CERTIFICATION Guidelines

 

 

 

 

DEFINITIONS

  • Architecture School – the educational unit that is NAAB accredited

  • Credit-unit – the activity or deliverable for which credits are available

  • Credits – the points that can be earned for satisfying the requirements of a credit-unit

  • Worksheets – consist of 3 spread sheets: :  Academic, Institutional, and Scorecard

  • Certification Document – documents submitted in support of a credit-unit

 

A. Introduction:

                BEEnow certification is a voluntary program for NAAB accredited schools of architecture to encourage them to produce graduates who have the motivation, knowledge, and skills necessary to help design very low-energy buildings. Schools can be certified at the levels of basic, silver, gold, or platinum depending upon the number of credits earned. The certification is valid for 5 years at which time it can be renewed. To earn credits, a school must provide documentation that indicates that it meets the requirements for the credit-units it is pursuing. The credit-units are described in the Certification Document that consists of three worksheets (spreadsheets): Academic, Institutional, and Scorecard. The Academic worksheet is used to describe credit-units related to faculty and curriculum, the Institutional worksheet is used to describe credit-units related to the administration and facilities, and the scorecard is to be used for record keeping.

                To give schools the maximum flexibility in earning credits, there is no minimum requirement for either Academic or Institutional credit-units. The only prerequisite is the survey that must be given to all graduating seniors. To be fair to smaller schools, the number of required credits for each level is a function of school size measured in full-time equivalent faculty positions.

                BEEnow certification is a voluntary program for NAAB accredited schools of architecture to encourage them to produce graduates who have the motivation, knowledge, and skills necessary to help design very low-energy buildings. Schools can be certified at the levels of basic, silver, gold, or platinum depending upon the number of credits earned. The certification is valid for 5 years at which time it can be renewed by submitting a maintenance report. To earn credits, a school must provide documentation that indicates that it meets the requirements for the credit-units it is pursuing. The credit-units are described in the Certification Document that consists of three worksheets (spreadsheets): Academic, Institutional, and Scorecard. The Academic worksheet is used to describe credit-units related to faculty and curriculum, the Institutional worksheet is used to describe credit-units related to the administration and facilities, and the scorecard is to be used for record keeping.

                To give schools the maximum flexibility in earning credits, the credit-units pursued can come all from the Academic category or the Institutional category or from a combination of the two which is the most likely scenario. The only prerequisite is the survey that must be given to all graduating seniors. To be fair to smaller schools, the number of required credits for each level is a function of school size determined by the number of 2nd year students and program type as described below.

B. Background:

               A number of architecture faculty and practitioners came together out of concern about the role of architecture in climate change. They realized that since architectural education is the foundation of the practice of architecture and that many schools of architecture are not focusing on producing graduates who can design very low-energy buildings, some means of assisting a change in that reality was needed. Since this group of faculty and practitioners could not effect the necessary changes in NAAB accreditation requirements, they decided to create a voluntary certification program that will encourage schools to focus on preparing all of their students to become designers of measurable performance in sustainability. For more information on the background of BEEnow, see the introduction on the BEEnow website: www.beenow.org.

C. Understanding the Worksheets:

          Worksheets are considered the Certification Documentation. BEEnow will provide these Worksheets to schools, along with a Guide to Worksheets to help navigate their completion by the respective institution, and Forms which should accompany the final submission.  

D. Recommended Procedure for Applying:

                Once a school has decided to apply for certification, a committee of three people should be formed with a representative from studio faculty, lecture faculty, and administration. This committee will then connect with a liaison from BEEnow for clarification and management of all questions that might arise.

                The school then will submit a formal application for certification (Form A) with the necessary application fee. The form includes a proposed deadline considering the fact that submitted documentation must describe the state of affairs (less than 6 months old) at the time the documentation is submitted for evaluation. However, documentation for courses given only once per year or once every 2 years will be valid up to 18 months after being submitted for evaluation. The application form is also used to designate whether the school is of small, medium, or large size for determining the number of credits required for certification (see table below).

The school must also decide what level of certification is being sought (basic, silver, gold, or platinum) and, thereby, how many credits must be earned. Use Table 1 to determine the credits required based on the size of the architecture school and certification level desired. The word school is used to describe the entity seeking certification as, for example, an architecture department that is NAAB accredited. 

             Although all documentation should be submitted at the same time, but no later than nine months after the date of application, the documentation for one credit-unit should be submitted early for feedback purposes.

