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Green Roof Organization Debuts New Credential

July 20, 2009

By Joann Gonchar, AIA

If a new professional designation catches on, designers and contractors involved in sustainable building projects could soon be seeking another set of initials to put after their names. Early last month, the Toronto-based nonprofit, Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, launched a green roof professional accreditation exam.

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The 100-question, multiple-choice test was offered for the first time on June 5 at the group’s annual International Greening Rooftops for Sustainable Communities conference in Atlanta. The exam focuses on knowledge areas such as green roof design, contract management, and maintenance. These topics are covered in four full-day workshops offered by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities. Although completion of the training courses is not a prerequisite for exam registration, “it might be difficult to pass without them,” says Jeffrey L. Bruce, owner of the Kansas City, Missouri-based landscape architecture firm that bears his name and chair of the group’s training and accreditation committee. Bruce was also recently named chairman of the organization’s board.

The green roof professional (GRP) designation is not intended as a form of licensure or an indication of professional competency, but should facilitate improved collaboration among the various disciplines involved in designing and installing green roofs, according to Green Roofs for Healthy Cities.

Preparing for the GRP exam “provides a shared knowledge base so that different professionals can talk to each other,” says Jason Abbey, AIA, an associate at FXFOWLE in New York City.

Abbey is working on the design of a 6.5-acre extensive green roof that is part of an expansion and renovation of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan. He was among the 130 architects, landscape architects, civil engineers, roofing and landscape contractors, and product manufacturers who took the exam in Atlanta and await the results. “The more we know about each others’ jobs, the better a project will turn out,” he says.

The GRP exam, which cost $395 without the prep courses, will be offered in four North American cities this fall, starting with Toronto, on October 19. Test dates for Seattle, New York City, and Chicago have not yet been finalized. More information on the accreditation program can be found at www.greenroofs.org.

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