"Green" Education, Now!

In this article I will explore the areas of overlap between sustainability (as a common theme usually referred to as "green"); and education (as an essential foundation of the collective awareness of the community). There are many aspects that can be addressed when it comes to "Green Education" which may require a series of articles. However, the context of this issue of Qatar Construction Sites necessitates the specific relation between construction and education of the construction industry professionals.
By "Education" we mean any form of learning, knowledge, skills, and habits of a group of people that are transferred from one generation to the next through teaching, training, or research. It also means any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts. By "Green Education" we mean this type of education aiming at changing the mindset & conception of construction professionals towards a more sustainable built environment.

Background

Since the introduction of Qatar National Vision 2030 three years ago, a lot of things have changed in Qatar. The QNV 2030 has established a futuristic goal to achieve a completely sustainable community by the year 2030 and there has been serious responses to this vision at all levels. In construction, changes to the way the built-environment is designed & constructed have been called for. Implementation of Green Building standards, such as LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design), in certain projects became a common practice. Some major projects such as Education City and Msheireb Downtown Doha Project adopted the new standard in their developments. Moreover, QSAS (Qatar Sustainability Assessment System), a new Qatar-specific standard, has been developed. Few years later, the standard was re-branded into GSAS (Global Sustainability Assessment System) and became under the scrutiny of GORD (Gulf Organization for Research & Development). Lusail City expanded in adopting GSAS for their large scale development and became mandated as part of the building permit procedure in all sub-divisions. Ashghal (Public Works Authority) is among a number of organizations who currently consider GSAS a mandatory provision for any new project. This momentum is going on at a quick pace, promising a lot of changes in the real estate and construction markets.

Importance of Green Education

With the above background and the recent changes in the construction industry in mind, if you never thought to become "Green" educated it means you are late!
But, late is better than never.
Decide today to take serious steps in this direction for a better future of your career. It is not an option any more to become LEED AP or GSAS CGP. The benefits you will get from such qualifications are priceless. With new jobs specifying the need for expertise in Green Buildings, the Green Education helps you stand out by increasing your opportunity for employment, job stability and promotion, while underscoring your value to Green projects and sustainability-focused organizations.
On the highest level, this will serve as a life purpose endeavor that will be in line with the country's vision and the global movement towards a sustainable environment. On organizational level, imagine that your company has got an RFP to quote for a project requiring the implementation of Green Building standard (LEED/GSAS), but you don't have any qualified staff to prepare your quotation, how can you compete in this situation? On a personal level, just have a look at the job postings today, you will realize that Green Professionals are in high demand and they are offered high salaries as well! If you are still wondering whether you should become “Green Educated”, it means you are not aware of these overwhelming changes that are taking place in the market.

Who should acquire Green Education?

It is now obvious that Green Education is essential for all construction professionals. Consultants, contractors, suppliers and any construction-related organization can achieve a high degree of professionalism by qualifying their employees in this new trend. Your organization does not allocate a budget for Green Education? Do not wait! Invest in your future and do it yourself.

The Matrix of Green Education

In general, we can illustrate the Green Education pertaining to construction industry into a 3-dimensional matrix that has three axes. On the horizontal axis we may include the rating system or the standard used by type (LEED, GSAS, ...). On the vertical axis we may include the discipline of your profession (Architect, MEP, Civil, ...). And, on the Z axis we may include the level of technicality or specialization of the candidate. For the purpose of this article, we will address two types of common Green Education in Qatar, LEED & GSAS. (See Fig.1)
Fig.1: The Matrix of Green Education

LEED

The LEED Professional Credentials (LEED AP and Green Associate) are professional designations for those who have demonstrated a thorough understanding of green building techniques, environmental issues, the LEED program and the certification process. The LEED credentials show differentiation in a growing and competitive industry and allow for varied levels of specialization. A LEED professional credential signifies that you are a leader in the field and an active participant in the green building movement who contributes expertise to the design, construction, operations and maintenance of buildings and neighborhoods that save energy, use fewer resources, reduce pollution, and contribute to healthier environments for their occupants and the community.
Becoming LEED accredited requires two mandatory eligibility requirements as stated by GBCI (Green Building Certification Institute):
  1. The Candidate must have had a previous experience (involvement) in at least one registered LEED Project in the last 3 years from the date of application.
  2. The candidate must pass the LEED Green Associate exam, whether Combined (i.e. at the same time with the LEED AP exam) or Split (i.e. pass the LEED Green Associate first then apply to take the LEED AP exam).

LEED Green Associate

The LEED Green Associate credential is intended for professionals who want to demonstrate green building expertise in non-technical fields of practice. The Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) has created the LEED Green Associate credential, which denotes basic knowledge of green design, construction and operations.
The LEED Green Associate credential provides an excellent foundation on which to build a career not just in green building, but in any area related to sustainability and eco-focused business. The LEED GA credential as it is also known is extremely popular among real estate brokers, designers, consultants, contractors, builders, marketers and anyone else who may be involved in a sustainable project. LEED Green Associates learn all the fundamentals of green building and learn to evaluate projects under LEED Certification Process.

