Editor's Note: This article was updated January 17, 2012.
As more and more people enter the field of sustainability, leading companies are taking steps to distinguish themselves from the pack.
Highlighting the expertise of their staff and their firm's support for enhanced training and development are sure-fire ways for a company to call attention to the brainpower and experience of its professionals.
Perhaps nowhere is that more evident than in the green building industry and related fields where credentialing based on well-known standards is rising rapidly.
Last week, we reported that Jones Lang LaSalle surpassed its goal of having 1,000 certified sustainability professionals on its books. That tally includes accreditations with the U.S. Green Building Council and its Green Building Certification Institute, BREEAM in the U.K. and several other major standards.
JLL's milestone prompted me to ask the U.S. Green Building Council for an update on its certification program and information about companies with the most LEED Accredited Professionals on their payrolls. The USGBC's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design green building rating and assessment system is the market leader in the United States and has become a globally recognized standard.
The USGBC provided a look at the 15 companies with the greatest number of LEED credentialed professionals. The firms in descending order were Johnson Controls Inc., Turner Construction Company, Gensler, HOK, Perkins + Will, Jones Lang LaSalle, Trane, Stantec, Gilbane Construction Company, Skanska, CB Richard Ellis, Arup, McCarthy Building Companies, DPR Construction and URS Corporation. Their estimated populations of LEED professionals ranged from a high of almost 1,500 to just under 400.
We initially ran a chart of the estimates when this article published on January 11. Since then, the USGBC asked that we pull the chart while the organization reviews its statistics on LEED professionals. The USGBC said it expects to have an update soon to reconcile figures that fluctuate based on movement of credential holders from one company to another and various other factors. The USGBC also encouraged people who have earned LEED credentials to keep their records with the organization up to date via the the Green Building Certification Institute's My Credentials page.
The USGBC established its LEED AP program in 2001. Since its inception more than 176,000 LEED Accredited Professionals and Green Associates, a designation added in 2009, have earned credentials. In 2008, the Green Building Certification Institute launched as a separately incorporated entity with the support of the USGBC to administer the burgeoning green building certification and professional credentialing responsibilities.
Last year, the GBCI added a new credential, that of LEED Fellow. The designation, the highest currently available, is accorded to distinguished green building professionals who hold LEED AP certification with a designated specialty, have at least 10 years of industry experience and have been selected following peer nomination and an extensive portfolio review.
Image of professionals in silhouette via Shutterstock.com. LEED credential logos courtesy of the USGBC.