Yesterday I took (and passed!) the LEED Green Associate (GA) exam. The LEED rating system outlines the certification process for green buildings and was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in 2000. The LEED GA credential demonstrates a fundamental understanding of green buildings, and is the first step in becoming LEED Accredited Professional (AP). I’m not sure if I’ll seek full accreditation, since green buildings are not my main research focus at this time, though it is a useful option to have for future career opportunities.
The GA test is 100 multiple choice questions covering a variety of green building system topics, such as sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency and indoor environmental quality. The water questions were the least challenging for me, since I’ve focused most of my time at Syracuse on green infrastructure for stormwater management. The concepts that I was least familiar with involved the LEED certification process itself, and which specific standards are used to meet the requirements of each credit in the rating system.
I would recommend that anyone looking to get involved in the green building industry to consider pursuing the GA credential. I was fortunate enough to attend a week long workshop on LEED topics, so preparing for the exam was quite easy. However, if you have a working knowledge of sustainable building systems, preparing on your own shouldn’t be much of a challenge. As with most tests like this, doing as many practice questions as possible is the best way to prepare!