Earning Your LEED Associate’s Credential

In an effort to keep pace with current trends in green construction, Mike Pearson Construction had their senior estimator (myself) register for and take the LEED Green Associate’s exam, which I (fortunately) passed.

Having a LEED Associate on staff helps companies become more competitive in a number of ways, so for our newsletter this month, we thought we’d share the process of registering, studying, and taking this exam with you.

First of all, what are the benefits to having a LEED Associate on staff? There are a number of practical advantages. Almost all of us are bidding on, working on, or will work on LEED projects. The LEED Associates exam focuses on the LEED rating system, how projects are registered, how credits and prerequisites work, minimum program requirements for LEED projects, and the details of each of the credit areas.  Having a LEED Associate on staff will aid your company in navigating the LEED process by having a solid grasp of the basic concepts in the LEED process, some knowledge of techniques, and an understanding of the administrative work flow. The LEED Associate is also the first step in attaining the LEED AP credential.  Project teams that have a LEED AP involved in a LEED project can earn one point under Innovation in Design, (Credit 2.)  In addition, it is simply good PR to have an individual with a LEED credential on your staff.

How do you go about perusing your LEED Associate’s credential, or having one of your staff do so?  First, go to the following link on the GBCI website, and register:

http://www.gbci.org/main-nav/professional-credentials/credentials.aspx

The registration fee will vary for USGBC or non-USGBC members.  Our fee was $150.00. You’ll be asked to provide a letter stating that the person registering for the test is involved in the green construction field in some form or fashion.

Once the exam registration is complete, you’ll need to select a third party entity to provide the study materials. The Green Building Certification Institute does not provide study materials for this certification, so you’ll need to choose from one of the many outside parties that provide study materials for this exam on your own.  I used the study materials created by a company called Green Building Education Services (www.greenexamprep.com). 

The Green Building Education Services provides a printable study guide (approximately 200 pages long,) and several online tests and flash cards. The study materials are downloadable PDF’s, which must be printed.  I cannot say how these materials compare to other study materials on the market, but I can say that I was very well prepared for the exam when I took it, and I scored 92%.  I felt that the materials from GBES were somewhat poorly organized, and I had to read and re-read several sections of the study guide to answer what I felt were relatively simple questions. I felt that they could have done a better job of highlighting important concepts.  As a result, the online tests that they provided were fairly difficult, and I had to study much harder than I had anticipated. I wouldn’t give GBES my highest grade in terms of clarity of presentation. However, the overall result was that I had to scour the materials and think critically about the concepts in order to do well in their online practice tests, which meant that I was very well prepared for the test.

The exam itself must be scheduled through another third party company called Prometric. (www.prometric.com). The exam was slightly less difficult than the practice exams. I generally scored about 85% on their practice exams, and I scored 92% on the real exam. (They advertise that if you score 80% or more on their practice exams, you should be ready for the real test, which seems to be correct.)  You need to score 85% or more on the real exam, so the standards for certification are somewhat stringent.

The exam itself is 100 multiple choice questions, and you see your score as soon as you complete the test (which is a relief….or not, depending on your score!) It takes about an hour to complete the test.  Once you pass the exam, you can use the LEED Associate designation after your name in professional publications and other documents.

Electing to have one of your staff earn his or her LEED Associate’s Credential is a good investment. It brings practical knowledge and good P/R to your firm. The fees for exam registration and testing materials will only total a few hundred dollars. The larger investment will definitely come from allowing your employee time to study. I would suggest allowing three months to prepare for the test. It is approximately the equivalent of a three unit college class, so use that as a rule of thumb.

John Classick – LEED Associate

Mike Pearson Construction, Inc. – Concrete Contractor Los Angeles

www.mikepearsonconstruction.com

818-999-6780

Mike Pearson Construction has been performing residential and commercial masonry and structural concrete in Los Angeles for over thirty years.

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Concrete Masonry Units – CMU Walls

The Carolinas Concrete Masonry Association (CCMA) was established in the year 1979.  It includes concrete block providers in southern Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina and companies supplying cement, mortar mix, aggregates, equipments, services to the masonry industry and admixtures. Its objectives are creating a superior standard in the manufacturing of concrete masonry, collecting information and publishing bulletins of educational and promotional character, and encouraging the use of concrete masonry products.

The Carolinas Concrete Masonry Association is an important trade association. It is devoted to encouraging the use of concrete masonry products. It also supports its members by giving them opportunities for networking, as well as support in marketing, research and government relations. This association focuses on the enhancement of product knowledge of masonry block applications in the industry for concrete retaining walls and commercial buildings. The CCMA website is an important resource for builders, architects and engineers. More and more people are using the website for this purpose.

