LEED for Neighborhood Development project in Oberlin

Yesterday, after several months of preparation and a bit of field study, I took and passed the LEED Green Associate (GA) exam. LEED is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a widely recognized and used green building certification system. The GA is the first level in the professional credentials associated with LEED and a prerequisite for more advanced study to obtain one of the specialized Accredited Professional (AP) designations.

Though I have been and remain focused on business strategy that leverages sustainability concepts for competitive advantage, the amount of activity that happens within built environments and the resource use footprint that buildings represent means that not including these considerations in one’s analysis misses a large piece of the puzzle. I had a lot of help and encouragement from colleagues also interested in green building, including one other also taking this exam, as well as a grand tour of a brand new, LEED Gold certified building in Oberlin, OH from one of the principal project participants.

Studying for something like the SAT can feel like training for a gateway that must be traversed in order to move on to more specific study in one’s field, but leaving one with little to show for the effort, other than the ability to take a standardized test. By contrast, it was great fun pulling all of these bits and pieces of information together over the last half year, knowing that I would ultimately be able to bring these skills to bear on development that is making a difference in how we live and work.