LEED Continuing Education

Educating.   Consulting.   Engineering.   Green Buildings.

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LEED education does not end when you pass the exam. After you’ve changed your email signature to reflect your new professional credential and rewarded yourself in any other self-indulgent ways, it’s time to start thinking about what you want to learn next. In order for a LEED Green Associate or LEED AP+ (with specialty) to remain in good standing with the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) and the green building community at large, we must continue our education (the LEED Green Associate credential requires 15 hours of continuing every two years to maintain, and the LEED AP with specialty credentials require 30 hours of continuing education every two years *more details below). Yes, your new credential tells the world you are proficient in all things LEED and green building-related. Yet, the world and the green building industry don’t stop evolving and neither should you. LEED professionals need to maintain their competitive edge and continuously improve their level of knowledge.
According to GBCI, a LEED professional credential signifies that you are a leader in the field and an active participant in the green building movement who contributes expertise to the design, construction, operations and maintenance of buildings and neighborhoods that save energy, use fewer resources, reduce pollution, and contribute to healthier environments for their occupants and the community. GBCI recommends using the LEED credit categories as a guideline to help you determine what constitutes a green building topic:

  • Sustainable Sites encourages strategies that minimize the impact on ecosystems and water resources.
  • Water Efficiency promotes smarter use of water, inside and out, to reduce potable water consumption.
  • Energy & Atmosphere promotes better building energy performance through innovative strategies.
  • Materials & Resources encourages using sustainable building materials and reducing waste.
  • Indoor Environmental Quality promotes better indoor air quality and access to daylight and views.

With an intention to ensure a high level of competency, the GBCI employs a formal Credential Maintenance Program (CMP) and requires Continuing Education (CE) hours. Within 2 years of achieving your credential, LEED Green Associate professionals must complete 15 CE hours (12 “General” + 3 “LEED Specific”) or 30 CE hours (24 “General” and 6 “LEED Specific”) as a LEED Accredited Professional with specialty (LEED AP BD+C or O+M, for example). Each additional specialty requires 6 unique “LEED Specific” hours. The self-reporting program is accessible through your account, by clicking here. If you do not keep up with the CE hours, your credential will lapse and you’d have to test on the latest material to earn the credential(s) again. The latest version of LEED (v4) is now in effect and all of our classes and materials have been updated.
GBCI has narrowed it down to four main ways to earn your hours:

  1. Education
    1. Preferred courses and presentations from registered providers (GBCI approved)
      1.  Typically 1 CE hour per hour of education
    2. Self-reported courses and presentations
    3. Greenbuild Expo classes
  2. LEED Project Experience
    1. Up to 10 hours; 1 hour per credit as a team member; 2 hours per credit as Project Administrator
  3. Authorship (credited contribution to a print or digital publication on a sustainability topic)
    1. 3 CE hours per published article and 10 CE hours for a published book
  4. Volunteering (with USGBC, GBCI, a USGBC Chapter, or a LEED-related non-profit organization)
    1. Can only use this path for up to 50% of your total CE hours.
    2. 1 CE hour for 1 hour volunteered

It is suggested that you log your hours as you earn them. With the self-reporting compliance that GBCI has laid out, only a small percentage of professionals are audited and at that time you would need to provide more back-up like a certificate of completion of an online or in-person class. Fifteen (15) or 30 hours over two years isn’t too bad. One of our Principals, Charlie Cichetti [LEED AP BD+C, ID+C, O+M, ND, and Homes] has to do 54 hours for all of his letters over a two-year period! He was one of the very first professionals in 2009 to earn all of the new LEED credentials. Currently, according to the LEED GBCI Professional Directory, Charlie is one of only 15 professionals in the world that hold all of the LEED credentials. Log as you go, work on LEED projects (if possible), attend conferences, and take some of our LEED-specific courses. Did you write a white paper or create a class recently on a sustainability topic? That may count, also.
SIG is next to you at every step of your green building journey. In the future, when LEED evolves, we grow too. Here are just a few examples of our GBCI-approved continuing education topics:

  •     Integrating Photovoltaics in Buildings for Renewable Energy Production – 2.5 hours
  •     20 Things You Need to Know About LEED v4 – 1 hour
  •     Blue Roofs: Cutting Edge Stormwater Management – 1.5 hours
  •     30 LEED EBO&M Mistakes to Avoid – 1 hour
  •     Demand Response: Getting Paid to Reduce Electricity – 1.5 hours
  •     Regenerative Green House Gas Inventories: Carbon Offsets from Forestry – 1.5 hours
  •     Implementing Indoor Water Use Reduction – 2 hours
  •     Green Leasing – 1 hour
  •     Location and Linkages Implementing Bicycle Network, Storage, & Shower Rooms – 2 hours
  •     Outdoor Water Use Reduction Using Xeriscaping – 2 hours

Just as the strongest ecosystem is a diverse one, we offer a wide range of special topics and delivery methods. For instant gratification, order an article online for easy reading. To meet the needs of your whole office, schedule a lunch & learn or even half day workshop with one of our expert trainers.
At SIG, we are committed to helping our staff keep current with trends and green building research by sending them to the annual Greenbuild Expo hosted by the USGBC. We’d love to meet you there. If you can’t make it, we’ll come to you. Let us design a custom education course to suit the needs of your journey. What we’ve learned on our journey is that the more you dig in, the clearer and easier it all becomes, and we’ll advance the green building industry together.
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