95+ FREE Online LEED CMP Continuing Education (CE) Hours


How I learned to stop worrying and just self report

One of the biggest initial complaints about the new LEED Credentialing Maintenance Program (CMP) was that people who sign up were going to have a pay substantial sums to get their Continuing Education (CE) hours. While free opportunities are still not widespread, there are now enough free resources out there on the internets to get you through about 6 years worth of hours. I'm talking specifically about CE hours that have been approved by an official Education Review Body (ERB). There are a multitude of other ways to get free credits (volunteering, attending or developing non-approved presentations, college classes, authorship, or LEED project participation), but most have limitations on the number of hours you can earn under that section per 2 year CMP term. ERB approved hours can constitute 100% of the hours you need in a given term, so the references below are in a way more useful than others. For more details on LEED credentialling maintenance in general, I strongly suggest reading the official CMP Guide. All courses require self reporting. There will eventually be a post about my experience so far with the CMP process, but that takes a long time to get right and I'm lazy.

Studying Stinks

My prediction for what 95% of LEED APs will look like the night before their credits are due.

The USGBC maintains a course catalog that updates whenever a program earns CE approval. You can filter the search results by subject, format, LEED credit, duration, and a few other parameters, but unfortunately you cannot filter by cost. All results will show both paid and free webinars, articles, or workshops listed together. The following list was developed mostly by me scanning through this catalog formats that feature online classes (e.g. webinars, articles, and online courses). Unfortunately direct linking isn't an option for many of these courses, so in some instances you will need to visit the course catalog and follow the instructions below to access the courses:

  • AEC Daily
    • 52 approved courses
    • Hosts courses typically developed by manufacturers. Easy to use and an excellent source for just about every other continuing education body imaginable (AIA, CSI, IDCEC, etc.). You can filter results by other education bodies here.
  • Energy University by Schneider Electric
    • 22 approved courses
    • The USGBC Course Catalog shows 22 approved courses, though the total offerings on the Schneider site show 25 classes, so I would recommend using the course catalog to make sure the classes you take are approved. Most of these courses deal with HVAC and electrical engineering issues... go figure!
  • McGraw Hill -> "Advanced Options" -> Select McGraw-Hill Construction from the "Providers" list -> Click "Go"
    • 18 approved courses
    • Basically a bunch of articles and online courses that are also available in their Architectural Record and Greensource publications. Many of the courses also earn AIA credits.
  • Environmental Design + Construction -> "Advanced Options" -> Select Environmental Design and Construction from the "Providers" list -> Click "Go"
    • 3 approved courses
    • Very similar to McGraw Hill format and also offering AIA credits.
  • Leonardo Academy
    • 1 approved course
    • This live webinar is taking place on June 17th. Word from staff at Leonardo is that they'll be adding more classes in the future.

To be clear, there are free offerings in the course catalog that I've missed, as many manufacturers are starting to get on board with the new system and getting their lunch and learns up to date... Please don't hesitate to spam the comments if you have a course offering that I've missed, but you can only advertise if it's completely FREE to attend!

Must-See FREE Resource: Building Commissioning (Cx) Blog

A few days ago Mark Walter of Virtual Cx dropped me a link to his blog, appropriately called Building Commissioning. Billed as "the largest Building Commissioning blog in the United States", there is an even mix of system profiles, commissioning (Cx) guidance, Cx cost/benefit info, and standard/code development commentary in it's 100+ posts and articles. Though a corporate blog, he doesn't seem to be too concerned about pitching his service (which is an interesting concept on its own), but instead sticks to creating a resource that reads like it was actually written by a commissioning agent (CxA) and not some intern 'specialized in web 2.0'...

I wish I knew enough about Cx to write this stuff!

The posts constantly link to things like the "Practical Guide for Commissioning Existing Buildings" (from an 1999 ORNL report), the IT Handbook for Energy Efficient Cooling (in a post about Cx guidance to limit hot spots in data centers), and a sample Cx kickoff meeting agenda (in a post about... sample kickoff meeting agendas. Let's see you top that, web 2.0 intern!).

Is there another Cx blog I've missed? Let us know by leaving a comment!

LEED ND Fees Cost HOW Much?!?!?


LEED ND Project Certification Rates Effective April 28, 2010

LEED ND Project Application Review Fees
SLL Prerequisite Review $2,250 (flat fee)
Expedited SLL Prerequisite Review $5,000
Initial Stage Review Fees
For Projects under 320 Acres $18,000for the first 20 acres $350 for each additional acre
For Projects 320 Acres or More $123,000 (flat fee)
Expedited Review $25,000
Subsequent Stage Review Fees
For Projects under 320 acres $10,000 for the first 20 acres $350 for each additional acre
For Projects 320 acres or More $115,000 (flat fee)
Expedited Subsequent Stage Review $15,000
Additional Fees
CIRs $220 each
Appeal Review $500 per credit
Expedited Appeal Review $1,000 per credit

I found this out from Jeff Baxter of the Noisette Company. He gave an excellent presentation at SustainSC 2010 (which I'm currently pressuring them to post online) profiling the company's experience with getting the Navy Yard, a 340 acre mixed use redevelopment of a former Navy base, through the LEED ND Pilot system.

As a pilot project, they paid substantially less than they would have needed to under the current system. It would have cost $241,750 to reach the level of certification they have achieved so far (Stage 2 certification... more on that in a later post), and if they were to pursue Stage 3 certification that cost would climb to $356,750! Even the smallest development faces a minimum of $39,500 in fees to complete Stage 3 certification. It's no surprise the USGBC included a free 'introductory call' service as part of their registration process and a $2,250 prerequisite review option that allows developers to check to ensure their site meets the base requirements before having to pony up for the more extensive Stage 1 review.

People familiar with LEED certification fees at the presentation were surprised at the cost, especially when you consider the fact that the documentation required for submission is not that much different in volume or complexity from a typical LEED NC or CS project.

On the other hand, one attendee suggested that if you broke this down to cost per building or cost per square foot the results are likely to show a lower overall cost than if a developer certified each building independently. I would suspect that everything within the development would earn the same marketing cachet as an individually certified facility by virtue of its association with the larger development, so this could possibly end up as a better value than previous options.

As you might suspect, I'm very interested to hear reader reactions to these fees and your thoughts on potential implications... Is this cost justified? Are the costs too high to allow for significant market-share, or will developers see the benefits to be large enough to warrant the investment? Truthfully... I don't really know!

Online Tools for LEED Project Managers Presentation

I just finished up an education session at the USGBC South Carolina conference I mentioned previously. As I promised the attendees earlier, I've loaded the presentation online so everyone can take full advantage of the links included.

For regular readers who didn't attend, many of the links are already featured on the right side of the screen, but I did some research to find free online GBCI CE credits (a topic I'll be covering in detail in the next few weeks) and a few other resources that I haven't posted elsewhere. When I'm no longer completely exhausted, I'll likely edit this post to place all the links in one place and add a few images. Until then, enjoy!