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Certifying Green:

The State and Future of the LEED Exam
U.S. Green Building Council

 

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, offered by the U.S Green Building Council (USGBC) is a voluntary credentialing program that defines a structure's "high-performance green building"system. Driving the system's adoption are LEED Accredited Professionals (AP), individuals who passed the rigorous LEED AP exam and understand the stringent requirements required to make a building green.

The USGBC's LEED system has grown considerably since it was founded; more than 3.6 billion square feet of commercial construction space is currently rated in the LEED system, and almost 14,000 private homes have been or are currently being rated.

This increase in public demand for green building practices, and as a result, LEED APs, has led to a consistent average annual program growth rate of 120 percent. With more than 45,000 LEED APs serving the industry in 2008, 10,000 current projects in the LEED system and more than 5,000 registered in 2007 alone, the USGBC needed to keep the LEED rating system's growth on par with the growth of the credentialing process.

To manage the LEED program's exponential growth, the USGBC elected to lean on an experienced and proven third party to create, facilitate and grow the credentialing exam to meet evolving needs. USGBC found its LEED AP testing partner in Prometric, the global leader in technology-enabled testing and assessment. Partnering with Prometric, the USGBC could expand the reach of the LEED AP program through a vast global network of test centers, each staffed with trained proctors and equipped with cutting edge testing technology and security measures.

The USGBC then enlisted Prometric to guide Job Task Analyses on a global scale, essentially reviewing overall USGBC and LEED AP program goals to identify new exam content or potential future credentials. In this process, Prometric, working with USGBC's subject matter experts, maps how new USGBC exams take shape, and it aids in developing sound and legally-defensible exam questions to ensure USGBC program goals are met.

In 2008, the USGBC announced a newly created Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) to manage the LEED AP program and future green building credentialing programs. A separate organization, the GBCI is wholly responsible for administration of the testing program, eliminating any conflict of interest between exam, standards and educational development.

In the LEED AP exam's future, the previously described Global Job Task Analysis will determine what new environmental construction credentials the GBCI might be able to offer. Furthermore, by leveraging a testing and assessment partner to help craft and administer the LEED AP exam, the USGBC can not only continue its leadership in the green building space through best practices and standards, it can expand, spread and share those standards globally.

Beginning in 2008, the LEED AP exams are available in Dubai, UAE. Teaming up with the USGBC and Emirates GBC to offer the service, Prometric can now offer Middle Eastern individuals who wish to take the LEED AP exam the opportunity to do so. The exams are increasingly being offered in other international locations as well. And as the collective global concern for the environment continues to grow, the standards set by the USGBC will surely remain the highest benchmark in eco-friendly construction around the world.

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