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Thursday, April 18, 2024

UF Center offers intensive sustainability course

Architects, engineers and building managers are hitting the books in an effort to go green and keep up with new standards in their fields.

On Wednesday and Thursday, UF's Center for Training, Research and Education for Environmental Occupations hosted an intensive course to prepare participants for a professional accreditation test.

If the 50 participants pass the test, they will be considered LEED Accredited Professionals, named after a national program standing for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

Participants were taught how buildings can become LEED certified, a process based on a credit system of sustainable principles, said Jim Sullivan, instructor of the course.

Building construction, engineering and architecture students and specialists are the ones who often attend these courses in order to pass the exam, said Rick Fobair, a sustainable construction graduate student at UF. Fobair said courses like the one offered at the TREEO Center are definitely helpful for those seeking to become LEED-APs.

"It can be real tough to pass (the test)," he said.

The course covered all the material necessary to pass the exam, said Laurel Brown, program coordinator for the LEED program at the TREEO Center. Brown said these courses are offered throughout the state but may not be as available outside of Florida. The course held this week drew at least four out-of-state participants.

"Location doesn't matter," she said. "People seem to be willing to travel."'

The LEED courses will soon be held in Boston and even Japan, Brown added.

Whereas most participants had to pay $450 for the Gainesville course, UF students, such as senior Kelly Moosbrugger, were given the chance to take the course for free.

Moosbrugger said becoming a LEED-AP has its advantages in today's career world, especially with students wanting to differentiate themselves at career fairs and on their resumes. She said she was glad students and members of the community were interested in taking the course and the initiative to become more green.

"Just seeing the amount of interest that's generated through this is really good for the environment," she said. "We're moving toward a greener way of doing things."

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