The LEED Exam

The USGBC (United States Green Building Council) offers an accreditation to professionals in the design and contstruction industry for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). Today, I took the test...and passed.

If you are considering it, I want to let you know that it isn't something to be done casually. The sheer volume of information involved is daunting. I took a workshop, signed up for some other resources and studied about an hour a day for six weeks then spent 20 hours the two days before the test reviewing material. (And still the test was hard and I'm a reasonably good "test-taker".)

One of the great things about our whole team pursuing this at once is that we did a lot of studying together at lunch and were able to share information and study techniques back and forth.

Erin-the-Wonder-Woman took the test first. Left-brained as she is, she created a comprehensive study guide (including a calendar breaking out the 400 pages of reading) that she shared with the rest of us. She also taught me a technique that truly made a difference.

Someone created the WIMSEE chart that outlines prerequisites and number of points available for each section. Erin expanded the chart and used it as a memory device for the test.

At the testing station, there are several screens on how to take the test that they give you 10 minutes to review. Since they also provide you with two pencils and four sheets of paper, Erin read the screens fast, then wrote like crazy in the 8.5 minutes she had left. So, she scribbled down each heading in WIMSEE order, the prerequisites, then dots for each credit and the associated percentages and referenced standards she had memorized. This created an "anchor" as she went through the test so that she didn't blank as the questions came up.

I have to say, this saved my life and made a major difference in being able to recall the information as I went through the test.

Five of us at AD tested today and five of us passed, so there was much celebration as each person got back to the office making us now a total of 10. Of course, by far my favorite part of the whole endeavor has been that we've done this as a team. The studying, coaching, pulling for each and every one of us to make it and shared pain when someone has come close and failed simply highlights all of the beautiful intangibles about working with this group of people.

And so, I start 2009 as Random Cathy--LEED AP.
© Random Cathy
Maira Gall