Q: What are the best certifications for green construction and green remodeling contractors?
My wife and I are very concerned about the environment and are looking to do some remodeling over the next year. We'd love to know about the various certifications that a green construction or green remodeling expert can have. What do these certifications mean? What training is required? Is there testing associated with the various certifications? What certification is the most difficult to achieve? Which should be most highly valued? Thank you.
First of all, there are Certifications for individuals: CGBP, NARI GCP Certified Green Point Rater, LEED AP, HERS, etc.
There are Certifications for buildings:LEED, GreenPoint Rated, Energy Star, etc.
There are Certifications for products: Energy Star, GreenGuard, Fair Trade Certified, etc.
Confusing? You bet!
It sounds like the certification category you are most interested in is the first. By becoming certified, the building professional has committed time, energy and a financial investment in becoming more educated about Sustainability in the Built Environment. All certification programs require some training, and ALL require continuing education and practical experience to maintain the certification. Some, like Certified GreenPoint Rater require other certifications as prerequisites, and therefore might be considered more difficult to achieve, as they’ve required an extensive commitment & experience.
All certifications require testing, and some of the tests are difficult and require more knowledge and experience to pass than what is offered in the training. Practical experience working in the area of Green Building should always be considered along with the letters behind the professional’s name.
Which certifications should be most highly valued? That really depends on what you are looking for in regards to your project and where you are located. In the S.F. Bay Area, I’ll take a leap and recommend considering the Certified GreenPoint Rater as the most highly valued for most situations regarding residential remodeling and new building. Even if you don’t choose to get your home GreenPoint Rated (AND YOU SHOULD) consulting with a GreenPoint Rater throughout the design process will make sure you’re project is as ‘Green’ as you want it to be. Working with a contractor who is also certified as a GreenPoint Rater, will help make sure that your project is built as green as it was designed. And if you choose to get the project GreenPoint Rated, a
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