Architects, engineers and contractors are rushing to take the LEED® exams before the cut-off deadline of May 31, 2014. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has announced that applicants can take the exams based on LEED v2009 materials until the 2014 sunset date. The new exams, which will be available after June 2014, are expected to be more difficult due to the addition of new credits and a new credit category.
Individuals who wish to earn a LEED professional credential must first pass the exam related to the credential and agree to continuing education requirements. There are six different LEED exams, each related to a different credential. Every credential requires starting with the LEED Green Associate exam.
“The credential that you receive is the same regardless of which version of the rating system the exam is based, so most people prefer to take the exams that have been around the longest,” says Heather DeGrella, director of sustainable education at GreenCE Inc. “It takes time for the industry’s exam prep classes and study resources to catch up to the next version of the exam.”
LEED v4 will introduce many new programs and concepts that might be unfamiliar to design professionals and product manufacturers. Some of the most significant changes are in the Materials and Resources (MR) category, which will now offer three new Building Product Disclosure and Optimization credits. The first of these new credits rewards projects that use products with an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD). An EPD reports a product’s total contributions to environmental impacts such as global warming, ozone depletion, and energy consumption. By implementing the new EPD related credit, USGBC hopes to encourage better environmental performance from building products.
“As a LEED credentialed individual, you will not have to retest as long as you keep up with your continuing education requirements,” says DeGrella. “The continuing education will keep you up-to-date on new changes and developments associated with new versions of the LEED green building rating systems.”
For projects wishing to earn LEED Certification, the LEED v4 rating systems will officially be launched at the Greenbuild convention in November. Projects may continue to enroll under LEED v2009 until June 2015. The two versions of the rating systems will be running concurrently and project teams can select which one they want to use.
GreenCE, Inc. is the nation’s leading provider of sustainable continuing education for design professionals with over 100,000 subscribers. GreenCE is an education provider for the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). GreenCE offers LEED exam prep courses, and educates product manufacturers on the benefits of EPDs, HPDs, and LCAs.