Frequently Asked Questions

Many questions about testing are answered in the Green Advantage Candidate Handbook.  You may also find the following FAQs helpful.

 

   1. What is Green Advantage®?

   2. What is the history of Green Advantage?

   3. Why is American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accreditation important?

   4. What is the relationship Green Advantage®  has with USGBC, GBCI, and LEED Accreditation?

   5. How can a Green Advantage Certification help my project attain LEED Certification?

   6. How green is it?

   7. How do I prepare for a Green Advantage Exam?

   8. What if I already have green building experience and prefer to take a GA Exam®  without training?

   9. How can an applicant register and pay for a Green Advantage Exam?

  10. How long are Green Advantage Exams and how much time do I have to complete it?

  11. Where and when do I take a Green Advantage Exam and how much does it cost?

  12. Are GA Exam fees refundable?

  13. How much advance time do I need to arrange to take a Green Advantage  Exam?

  14. If I fail a Green Advantage Exam, may I retake it?

  15. Do Green Advantage Certifications expire?

  16. Are GA Exams proctored, and what are the testing conditions?

  17. Will Green Advantage share my information?

  18. How does Green Advantage guarantee the integrity of the exam process and Certification?

  19  If I lose my Certificate, can it be replaced?

  20. How does Green Advantage use its revenues?

 

 

1. What is Green Advantage?
Green Advantage® is an environmental certification for building-related practitioners - primarily contractors, subcontractors and tradespeople. Certified individuals have successfully passed one of two Green Advantage(GA) Certification Exams demonstrating knowledge of current green building principles, materials, and techniques.  Because the green building field is rapidly changing, candidates must pass a Re-certification Exam every three years in order to remain Green Advantage Certified. Green Advantage certifies individuals; it does not certify companies, products, or projects. Green Advantage logos and marks may not be used in a manner that implies organizational certification.  Green Advantage logos and marks may not be used in a manner that implies organizational certification.   

 

2. What is the history of Green Advantage?
Launched with funding from a US Environmental Protection Agency grant, Green Advantage has also received support from The Nature Conservancy, Science Applications International Corporation, the University of Florida, and the Ford Foundation. As a result of successful piloting and the work of scores of professionals assisting in the development of curricula, training and exams, over 12,500 Green Advantage Certification Exams have been administered.

More recently, the Board of Directors of Green Advantage decided to pursue American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Accreditation. In September of 2013 the Green Advantage Certified Practitioner (GACP) credential was approved under ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024. Plans are underway to pursue ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024 approval for the Green Advantage Certified Associate (GACA) credential.

 

3. Why is American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accreditation important?
Green Advantage is committed to offering third party approved, high quality, and transparent personnel certifications to building practitioners throughout the United States.  ANSI accreditation is recognized both nationally and internationally and has become the hallmark of a quality certification program.

ANSI is the sole US representative to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), which promulgates industry standards and facilitates their adoption for goods and services ranging from food preparation to high tech manufacturing.  A widely recognized partner of industry and government, ANSI also enables voluntary, consensus-based standardization throughout the United States by certifying compliance with internationally accepted standards of excellence.

The American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI) accreditation for professional certification programs is a rigorous third-party verification program that puts forth both initial and continuous requirements to ensure credibility, integrity and excellence for organizations and programs providing credentials to the public. Based on ISO Standard 17024, this accreditation program evaluates the structure, governance, security and validity of professional credential programs.

Pursuit of ANSI accreditation is one more way that Green Advantage is continuously strengthening the value of its personnel certification offerings.

 

4. What is the relationship Green Advantage has with USGBC, GBCI, and LEED Accreditation?
Green Advantage is a strong supporter of the U.S. Green Building Council® (USGBC), USGBC Chapters, and the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI).

According to the USGBC, "LEED Professional Accreditation distinguishes individuals with detailed knowledge of LEED project certification requirements and processes and a command of integrated design principles. LEED accreditation is awarded to building industry practitioners who successfully demonstrate these proficiencies on a comprehensive exam." The USGBC encourages its members to become LEED-Accredited. Green Advantage Certifications are designed to be a non-competitive, complementary offering that supports LEED Accreditation. Intended primarily for individuals working within the construction industry - such as contractors, subcontractors and tradespeople, Green Advantage Certifications are recommended as an additional offering for developers, architects, engineers and designers who wish to be both LEED Accredited and Green Advantage Certified. Green Advantage is not affiliated with any LEED products or trainings. Professionals interested in LEED Accreditation or training should look for classes that are specifically sanctioned by the USGBC for that purpose.

 

5. How can Green Advantage Certifications help my project attain LEED Certification?
A LEED Innovation Credit is available for eligible projects that meet or exceed the Green Advantage Field Personnel Standard™  (GAFPS™ ).  View Green Advantage Field Personnel Standard & LEED Innovation Credit for details.

 

6. How green is it?
Green Advantage (GA) has invested substantial resources into developing exams that are relevant and sufficiently comprehensive regarding the design and field issues that relate to building-related practitioners. GA utilizes experts in green building and statistical analysis to prepare and approve Green Advantage Exam questions and to ensure state-of-the-art environmental certifications. Individuals can sit for the GA Certified Associate Exam or the GA Certified Practitioner Exam.

