Friday, May 22, 2009

Passing the new LEED® AP Test - Update

Taking the LEED® AP test can be very grueling. It requires hours of studying, memorization, and total concentration on test day. And now, things have changed a little bit with the new exam. Besides looking at the LEED v3 Standard, and what has changed from earlier versions of the standard, here are a few things about taking the test to keep in mind:

Formulas. Do more than just memorization. Make sure you know how to apply the glazing factor formula to building design and the LEED credit, for example.
Credit responsibility. I thought this would be common sense so I didn’t study it much. Make sure to know who signs off on a credit, and remember that it is different for each one.
Credit relationships. Understand how changing stormwater management design may affect heat island affect, for example. A lot of questions focus on the integrated systems approach to design.
Prerequisites and the different ASHRAE standards. Know these inside and out!
The LEED registration process. If you can, try to register a project online before taking the test. It really helps in understanding how the registration process works.

There are many helpful resources for test preparation. Here are a few:

Study Groups. Contact members of your local USGBC chapter and form a study group. For Minnesota, it’s here.
LEED NC v2.2 Flashcards. These are great, and well worth the $35. If you're taking the new version of the exam, these will be helpful but there are some changes to be aware of. Making your own flashcards also really helps. If you're in a study group, you can quiz each other.
LEEP AP Candidate Handbook 2. This is for the new LEED AP system. Very important information about registration, scheduling, exam preparation, test-day procedures, and more
Project Certification Resources. For the new exam, this includes a short online demo of LEED v3, Credit Interpretation Rulings, and more.
LEED Practices Tests. Stay tuned for LEED v3 tests to be included once test exams under the new system have begun.

For information on taking the old version of the LEED exam, click here.

More updates to the LEED® AP exam

As you know, the LEED® AP exam has changed. Here some updates. Please note that what was once announced to be the three tiers of LEED® AP, LEED® AP+, and LEED® Fellow has now changed to LEED® Green Associate, LEED® AP, and LEED® Fellow.

***The registration deadline for taking the test under the current LEED® standards has now passed. Exams must be taken no later than June 30, 2009 for the old system. Candidates are encouraged to take the exam as soon as possible as testing facilities are limited.***

® Green Associate
The process for the new system is already underway. Applications and the handbook for the LEED® Green Associate are now available.

® AP

The LEED® for New Construction exam credential will be replaced by the LEED® AP Building Design + Construction (BD+C) credential. This track tests knowledge of LEED® for New Commercial Construction and Major Renovations Rating System v2.2 and its application in practice. The cost of the exam is $300 for USGBC Members and $400 for non-members. Additional discounts may apply if your company is a member of the USGBC.

The LEED® for Commercial Interiors exam will be replaced by the LEED® AP Interior Design + Construction (ID+C) credential. This track will test knowledge of the LEED® for Commercial Interiors Rating System v2.0 and its application in practice.

The LEED® AP+ Homes track and Operations + Maintenance track examinations are currently available for application by logging into the GBCI website. Others will be available summer of 2009 or in 2010.

® AP Fellow
LEED® AP Fellow is still under development. If you’d like to provide input, click here!

Study resources

Resources to study for the new exams are currently underway. In the meantime, some of the old tips for passing the last version of the exam can still be helpful in preparing.

For more information on the new LEED® Accreditation, visit GBCI or email

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Bio-energy Education

I recently spent five weeks in Sweden studying sustainable eco-communities. Not only was I impressed with strategies they have already implemented, but their level of education is amazing as well. One green conference that is coming up in 2009 is worth mentioning, if you're going to be in western Sweden: The International Bioenergy Days, September 28-30.

This year the conference will cover three main topics in bio-energy:
-Biofuels for Vehicles
-Bioenergy for Heating and Cooling
-Politics and Society

If you would be interested in seeing these topics covered here in Minnesota, let me know by leaving a comment below; I'm currently planning some educational events around the state.

Stay tuned for a summary of things that I learned from Sweden, and how they could be implemented in communities right here in Minnesota.

Renewable Energy Businesses in Minnesota

Renewable energy is a hot topic in all areas. Here is a link that I've recently found helpful in finding local renewable energy options, in terms of locally manufactured, locally installed, and locally available funding: Renewable Energy Businesses in Minnesota. I hope this, in combination with some available renewable energy tax credits, can help bring renewable energy to your project!