The last weekend of February saw Beirut play host to the "Beirut LEED Continuous Education Workshop". The event, the first of its kind in Lebanon, brought together representatives of some of the country's top construction companies, all of whom were keen to maintain their valuable LEED accreditation.
Run by SEEDS, in conjunction with the Jordan Green Building Council, the workshop allowed the attending industry leaders to complete 15 LEED Continuous Education hours straight away and under expert tutelage.
SEEDS' innovative workshop was designed in a way that the presentations were regularly reinforced with targeted discussions and interactive activities based on real LEED projects.
Prior to this workshop's creation, maintaining LEED continuous education requirements every two years has meant less than ideal compromises such as taking online courses. But, as SEEDS Managing partner Mario Saab explains: "When doing online courses there is no interaction other than with your laptop. The advantage here is that some of the top people in their fields are not just getting the benefits of the accreditation maintenance, but are moreover enjoying the many networking opportunities & interactive discussions too."
One attendee suggested that the workshop format had aided the learning experience: "Being able to mix with industry people is good. There are people from several different backgrounds: designers, contractors, architects and so on. Getting to know what people who specialize in different areas do adds to the experience."
LEED certification is fast emerging as the industry standard, as Mario Saab points out: "The professional accreditation is becoming more and more needed. The whole construction industry is moving towards a green building approach, and it's becoming very important to know how to implement everything related to sustainability and energy conservation measures."
Antoine Dammous, Managing Partner at Pierre Dammous and Partners, agreed that "clients are starting to expect you to have environmental certification, and LEED is the most established worldwide."
So it is important that the workshop's organizers are LEED expert with extensive industry experience. This, according to another attendee made a big difference to the workshop's usefulness: "It's been fantastic to get someone with actual professional experience, because a lot of what we're being taught isn't coming out of a book, we are always being given practical examples from the presenter’s own career."
Informative, fun and occasionally provoking good-natured debate amongst the attendees, the event proved a great success and imparted a lot of practically applicable information. As ERGA's Head of Mechanical Department Dany El Murr said: "That's why we wanted to come to the SEEDS workshop. Everything we've learnt here we will be using on our projects."
Quoting another of the workshop's many satisfied attendees: "None of the sessions I've taken before have had this much interesting and useful information. It's the most interactive class I've ever taken relating to this field, and so I've really enjoyed it."