By Bo Yeon Jang
On Jan 31 some 50 Columbia students and alumni participated in a training on the LEED v4 accreditation exam, the newest version of the LEED green building program. This full-day training session was led by Ashley Muse and Keith Amann from YR&G Sustainability Consulting. Participants were students and graduates from across the Earth Institute’s education programs, who were interested in taking the Green Associate exam and adding LEED accreditation to their repertoire of professional skills.
LEED is familiar to many people as a certification and rating system that measures the sustainability and efficiency of buildings. It is the world’s premier benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. Professionals too may become accredited, in order to certify their expertise in the green building industry. The accreditation exam tests an individual’s understanding of the new LEED rating system as well as their knowledge of green building practices. It is an important credential in a market with a growing demand for sustainability professionals.
“LEED allows for the transformation of the built environment to provide health, economic, and environmental benefits for residents and owners of a building,” explained Mina Lee, a current student in the MPA in Environmental Science and Policy Program (MPA-ESP) at the School of International and Public Affairs. “I want to take the exam to be part of this great movement towards a better built environment, especially while being immersed in a city like New York.”
The seminar covered the basic structure of the exam before examining each sustainability component in greater detail. Muse and Amann interspersed detailed explanations of the content with anecdotes and examples of the principles in practice. The students were quizzed with questions from the exam and guided through common mistakes.
“It’s very good in helping you get a start on how to think about the LEED process and what’s going to be required on the exam,” said Louisa Chan, an alumna of the MPA-ESP program. “It’s giving me a great framework in terms of thinking about how I need to study and prepare for this exam.”
More information on the LEED credentials can be found on the USGBC website.
This training was part of the Sustainability Skills Seminars that are organized by the Earth Institute’s Professional Development program. The purpose of the seminars is to provide opportunities for students and alumni to gain practical skills that are specific to sustainability and environmental careers. Past seminars have covered Sustainable Agriculture, Life Cycle Analysis, Consulting 101, and Sustainability Metrics.
Bo Yeon Jang is a sophomore at Columbia College. She is interning with the Earth Institute this spring.