Lead with LEED

Lead with LEED

As the Obama administration continues to push its support for the creation of green initiatives and jobs, the prospect of a fully green economy has become more and more realistic.

Just this week, Vice President Joe Biden called on the Council for Environmental Quality to report back to the White House Task Force on the Middle Class in 90 days with proposals to expand green opportunities and energy savings for the middle class.  This comes as the U.S. Department of Labor and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) are partnering to bring training and employment opportunities to public housing residents for green jobs.

Existing occupations in various industries are being made green, from IT to auto to construction to consulting. Many unemployed job seekers across the nation are getting a head start in meeting the demand for green workers by enrolling in courses that offer training in green-collar jobs.

The renewable energy and efficiency technologies generated more than nine million jobs and more than $1 trillion in revenue in 2007, according to a January American Solar Energy Society report.

One vital area of training and expertise that will play a significant role in the green economy is LEED certification. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), provides standards for environmentally sustainable construction. Since the concept was introduced in 1998, LEED has grown to encompass more than 14,000 projects in 50 states and 30 countries. LEED is a process that includes technical criteria proposed by LEED committees across the globe that are publicly reviewed for approval by the more than 10,000 membership organizations that make up the USGBC.

BlackEnteprise.com spoke with Howard University alumnus Huerta J. Neals, a LEED accredited professional and partner at CleanEdison L.L.C., a company that provides LEED education programs, on why LEED certification training can be a viable resource for those interested in the green jobs.

BlackEnterprise.com: Why is it important for those interested in green jobs to get LEED training, and what types of professionals would benefit most from this type of training?

Huerta J. Neals: LEED training is critical for the green movement to have a baseline measurement across the many building types and the infinite locations around the globe. LEED is becoming standard in many state building codes across the U.S. California, for example, requires all new buildings to incorporate some elements of LEED. It can work within any job or industry and is the gold standard for understanding sustainability quickly because it covers all the bases from creation to recycling the product.