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LEED to Award Points for Non-LEED Credentials

Last month USGBC issued a memo opening a new path to LEED points for professionals with green building credentials other than the LEED AP (LEED Accredited Professional) credential.
February 15, 2011

Last month USGBC issued IDc2 (IOc2 in EBOM), the new path is part of IDc1: Innovation in Design.

Through the new path, an organization can apply to USGBC for recognition of its credential. This is a two-part application process, and (as you might expect with LEED) the first part has two paths. In the first path, the organization shows that it is accredited under ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024. The second path pretty much amounts to the same thing, but gives the organization about two years to earn the accreditation. Part two requires the organization to demonstrate to USGBC that the credential in question is relevant to advanvcement of the green building industry.

ANSI accreditation under ISO 17024 is a key standard for credibility of a professional credential; a key reason for GBCI taking over the LEED AP credential from USGBC in early 2009 was the desire for the credential to meet that standard. GBCI has been in the ISO 17024 accreditation process for the last two years; I heard from GBCI that a decision on its application is expected any day.

I spoke with Brendan Owens, P.E., vice president of LEED technical development, about this new IDc1 path. Owens explained to me that the move was based in LEED's mission of market transformation. "We've seen a variety of green building personnel credentials pop up," he told me. "With the revisions that GBCI made with the way that LEED AP is developed and maintained, we felt there was an opportunity to bring the same level of bar-rasing that the LEED AP credential went through to the rest of the credentials out there. We wanted to incentivize them to do that" (to gain ISO 17024 accreditation).

According to Owens, one credential is currently recognized under the IDc1 path: the Green Advantage Certified Practitioner. He said he has been contacted by several other groups who are seeking to understand the process. Organizations will seek and receive approval through the LEED Interpretations process, which is expected to be launched soon.

I asked Owens why practitioners would not be recognized through IDc2. "LEED AP is the highest threshold," he told me, explaining that USGBC views the LEED AP tag as the "Platinum" green credential. He said that there was lobbying to expand IDc2 to other credentials, possibly in LEED 2012, but that he didn't see that as a likely direction for the credit.

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What do you think about this development? Do you have a credential you'd like to have recognized in this way?


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February 17, 2011 - 3:50 pm

When I read this headline I really was expecting this to be for IDc2, not IDc1.

Memorizing "PI" to a hundred digits doesn't make me a mathematician.

Memorizing all of the Presidents in order doesn't make me a historian.

The LEED AP is only about memorization of the Reference Guide and Certification process. To call it the platinum green credential is an awful bold statement given it does not test any knowledge about how to accomplish various green strategies or comprehension of why things are done.

I'd like to see questions similar to this on a test that claims to be the platinum green credential:
19. Select the equipment best suited to efficient air-to-air heat exchange and humidity control in the HVAC system of a large office building:
i. Heat pipe
ii. Radiation recuperator
iii. Rotary sensible heat wheel
iv. Plate and frame heat exchanger
v. Run around heat exchanger loop

February 17, 2011 - 4:21 pm

Not bad. (iii) is a nice guess. The official answer is (i). The follow up question of what the heck is heat pipe can be found here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_pipe

I can't say I'd pass this test either without a lot of studying. I have not bothered to take the exam yet because presently it's not worth the cost. If I could use the credential for something I'd be more tempted to try.

February 17, 2011 - 4:04 pm

I would fail your test, Bill! But I would learn a lot in failing it. Kudos.

What's the answer? I want to go with (iii) but why isn't it capturing enthalpy?

February 16, 2011 - 4:15 pm

So if I take and pass the Green Advantage exam,as an example, I would recieve 1 point from my IDC1 credits for that and 1 point under IDC2 for my LEED AP+?

February 16, 2011 - 4:32 pm

Thanks for getting back, Tristan.

I think I found the answer to my question and I think it's no.

Here's waht Green Advantage has to say:

LEED project teams who comply with the following requirements are eligible for award of 1 Innovation point for LEED 2009 BD&C and LEED-NC v2.2 projects:

1. Prior to and throughout the construction phase of the project, 30% of the General Contractor's or Construction Manager's personnel will be Green Advantage Certified. Personnel must be actively involved in the day-to-day activities and of the following classifications as applicable:

a. Architect's on site representative

b. Contractor

c. Construction Manager including Project Executive

d. Project Manager

e. Project Engineer

f. Quality Control Manager

g. Mechanical/ Electrical/Plumbing (MEP) Coordinator

h. Superintendent

i. Assistant Superintendent

j. General Foreman

2. Prior to and throughout the construction phase of the project, 30% of subcontractor personnel will be Green Advantage Certified. Personnel must be actively involved in the day-to-day activities and of the following classifications:

a. Project Manager

b. Superintendent

c. Project Engineer

d. Quality Control Manager

e. General Foreman

f. Trade Foreman

So at least for now, unless I get really busy on the site, it'll be 1 credit for me under IDC2.

February 16, 2011 - 4:22 pm

In short, yes, but in practice it's not quite that simple.

For more detail, check the Green Advantage website. They provide additional requirements that have been used in the past to demonstrate the value of the credentialed professional to the team, and will need to continue to be used. In fact, it may be multiple professionals that are required—30% of the team. Although the USGBC memo doesn't go into detail on this, I would assume that requirements lik these will be worked out for each credentialing organization that goes down this path, and they will vary based on the program specifics.