LEED Training for Residential Contractors

Thu, 2011-09-01 12:37

Here at Everblue, we train thousands of residential contractors annually. Our most popular residential program is the BPI Building Analyst program (which is the national Energy Auditor standard). Frequently, I get asked about becoming a Green Rater, or more likely, “What do I have to do to become LEED Certified?” Usually, this is immediately followed by the question, “Do you think it’s worth it for me to become LEED Certified?”

Now, if you were in any way involved with commercial building design or construction, I would say, “Absolutely!” However, with residential, my response will be much more qualified. My response is to list the following 5 things that a residential contractor needs to know about LEED.

What a Home Contractor Needs to Know about LEED

1 – LEED AP Homes is for new construction. There are not many new homes being built right now, and most of the residential construction market is focused on existing home renovations and energy retrofits. So unless you are actually building new homes, you do not need to have the LEED AP Homes credential.

2 - You only need the LEED Green Associate. Most residential contractors start out thinking that they want to pass the LEED AP Homes exam. In fact, only about 160 of the 130,000+ people that have LEED accreditation are LEED AP Homes – wow, that is a drop in the bucket. So what I recommend is that a home contractor should just earn the LEED Green Associate. In fact, if you really want the LEED AP Homes designation, then you will need to pass the LEED Green Associate first anyway (sorry, but that is a LEED requirement). No amount of industry or construction experience will allow you to jump straight to the LEED AP exam.

3 – LEED Green Associate helps you with homeowners. LEED is the best brand name in green building! In sustainability, LEED has the second highest brand awareness after Energy Star. In fact, even though LEED for Homes is not that popular, homeowners want LEED. If you have a LEED designation and you advertise it on your business cards, website, marketing material, and in casual conversation, it will impress homeowners that you took the time to study green building and pass an industry exam.

4 – LEED Certification is only for buildings. LEED terminology for professionals is awkward. Contractors are so used to getting “certified” that earning “LEED Certification” just flows off the tongue. However, it is incorrect. LEED professionals are accredited once they pass the exam, and only buildings can earn “LEED Certification.”

5 – LEED Certification is not for companies. This is another misnomer about the USGBC and LEED. Accreditation is only for individuals. Companies can have LEED professionals on staff, or if you are the owner, you can say, “I am LEED Accredited,” but there is no program to accredit your company.

If you are interested in LEED, I recommend reading our Getting Started with LEED guide, which will walk you through everything that you need to know about LEED.

Have a question? Call us at 800-460-2575.