LEED and Budapest

In the fall, as I mentioned in this post, I began spending a day every week taking a course to understand the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design’s (LEED) certification for the Operation and Maintenance of Buildings so I could take the test to become a LEED AP O&M Certified professional. My hope was to learn more about sustainable operations so I could do a better job as St. Andrew’s Director of Sustainability. 

In the course of studying for the test, I realized that my certification as LEED Green Associate which I obtained while working at Southface (and is a requirement to take be LEED AP certified) was out of date. Because you can take the LEED Green Associate Test and LEED AP test at the same time, I found I had to spend time studying for both.

Because LEED is primarily used in the United States (though there are lots of LEED-certified buildings in Europe including the US embassy in Norway) the closest/least expensive place for me to take the test to become LEED certified was in Budapest, Hungary. So in late May, we left for Budapest as a family during one of the last long weekends the girls had in school.

We arrived in Budapest on a Tuesday at lunch time and my test (4 hours of 200 multiple choice questions) was on Wednesday morning. So, we had time in the afternoon to see a model train exhibit which was really well done called the “Miniversum.” John and I particularly liked learning about life in Budapest under communism at the museum.

The next day, I headed to the main university in Budapest, a 20-minute walk from our Airbnb to take my test. Several weeks before the test, I found myself going through study materials and taking practice tests again and again sometimes during and most of the time in between time spent with our many visitors in May. I was certainly nervous that after spending all this time studying and all the money to travel to Budapest and take the test that I wouldn’t pass! Fortunately, my hard work paid off and I passed. Below is my passing score right next to my very large stack of study materials!

While I was taking the test, John took the girls to a science museum in Budapest (the seventh we’ve seen this year)

and we celebrated by going to a sushi restaurant for lunch (Maddie and Ada’s choice), exploring a bit of Buda,

and then eating at a vegetarian restaurant for dinner (my choice). Below Ada is chowing down on some vegan “goulash” soup (a traditional soup in Budapest normally made out of beef.)

The next day was rainy so we decided to check out the Turkish baths. It was a perfect way to spend a rainy day after my big test.

My favorite day by far was our last day when we explored the children’s railway in the Buda hills (named because children help operate it),

then walking through the hills and stopping at a playground along the way,

climbing a tower to see a view of the city,

and then taking the ski lift back down to the bottom.

We had a wonderful trip. The selfie Ada took while in Budapest says it all:

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