Side Story: Ask An Expert-Simple Steps to Go Green

Words: Dan KamysOctober 2008

Green Building

With so much movement toward sustainable design, mason contractors have a lot to gain by becoming more educated on the topic. Masonry spoke with Ashley Katz, USGBC communications manager, at great length about how mason contractors can get more involved, educated and — yes — even certified. Masonry: With mason contractors in mind, where do owners begin in adding green building to their business? Ashley Katz: I think that mason contractors should educate themselves about LEED. There are workshops held nearly everyday throughout the country, and our Web site ( offers online educational courses all year long. Learning about how LEED works and how LEED can work for them is really key and will be valuable for their future. Masonry: If a company is going to offer green building strategies as part of its business, is it important for at least one staff member to be a LEED accredited professional? Katz: Absolutely. Becoming a LEED AP familiarizes professionals with the LEED rating system and the certification process. It's a tremendous asset to have under your belt, especially because many companies exclusively hire LEED APs. In addition, having a LEED AP on a building's project team can help the project earn a point toward certification, which is a benefit for the project and for the professional. Masonry: What investment do individuals need to make to become LEED APs? What return on this investment will the individual/company see? Katz: The fee is $300 for national USGBC members and $400 for non-members. The time commitment depends on your commitment to studying. It's recommended that you have:
  • Tenure in green building and construction industry knowledge
  • Familiarity with documentation process for LEED certified projects
  • Knowledge of LEED credit intents, requirements, submittals, technologies and strategies within your discipline
  • Practical experience working with multiple design disciplines
  • Understanding of life cycle cost and benefits of LEED
  • Familiarity with LEED resources and processes
Because the exam measures the candidate's ability to facilitate the integrated design process and his/her knowledge of the LEED rating system and the resources and processes involved with the project certification process, the best way to prepare is to understand the rating system requirements and processes and their application in practice. Masonry: Can an individual become LEED AP through online courses only? Katz: Yes, as long as you use the Reference Guide to study, there are no mandatory classes that an individual needs to take. Masonry: Tell us a little more about Greenbuild 365. Katz: The Greenbuild 365 Web site features educational offerings, podcasts and expanded resources, along with year-round access to plenaries and master speaker presentations from USGBC's Annual Greenbuild Conference & Expo — the industry's largest gathering of representatives from all sectors of the green building movement. Greenbuild includes over 100 educational sessions featuring world-renowned speakers, LEED workshops, off-site educational sessions, and green building tours of local Boston sites. Visit   Return to Table of Contents
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