A Providence-based builder begins construction of the first new home in the city aiming for LEED for Homes Platinum certification. Meanwhile, hundreds of Rhode Island building professionals apply to take USGBC’s new LEED AP testRecent developments in the Ocean State suggest that green construction there has the wind at its back.Earlier this month, for example, Providence-based Native Structures broke ground on a 2,800 sq. ft. home that, the builder says, should achieve LEED for Homes Platinum certification, the first such certification in Providence.Native Structures owner Dave Kessler adds that even though there are no active renewable-energy systems in the plans at this point, “I’ve spoken to people who might have an interest in it.”Nonetheless, he says, “we feel if we stick to the plans we have, we’ll get Platinum without any renewable energy.”Designed by Kite Architects, the building will be constructed with a high-percentage of recycled, reclaimed, and FSC-certified materials. It also will feature a whole-house fan to expunge humidity in temperatures less than 84 degrees.The 4-bedroom, 3 1/2-bath home’s energy efficiency will be enhanced substantially, Kessler adds, by a tight SIP shell, ICF on the basement floor and walls, energy efficient windows and exterior doors, and an energy recovery ventilator. Energy costs in the winter should range $80 to $100, he says, and the selling price likely will be in the $750,000-to-$850,000 range.But even though Native Structures’ project would be Providence’s first LEED home, it won’t be its last, if local interest among building professionals in the upcoming LEED AP (accredited professional) exam for USGBC’s green building standard for New Construction and Major Renovations V2.2 is any indication. A brief published last week in the Providence Journal noted that at least 300 people have registered to take the exam, which will be administered June 30 at various locations. The story added that there currently are 200 LEED-accredited professionals in the state.For those who want a leg up on studying for the exam, the USGBC’s local chapter, the Rhode Island Green Building Council, is offering prep classes, which begin May 7.We’ve asked the RIGBC if there are still openings in the prep sessions, which originally were designed to accommodate 25 prospective test takers. We’ll let you know soon as we have an update. The sessions – available to RIGBC members for $125, $175 for nonmembers, and $75 for students – are scheduled for May 7, 14, 21, and 28 at the New England Institute of Technology, in Warwick.