How to Become a Green General Contractor

For those who are interested in becoming green general contractors, it is important to follow the right steps to become certified. Since every contractor must have a state-issued license, individuals should contact their state’s contractor licensing division. People who do not yet have their licenses can review specific state guidelines by visiting the NASCLA’s site at

The next step is to satisfy all state requirements. In some states, a bachelor’s degree is required in order to receive a license. While some states do not have this requirement in place, it is still helpful for individuals to have four-year degrees in order to make themselves more marketable. Contractors usually have degrees in physics, engineering, math or similar areas. Some states may also require applicants to have several years of practical work experience. This means people who have worked for several years as construction workers, carpenters or in other positions may apply in some states. After satisfying all state requirements, applicants must take and pass the state test.

Green Building License

Contractors who are interested in green certification should spend some time familiarizing themselves with national accreditation options. In order to become certified, training in one of the national accreditation programs is required. BPI (Building Performance Institute) and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) are the most popular choices. The extra training helps contractors learn about state funding incentives for homes and businesses using green improvements. Programs are designed to give contractors a broad knowledge base of various tasks. However, some programs focus mainly on one or more areas.

After choosing a training program and completing it, contractors must take BPI or LEED exams. Some contractors may take several courses. There is no right or wrong choice, so contractors should pick one or more areas that interest them or relate to their type of business. It is also important to consider local needs. For example, solar power may be more popular in the Southwest than it is in the Northwest. Some common specialization choices include retrofit or rehabilitation, energy audits, lighting systems, solar or photovoltaic panel installation, heating systems and cooling systems.

After completing a course and taking the related exam, it is important to research what kind of continuing education is required. Continuing education is necessary for retaining a green certification. Once the training and tests have been completed, contractors should begin looking for suppliers of green materials. The key to finding such suppliers is to look locally or nearby. Importing materials uses natural resources, which can be counterproductive to the cause of going green. Look for recycled materials and items that are made with non-toxic paint.

The last step is advertising and finding clients. Advertising with the local chamber of commerce is a good way to start. Contractors may also check with the U.S. Green Building Council to advertise with a local chapter. For more information about green certification and insurance, discuss concerns with an agent.