I recently became a LEED AP BD+C accredited professional. For the past three years I have been simply a LEED AP. I now have what is called a specialty. The BD+C portion of it means Building Design and Construction. This is quite straight forward and fundamentally the same, for all intents and purposes, as the regular old LEED AP. However, there are some considerable differences.
Historically anyone could easily become a LEED AP and quite frankly, it diluted the meaning of the accreditation. We would see secretaries, accountants, realtors and any other number of professionals who were not involved in the day to day design and implementation of green building design and standards. That isn’t to say they don’t know green design or that it isn’t valuable to have a realtor who knows about low flow toilets and the benefits of low VOC paints. But it did make it hard to tell what the value of the LEED AP was.
In those days of yore it was very easy to become a LEED AP. A passing knowledge of green design combined with a thorough reading of the documentation meant anyone could achieve the accreditation. More importantly than that, there was no requirement for continuing education. It was a really get it and forget it sort of badge for your business card.
Today there are a number of LEED AP specialties such as BD+C. Mine tells a potential client that I am familiar with new construction and the sustainable design of buildings. Another person may have a LEED AP Homes accreditation which means they are familiar with ways to make a home green. It is a valid distinction. Homes and 100,000 square foot office buildings are considerably different animals.
Additionally applicants now must demonstrate a greater depth of knowledge and experience with green design. Knowledge of the system and green design gets your foot in the door with a LEED Green Associate accreditation. To attain a specialty a candidate must now attain that first level then have documented participation in a project relevant to the desired specialty.
Lastly, every two years a LEED AP with Specialty must be involved in continuing education. This keeps them abreast of changes in the field and program.
Check back in the following days and weeks as I spotlight the new credentials of the LEED system. Remember, buildings are certified and individuals are accredited.