Who Needs LEED Certification?

leed certification

As the world population grows at an unprecedented pace, more areas develop for housing, businesses, and farming. The need for sustainability in construction and building projects grows in a society where environmentalism matters. This is where LEED Certification comes in, a standard for creating efficient buildings. However, this certification is challenging, requiring much time, dedication, and study. Understanding what careers necessitate and benefit from LEED certification can help STEM-focused high school students make wise decisions regarding their preparatory work, leading to better career opportunities and sustainability for future generations. 

What is LEED certification?

In pursuit of creating environmentally friendly building projects, the U.S. Green Building Council created LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification, providing a framework for building cost-effective and energy-efficient structures. This certification represents the highest standard of construction sustainability. It demonstrates that an individual is well-versed in sustainability and environmentally friendly practices.

Individuals with LEED certification are highly sought after for designing and constructing anything from neighborhoods to interior design to highrise corporate buildings. When these individuals participate in a building project, their certification translates to the building.

A Green Building Council Inspector must inspect LEED-certified buildings to ensure the highest levels of sustainability. Based on various factors, buildings receive a rating that demonstrates their level of certification. This rating depends on how the building addresses various environmental factors, including indoor environment quality, energy efficiency, water and waste management, sustainable design, and environmental impact.

If the building passes inspection, it then receives a rating broken up into the following:

  • LEED-certified: 40-49 points
  • Silver Certification: 50-59 points

Meeting these standards ensures that buildings can be energy—and cost-efficient, saving families and companies hundreds to thousands of dollars in environmental costs.

How to Become a LEED Certified Professional

A LEED credential demonstrates to employers an individual’s commitment to modern green principles and an updated understanding of current sustainability guidelines and practices. The U.S. Green Building Council provides two types of credentials: LEED Green Associate and LEED AP with specialty. The LEED Green Associate certification requires individuals to take and pass an exam, which tests their knowledge and understanding of green building practices and how to support LEED projects. This certification is beneficial for those who are new to their careers or new to green building. On the other hand, LEED AP with specialty requires advanced testing regarding LEED ratings. It better suits individuals more advanced in their careers. 

What jobs use LEED certification?

As more companies look for LEED-certified projects, many jobs benefit from LEED certification. 

Let’s look at some careers where this certification may be beneficial.

Construction Management

Construction managers oversee a building project’s design, construction, and operation. Since they remain involved from start to finish, they know their projects intimately. As a construction manager, LEED certification can help you make sustainable and environmentally friendly decisions throughout the building process. From design to material selection to construction, LEED principles affect every part of the production process.

Landscape Architects

Landscape architects have the critical job of adding beauty and practicality to outdoor spaces. A building’s outdoor areas play an important role in its LEED score. Outdoor spaces that use green space, water, and energy are more likely to score better during an inspection. Landscape architects with LEED certification are more adept at utilizing space wisely, contributing to better LEED ratings.

Structural Engineers

Structural engineers ensure a building design is practical and stable. LEED buildings need a structural engineer who chooses building materials that are sustainable and efficient while also maximizing stability and longevity. By planning well, these engineers can avoid resource waste by recycling and reusing materials, sourcing materials locally, and reducing carbon emissions.

Commissioning Agents

A commissioning agent must verify a building’s HVAC, electrical, plumbing, and fire safety. These building project components are areas that will be considered in their operations and maintenance in a LEED certification. These LEED projects will need a commissioning agent knowledgeable about the LEED certification system. As more projects seek to become LEED-certified, commissioning agents that are properly certified will be highly sought after.

Environmental Engineers

Environmental engineers are primarily concerned with indoor air quality and waste management. As these are two important factors in building LEED certification, environmental engineers that have experience with LEED principles can create efficient and sustainable buildings. 

Interior Designers

LEED principles are applied throughout projects. Therefore, it is helpful for interior designers to know LEED qualifications. As they design LEED spaces, they need to know how to properly enhance an area so that it saves energy costs and utilizes sustainably made materials and pieces.

LEED Certification is a critical standard for buildings and building professionals, acknowledging the importance of sustainability in construction.

Preparing for LEED Certification Early

Preparation for LEED can begin as early as high school through programs like 21stCentEd’s LEED Green Associate preparation program. This preparatory program provides students with tools, lessons, and hands-on activities that help them prepare for the LEED Green Associate exam. This program not only discusses the components of green building but also provides hands-on examples and activities that allow students to try out their newfound skills and knowledge. Schedule a discovery call today and learn how 21CentEd can help your school prepare for a sustainable future!

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At 21stCentEd, a strong tomorrow is what we’re all about. We’ve been deeply invested in creating interactive STEM tools for kids for many years.