Chapter Executive Director Renews LEED Credential

Several years ago, I took the leap and registered for the LEED AP Exam. I took the LEED-NC exam. I’m not a building professional. I don’t design and construct buildings for a living, so passing the test required a lot of studying and memorization. I crammed all that information into my brain knowing the LEED reference guide could be my crutch after I passed the exam. And I did pass – by the skin of my teeth.

I took the LEED AP exam before things changed – before there was a LEED Green Associate credential and before you had to have experience on a LEED project to be eligible for a LEED AP exam. You can bet that I opted into to the Credential Maintenance Program two years ago when it kicked off. I may never be eligible for a LEED AP exam since I don’t work on LEED projects! Plus the Credential Maintenance program keeps me up-to-date on the LEED rating system and green building technologies.

If I ever do work on a LEED project, it will likely be an existing building project, so I opted into the LEED AP O+M specialty. In the last two years, I collected more than the 30 required hours – and more than the 6 required LEED specific credits! But I never sat down to submit them through GBCI’s online interface. I was procrastinating. First I planned to submit them before vacation. That quickly became after vacation. A week ago, I finally sat down and submitted the continuing education hours. It took much less time and was much less painful that I imagined. And I’d like to share a few tips from my experience:

  • Take some time to learn how GBCI’s Credential Maintenance Program (CMP) works. GBCI has a lot of great resources on their website, including a CMP Wizard. The USGBC-MO Gateway’s How to Earn CMP Continuing Ed Hours is also very useful. Plus, we won an award for this at the 2010 Greening the Heartland!
  • Organize your hours before you start submitting. Figure out what CE hours will work in which category. Once you upload your hours, you cannot make changes. You can only delete and re-enter. It’s a drag to re-enter!
  • Save everything. Save all your Certificates of Attendance, e-mails about events you attended, conference programs, etc. Having this documentation is invaluable. I went back to Greening the Heartland and Greenbuild programs from 2009 and 2010 to grab educational session descriptions – typed most of them verbatim. And all my CEs were approved. USGBC-MO Gateway sends out program evaluations within a week of our programs. I filed all these in a special Outlook folder because our Membership & Education Coordinator, Hope Breidenbach, provides excellent instructions in each evaluation on exactly how to submit your CE hours and even provides handy suggestions on what category the CE hours best fit. Take advantage of Hope’s hard work and keep these e-mails handy!
  • Attend USGBC-MO Gateway programs! We’ve been USGBC Education Provider since June 2010. This means that nearly all our monthly programs and other educational sessions starting in June 2010 can be submitted as Professional Development / Continuing Education CEs. And you and submit an unlimited number of these types of CEs! I earned over half of the 30 required CEs from attending Chapter programs, including my 6 LEED specific CEs from this summer’s LEED EB O+M Credit By Credit Review Lunch n’ LEED. Chapter members can attend monthly evening programs for FREE and other educational programs at a discount. It’s the deal of a lifetime! Can’t remember what Chapter programs you attended? No problem – we post a list of Program Attendees for all monthly evening programs. See this year’s Programs here. For 2009 and 2010, check our Program Archive.

Have questions about CMP reporting? Visit GBCI’s CMP Toolkit. Or contact USGBC-MO Gateway staff.

And if you’re looking for additional GBCI CE Hours before your reporting deadline (note that the reporting deadline is different depending on when you opted in), check out the following ideas.

  • Volunteer Committee Participation. You can earn up to 4 CE hours per reporting period for participating in a Chapter committee – .5 CE hours per meeting attendance or 2 CE hours for holding a leadership position. Learn more about USGBC-MO Gateway Committees here.
  • Upcoming Chapter Programs and Events. See what we have on our schedule – monthly programs, Lunch n’ LEED webinars, and in-depth program on LED lighting. See our event calendar for more information. And remember, Chapter members can attend for free or at a discounted rate.
  • Self-Study. Earn up to 5 hours per reporting period for independent review of material relevant to green building or LEED. Many building industry and green building publications offer CE hours through self-study. Many for free! Check out the Cascadia Green Building Council’s Trim Tab magazine as one example.It’s a free on-line magazine. Their summer issue includes an interview with Margaret Wheatley on the power of community, stories on child-centered cities, disconnecting from sewers, and the Hawai’i Preparatory Academy’s Living Building.
  • Live Presentations. Do you attend other building-related educational programs or lectures? They may qualify for GBCI CE’s, even if they aren’t produced by a USGBC Education Provider. You can earn up to 5 CE hours per reporting period for attending a one-time events where a presenter delivers green building or LEED content to an in-person audience, or through broadcast technology in real-time.
  • Environmental Building News offers on-line Continuing Education for free to EBN members and subscribers. You or your company may already subscribe to this leading green building publication. Learn more here.

Show colleagues, clients and others that you mean business when it comes to green building education! Get out there and earn your GBCI CEs and maintain your LEED Credential. If I can do it, you can too!

– Submitted by Emily Andrews, LEED AP O+M and USGBC-Missouri Gateway Executive Director

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