Concrete Masonry Units are in great demand because of the durability, structural advantages, economics, energy efficiency, minimal maintenance and fire-resistance that they provide.  Brick, marble, concrete block and limestone are the common materials used in masonry construction. Masonry contractors use this kind of material for constructing steps, walkways, durable brick patios, walls and masonry structures. Masonry construction is highly durable, but many factors can affect the durability and appearance of the masonry construction including the quality of material and mortar used, the quality of the workmanship, and the way the materials are laid.

Retaining walls are also built by residential masonry contractors. These walls are vital for proper drainage as well as maintaining a level grade for your landscape. By using cement blocks, concrete or any kind of field and rock stones, masonry contractors can provide a wide variety of landscaping choices. Retaining wall blocks provide great compressive power. Some concrete blocks offer even greater power for masonry structure as they have cores with steel reinforcement.

Concrete masonry units are large rectangular blocks utilized in the construction of retaining walls or other structures. Concrete blocks make laying the block walls much quicker as these units are much larger than bricks. In addition, concrete blocks have lower water absorption rates than bricks. Concrete blocks are used as a structural core for the walls of factories, garages and industrial buildings.  Sometimes, river rock can be utilized as a surface layer.

 

 

Mike Pearson Construction, Inc. – CMU Wall and Retaining Wall Contractor Los Angeles

Mike Pearson Construction, Inc. – Structural Concrete/Foundation Contractor Los Angeles

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Brick Pavers – Los Angeles, CA

When determining which way to finish off or reconstruct your driveway, one method not to overlook is using brick pavers. From their long lasting, durable nature, to the variety of colors and design possibilities, they are an excellent alternative to more conventional concrete and tarmac designs.

Let’s have a look at other advantages:

1. Long lasting. The reason brick paved driveways last a long time is that each individual brick used is constructed to be very tough, it is then laid upon a screeded bed of either sand or fine gravel, when all bricks are laid and bedded into place, each brick is then interlocked using very fine kiln sand, this ensures a rock solid surface with little, if no, movement. As the driveway effectively “floats” on the screeded bed it is laid on, when driven upon, weight from vehicles is easily distributed between the surface of the brick and the surface underneath, and as a large number of bricks are used then the more effectively the weight is supported.

2. No Water Damage As the bricks are laid upon either a sand or gravel base, this allows water from the surface to percolate between each brick and then be easily absorbed into the sub-strate below.

This prevents any related problems to having water sitting on either concrete or tarmac, such as damage from water freezing and cracking/splitting the surface.

3. Low Maintenance To ensure long lasting results, it only requires you to keep the bricks clean and free from moss, this is achieved easily by periodic power washing, or brooming with a stiff broom. Then, simply brush kiln sand between the edges of the bricks with a soft broom, this will replace the sand washed out during cleaning and ensure the driveway to be interlocked once more!

If a brick or an area of bricks did sink, lift or break..rare! Then it is an easy fix, it only involves lifting the suffering brick(s) and its neighbor, adjust the sand or gravel base underneath, replace the brick(s) and tap back into place, then brush kiln sand once again between the bricks. It is wise to keep bricks left over from the original build to ensure color and type of brick match.

Hopefully this has helped to bring forward the advantages of brick paved driveways and helped you to be further informed in your decisions.

Mike Pearson Construction, Inc. – Stone and Brick Contractor Los Angeles

Mike Pearson Construction, Inc. – Decorative Concrete and Driveway Contractor Los Angeles

 

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Green Construction – Earning a Repuatation for Building Green

The market makes many demands of the construction industry. We are judged not only by the price and quality of our services, but by social and environmental factors as well. Construction and design firms in California are at the center of the drive to think, design, and build in a way that is environmentally responsible. It is increasingly important to our customers that we are “green.” Firms that can legitimately make this claim will undoubtedly gain more market share, strengthen their reputation, and gain the loyalty of their consumer base.

But what does this really mean, to be “green?” What are the measurable factors we can point to in order to establish in a truly legitimate way that we are one of the companies that is responding to this call to design and build in an eco-friendly way? What are the specific things that we can do to establish a real reputation for being a “green” company?

Any company wanting to gain a reputation for “Green” building will want to become aware of the following two organizations: The U.S. Green Building Council, and The Green Building Certification Institute.

Many of us already have various levels of awareness about these organizations, and some of us are members of USGBC. (California has over 5000 members, comprised of architects, contractors, and manufacturers.) For those of us who don’t really know about these two organizations and what they do, here are the basics:

The U.S. Green Building Council is a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC that provides education to individuals in the construction industry. In addition to providing education, the U.S. Green Building Council has created a comprehensive program for rating the design, construction, and operation of green buildings.

The Green Building Certification Institute is an organization that administers project certification for commercial and institutional buildings and tenant spaces under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Green Building Rating Systems™ addressing new construction and ongoing operations. The Green Building Certification Institute also administers the exams required for an individual to receive various levels of LEED® certification. (The study materials for the exams are available through various third party providers which have been pre-approved by GBCI.)

