By Ben Temperley
The United States Green Building Council (USBGC) is a nonprofit organization made of leaders from all sectors of the building industry that promotes buildings and communities that are environmentally responsible, economically profitable, and healthy places to live and work. The mission of USGBC is “To transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built, and operated, enabling an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy, and prosperous environment that improves the quality of life.” USGBC developed the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System. The LEED rating system has become a nationally accepted benchmark for sustainable design and performance.
I believe LEED is going to be a powerful force in the design and building community for years to come. If you are an architecture or interior design student, you will not want to be left behind in the age of LEED. There is a simple way to get a solid footing in LEED—the LEED Green Associate (GA) exam. Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (SIUC) has a USGBC student group that is studying for the LEED GA exam. We offer study materials and study sessions. We also are sponsoring a LEED GA study seminar on April 8th and 15th on campus put on by Vertegy. If you want to pass the exam, the Vertegy team has a near perfect record for attendees passing the exam.
I will outline the steps on becoming a LEED GA for SIUC architecture and interior design students. First, as architecture and interior design students, you are in a program that addresses green building principles, so you are eligible for the exam. Second, create an account at www.gbci.org to receive an eligibility ID. Third, ask Dr. Wendler for a reference letter. The requirements of the letter are found on the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) website. Fourth, study for the exam. The primary reference guides are Green Building & LEED Core Concepts and the USGBC LEED Green Associate Study Guide. The USGBC student group is another study resource. Fifth, register to take the exam at www.prometric.com (you will need your eligibility ID from www.gbci.org). Prometric has a testing site in nearby Carterville, IL.
Once you pass the exam, you will have credentials that will look great on your resume! This will help you get a job. It will also put you on track to someday become a LEED Accredited Professional (AP). The LEED AP credential will bring many opportunities for professional growth and promotion. Some professional projects will require a LEED AP. The highest tier of GBCI professional credentials is LEED Fellow. This is for elite professionals that contribute exceptionally to the field of sustainability.
To learn more about the LEED GA exam and USGBC at SIUC check out our Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/group.php?gid=155843984445808; our blog, http://greensiuc-usgbcstudents.blogspot.com/; and our GroupSpace, http://groupspaces.com/USGreenBuildingCouncilStudent2.