LEED AP

The LEED AP credential provides a standard for professionals participating in the design and construction phases of high-performance, green buildings. The Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) created this credential to denote practical knowledge of the Green Building Design, Construction & Operation with multi-specialty options. The credential is available under the following specialties:
  • LEED AP (BD+C): Building Design & Construction
  • LEED AP (ID+C): Interior Design & Construction
  • LEED AP (Homes): Residential Buildings
  • LEED AP (EBOM): Existing Building, Operation & Maintenance
  • LEED AP (ND): Neighborhood Development

LEED Fellow

The LEED Fellow designates the most exceptional professionals in the green building industry. LEED Fellows are a highly accomplished class of individuals nominated by their peers and distinguished by the caliber of their contributions to advancing the field of green building. The nominator, the individual nominating a Fellow, must be a LEED AP with specialty who is in good standing and has 10 or more years of professional green building experience. The nominator can only nominate one LEED Fellow for each class, and cannot be currently nominated themselves.

GSAS Education

GSAS Credentials & Education are provided exclusively by GORD Academy which is a leading, high-quality training provider center of excellence. GORD Academy offers memberships and certification programs, which are designed to meet the skill enhancement needs of the professionals working in the construction industry.

 

 

Level 1 – Green Card – Associate

This certificate is given to those candidates who have completed the certification scheme for GSAS- ACGP or attending any GORD Academy workshop or seminar. In addition, it can be awarded to individuals who are promoting GSAS objectives & practices. This scheme can be pursued by individuals who desire to learn more about sustainability objectives and practices in the build environment. This title is conferred to those candidates who have earned the GSAS-ACGP certification’s requirement by participating in the GSAS ACGP course or any of GORD Academy training courses or Seminars.

Level 2 – Certificate – Practitioner

This certificate is given to those candidates who have completed the certification scheme for GSAS- CGP and have passed the GSAS exam. This scheme is the starting certification for candidates who wish to apply for all other certifications schemes in the future. This title is conferred to those candidates who have earned the GSAS- CGP certification’s full requirements and by demonstrating a well- rounded understanding and knowledge of the GSAS project management through participation in the GSAS 3-day training workshop and passing the GSAS exam. The GSAS- CGP proctored, open-book examination is designed to tests a candidate’s knowledge of all GSAS criteria in order to prepare the candidate for managing a GSAS project from registration to certification. Information about candidates for testing and their examination results are considered confidential

Level 3 – Diploma – Licentiate

This certificate is given to those candidates who have completed the credentials progression requisites for Level 3 Diploma.

Level 4 – Advanced Diploma - Fellow

This certificate is given to those candidates who have completed the credentials progression requisites for Level 4 Advanced Diploma.

Typology-Based Certifications

By participating in the typology-based certification programs, each person who earns and maintains this certification agrees to be listed on GORD Academy’s public website. Only those individuals who are active GSAS typology-based certificants will be listed on the site. The GSAS typology-based certification is renewed automatically with the renewal of GSAS-CGP certificate at no extra charge. This includes the following certificates:
    • GSAS-CO: Construction Scheme
    • GSAS-HC: Health Care Scheme
    • GSAS-IN: Infrastructure Scheme
    • GSAS-DP: Neighborhood and Parks Schemes
    • GSAS-OP: Operation Scheme
    • GSAS-RW: Railways Scheme
    • GSAS-SP: Sports Scheme

Discipline-Based Certifications

By participating in the discipline-based certification programs, each person who earns and maintains this certification agrees to be listed on GORD Academy’s public website. Only those individuals who are active GSAS discipline-based certificants will be listed on the site. The GSAS discipline-based certification is renewed automatically with the renewal of GSAS-CGP certificate at no extra charge. This includes the following certificates:
    • GSAS-ACO: Acoustics
    • GSAS-ARC: Architecture
    • GSAS-CIV: Civil Engineering
    • GSAS-ELE: Electrical Engineering
    • GSAS-ENV: Environmental Engineering and Science
    • GSAS-MEC: Mechanical Engineering
    • GSAS-URB: Urban Planning

Last Word!

While "Green Education" might be necessary, a "Greener" education is more important! Consider "eLearning" and "Remote Learning" as one of your options for more sustainability.

Educational Bubbles!

GORD = Gulf Organization for Research & Development, a non-for-profit organization aiming at establishing a Qatar-specific green building standard in order to contribute to the overall sustainability & welfare of the Qatari community.
GSAS = Global Sustainability Assessment System, a green building rating system developed by GORD in collaboration with TC Chan Center for Building Simulation and Energy Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.
GSAS CGP = GSAS Certified Green Professional, a person who has proved a minimum level of understanding of the GSAS technical implementation by passing a standard exam in accordance with GORD (Gulf Organization for Research & Development) standards & requirements.
USGBC = United States Green Building Council, a US-based non-for-profit organization aiming at transforming the construction market and promoting the green building concept worldwide.
GBCI = Green Building Certification Institute, a subsidiary of USGBC that is intended
LEED = Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, a green building rating system developed in 1998 by USGBC (United States Green Building Council).
LEED AP = LEED Accredited Professional, a person who has proved a minimum level of understanding of the LEED rating system technical implementation by passing a standard exam in accordance with GBCI (Green Building Certification Institute) standards & requirements.
LEED Green Associate = a person who has proved a minimum level of understanding the general aspects of the LEED rating systems by passing a standard exam in accordance with GBCI (Green Building Certification Institute) standards & requirements.

References:

  • LEED Green Associate Candidate Handbook
  • LEED AP Candidate Handbook
  • GSAS Technical Guide
  • GORD Academy Guide

Useful Links:

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Qatar Green Leaders is a Green Building Certification Management & Training Company, dedicated to helping its clients achieve the most feasible LEED / GSAS certification.

We are a privately-owned Qatari company established in June 2011 and operating from Doha, Qatar.

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