The majority of projects undertaken by construction companies in Southern Utah are LEED certified as it has become more and more necessary to become so in order to stay competitive in the industry. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a credential that a construction company can obtain for a particular project that signifies environmental awareness and an overall concern for being “green”. However, there has been some debate in the construction industry as to whether or not becoming LEED certified is worth the money and time required.
LEED is, in addition to being the name of the certification itself, a rating system that is used across the industry used to rate how “green” a building actually is, taking into consideration things as small as what type of carpet fibers were used in certain rooms all the way to something as large as the way the building is positioned. The requirements, including documentation, are actually quite stringent for construction companies in Southern Utah, particularly if you want your project to be certified as a Level 4, or Platinum, rating. Platinum is the highest rating followed by Gold, Silver, and Certified. Buildings that are LEED certified in some capacity have a plaque incorporated somewhere on the building, typically near the entrance or main walkway, that signifies that the building and its construction are and were friendly to the environment.
Construction companies in Southern Utah can also receive what is referred to as LEED accreditation for their organization as a whole which requires the passing of an exam that one must schedule, prepare, and study for. There are three specific steps to remember when tackling this exam. First, obtain the handbook from Green Business Certification Inc and study hard while also scheduling a date to take the exam through Prometric, a testing center organization with centers throughout the U.S. It is recommended to sign up for a course designed to help people taking this exam, or form study groups on your own. Second, work your way up to passing the LEED AP exam which is a test above the regular certification test (or LEED Green Associate Exam) which gives you advanced credentials. You should take this advanced test especially if you already have LEED experience on some of your projects already. At the AP level, there are different credentials that you can obtain based on the nature of your business and what projects you specialize in (neighborhood master planning, building design, etc). You can take the two tests one after the other, or you can take as long as you want to take the AP test as long as you make sure that your Green Associate credential remains current. Third, continuing education is required in order to maintain your accreditation with LEED. The system requires that in order to stay accredited, every two years you must complete 15 CE hours (continuing education). In order for an AP credential to be maintained, every two years you must complete 30 hours of CE. For the Green Associate credential, three of those CE credits have to be LEED-specific. In the LEED AP scenario, six of them do. These typically have to do with volunteering, authorship, project experience, etc.
Many construction companies in Southern Utah have asked, “Do I really need to go for the LEED AP accreditation”? We say yes. This is because being green is more mainstream than ever in today’s world, whereas before it was more of a motto, so to speak, that environmentalists used. Getting this higher credential could very likely, at some point, be the deciding factor of whether or not you land a job. Nowadays, many proposals actually require a LEED AP to even be considered.
This article will continue with Becoming LEED Certified: What is it and is it Worth it? – Part 2