Are you wondering ‘Which LEED® exam is best fit for me?’ One of the professional credentials offered by the USGBC’s LEED green building certification program is called LEED AP Homes. It was designed for every individual involved in residential home design and construction. In the world of real estate, most industry professionals either work exclusively on residential projects, or never serve residential clients at all.
If you are one of the professionals who serve residential building clients in any way; you need the LEED AP Homes credential. Here’s why.
Homeowners have more options than ever, and you need the tools to create win-win-win solutions to your clients’ needs. The LEED rating systems are based on triple bottom line principals that generate positive outcomes for people (your client), profit (your wealth), and the planet (our shared resources). The LEED AP Homes credential gives you tools to master your craft and synergize with other project team members for an energy and resource efficient project.
Who should pursue a LEED AP Homes credential?
To demonstrate how many diverse service providers are involved in a residential project, let’s build up a home in a simple story. Remember, the LEED AP Homes credential is for single and multi-family projects, attached, and detached, even apartment complexes with ground floor retail. In this example, consider a single family home.
Start with the bones: wood framing. Framing sub-contractors are presented with the challenge to create less waste by synergizing the design and purchasing. Whoever purchases the wood is also rewarded for purchasing local products. Even components within the concrete mixture for the foundation or footings can help earn a project LEED points. Every role is important to the LEED process. If you source, manufacture, or install raw materials on residential projects, than you should consider pursuing the LEED AP Homes credential.
Next, let’s put some muscle on those bones. The LEED Reference Guide for Homes Design and Construction focuses heavily on wall system construction and insulation appropriateness. If you provide a service that touches a residential wall system, you will benefit from studying for the LEED AP Homes exam. A non-exhaustive list of wall specialists and installers include: insulation, plumbing, electricians, drywall, windows, and doors. As a rule of thumb, the more expensive your service, the more important it is for you to have relevant industry credentials like a LEED AP Homes – this is because many of the metrics for the LEED credits are based on total cost of materials.
Continuing the body metaphor for a home, the skin represents the finishes: roofing, siding, decking, counters, cabinets, and carpet. It’s getting tougher and tougher to select and find manufacturers who can meet multiple sustainability criteria required by the current and most stringent version of the LEED rating systems. So in fact, not only is it a good time to get your LEED AP Homes credential, it is an even better time to build a business around providing goods and products that meet LEED material and resource criteria.
Other LEED AP Homes careers
In residential construction, there are several types of auxiliary roles that are also well suited for the LEED AP Homes credential. For example, real estate agents. If you specialize in helping people find green homes or live in an area where they are popular, it’s a smart choice to show your clients that you are also a green professional. It will help you become better at spotting ‘greenwashing’ and be able to steer clients towards meaningful green upgrades. Since residential construction is very different from commercial construction, there happen to be more local green building standards for single family dwellings. GBES encourages you to educate yourself in all the green building rating systems relevant to your city, county, or state-especially if they include mandated compliance.
What about the multi-family and public residential projects? Some of the top decision makers never step foot on the job site, but the roles of developer, financier, and government officials can all benefit from the LEED AP Homes credential. Regardless of your role in the residential project, the LEED AP Homes credential adds value to your career.
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