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For many industries, green is in. That includes construction. Building green and sustainable practices are now commonplace. This allows contractors who are accredited green builders advantages over the competition. The leading global program for sustainable building design and construction is LEED. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. In Canada, it is run through the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI), a sister organization to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
There were 2,900 LEED projects and 11,646 LEED professionals in Canada in 2017. According to GBCI, LEED in Canada has led to:
- A 1,261,016 CO2e tonne reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that’s equal to taking 238,377 cars off the road for a year.
- Water savings totaling over 12.8 billion liters, the equivalent of 5,131 Olympic-sized swimming pools
- Energy savings of 6,503,647 eMWh, enough to power 220,702 homes in Canada for a full year.
Every LEED Professional earns their credential through the GBCI, and there is no difference in status between a LEED Professional in Canada and anywhere else in the world.
Types of LEED Accreditation
As a trades professional, there are three types of LEED accreditation you can get: LEED Green Associate, LEED AP + Specialty and LEED Fellow. Here’s a breakdown of what these accreditations mean and who they’re for:
1. LEED Green Associate
LEED Green Associate is the first tier of LEED accreditation, and it’s the required first step towards earning your LEED AP credential. It denotes basic knowledge of green design, construction and operations for professionals who want to demonstrate green building expertise in non-technical fields of practice.
2. LEED Accredited Professional (AP) + Specialty
The LEED AP accreditation is for specialists in a specific LEED rating system. LEED APs hold a thorough understanding of the LEED rating systems and are well prepared to guide project teams through the certification process. In order to qualify for the specialty exam, you must demonstrate experience on a LEED project.
3, LEED Fellow
The highest honor in the program, the LEED Fellow designates the most exceptional professionals in the green building industry. To qualify to become a LEED Fellow, you must be nominated by your peers and have at least 10 years of experience in the industry. LEED Fellows are a highly accomplished class of individuals, distinguished by the caliber of their contributions to advancing the field of green building.
Learn more about the types of LEED accreditations and how to obtain them here.
5 Benefits of LEED accreditation
1. Give your business a competitive advantage
The demand for LEED professionals is growing in North America and globally. Earning your LEED accreditation can give you a competitive edge by allowing you to bid on a wider variety of projects.
The size of the green building market doubles every three years worldwide, as reported by the U.S. Green Building Council. Many government agencies, for example, require building projects to designed and constructed according to LEED specifications to ensure efficiency.
According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), 30% of global annual green house gas emissions and up to 40% of global energy usage can be attributed to the building sector. When you consider the scale of the building industry around the world, and global effort on tackling climate change, it’s no surprise that the labour demand for LEED professionals is growing.
Earning LEED accreditation and hiring LEED accredited tradespeople can help you stay on top of this growing trend.
2. LEED professionals have skills that are in demand on an international scale
LEED is the only global green building rating system. With the growing demand for LEED professionals and the unique skillset the program offers, accreditation allows for almost limitless possibilities around the world.
Currently, there are more than 62,000 LEED certified buildings in more than 150 countries and territories around the world. Another 2 million square feet of LEED space is certified each day. By developing the in-demand and international marketable green building skills, becoming a LEED professional can help position you and your company to remain competitive in the global economy.
3. Attract more customers with energy-saving benefits
Environmental savings and government incentives from green building are appealing for consumers. Promoting your skills as a LEED-accredited contractor can help you grow your customer base.
Buildings that are LEED certified use 25% less energy, 11% less water and emit 34% less carbon dioxide than other buildings, according to the US Green Building Council. Plus, certain building projects that are executed to LEED specifications may also quality owners for select tax credits and government rebates – an added incentive for customers to choose your business.
Did you know green-certified buildings see a 4% increase in value? The financial benefits are another reason to promote your LEED-accredited contracting business.
4. Up-to-date knowledge in green building techniques
As a member of the premiere green building accreditation program, you’ll receive exclusive access to information about the newest innovations in green building technology. This includes updates on new energy-saving building material, ways to improve indoor air efficiency, reduce water use and even minimize light pollution.
Staying on top of the latest techniques offers a host of benefits for your contracting business. You can assure your customers that your LEED accreditation allows you to complete projects according to the most rigid green building standards in the industry.
5. Individual and company recognition
LEED accreditation offers recognition for both individuals and companies. This includes personal listing and company listing in the LEEP AP directory. Individuals received recognition in the LEED Certification process, plus marketable credential to prospective clients or employers.
For companies, LEED accreditation provides automatic credit towards the certification of a LEED building, plus demonstrated commitment to green building and the LEED rating systems. It lends value and marketability in the building design and construction industry as well.
Green building and sustainability are becoming increasingly important in the construction industry in Canada and around the globe. With environmental concerns top of mind for many customers’ and builders, becoming LEED accredited can have significant benefit for your business in the trades. Why not add LEED to your qualifications?
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