In May, the U. S. Green Building Council officially handed off its LEED credentialing program to a third party—the Green Building Certification Institute—which led to a scramble by some people to take the USGBC test for Accredited Professional certification before everything changed.

Paper Chase Green professionals must navigate a new credentialing maze
Photo: France Sustainable Solutions

“The rollout has been complicated, but anything with LEED has to keep evolving with the market,” says Courtney France, a Denver-based independent sustainability consultant who provides LEED training nationwide.

The switch has also confused leaders at some of the USGBC chapters. “We’re still kind of new in the rating system,” says Todd Laker, education and programs committee chair with the Utah Chapter of the USGBC. “We had a lot of people wanting to take the test before it changed. We haven’t had a lot of success in bringing the technical (continuing education) workshops and filling them.”

A Complex Process

But in fairness to local USGBC chapter leadership, the process itself is layered with complexity. Where there used to be just one test and one credential, there are now three possible tiers: Green Associate, LEED AP and LEED Fellow.

In addition to tiers of testing and credentialing, there are also two separate groups of people to consider: existing LEED APs who took the old test and new people.

Existing LEED APs can choose to do nothing and be designated a LEED AP without specialty in the LEED Professional Directory. Or they can choose to take one of the new specialty tests and earn a LEED AP with a specialty designation. As a third option, they have until August 2011 to enroll in the new tiered system and take 30 hours of continuing education credits every two years.

All existing LEED APs have been sent an e-mail alerting them of the enrollment deadline, France says. But many may choose to wait until August 2011 because they don’t feel motivated to enroll. The date at which a LEED AP enrolls begins his or her two-year timeframe to earn the continuing education hours and become a LEED AP with specialty.

Chapter Help

The Colorado chapter of the USGBC is encouraging its existing LEED APs to enroll sooner rather than later.

Colorado LEED APs who enroll before the April Rocky Mountain Green 2010 conference can earn continuing...