Having decided to become a LEED Green Associate due to your interest in Green Buildings and/or working in that field, you will be faced two years later with a quandary. Your LEED GA certification will expire by then, and since it is a maintainable certification, you will need to maintain it if you want to keep it.
Why to keep the LEED Green Associate certification? Shouldn’t you become a LEED AP instead? The main reason why you would want to postpone the LEED AP for now is that you don’t have (yet) documented experience on at least one full LEED project, the chief requirement of the LEED AP.
So how to go about maintaining the LEED GA? What are the requirements?
NOTE: Updated on November 19, 2013
This article, as well as the corresponding article on getting the LEED GA, have been updated to reflect two developments that took place within the last year:
- The USGBC has dropped the minimum requirements for getting the LEED Green Associate credential; anyone can now apply to become a LEED GA (naturally, awareness of green buildings and sustainability issues is helpful);
- Applications for getting the LEED GA and LEED AP credentials and credential maintenance are now submitted on the USGBC site.
All the hyperlinks in this article have been updated to reflect the above.
The ‘Credential Maintenance Program’
Every individual who possesses a LEED certification will need to maintain it, except LEED APs that were certified under the previous system. A general overview of the process is shown here, and it includes the following steps:
- Understanding the general CMP Requirements and download the CMP guide, where you will find out that LEED Green Associates need to earn a total of 15 CE hours, including 3 LEED-specific CE hours.
- Deciding how to earn your continuing education requirements. The CE hours can be earned by attending live and online courses and webinars, making presentations, writing articles or books, taking college/university courses, participating in committees/volunteering, and participating in LEED projects. Of course, you could do only one or two of these activities, and still earn all of your CE hours there; however, 3 of those hours have to relate directly to LEED.
- Renewing you LEED GA certification by declaring your CE hours on the USGBC website and paying the $50 fee (at the time of writing).
- Documenting your CE hours. You might be subject to an audit, where you will need to provide supporting documentation for your CMP activities. Document everything just in case!
Attending Live and Online Courses
One popular and relatively easy way to earn CE hours is to attend live classes or webinars. You learn new material related to Green Buildings and sustainability, and earn CE hours in the process. The webinars are especially efficient, particularly since some of them are free. A one-and-a-half hour webinar nets you 1.5 CE hours, for example. You can take courses approved by the USGBC, most of which will be directly related to LEED. As an opt-in benefit of registering with the USGBC to take your exam, you will be kept aware of new webinars – or webinar series – that you can attend in the comfort of your own home after work.
A Recommendation: AEC Daily
While some courses delivered by the USGBC and other providers might be for a fee, AEC Daily is a website that offers free CMP hours by attending presentations online, of which you can find the list here. Basically, you can earn your CE hours by attending presentations on your PC on topics related to sustainability and LEED, take a quiz at the end of the course, and get a certificate of completion at the end. Such certificates are handy in case if an audit, and you will have learned about a topic related to the Green Building industry.
Start by creating an online ID on the website, and download presentations of interest to you: most of them require one to two hours of your time. A presentation that lasts 1 hour will give you 1 CE hour; another that is 2-hour long will reward you with 2 CE hours, and so on. Usually, you should answer 80% of the short quiz correctly to get the certificate. If you have followed the presentation well, you should be able to pass the test correctly. The AEC Daily courses are a quick and free way for you to earn CE hours, especially if you are pressed for time.
Questions? Need more information? Use the comments box below. Good luck in maintaining your LEED GA !
“LEED Green Associate” and the LEED Green Associate logo are trademarks owned by the U.S. Green Building Council and are awarded to individuals under license by the Green Building Certification Institute.