Fast Facts: How GBA Reports Your Continuing Education Hours

As you may know, Green Building Alliance offers a variety of opportunities for AIA and LEED professionals to earn continuing education units (CEUs) that count toward credential maintenance. These CEUs are associated with events that contribute to professional development, offer new insights into the green building industry, and provide valuable networking opportunities.

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The ability to offer and report CEUs for our event participants requires:

  • Developing high-quality programming
  • Being an official education partner with the American Institute of Architects (AIA), U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI, USGBC’s credentialing arm)
  • Submitting our education programs for pre-approval through AIA and USGBC
  • Reporting monthly continuing education credits to AIA and USGBC

Here are some insights on parts of this process, as well as our role in contributing to your education as a LEED or AIA professional:

Creating High-Quality Programming
In an effort to keep our region on the leading edge of healthy and high-performing buildings, we work with a variety of partners to create and curate educational content that is timely, relevant, informative, and inspiring to our community of practitioners. Some of this content is specific to rating systems and some is not, as we seek to showcase a broad range of methods to design, build, operate, and measure healthy and high-performing spaces.

Submitting Education for Pre-Approval
As an added benefit, the majority of educational content we provide can be pre-approved for continuing education credits through AIA and USGBC/GBCI. In order for that to happen, we must submit details about our events in advance to both credentialing bodies, including event description, specific learning objectives, and an agenda (in order to determine how much of the event is dedicated to straight programming versus networking). For USGBC/GBCI approval, we must also submit any presentation materials (PowerPoint shows, handouts, etc.) our speakers plan to use. Upon review, if the participating organization deems our event valid to receive continuing education credits, it is approved and its participants will earn the associated credits.

A few caveats of note:

  • You may often notice that our events are “pending approval” for GBCI or AIA credits. This could be because we’ve submitted the event and are awaiting approval or because we must wait to submit the event because we don’t have all event materials in hand. Sometimes, we don’t get those materials until the day of the event, meaning the program can’t receive approval until after it’s over.
  • We’ve received questions about LEED-specific credits. To all our LEED professionals out there, we hear you! An event can only be approved for LEED-specific credits through USGBC if the learning objectives clearly state the event’s relevance to a specific rating system (for example LEED NC, LEED EBOM, LEED for Homes, etc.) and specific credits within that rating system that will be addressed in the course. Some of our events can get approved for these credits (and we try our best to offer as many as we can), but because we like to provide diverse topics and insights through our events, they are often not narrow enough in scope to garner those coveted LEED-specific hours.

Reporting CE Hours on Behalf of Event Participants
GBA reports CEUs for individuals who attend our events as a way of thanking them for being part of our organization and working with us in accordance with what we believe.

We report CEUs earned by participants at the beginning of each month for all hours earned in the preceding month (for example, CEU reporting for October would be filed at the beginning of November). As a standard policy, GBA will report AIA hours for all event attendees, but will only report GBCI hours for our members (another incentive for those who are considering GBA membership!). We also provide the option and relevant information to self-report credits for non-members as well as members who need their hours registered earlier to prevent their credential from expiring.

What is YOUR Role?
This is where you come in! Since everyone’s LEED credential renewal date is different, it’s up to each individual to know when their credential expires and to ensure all relevant hours are completed before that date. As we mentioned above, we report hours on a monthly basis for the previous month. Let’s say your credential expires on October 31, but GBA won’t be reporting October hours until the first week of November. If you attended an event in October that you need for the completion of your required hours, you must self-report those hours before your credential deadline. As a rule, it’s also good practice for you to check your credentials on a regular basis to ensure all your credits are being reported accurately.

Feel free to contact us anytime with questions or consult USGBC’s Credential Maintenance guide! In the meantime, here is a reminder of GBCI and AIA credential maintenance requirements:

  • LEED Green Associate: 15 continuing education hours every two years, based on when your credential began (three of those hours must be LEED-specific)
  • LEED AP: 30 continuing education hours every two years, based on when your credential began (six of these hours must be LEED-specific; if you have a specialty, they must match your specialty)
  • AIA: 18 learning units per year, reported by September 30 for the previous calendar year [12 of those units must be Health, Safety, Welfare (HSW) hours]

We hope this blog has been helpful in sharing our process with you!

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