Like the blink of an eye..

Posted on by Nayive Kalkach

I just realized that I last posted more than a year ago. It isn’t that I forgot about it, I’ve been meaning to post for long but somehow time passed by me.

Several changes happen this year in my design career and perspective that I will not attempt to cram in just one post. On the contrary, I’m leaving this note here as a reminder to myself to write while things are happening and not a year later.

I’m about to start two new design adventures which I’ll write about shortly so stay tuned..

Two Revit tools that significantly improve your workflow

Posted on by Nayive Kalkach

As someone that spends 80% of my working hours using Revit, I have taken on the task of finding tools that help ease repetitive processes and visualization when navigating a 3D model.

 The following add-ins have arisen as my two favorites and most used :

Coins Auto-Section box

Add-on that helps you to visualize in 3D a specific element or view. It is especially helpful when you are working on a larger project and want to avoid the usual "3D view/ Orient to view/Floor plan /Scroll forever to find the view name" route. Instead, just click on your element, type the previously set shortcut to run the tool and voila! your 3D view with a section box appears.

Stair plan
COINS Auto-Section Box

Palladio helps you organize the layout of your windows with a few clicks (or key shortcuts) to your preferred size and location. The add-in lets you easily layout a right, left, top or bottom preference and a size for your windows, making it faster than manually resizing them.


Give them a try and let me know how they worked out for you, I am sure you won't be disappointed.

Oh! Did I mention they are free?



How to pass the LEED Green Associate exam in 30 days by studying in your daily commute.

Posted on by Nayive Kalkach

I know the feeling: you've registered to take the LEED Green Associate test and the anxiety begins. Where should you start? Should you study the recommended books only?  Should you memorize the entire USGBC website?

When I was researching to figure out how much time to invest studying I found some people passed by studying fifteen days for 5 hours each day. I don't have the luxury of five free hours a day because of work but I do have two hours of commute so I took advantage of that plus my lunch time at work. The following 30-day routine got me 185 points (you need 170 to pass):

Study materials you'll need:

Part One. Study by category every weekday (nine days):

On your way to work

There are nine categories to practice in the "LEED GA" app; answer all questions related to one category. If you get an incorrect answer, make sure you read the details for incorrect answers.

Lunch Time (25 - 30 min)

  • Go to section 4 of the "LEED Core concepts guide". and read carefully the category that matches with the "LEED GA" app category that you practiced in the morning. It's important that you understand the chapter clearly.

On your way home

  • Repeat the exact same test that you took in the morning in the "LEED GA" app. Most likely, your grade will increase considerably and you will have a good understanding of that day's category.

Part Two. Take GBES practice tests until achieving 85% accuracy (6 - 12 days):

On your way to work / On your way home

Set the "LEED GA" app for practice tests of  30+ questions with all categories included. Remember to read and understand the details of incorrect answers; you should start noticing that all questions have one word that gives the answer away; this is also true for the actual test.

Lunch Time (25 - 30 min.)

In the GBES website, take the tests in order (A, B, C..). Each test consists of 100 questions and will let you know at the end how well you are doing in each category. You can stop practicing this tests when you get 85% accuracy. Don't forget to set the tests to show you the explanation of incorrect answers.

Part Three. "Closer to actual test" experience (7 days):

On your way to work / On your way home

  • Get a more real experience by setting the "GBES practice tests" and "LEED GA" app to give you the results until the end of the test. Retake the tests for your weakest percentages.

Lunch Time

  • Do one practice test; it should take you considerably less time by now to finish it.
  • Read the "Impact category and point allocation development process" PDF with special attention to Appendix A.

Part Four. The weekend before your test (2 days):

  • Download the score card  for BD+C: New Construction and Major Renovations. Memorize the eight categories, the total points you can get with each and its prerequisites. In my opinion, there is no need to memorize the rest of the scorecard.

 Part five. Exam day

Relax and enjoy the ride! If you pass, you can start preparing for LEED AP (or not). If you don't pass, you have two more chances and you will know exactly what to expect.

Good luck! 

A few tips before I go:

  • Understand green power, RECs and carbon offsets ( I didn't and lost several points)
  • Know the difference between minimum program requirements and credit prerequisites.
  • If the test comes and you didn't have time to learn the impact categories, all you have to remember is that it's all about reversing contribution to the climate change.
  • Know the different roles taken by USGBC and GBCI.

I know this will take some of your precious break time for a few weeks but the amount of satisfaction you will feel after passing the test makes it worth it. 

Disclaimer: The information above represents only my personal experience and does not guarantee any specific result.