GRAND RAPIDS — As a LEED Accredited Professional, an architect or engineer proves he or she has the knowledge necessary to participate in the green building design process.
The grassroots calling card of the U.S. Green Building Council, the designation shows a mastery of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System. Just the presence of a LEED-AP on a project is worth a point toward LEED certification.
A LEED-AP is expected to understand the practices, principles and requirements of not only the latest version of LEED for New Construction and Renovation but the recent additions as well.
Granted, much of that falls on the individual. A dozen Progressive AE engineers and architects barreled through an in-house training program last summer to earn LEED-AP.
At last count, Progressive AE boasted the largest concentration of LEED-APs — 25 — of any
But just ahead of Progressive is a company that doesn’t even claim designing buildings as a core competency — its products don’t even enter the building until after it’s occupied.
Furniture manufacturer Haworth Inc. has more LEED-APs on staff than any other
“The original intent for the LEED Accredited Professional was to have people (who are) designing buildings very familiar with the LEED system,” said URS Mechanical Engineer Manda Moore, chair of the USGBC West Michigan chapter.
“What has developed is that a lot of these architects and engineers are going to product manufacturers and product people looking for someone familiar with LEED to talk to about products. So it’s filtered to people not directly in the building industry.”
This naturally includes representatives of the construction industry, such as The Christman
Then there are the commercial furniture manufacturers — Herman Miller, Steelcase, and Haworth — and also health-care providers like Metropolitan Hospital, makers of consumer goods like Alticor and Ford Motor Co., and furniture suppliers like Interface Fabrics.
“Of course we have a LEED-AP in our architecture group, but we’ve got them in the other design groups, too,” said Paul Murray, Herman Miller’s corporate environmental affairs manager. “The view here is slanted over some place like
If Herman Miller’s customers are working with recycled content, its designers need to understand how that can affect its furniture design.
“It really is a great tool for my staff,”
This is particularly helpful at Herman Miller, where a corporate mandate has declared that all facilities be brought up to LEED standards.
But many local LEED-APs aren’t necessarily involved in product design: Lynds and other notables like Interface Fabrics Divisional Vice President Mark LaCroix are salesmen.
“These are people who understand that green building is a very sound business proposition,”
“The USGBC focuses on bringing all these things together as a package,” added
“If you talk about Mark LaCroix, he’s in marketing; his job is to understand the future of his marketplace.”
The LEED exam is 73 multiple-choice questions taken over a little less than two hours at a testing facility such as the
The Herman Miller culture gives its employees a natural advantage when taking the LEED-AP exam. It was a founding member of the USGBC and now has twice as many LEED-certified buildings as any entity in the state with several more across the nation.
“You might study a little harder than what an architect would,”