CGP designation continues growth

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 21 - A new agreement with Purdue University means that the Indiana school's construction management students will be the first in the country to earn a professional designation from the National Association of Home Builders University of Housing when they receive their bachelor's degrees.

Students can earn the Certified Green Professional (CGP) designation to jumpstart their knowledge of green building practices. "That's yet another sign of the success of this University of Housing program - that it's considered to be an added value to a traditional university degree," said T.W. Bailey, a home builder from Frisco, Texas, and chair of the CGP designation task force for NAHB.

Bailey and Purdue Prof. Dale Koehler spoke at a press conference this afternoon at the International Builders' Show in Las Vegas. Students can choose to pursue either the CGP, the Certified Aging in Place or the Residential Construction Superintendent educational designations from the NAHB University of Housing and the Home Builder's Institute in the Purdue program, which is funded by the National Housing Endowment.

But as NAHB celebrated Green Day today, the focus was on the exhibits, educational sessions and other special events that marked the association's continuing focus on green home building. The CGP designation, which is based on 24 hours of classroom instruction, industry experience and other requirements, was introduced just 11 months ago and numbers more than 1,900 designees.

In the midst of the housing market downturn, the country's home builders and remodelers are still preparing themselves for the homes and home projects of the future. In fact, said Bailey, association volunteers are already working with curriculum development experts to create a new "Master" green building and remodeling designation to meet the demand for more advanced training and coursework. The new designation is expected to be unveiled in early 2010.

The phenomenal growth of the CGP is not surprising because of the value the industry places on green, press conference participants noted.

Home builder Greg Ugalde of T & M Building Co. Inc in Torrington, Conn., said the CGP designation adds credibility to his company's marketing efforts. "It indicates to a customer that the person they are hiring to design, build or remodel their home sees building green as more than just a buzzword or marketing ploy," he said at the press conference.

Countrywide Bank Senior Vice President Dave Porter of Seattle said the CGP designation is also an excellent idea for suppliers, manufacturers and other home building industry professionals. When he is talking to a builder about energy-efficient mortgages and other incentives, the knowledge gleaned from the CGP coursework gives him a leg up. "As a lender I deal with hundreds of builders, real estate agents and other industry professionals. In these interactions, I often share industry best practices, and of course building green is at the top of the list," he said.