Kirkwood Community College students earn LEED Green Associate credentials (USGBC Iowa) | U.S. Green Building Council
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Kirkwood Community College students in Cedar Rapids earn their LEED Green Associate credentials while learning about sustainable construction.

Martha Norbeck, USGBC Iowa Market Leadership Advisory Board Member, guest teaches for Sustainable Construction Science students before their LEED Green Associate exam.

Pull onto the Kirkwood Community College campus in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and it’s hard to miss the wind turbine just north of Jones Hall, the Industrial Technologies building, which also has student-installed photovoltaic (solar) panels along the edge of the roof.

Kirkwood offers courses in sustainable construction and design and encourages students with interests across varying professions to approach their work with considerations for social, economic and environmental responsibilities. Kirkwood also offers an associate's degree in Energy Production and Distribution, in which students learn the ins and outs of designing, installing and maintaining wind and solar energy systems.

Joe Greathouse teaches Sustainable Construction Science, which has been offered for five years, and requires students to study for and take the LEED Green Associate exam, with their performance taken as part of the final overall grade for the class. Joe Greathouse and Bruce Hamous, both USGBC Iowa Market Leadership Advisory Board members, have co-taught the course twice. Guest speakers have included Mike Morman and Martha Norbeck, also USGBC Iowa Market Leadership Advisory Board members.

Studying for a LEED credential "gives students a more global view of what it means to be sustainable in the built environment,” says Greathouse. “LEED goes beyond typical green building concepts and looks more holistically at the broader community.”

Seda Cikmaz is one student at Kirkwood who earned the LEED Green Associate credential and will graduate in May 2017 from the Interior Design program. Her goal, she says, is to create innovative, livable and healthy environments that incorporate sustainable attributes. “There are so many sustainable options in this field—materials and products affecting air quality, workers and occupant health," says Cikmaz. "It’s up to us to make these sustainable decisions as designers.”

In addition to Sustainable Construction Science and Interior Design, the LEED Green Associate exam is incorporated into the Architectural Technologies program, with over 40 students receiving their LEED Green Associate credentials.

Learn more about becoming a LEED Green Associate

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