Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, commonly known as LEED, is a third-party certification program used in over 30 countries around the world to rate high performance buildings, homes and neighbourhoods.

Certifying a LEED building requires following a specific rating system and is administered by LEED professionals with specific credentials.  This article examines the basics of taking a LEED exam and gain LEED Professional Credentials.

LEED Canada

As of 2010 the Green Building Certification Institute administers LEED Professional Credentials for the entire world. Prior to that date the CaGBC (Canada Green Building Council) was responsible for administering the credentials within Canada.

LEED Canada now provides education to aspiring LEED professionals wanting to take the exam as well as those who have attained their LEED Professional Credentials by providing ongoing education.

Who administers LEED exams?

The GBCI provides third-party administration and development, giving the assurance that LEED Professional Credentials are objectively and fairly managed, ensuring that the credentials, exams and eligibility requirements are universal and will stand up to international requirements.

The USGBC, the organization which developed LEED, maintains the information on LEED credentials on its website while the GBCI actually administers the process.

LEED exams

If you want to clearly and easily demonstrate your knowledge of LEED and green building and have an easier time finding jobs that specifically call for LEED credentials, it’s worth taking a LEED exam. There are a few LEED Professional Credentials you can attain, depending on your needs:

LEED Green Associate – This entry-level credential is intended for those who do not specialize in technical fields, such as lawyers, real estate agents and educators. Gaining the LEED Green Associate credential signifies that you have basic knowledge of green construction, design and operations. If you have no technical experience working on a LEED project this is a great place to start. And if you don’t get fully involved in LEED projects then this credential could be all you need.

LEED AP – For professionals like engineers and architects who need more advanced and specific knowledge of LEED and have hands-on experience working on a LEED project. The LEED AP credential offers a number of specialties that denote specialization in particular LEED rating systems:

  • LEED AP Building Design+Construction (LEED AP BD+C) – A credential that affirms practical knowledge in design and construction of green buildings for the residential, commercial, education and healthcare sectors.
  • LEED AP Operations + Maintenance (LEED AP O+M) – This credential denotes knowledge of sustainable practices that improve performance of buildings and reduce their environmental impact.
  • LEED AP Interior Design + Construction (LEED AP ID+C) – A credential for those involved in construction, design and improvement of tenant spaces and commercial interiors.
  • LEED AP Homes – A credential specifically for those wanting practical knowledge of the construction and design of green homes.
  • LEED AP Neighbourhood Development (LEED AP ND) – This credential is for those who take part in the development, planning and design of sustainable neighbourhoods.

LEED Fellow – This designation is for exceptional professionals in the green building industry. Becoming a LEED Fellow requires being nominated by peers and selected according to evaluation criteria (based on four of five mastery elements of green building: technical proficiency, education and mentoring, leadership, commitment and service, advocacy—technical proficiency must be one of the four).

Maintaining certification

Once receiving LEED credentials, LEED APs and LEED GAs need to maintain their certification by earning continuing education (CE) hours. GAs need 15 education hours and APs 30 hours every two years. For a list of LEED Credential maintenance courses and resources offered by LEED Canada visit this page.
 

image: Blanchethouse via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons BY-SA)