3 Ways Product Manufacturer Reps Can Maintain A LEED Credential
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Building product reps who have obtained their LEED professional credential should be commended for their effort. It is no easy feat spending countless hours taking LEED practice exams, participating in LEED certification training, and locking yourself in your office to memorize arcane building codes, enhanced refrigerant management requirements, and whole building life-cycle impact reduction strategies. Passing the LEED exam is difficult and its crucial to maintain your credential once it has been earned. We will discuss three ways building product manufacturers can maintain their LEED credential.
The Credential Maintenance Program (CMP) guide published by the GBCI is an excellent resource for LEED APs and LEED Green Associates. GBCI exclusively administers project certifications and professional credentials within the framework of the USGBC’s LEED rating systems. Credentials are maintained in 2-year cycles starting when the credential is earned (based on exam or enrollment date) and ending 2 years minus 1 day from the start date. The purpose of LEED credential maintenance is to encourage learning experiences that demonstrate continued competency and cutting edge industry knowledge.
LEED Green Associate Credential Maintenance Requirements
LEED Green Associates must earn 15 continuing education hours to maintain their credential. At least 3 hours must be LEED-specific hours. LEED-specific hours can be defined as an activity that has an explicit connection to LEED credit categories, credits and/or prerequisites found in any of the current LEED rating systems. The LEED-specific hours can apply to any LEED specialty such as BD+C, O+M, ID+C, etc. There is no LEED-specific Green Associate hour. The remaining 12 hours that a LEED Green Associate is mandated to earn can be general CE hours. General CE hours can be defined as activities that are relevant to general green building concepts such as environmental sustainability or human health and wellness.
LEED AP Credential Maintenance Requirements
LEED AP’s must earn 30 continuing education hours to maintain their credential. At least 6 hours must be LEED-specific hours related to their LEED specialty. For example, if you hold a LEED AP BD+C credential, then 6 of the hours must be designated as GBCI LEED Specific B+C hours. LEED APs with multiple specialties must complete 6 LEED-specific hours for each additional specialty. The remaining 24 hours can all be General CE hours.
LEED Continuing Education
The easiest way to obtain your mandatory CE hours is through continuing education. Education should be related to green building and include topics about environmental sustainability, human health, and wellness. There are three ways that building product reps can obtain their mandatory LEED continuing education. We will discuss the three most cost-effective and successful ways for LEED AP’s and LEED GA’s to obtain their CE hours.
Online Anytime courses are very popular with users because they can be taken 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Most online courses are free and offer the latest information about the LEED rating system. The best online anytime courses utilize video, audio narration, and other media to create an interactive experience. The worst types of courses are known as “Death By Powerpoint” presentations. These clunkers require the user to read mountains of text and bullet points, they don’t utilize video, and they can trigger narcolepsy in a worst-case scenario. PDFs and magazine article type courses fall into this category and are bound to make your eyes glaze over.
Webinars are a very popular way for LEED AP’s and LEED Green Associates to obtain their CE hours. And the best part is that most webinars are 100% free! Instead of plundering your kid’s piggy bank to pay for a dull poorly recorded online course about how to meet the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Standard Method v1.1–2010, do yourself a favor and take a free webinar course. Nobody wants to suffer from listening to a course that sounds like it was recorded in a trashcan during a hurricane.
Live Classroom Events are also an effective way to obtain LEED CE hours. USGBC chapters, AIA chapters, and other professional organizations routinely offer live classroom events that award AIA and GBCI hours. These events may only be one hour in length or an entire day. The live events offer many benefits aside from obtaining LEED hours. The events provide an excellent venue for networking with local architects, spec writers, engineers, interior designers, contractors, and other design professionals.
Reporting LEED Education Hours
To self-report CMP activities for LEED, log into your Credentials account and select Report CMP Activity. However, if you are participating in an online course, a webinar, or live classroom event, most USGBC Education Providers will report your LEED GBCI hours on your behalf. LEED AP’s and LEED Green Associate credential holders are responsible for paying a biennial CMP renewal fee at the time of renewal. LEED credential holders will have 90 days to renew and report hours previously earned within their reporting period, which starts after the reporting period has ended. If credential holders don’t report enough hours and successfully renew by the end of the past due period, the credential will expire.
LEED Credential Audits
GBCI will audit a percentage of all LEED credential holders at regular intervals to ensure that LEED AP’s and LEED Green Associates have the documentation to substantiate their claims of continuing education. GBCI also reserves the right to review any reported CE hours at any time. It is quite rare but if you are selected for an audit, GBCI will ask you to verify your completed activities with the appropriate documentation, so be sure to save documentation of CE hours earned.
If unforeseen circumstances prevent a LEED professional from being able to complete their credential maintenance during their 2-year reporting period, the LEED professional may request a waiver or extension. Situations recognized by GBCI as hardship can include: unemployment, military deployment, health issues, and a death in the family. Written requests with supporting documentation must be received at least 30 days before the end of the reporting period. GBCI reviews requests on a case-by-case basis and only grants waivers or extensions in situations where LEED professionals were prevented from completing their CMP. To regain a LEED credential after expiration, one must apply, register, and retest as a new candidate! So, it’s crucial that building product manufacturer reps maintain their LEED credential. How does your company help product reps maintain their LEED credential?
For more information or to discuss the topic of this blog, please call Brad Blank at 360-727-3528.