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IGBC AP Exam and LEED GA: What is More Appropriate for Green Building in India?

posted 10 Feb 2013, 08:03 by Yusuf Turab   [ updated 6 Mar 2013, 23:18 ]
Akhileshwar asks: I am very interested in doing certification course in green building but I am unable to select the right course for me. I am currently working with Tata Consulting Engineers and we are providing consultancy to Bangalore Water Supply And Sewerage Board for 550mld Water pipeline project but thats is not a green project. So in all I don't have any green project exposure so far. I have done Btech Civil engineering fron NIT Nagpur and currently pursuing my post graduation degee in Infrastructure Developlment and Management (already completed my one year in this course, total duration 2 year and will be completing this course by july '11). Can you please suggest a course for me asap?

Advice provided by: Yusuf Turab, Y T Enterprises

Dear Akhilesh,

Many thanks for your question. If you are sure you want to give this field a try, I suggest you start off by reading up on green buildings, what attributes make a building truly green, what is the meaning of the term green, what is sustainability etc. Once you feel this is your thing, I suggest you attend one of the Advanced Training Programme on Green Building offered by the Indian Green Building Council or ADARSH.

IGBC AP Credential

If you find that Green building rating systems are of interest to you, you can go ahead and apply for the IGBC AP certification exam. Getting an IGBC AP accreditation is fairly straight forward and the exam itself is not the most complicated you will ever see. The first step is to register for the IGBC AP exam online. You will be asked your preferred date and examination centre. The exam itself is conducted by a company called Meritrac and they will send in the examination pack which will contain all the information you need once IGBC receives your examination fee.

Over 60% of the questions will come from the LEED India NC reference guide. For the remaining you will have to polish your general knowledge on green buildings, sustainability, impact of buildings on the environment and other general subjects related to the environment. I do not recommend taking any paid classes to prepare for the exam but I suggest you take some sample tests before you take the actual exam to learn where you stand.

GRIHA Trainer Credential

The GRIHA trainer credential is again quite similar to the IGBC AP credential exam. Except here you will have to be thorough with the GRIHA Manual Volume 1. The tests are given in the traditional pen and paper format post the three day training programmes that GRIHA India organises throughout the country. You can also opt to test for the GRIHA Evaluator exam in the same session. There is no eligibility criteria for this but you will have to have thorough technical  knowledge of the area of expertise you are opting to give your exam in.

Once you have attained your IGBC AP or GRIHA Trainer credential, you will soon begin to realise that certain aspects of the Green building rating systems can get highly technical. You might have to take your learning a step further by taking up a course on advanced simulation for energy and lighting consumption in building designs. This will be the single biggest asset on your CV. Inability to carry out building simulations in-house and having to rely on expensive freelance energy modelers is the single biggest reason for the current high cost of providing LEED facilitation services in India. Find courses that can help you gain this knowledge and practice till you can perfect it. I have included a link to the one that I know of but I am sure there are many more.

LEED Green Associate Credential

If you want a more internationally recognised accreditation you also have the option of taking up the USGBC / GBCI LEED Green Associate exam. The LEED GA is not too different from the IGBC AP exam and you can take this exam in India itself. Here are two places you can get answers and learn how to apply.

I recommend completing the IGBC AP certification first before attempting the LEED GA exam because if you are working on IGBC rated projects in India, IGBC AP is what you need. Once you have these credentials and you can start looking for work experience on green building projects that have applied to be rated by the LEED system. Professionals with a LEED GA accreditation and sufficient green building project experience can then go on and take up one of the LEED AP exams. You have some way to go before you can be eligible for the LEED AP exam so I will keep that for later.

So these are the options available to you but before you take on any of my advice, I suggest you do your own research. Try reading as much as you can on sustainability, the need to go green and the value associated with it. Find a way to get motivated about playing an active role in conserving the environment and you will find that this passion will ensure that most of these certifications and credentials follow. One can become a good green building professional only if he/she is truly passionate about the natural environment. Good Luck.