Deepa Sathiaram

A LEED Fellow committee co-chair shares what's involved in the process of LEED Fellow selection.

Robert Phinney and I, as co-chairs of the LEED Fellow Evaluation Committee this year, and Sarah Alexander, as Senior Vice President for Credentialing at GBCI, had the wonderful opportunity of presenting the LEED Fellows Class of 2017 at the recently concluded Greenbuild Boston conference. It was an inspiring and humbling experience for us to meet with the LEED Fellows and to hear about their amazing work and their relentless efforts to promote sustainability and LEED in their work and communities.

Behind the scenes

LEED Fellow recognition is no small achievement. This year, 23 more individuals joined the group of 235 professionals who have been longstanding advocates for the sustainable built environment and active proponents of LEED and green building.

The LEED Fellow evaluation process is one of the most rigorous exercises that we have come across. Every application is peer-evaluated by multiple LEED Fellow committee reviewers, who are all LEED Fellows themselves. Each application is evaluated through multiple rounds under the various mastery elements as laid out in the LEED Fellow Handbook and measured by their impact on the USGBC mission and green building industry as a whole.

It is not an easy task for applicants who have done so much over their decades of work to summarize all their accomplishments in few application pages. That is why, as part of the evaluation process, the reviewers reach out to applicants seeking clarification and further input, thereby giving the applicants a chance to provide additional insights into their efforts. Once the clarifications are received, each evaluation committee reviews them in detail, and a unanimous final decision is reached.

Joining a respected community

The entire LEED Fellow review process, which started in March 2017, took seven months, culminating in the formal awarding of the coveted credential at the Leadership Luncheon at Greenbuild Boston on November 9, where we had the pleasure of meeting in person each of the new LEED Fellows. By any measure, they are truly leaders in green building and are propelling action against climate change. Each LEED Fellow has their own inspiring and thought-provoking journey. The camaraderie and fellowship are truly outstanding and to be cherished.

Application tips

Are you one such exemplary LEED AP with specialty who has been driving the market forward and creating an exceptional impact over the last 10 years, or have you come across any such professional? The nomination period for the 2018 LEED Fellow application begins in February 2018. The LEED Fellow Handbook  will provide you with more information and guidance on the application process. Early next year, USGBC will post an updated version of the 2017 Application Guide, but the core information will remain the same. In addition, you can view a sample application packet from previous applicants.

As we move to the next phase of the LEED Fellow program, we are eager to welcome the next generation of LEED professionals and sustainability leaders from across the world. We look forward to hearing many more inspiring stories and learning about their impactful work, the challenges they face and the unique solutions that they adopted. Most important, we are excited to hear about what motivates them to further the green building mission globally.

Explore the LEED Fellow Handbook