 

7. How do I prepare for a Green Advantage Exam? 
Green Advantage® now offers two independent certification exam options – the GA Certified Associate Exam™ - awarding the GACA™ designation, and the     GA Certified Practitioner Exam™ - awarding the GACP™  designation.  Exam specific study guides are provided upon paid exam registration. Many exam candidates choose to attend a preparatory training event of some sort prior to sitting for a Green Advantage Exam. While not required, attending a formal training event is recommended, especially for initial certification. View Upcoming Trainings. In addition, review the Exam Content Overview documents and study the exam specific Study Guide provided upon paid registration. Sample questions are included in the Exam Content Overview documents. Note that Green Advantage, Inc does not provide, endorse or sponsor training organizations, faculty or curriculum. While GA encourages academic and professional organizations to develop and offer preparatory training, no information regarding trainings provided through this website has been verified by this webmaster or Green Advantage, Inc. All GA Exams are administered in a closed book format.

 

8. What if I already have green building experience and prefer to take a GA Exam without training?
While it is recommended, candidates for Green Advantage® Certifications (GACA or GACP) are not required to take training.

 

9. How can an applicant register and pay for a Green Advantage Exam?
How you register depends on who is paying the exam fee, whether you are taking the exam in a group setting or at a computerized testing center, and whether the registration is for initial or for renewal certification.  If you are self registering for a computerized exam, follow the prompt from the Green Advantage website homepage, create a test taker account and proceed with registration and payment.  If you are registering otherwise, visit the GA Exam Registration section of the Green Advantage website for detailed information.

 

10. How long are Green Advantage Exams?
 All Green Advantage Exams (GACA & GACP) consists of 60 multiple-choice questions. You will have 90 minutes to answer these questions.

 

11. Where and when are Green Advantage® Exams offered and how much do they cost?

Both the GACA and the GACP Exam registration fee is $175 for initial certification and $125 for those eligible for the certification renewal rate.  Visit the exam registration section of the Green Advantage website for information on renewal eligibility and registration.  Retake exam fees correspond with the type of registration (initial or renewal).

Prearranged "on-site" group exams are available and are often offered in conjunction with GA Exam® prep trainings. Green Advantage Exams   can also be taken individually at one of the many testing center sites available worldwide. When considering an exam prep training ask if a GA Exam® (GACA or GACP) will be offered at the completion of the course. To schedule an individual exam at an "in-network" testing center, visit Register for Exam. If you choose to take a Green Advantage Exam   at an "out of network" testing center, you will be responsible for any proctoring fee charged by the testing center; average $35. This fee is collected from you by the testing center. To register for an exam outside the GA testing network OR to arrange a group exam at your location contact exams@greenadvantage.org 

 

12. Are GA Exam fees refundable?
No, GA Exam fees are non-refundable. 

 

13.   How much advance time do I need to arrange to take the exam? 
GA requests 10 business days advance notice to schedule a group exam (GACA or GACP) at your location.  Exam candidates testing at a computerized testing center select the date and time per the schedule and availability of the selected testing site. GA recommends allowing 10 business days to receive and review GA Exam®   provided materials.  

 

14.  If I fail a Green Advantage Exam, may I retake it?
Yes, individuals may retake a GA Exam®     as many times as is necessary to pass, but an examination fee is charged prior to each examination - $175 for initial certification or $125 for renewal registrations - visit Certification Renewal Eligibility for details. Green Advantage recommends that individuals consider further exam preparation before re-taking the exam.

 

15. Do Green Advantage Certifications expire?
All Green Advantage Certifications are valid for three years; the expiration date is listed on the certificate sent to all those who pass a Green Advantage Exam (GACA & GACP). Because the green building field is rapidly changing, candidates must pass an updated exam every three years in order to remain Green Advantage Certified. Individuals not renewing their certification must immediately remove all references to their individual certification from websites, business cards, email signature, and promotional material. Certificates must be removed from public view.

 

16. Are the exams proctored, and what are the testing conditions?
Yes, all Green Advantage Exams are proctored and are administered in a closed book format.

Note that this and all other policies and procedures are subject to change at any time by Green Advantage, Inc.  The Green Advantage website, GACA & GACP Study Guides  , exam and other materials, policies and procedures are continually being improved; input from training organizations, faculty and curriculum developers is encouraged and welcome. Ideas, concerns and suggestions may be forwarded to   suggestions@greenadvantage.org . 

 

17. Will Green Advantage share my information?
It is Green Advantage policy to release an individual's score, address, or other information only if the individual taking the exam approves. Many certified by GA list their name and contact information in the GA Online Directory on the GA Website, while others prefer not to.  Green Advantage never shares or sells email addresses or personal information otherwise.

 

18. How does Green Advantage guarantee the integrity of the exam process and Certification?
Applicants taking the paper/pencil version or electronic version of a GA Exam® must do so during an authorized, proctored time. A photo ID is required in order to confirm the identity of anyone sitting for a GA Exam. The proctor verifies the individual's identification at the beginning of the exam, and when completed, the proctor places the exam in a sealed envelope that is sent to Green Advantage for scoring. Green Advantage randomly audits past and present Certificants for compliance with Green Advantage Trademark policy. Unauthorized use of Green Advantage Corporate or Certification specific logos or marks may result in the loss of certification, as well as other legal consequences. 

19. If I lose my Certificate, can it be replaced?
Yes, we will be glad to reissue your certificate at any time during your certification; there will be a $10 charge to cover materials, shipping and handling. Send a request to certificates@greenadvantage.org .

 

20. How does Green Advantage use its revenues?
Examination fees and other revenues support the creation, development and continual updating of Certification Exams, exam proctoring, grading of the exams, Certification Board activity, maintenance of a certified-practitioner database, and educational and related marketing programs. Green Advantage, Inc. is a non-profit organization.