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The First Steps in the Journey to Become a Green Contractor


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It is no news that the popularity of green and sustainable methods of construction have been on the rise for quite some time. Health- and environmentally-conscious clients are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint, while at the same time promoting a safer environment for their families. Others choose green construction for practical reasons – it might cost a bit more initially, but it can pay off in the long-term through reduced utility bills and increased re-sale value.

Hence, the rising demand for contractors who can implement sustainable methods and technologies in their work. If you’re planning to start as a contractor or would like to make the transition to being a green contractor, here are some steps to consider as you begin your journey.

Getting Green Contractor Training

Getting your contractor license is the first step, but the related training and certifications don’t always involve sustainable methods of construction. To be considered well-qualified you may need to pursue additional training that results in some form of green certificate. Below are three of the most well-known ways to do it.

Certified Green Professional (CGP)

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) offers a certificate called Certified Green Professional (CGP). If you choose this form of certification, you will not only learn about green construction methods, but also how to better market your services and communicate with your clients.

To become certified as a CGP you need a minimum of 2 years of experience in construction, take the two required courses (Green Building for Building Professionals and Business Management for Building Professionals or Basics of Building), sit an exam and agree to the CGP Code of Ethics. It’s better to take the courses at an NAHB-sponsored event, because the prices are fixed. If you are an NAHB member, it will cost you $640, while non-members have to pay $960. There are additional fees to sit the exam and receive the certificate.

LEED Professional Credentials

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LEED is undoubtedly the most renowned system for construction and maintenance of green buildings. Taking the LEED Professional Credentials, offered by the US Green Building Council (USGBC), is the most effective way to show your dedication to enter the green builders’ community.

There are a few types of LEED Professional Credentials you can obtain, depending on how far you want to advance in the field. You start off with the LEED Green Associate certificate. There are three ways to be eligible to sit the exam – 1) you must work in a LEED-certified project or 2) have been employed in a sustainable work field 3) complete an educational course in green building. You must take 15 hours of continuing education to maintain the certificate. The exam fee costs $200 for USGBC members and $250 for non-members.

Later on, you can obtain the LEED AP certificate which takes your knowledge further and makes you an expert in a specific LEED rating system.

Certified Green Contractor

The Certified Green Contractor is a green certificate offered by the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). It will help you in your efforts to “develop a sustainable workplace environment—both on and off the jobsite.”

ABC’s certification process is very strict. You need to meet a minimum of 12 out of 36 elective items along with some more educational and training requirements. The application fee is $495, but there will be some extra fees, because ABC will send a third-party assessment company to your office. Once you complete this process, you will be certified for a period of three years, after which you need to renew your certificate. You will be listed on ABC’s page containing green contractor members, so you can find opportunities to co-operate.

Of course, there are many other ways to get certified as a green contractor, but the above three are among the most popular choices. The field of green construction is a rapidly expanding one, so hopefully good years are ahead of you.

Are you a green contractor? What training program and certificate did you choose? Our readers (your fellow professionals) would enjoy hearing about your journey to become a green contractor. Leave us a comment.

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