-category the hour focused on. These categories were briefly touched upon in the CMP guide but not explained in more depth. They do not mention the LEED AP would be forced to earn credits in all of these categories. Also, the GBCI allows some CEUs earned to satisfy professional licensures (i.e. AIA, ASLA, CID) rollover to satisfy LEED AP CMP requirements.

If the LEED AP wants to have more than 1 specialty, the LEED AP would have to fulfill CMP for each specialty. The LEED AP would select the primary specialty and maintain 30 hours of CEUs, while the secondary specialty would be fulfilled by an additional 6 hours of CEUs, which would bring the total of CEUs to 36. The CMP fee would still be $50 per specialty.

For people interested in becoming a new LEED AP candidate must have experience in the form of documented professional experience on a LEED project, within the last 3 years, with verification through LEED Online or employer verification. Candidates are also required to agree to the Disciplinary and Exam Appeals Policy and Credential Maintenance Program (CMP) and submit to an application audit.

6) The Credential Maintenance Program (CMP) and Continuing Education Units (CEU)
GBCI approved CEU courses are few and far between. More courses will become available as the CMP system evolves. Some ways to earn CEU hours are to view USGBC webinars, author published reports, and work on a LEED registered project. GBCI specified that for each credit you personally complete and upload documentation for, you can get 1 CEU hour, and get up to 10 hours using this method.

Other methods listed by the GBCI are: Professional development/continuing education courses, college courses, self-study (up to 5hrs), committee and volunteer work at events, and authorship.

So between project work, volunteer work, and study hours, the LEED AP can get some free or cheap CEU hours over the 2 year time period.

7) The Numbers Behind the LEED AP Directory:
The GBCI directory listed the following as of Jan 1st, 2010:
- Everyone (GA, AP, and AP w/ Specialties): 126,939
- LEED APs without specialty: 109,249
- LEED APs with specialty 'only': total of 13,680 (11.1% of all LEED APs have a specialty)
- LEED AP BD+C : 11,839
- LEED AP ID+C: 1,078
- LEED AP O&M: 583
- LEED AP for Homes: 180
- LEED AP ND : Beta Exam currently underway
- LEED Green Associates: 3,550

* (US Green Building Council)
** (Green Building Certification Institute)

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