This article was originally published in the April 2016 issue of IA&B magazine as "Sustainable Building in India: The Value of LEED Professional Credentials" and is adapted with permission. 

A candid conversation with Rishabh Kasliwal, Managing Director, Kamal Cogent Energy Pvt. Ltd:

Kamal Cogent Energy Pvt. Ltd. provides comprehensive energy consulting, analytics, building commissioning and sustainability solutions to commercial, residential and industrial clients. It was formed as a joint venture between the United States-based Cogent Energy Inc. and the India-based Kamal and Company Group.

The organization prides itself on having the talent, experience and resources to identify, develop and deliver innovative energy solutions to its clients. It boasts project experience over five continents, and is committed to green building certification and building sustainability for new construction and retrofit projects.

Among the company’s key employees is Managing Director Rishabh Kasliwal. Kasliwal received his B.E. in mechanical engineering from the University of Delhi and his M.S. in mechanical engineering from Stanford University. Credential-wise, you might consider those two degrees sufficient to underwrite a successful career, and yet Mr. Kasliwal went on to earn a LEED AP, which he prominently displays on his biography. In the following paragraphs, Kasliwal explains his motivation in pursuing the LEED AP.

What attracted you to LEED?

There are two answers. First, I am a firm believer that we should give our future generations something more significant than just genetics. As the saying goes, “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” In recent decades, population growth has placed tremendous pressure on our natural resources and our environment, which is now struggling through many related adverse effects. To counter this, we all need to work toward a more sustainable future.

From a business standpoint, LEED is a globally recognized building initiative. It helps people understand the importance of sustainability and encourages more optimized resource allocation and support of eco-friendly building practices. LEED accreditation indicates that the professional has the knowledge and skills to facilitate the LEED certification process anywhere in the world.

How has the LEED AP shaped your thinking?

The LEEP AP credential helped me to broaden my definition of sustainability. I did my master's in mechanical engineering, and for me, energy efficiency was the only criteria for going green. My LEED accreditation made me realize that sustainability is a broader concept encompassing several factors such as site selection, water efficiency, material conservation, indoor air quality and enhanced user comfort.

Knowing the LEED certification system and having a LEED accreditation has also allowed me to adopt sustainability as a full-time business. The LEED AP credential is a global stamp of authority and expertise in the green building sector.

How is this credential important to people who are just starting their careers?

I achieved my LEED AP credential in 2007 when it was an alien concept, especially in India. Today, I lead a brigade of energetic people who are playing their responsibility toward green and sustainabilityto the best of their ability. There is opportunity with LEED.

For young engineers, architects and others with an interest in sustainability, a LEED AP professional credential is an excellent platform for you to join a growing group of LEED professionals. It truly helped me. Having taken the exam, I absorbed a valuable base of knowledge that helped me make my mark in this field. In a tough market, this credential helped me stand out from competition, especially in the new and rapidly expanding green building sector of the economy.

Have you any additional thoughts?

The list of cities nationwide requiring LEED on new construction continues to grow. That means that your accreditation could be a key to participating in important projects in your area. Local governments will be receptive to your accreditation as they look for leaders who can help them go green. LEED has a really good market uptake both in the United States and internationally, so to have a LEED AP credential is definitely a plus for people looking to do work in emerging markets like China, India and the Middle East, as well as in the United States.

Long story short, as we undertake the long journey towards a sustainable future, earning a LEED AP credential will give you the edge to jump ahead of the rest of the professional world—while also enabling you to do work that makes a positive difference.