If a new professional designation catches on, designers and contractors involved in sustainable buildings could soon be seeking still another set of initials to put after their names. Early last month, Toronto-based Green Roofs for Healthy Cities launched a green-roof professional accreditation exam.

The 100-question, multiple-choice test was offered on June 5 for the first time at the group’s annual International Greening Rooftops for Sustainable Communities conference, in Atlanta. The exam focuses on knowledge areas such as green-roof design, contract management and maintenance. These topics are covered in four full-day workshops offered by the sponsoring group. Though completion of the training courses is not a prerequisite for exam registration, “it might be difficult to pass without them,” says landscape architect Jeffrey Bruce, of the Kansas City, Mo., firm that bears his name. Bruce chairs the green-roof group’s training and accreditation committee.

The green-roof professional (GRP) designation is not intended as a form of license or as an indication of a person’s professional competency, but should facilitate improved collaboration among the various disciplines involved in designing and installing green roofs, says Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, a nonprofit.

Preparing for the GRP exam “provides a shared knowledge base so that different professionals can talk to each other,” says architect Jason Abbey, an associate at FXFOWLE, New York City.

Abbey is working on the design of a 6.5-acre green roof for an expansion and renovation of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan. He was among the 130 architects, landscape architects, civil engineers, roofing and landscape contractors, and product manufacturers who took the June 5 exam. “The more we know about each others’ jobs, the better a project will turn out,” he says.

The GRP exam, which costs $395 without the prep courses, will next be offered this fall in four North American cities. The first test is in Toronto on Oct. 19. Test dates for Seattle, New York City and Chicago are not yet set.