LEED Credential Becoming More Relevant, More Difficult to Achieve

The LEED exam is facing a change of content and format in June, when USGBC will upgrade LEED to its new version. At the same time, the credential is growing in importance as the green building industry doubles in value.

Never has there been a more crucial time than now to become a LEED Green Associate or LEED AP with a specialty. Why? A new version is on its way, and with LEED certification contributing directly to higher property value, and 1.5 million square feet of building space certified to LEED every day, the United States Green Building Council's green building rating system is growing globally in economic significance.

A recent study from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) valued green home building in the US at $36 billion in 2013, and projected the value to reach between $83 and $105 billion by 2016. Perhaps just as interesting as the growth of the green building market is its resilience to economic decline. McGraw Hill Construction, the group that released the findings of the NAHB study, found that the most rapid acceleration of green home building occurred during the downturn of the housing market, when experience with green building was discovered to be the factor that kept many builders in business.

Property buyers are found to favor green buildings. The NAHB study revealed that 68% of builders and 84% of remodelers report that their customers will pay more for green. As the most comprehensive and established green building rating system in the world, LEED plays a major role in certifying buildings as "leaders in energy and environmental design." It therefore offers a credible metric for calling a building "green" and quantifying its enhanced worth. In addition to a higher appraised property value, some of the economic benefits of a LEED home include durable structures that are built to last with less maintenance, reduced electricity, natural gas, water and heating bills, insurance discounts, and certain incentives.

But as the professional credential to certify buildings to LEED increases in relevance and value, it is also becoming more difficult to attain. The switch to LEED version 4 is slated to occur in June 2014 and comes with a host of changes that make the qualifying exam more stringent and complex. As a result, many designers, architects and individuals involved in green building projects are rushing to take the exam before the content and format evolve. Their accreditation will continue to be recognized after the switch.

To attain a LEED accreditation before v4 comes along, the deadline is June 15. However, for those who miss the rush, LEED training courses like those offered by CleanEdison make passing v4 a less daunting objective. The future of green building makes the pursuit of a LEED credential more worthwhile than ever. And as the credential increases in breadth and rigor, the outlook of the green building market looks even more sustainable.

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Categories: Construction

Tags: Green building, LEED, usgbc

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