Changes for the LEED Accredited Professional Program for 2009As a builder, I have a pet peeve that I would like to share because I think it could be productive to other builders in particular and the building community in general. When I go to a green building event, an AIA educational event or most higher-level green education events, the facilitator inevitably asks the crowd questions about their backgrounds.“How many architects are in the crowd? Show me your hands. How many engineers? How many LEED APs? Any builders?”Builders are always last or, even worse, not in the question at all. Is it because not many builders are interested in these events, or do they not attend because they will feel excluded if they show up? I think it’s high time to combat both pressures. Architects, give builders a chance; and builders, show the architects that we are smart and we do give a damn. Disclaimer: This is a blatant generalization, but with all of the change in the air these days, maybe this trend could tag along.More and more builders are embracing green building, which is good. I think that green building could be the great unifier for architects and builders. Could the transition to a greener economy and built environment have a healing effect on this professional chasm? I’d like to think so. In order for American buildings to be the best product, they need the involvement of all professionals.That’s right, I’m calling builders professionals. How will you, as a builder, place yourself at the head of the pack when we emerge from the darkness of the current economic doom and gloom? Become a LEED AP. Take some of these higher-level green-building classes. Learn about the techniques and products that can make your projects truly green.Below is a description of the changes in the LEED AP system that are coming this year, including a LEED AP+ Homes and Neighborhood Development accreditation.LEED V3: Professional Accreditation ChangesFirst off, if you are already a LEED AP, you will not have to retest as long as you opt in to the new LEED Credential within two years. You will have to maintain your credential by paying a $50 fee every two years and taking 30 hours (6 LEED-specific) of continuing ed in the same time frame. The course descriptions are available at greenbuild365.org.If you haven’t passed the LEED AP test but still want to before the new program, you need to register for the test by March 31 and pass it by the end of June. If you are or become a LEED AP, you will always be one as long as you fulfill the maintenance requirements. You can also choose to enroll in the new system.The new LEED credentials will include tier-one (LEED Green Associate) and tier-two (LEED AP+) accreditation. There will also be a LEED Fellow designation for the true green-building gurus. These designations will require a multiple-choice test similar to the current LEED AP test. There will be tests in the specialty areas of Building Design & Construction, Interior Design & Construction, Operations & Maintenance, Homes and Neighborhood Development. With these credentials comes a biennial maintenance program that consists of a fee and course requirements.In my next entry, I will discuss the corresponding changes in the USGBC Education Program, lay out the dynamic LEED V3 roll-out schedule, and share my opinion about how high to set the green-building bar.