Just when you thought it was safe to put up your study books, your on-line prep exams, and your stacks of flash cards … there is a new professional certification available for all you sustainable design players.  Green Roofs for Healthy Cities announced last month its Green Roof Professional (GRP) Accreditation Program at the 7th Greening Rooftops for Sustainable Communities Conference, Awards and Trade Show in Atlanta. The GRP accreditation exam focuses on five key areas, including predesign, design, contract management, quality assurance and support, and maintenance.

While it is informative to learn about a new accredited professional in the green building world, a key issue is understanding the role of "professional accreditation" (whether LEED AP or GRP or other designation) in the green construction process.  According to Green Roofs’ website, becoming a GRP can provide a number of important benefits that are key to the long-term health and growth of the green roof industry, including the following:

  • Enabling professionals to differentiate themselves in the marketplace.
  • Establishing a high-level of professionalism and improved multi-disciplinary collaboration.
  • Increasing customer confidence in green roof technology.
  • Resulting in better green roof design and installation practices.
  • Protecting the industry from the inevitable failures that result from inappropriate design, installation and maintenance practices.

According to the Green Building Certification Institute, the LEED credential "provides employers, policymakers, and other stakeholders with assurances of an individual’s current level of competence and is the mark of the most qualified, educated, and influential green building professionals in the marketplace."

Is that what these AP-ers provide? Customer confidence or assurance? Better green designs and installation practices? Understanding that there will be different levels of consultation—from technical advice on a rainwater pit to legal advice on risk allocation—perhaps GBCI got it right by creating the new multi-faceted credentialing system that seeks to differentiate between accomplishment, knowledge, expertise and longterm success in the industry (Green Associate, LEED AP BD+CLEED Fellow, etc.).