6 Critical Steps on How to Become LEED Certified and LEED Accredited

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It is well known that the LEED certification represents the standard for environmentally friendly, green building methods. Before we go into the specifics, how to become LEED certified? How to become Accredited? let me clear a frequent misconception: people get confused between LEED Certified and LEED Accredited. With an especially focus on the LEED Green Associate degree, this guide will offer a thorough study of the procedures for buildings to gain LEED certification and for professionals to acquire LEED accreditation.

How to obtain LEED Certification

Building can earn one out of the four LEED certification levels according to the number of points the project has earned.

  • Certified: 40-49 points
  • Silver: 50-59 points
  • Gold: 60-79 points
  • Platinum: 80 points or more

Points are obtained in credits inside LEED categories ranging from Location and transportation, Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, and Indoor Environmental Quality.

How to Become LEED Certified for Buildings

  1. Register your project: Register your project on USGBC and gain instant access on LEED Online. Which is the dashboard that project owners upload the content to.
  2. Identify which credits to target: Highlight which credits your project would like to target using the LEED Scorecard to identify which level your project will achieve.
  3. Prepare documentation: During design and construction depending which credits you are targeting. Prepare the necessary reports, including calculations, specifications, drawings, and other supporting documents to prove LEED compliance.
  4. Submit for review: The LEED Assessor from GBCI will make sure the documents provided are proper to earn the credit or prerequisite you are targeting.
  5. Plaque: After review, if the project achieves all prerequisites and at least minimum 40 points then the project will earn the LEED plaque based on the achieved credits.
How to become leed certified

How to Become LEED Accredited?

Professionals seeking to showcase their expertise in sustainable design and construction methods would benefit by becoming LEED accredited. To obtain a credential such as the LEED Green Associate or LEED AP, individuals must familiarize themselves and pass the LEED exam. Which signifies a commitment to promoting environmentally-friendly construction and a deep understanding of sustainable building principles. There are 6 steps one should take to become LEED Accredited.

  1. Choose a credential: Decide whether you want to start with the LEED Green Associate or take on a combined exam directly for the LEED AP.
  2. Register for the exam: Create an account on the USGBC website and book the exam to earn a USGBC ID to schedule the exam. The LEED Green Associate exam costs 250$ and the LEED AP costs an extra 350$.
  3. Prepare for the exam: Either through books, guides or a simplified training here.
  4. Schedule the Exam: Using the scheduling website Prometric or taking the exam from home using ProProctor.
  5. Take the Exam: You will instantly get a pass or fail after submitting the exam on spot, but will gain your score after a few minutes by mail.
  6. Maintain Your Credential: You would need to take on continuing education hours every two years to keep the title valid. 15 hours of continuing education every two years for the LEED Green Associate and 30 CE hours for the LEED AP.
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Levels of LEED Accreditation

1. LEED Green Associate

The first LEED accreditation level revolves around the basic green building principles and practices. Earning a foundational credential is often the initial step toward obtaining other credentials. The LEED Green Associate includes all LEED categories and learning about the certification process. It does not go into the calculation and formulas on how to achieve a credit or prerequisite.

2. LEED AP

Whereas the LEED AP demonstrates a significant level of expertise in sustainable construction methods. It goes into detail on how to achieve each credit, different options and requirements. A LEED Accredited Professional understands all the different options to calculate and achieve the requirements. Every specialty in the field of sustainable building is focused on addressing certain areas of the practice, thereby allowing professionals to adapt their knowledge to fit their career goals. LEED AP specialties are the following:

  • Building Design + Construction (BD+C)
  • Operations + Maintenance (O+M)
  • Interior Design + Construction (ID+C)
  • Neighborhood Development (ND)
  • Homes

3. LEED Fellow

Within the realm of sustainable construction, LEED Fellows represent the highest level of achievement and expertise. These individuals have made significant contributions to the field of sustainability and possess a minimum of 10 years of professional expertise. There is no exam to pass like the LEED Green Associate or LEED AP but one has to be nominated to earn the title.

How to Study for the LEED Green Associate Exam

So how long does it take to study for LEED Green Associate exam? On average it takes 3 months to prepare for the LEED Green Associate exam, if books and guides are your method of preparation. Whereas with archiroots, it takes 2 weeks to prepare if you can delegate 30 minutes a day. You can begin your training with this simplified training here. The following are resources to get started:

  • LEED Green Associate Handbook: The handbook is provided by USGBC which showcases what the exam entails. Provides comprehensive information about the exam’s structure, format, and scoring. Download the LEED Green Associate handbook here.
  • LEED Green Associate Exam Prep: The archiroots training is a video based on-demand course that simplifies all the LEED Green Associate study material in an interactive and streamlined manner. Get started here
  • LEED Green Associate Practice Exams: After learning the material, it is ideal to practice on LEED sample questions to make sure you grasped the information and make sure to pass the official exam. You can take the free LEED Green Associate practice exam here.
  • LEED Green Associate Flashcards: One of the best ways to learn those complicated key terms is through study cards. Learn more here.

Conclusion

Achievements in sustainable building practices are illustrated by the LEED accreditation and certification. A commitment to environmental responsibility, cost efficacy, and occupant welfare is demonstrated by the acquisition of LEED accreditation for a building. LEED certification, particularly for professionals, is a demonstration of one’s dedication to the environment and proficiency in sustainable construction practices.

It will enable you to actively participate in the development of a sustainable future for the planet by acquiring knowledge about the benefits and methods of obtaining LEED certification and accreditation. This book will guide you through the essential stages of the LEED process, whether you are a building owner pursuing professional accreditation or certification. Apply the principles of sustainable building and participate in the global initiative to establish a more environmentally conscious and resilient built environment.

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