Mika Kania

Is the insulation in your home installed correctly to save on energy bills? Does your home have a properly functioning ventilation system to improve indoor air quality? Is your HVAC equipment sized to ensure the comfort of your family?

USGBC’s Green Raters provide on-site verification of these measures and more for LEED certified homes to ensure they are built effectively and efficiently to meet LEED’s rigorous requirements. As LEED BD+C: Homes grows internationally, the pool of international Green Raters is also expanding. 

Meet Emre Ilicali and Berkay Somali. The engineers studied and worked in the U.S. for a few years before returning to Turkey to start Altensis, a company that specializes in green building consulting for engineering and assessment. They started working on LEED residential projects two years ago. We asked them give us their take on the Green Rater mentorship process and the value of training local raters in international markets.

Tell us about your experience with Green Rater mentorship.

After passing the Green Rater exam, the Green Rater In-Training must complete a mentorship period by working with an experienced Green Rater Certificate Holder as his or her mentor. During this period the Green Rater In-Training needs to complete two preliminary ratings, two pre-drywall and 2 final verification visits and assemble 2 final submittal packages. While the mentor provides oversight throughout, only the first pre-drywall (or midconstruction) verificaiton visits and first final verification visit require that the mentor be physically onsite to supervise. I believe this process is crucial in the sense that the required mentorship allows the Green Rater In-Training to apply their training with confidence and helps to reduce mistakes in verification for the less experianced Green Raters In-Training.

We had great help from our mentor, Megan Gilman from Active Energies, who is a very experienced Green Rater. During our mentorship period and verification visits she  enabled us to really get the sense of how a BD+C: Homes Green Rater should apply their experience and know-how to the projects they assess.  Since we had our projects here in Turkey and they were two of the first international projects, we had to plan things very carefully at the beginning.  She made two visits  to Turkey for pre and final verification visits  and we made several  conference calls  in order to get things straight and going. Eventually our projects were successful and we had a great time working with each other. Currently, although we are alreday Certified Green Raters now, we are still working with Megan as our mentor and consultant.

Why have you decided to be a Green Rater?

BD+C: Homes is a new concept with great potential in Turkey. The assessment systems is very different than commercial schemes which requires central assessment. In order to boost BD+C: Homes projects in Turkey, or other countries nearby, there is a need for local Green Raters. This will enable working more closely with project teams, more thorough control and monitoring, proficiency in local codes and methods and maybe most important of all, lower fees including travel and accommodation which will enhance the possibility of voluntary BD+C: Homes certification demand from developers.

Therefore, in order to promote the green building movement in the Turkish residential sector, we believe that local Green Raters are crucial. Hence, we became Green Raters and at Altensis we started providing Green Rater services in Turkey.

What has your experience been like?

So far so good! As experienced LEED commercial consultants who have worked on huge building projects, we really enjoy working on smaller residential projects close to project teams; consistently monitoring and controlling the activities on site. This is a very different experience that we used to have in commercial projects for years.

Would you recommend this to others?

We would recommend it only to those who have the required experience in the green building sector. In order to become a Green Rater and do assessments fairly and without any major mistakes, one should know the process and  further details. This includes green building design, construction, materials, building systems, and project management terminology. Being a Green Rater is much more different than being a consultant or a LEED AP, because it requires the person to be more careful in details and have more experience in other concepts related to building design and construction.

Is it easy?

We can’t say it is easy. Being a Green Rater requires much more discipline, precision, knowledge  and experience in different subjects. Being a BREEAM International Assessor since 2008, we believe we have enough experience in managing project teams through an assessment process. Therefore we didn’t have too hard of a time becoming a LEED Green Rater. However for an individual, without such experience, becoming a Green Rater may be more challenging.  

Although it is a newly developing system in the international arena, we believe the LEED Green Rater and Provider verification system is the right way to delegate and outsource assessments by GBCI.  We believe in the near future, there should be a similar assessment system and chain for LEED commercial projects too.

Interested in becoming a Green Rater?  Learn more