          

E. Evaluation Process:

          When all the documentation has been prepared, it is sent electronically to BEEnow for evaluation.  The evaluation will occur within one month of the day that the school is informed that BEEnow has received all the documentation. The documentation is submitted along with Form C on which the school specifies the number of credits for which documentation has been submitted. If the correct amount of documentation has been submitted for the credits being pursued, the evaluation will determine which credits have been earned and, if necessary, explain why certain documentation is insufficient or not appropriate. Upon receiving the evaluation, the school has one month to resubmit the questionable documentation. If the documentation for more than 10% of the credits being pursued needs to be resubmitted, the school will be charged an additional fee. Any material not accepted in the second submittal can be submitted for appeal by paying a review fee (see below for details on the appeal process).

F. Certification:

               When sufficient credits have been earned, a school will be awarded a five-year certification at the appropriate level, which can be renewed by submitting a maintenance report. Besides receiving a certification document, the school’s name will be listed (as a certified school at the appropriate level) on the BEEnow website. If possible, the school’s name will be made public through notification by ACSA and/or the AIA. The certified school also will be able to use the BEEnow logo along with the statement of certification.

G. Appeals Board:

                If a school is not satisfied with the second evaluation of any document, it can appeal by filling out the appeal form (BEEnow Form D) and submitting it with the required fee. A team of three people will be formed (faculty, practitioner, and member of BEEnow) to consider the school’s appeal. The decision of the appeal team is binding. In most cases, it will be in the school’s interest to pursue different credit-units rather than make an appeal on one specific credit-unit since there are so many to choose from.

 

H. Documentation Requirements:

                     A separate PDF must be submitted for each credit-unit being pursued. The file’s name should be the name of the credit-unit. The PDF file will consist of at least 2 pages starting with a copy of Form B (see appendix) followed by a scan(s) of the document(s) (e.g. syllabus). Form B, requires the following information:

  • name of school;

  • name and number of credit-unit being pursued; and

  • number of credits being asked for.

The form also allows for comments in case the document is not self- explanatory. Highlight in yellow the relevant material on the submitted documents.

                All the PDF files should be in a folder whose name is the name of the school.

A letter on school stationery addressing the accuracy of the submission must be signed by the department head. The text for this letter is supplied by BEEnow (see the “Forms” tab). The school should include a scan of this letter in the folder.

Any material used to document an activity or deliverable that can fit more than one credit-unit can only be used for one of the relevant credit-units.   One-off events can only be used if at least one day of the event occurred in the year preceding the date that the documentation was submitted.  Student work that is submitted does not need to have a name attached to it.  However, the school needs to have a way to retrieve the student’s work in case a question about it occurs during the evaluation process.  A temporary code might be employed.

I. Required Survey:

The school is required to have all students that are within one year of graduation take the BEEnow Survey. The survey instrument is delivered only to BEEnow, and the school only receives an annotated summary. The students’ responses are to remain confidential. The school furnishes BEEnow the list of students who are required to take the survey, and that list is crosschecked with the names on the survey responses after which the students’ names are deleted. A response rate of at least 80% is required.

                BEEnow will request clarification from the school if the results of the survey conflict with the information supplied by the school.

J. Maintenance Report:

                A “Maintenance Report” must be submitted every 5 years after the date of certification. The purpose of the report is to remind the school of its obligations to being certified.  The report will explain what credit-units are no longer in effect and what new efforts the school is making in preparing students to have the motivation, knowledge, and skills necessary to help design very low-energy buildings.

K. Certification Renewal:

                The certification is valid for 5 years from the date it is confirmed. The certification can be renewed every 5 years by submitting updated versions of the original documents. Credit-units that are no longer relevant must be deleted. New credit-units must be added to meet the credit requirements for that school size. At the time of renewal, the school has the opportunity to upgrade its certification level (e.g. from Basic to Silver).

                Upgrades are possible before the renewal time but not for at least two years after the initial award. The requirements for an upgrade are the same as the renewal but the number of credits must be increased to the higher level being sought.

L. Fees: 

1. Initial application                                                            $500

2. Document evaluation fee                                               $1500

3. Appeals fee                                                                       $60/credit*

4. Renewal fee                                                                      $0

5. Upgrade fee                                                                      $400

 

*Up to 10% of the credits can be reevaluated for free. There is a fee for each credit that has to be reevaluated above that level.

 

 

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