The websites for these two organizations are here:

USGBC
GBCI

Anyone in the construction industry can easily become a member of USGBC. There is an annual fee, based on your company’s revenue. This entitles you to claim that you are a member, and gives you the option to display their logo on your website and in your publications. They also offer discounts on various products and services for their members. Of course, simply becoming a member does not require or indicate any action beyond membership.

If one wants to make a serious effort towards education, GBCI offers courses and accreditations. Individuals recognized for their knowledge of the LEED rating system are permitted to use the LEED Accredited Professional (AP) acronym after their name, indicating they have passed the accreditation exam given by the USGBC. Many professionals in our field have this certification.

Lastly, you may submit your project to the certification process that the GBCI oversees. This requires that the project be designed and built within the guidelines established by USGBC, and judged by GBCI. While the standards are complex and require a great deal of investigation and education, the general process is fairly simple.

The rating system and details are on the USGBC website, but I have included a link to a PDF file here:

LEED Green Building Rating System (PDF)

Once you have familiarized yourself with the rating system and guidelines provided by USGBC, you can then register your project with GBCI. The GBCI will then rate the project based on the parameters outlined in the rating system. Once the project has been officially deemed LEED certified, you are entitled to the following:

  • A formal certificate of recognition
  • Information on how to order plaque and certificates, photo submissions, and marketing
  • Inclusion in an online directory of registered and certified projects
  • Inclusion in the US Department of Energy High Performance Buildings Database

What this means is that by perusing and completing the education and/or certification provided by The Green Building Certification Institute, you can claim in a clear and thoroughly substantiated way that you are an active participant in the push to create environmentally sound, sustainable, and energy efficient structures. You can call attention to your accreditation and certification in all of your marketing efforts, and represent yourself as an active and cognizant participant in the green building movement.

We certainly welcome your feedback on the topics discussed above, and we especially welcome any additional insights, tips, or information from anybody that has additional first hand experience navigating the waters of this newly emerging field. It is our hope that we can expand and share our knowledge of topics such as these by sharing our experience with each other. Please feel free to forward this article to anyone who may find the information interesting or useful.

Come visit us here:

Mike Pearson Construction, Inc.

Concrete Contractor Los Angeles

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Concrete Masonry and Sustainability

CCMA stands for Carolinas Concrete Masonry Association. It is a non-profit trade organization. This association focuses on promoting the premium utilization of technical information, masonry materials, the benefits as well as economics using masonry and codes for the commercial and housing construction markets.

Carolinas Concrete Masonry Association offers not only education but also promotional assistance and advocacy to all its members. Concrete masonry product has advanced characteristics. It does not have any negative impacts on the environment. Furthermore, it has insect and fire resistant characteristics.
Using this environment friendly product for creating new looks become superior. There are couples of reasons why to use concrete masonry. First, one is the Green building and another is Sustainability.

First, we will look at what is the sustainability. It is the tolerance capability to experience, suffer or undergo without yielding or surrendering. Throughout its all the stages in the life span from raw material manufacture to destruction, concrete is an ally of the environment. Concrete masonry builds the rust free structures that will never burn or rot. They help to build long-lasting structures having great durability. It is very amazing to know that concrete building products have twice or thrice times the life span as compared to other building materials. That is why they are used for sustainable house construction. Day by day, these products are gaining increased popularity.

Another interesting thing about concrete masonry is it stays cool in the summer season and hot in the winter season. This is because the thermal mass of concrete permits it to store up the energy. Furthermore, utilization of concrete masonry products can help to save the utility bills over than 3%. Limestone is the most significant raw material used in the cement of concrete masonry. Moreover, the mineral ‘limestone’ is found in great quantity in nature. However, various waste by-products from different steel mills, manufacturing units and power plants can be used for the production of concrete.

Like wood, when exposed to the elements, concrete does not rot or warp. Its sustenance capability to all weather damages makes it to have a longer life. With concrete masonry used for building house, there are fewer chances of termites, rodents and ants to invade your home.

Sustainability of the concrete masonry makes it useful for long lasting and resistant construction. CCMA provides assistance to enhance the entire industrial viewpoint and knowledge towards the use of masonry products. It focuses on the use of block masonry applications for concrete viable buildings, paving walls, concrete masonry, retaining walls, etc. for further enhancement in the construction sector. It has helped to change our vision towards the utilization of several products, which are environment friendly.

Mike Pearson Construction – Hardscape Contractor Los Angeles

Mike Pearson Construction – Concrete Contractor Los Angeles

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Mike Pearson Construction – Concrete and Masonry Contractor Los Angeles – Photos

Mike Pearson on Blogger

Mike Pearson on Brave Journal

Mike Pearson on Weebly

Mike Pearson Construction, Inc. – Hardscape, Masonry, and Concrete Contractor Los Angeles

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