The LEED-GA study group started tonight.  I’ve been a facilitator for two previous LEED study groups, but those have been studying the LEED system under the previous system (LEED v2.2), rather than the ‘Green Associate’ that is now the first part of what has become a two-stage process.  So, instead of studying the credits and getting to know the system for getting a building accredited, the emphasis is broader and more basic, dealing with the general outlines of the categories of LEED building certification, but also addressing other things like terms, concepts, and the surrounding process.

In a way, I like this division.  I think a more general grade of knowledge is suitable and sufficient for a lot of people who are going to be part of a LEED project.  In earlier study groups, there were people who were interested in being part of LEED and being able to participate in LEED projects (though being a LEED-AP isn’t a requirement), but who wondered, for example, “I’m a flooring contractor; why do I have to learn about air conditioner refrigerants?”  There’s a ton of information to learn, and the GA division is a more reasonable bite for a lot of people.

I’m not sure if I’m not better suited to be in an AP study group (which would be the second stage, now).  It’s closer to what I’ve done before, and it’s what I know.  We will see how this all goes, though.

One thing I learned tonight, however, is that, in order to be able to become a LEED-AP now, you have to have some involvement on a LEED project.  You can’t even take the exam unless you have experience on a project.  That’s going to make it a lot harder for people to become LEED-APs, as someone pointed out tonight, particularly if you aren’t part of a large firm that already has LEED-APs and is doing LEED work.

I don’t disagree that that is problematic.  Hopefully, USGBC will sort this out; in the long term, I don’t think it’s useful to keep people out of the club.  LEED projects are still rare enough that it’s hard to gain that experience easily.  And LEED could become marginalized by becoming something that only a large, institutional firm is able to provide.