Green building, green building, green building…

Everyone is talking about green building these days. The question is, what does it MEAN?! What is LEED anyway?

Before becoming a loan officer and green building lecturer, I worked on LEED projects in Portland, Oregon as a mechanical engineer in the green building industry. During that time, I completed engineering designs, LEED documentation and energy models. Below are a few pointers to get you started with green building and the elephant in the room, LEED.

First, three things:

  1. LEED is an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
  2. There is no S at the end of LEED. It is not a place…so don’t say Leeds! Leeds is a city in the U.K. Saying LEEDS will immediately wreck your credibility in the green building industry.
  3. Buildings get LEED Certified, people get LEED Accredited. (The AP from “LEED AP” stands for Accredited Professional.) Do not say “I am LEED Certified” unless you have a foundation and a roof.

For Realtors, if you haven’t taken a green building class yet, I actually prefer a Realtor-specific accreditation over becoming a LEED AP for Homes, New Construction or the various other designations. Why? Well, LEED is great, but a comprehensive understanding of green building is difficult to acquire simply by studying for and passing the LEED AP test. A weekend course provides more in-depth, targeted knowledge to help you best navigate the waters of green building.

The basic thing missing in LEED is a method to translate and convey the complicated green building information to others in a clear, concise manner applicable to the needs of others. Unless you are a home owner simply looking to expand your knowledge, you want to be able to apply the knowledge.

When it comes down to it, most clients care about green building for 3 basic reasons 1) How much money it will save them 2) How much money it will make them (for rentals, leasing and flipping) 3) How it makes them look good for marketing, usually in pursuit of #2. There are variations of course, but most fit this framework.

I present green building Continuing Education lectures to Realtors and developers and always recommend a course similar to Earth Advantage’s S.T.A.R. program, which focuses on client interaction in a way that is related to the DISC profile that you may have heard of.

There are many other programs across the country similar to it. For LEED providers (who many times have their own programs as well), go to the USGBC website. The ECO-Broker course is also good.

For a more detailed description of green building such as what categories there are and what makes a home “green,” look around my site. Feel free to send me an email if you have questions.