Obtaining LEED AP + Specialty Credentials

When the LEED AP + Specialty credential was introduced, I was the first “legacy” LEED AP on my block to sign up. I did this in part to be the test case for my team so that I could gain insight and hopefully make their experiences easier. While my newly re-tooled credential sat waiting for further action, the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) formalized additional tools and strategies related to credential maintenance; this was one instance where delay was a good thing. When I circled back to start recording my credential maintenance efforts, I found there was a learning curve — getting through the login process, using the reporting/tracking portal and understanding the categories that GBCI uses for prescriptive credential maintenance, all take some getting used-to. The online tutorials were helpful, and I learned much through trial and error. Finding acceptable continuing education (CE) hours, on the other hand, has been fairly easy.  With seven months left in my initial reporting period, I am about 3/4 of the way complete. Most of my CE hours were obtained through live (mostly brown bag) presentations, most of which were free. I have not tried to submit for any LEED project experience credits yet. Some impressions: You will probably have to call GBCI to get started if: (1) You took the LEED AP exam before 2007, and have never updated your credentials on-line, or (2) You log-in to My Credentials and don't see any reference to Record Type: Credentialed or LEED AP certified since (date). I was pleasantly surprised at how much cross-over there is between continuing education presentations approved by other bodies (ie: AIA) in many areas of knowledge, and what was accepted by GBCI. There are many opportunities for free and low-cost general CE's; however, there are fewer LEED-specific presentations that are free or of nominal cost. Consider creating your own spreadsheet to track and edit all of the components of each CE presentation before inputting them. Then just copy and paste into the on-line form. I did this after I lost partially developed credit information several times on the Credentialing input portal. Finally, unless you like taking tests, there is no time like the present to enroll in credential maintenance. Once your enrollment window closes, you will have to retake the test to have the new LEED AP + Specialty credential that you can get now with no test. Chances are you already attend presentations or are doing credential maintenance for another license or certification that can be applied to your LEED AP + Specialty, so you can maintain both credentials with a minimum of extra work! Deeta Bernstein, LEED AP is a senior project manager at Cotter Consulting Inc. Trained as an architect, Bernstein has extensive project management experience. Bernstein currently serves as the sustainability manager for the Public Building Commission of Chicago (PBC), overseeing the PBC’s program-wide Sustainable Design/LEED efforts, making sure every project implements sustainable design principles and every building project achieves LEED Silver or better. Bernstein also serves on the PBC’s Technical Committee. She previously served as the regulatory manager for the 470,000-square-foot LEED-certified McCormick Place West Expansion, and as project manager for the LEED Platinum-certified Chicago Center for Green Technology. Bernstein received her master’s degree in architecture from the University of Wisconsin, where her master’s project focused on sustainable design.  She holds a Bachelor’s degree in biological basis of behavior from the University of Pennsylvania.