LEED AP Overview

The LEED AP Program: Overview

By: SKYed Eco Education Team

 

In 1998, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) developed the internationally recognized green building certification system, LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).  “LEED provides a third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies that are aimed at improving performance across the following metrics: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.”[i]

The LEED AP (Accredited Professional) program was launched in 2001, as a credentialing program that would allow building professionals to differentiate themselves as having the knowledge and skills to successfully guide project teams through the LEED certification process.

To date, over 120,000 people have become LEED Accredited Professionals.  The significance of being a LEED AP has risen exponentially as the LEED Rating Systems continue to make an extraordinary impact in the building community. Today, there are approximately 35,000 projects currently using the LEED Rating Systems, across all 50 states and 91 countries.[ii]

On April 272009 the USGBC launched the latest version of LEED, LEED Version 3.  LEED Version 3 has major updates in the following areas: 1) Advancement to the rating system 2) LEED Online: Faster, smarter & a better user experience 3) Certification Model: GBCI, Certification Bodies & LEED AP Program.[iii]

 

The New LEED AP Program Certification Model is now broken up into three tiers based on knowledge of green building concepts and the LEED Rating Systems; the LEED Green Associate, the LEED AP+ Specialty, and the LEED AP Fellow.

 

LEED Green Associate

The LEED Green Associate is the most basic credential.  It is also the first step in becoming a LEED AP+ Specialty. The LEED Green Associate exam tests for a broad knowledge of green building and basic understanding of the LEED Rating Systems.  The exam is 2 hours, with 100 multiple-choice questions. There is an application fee of $50, and an exam fee for every time you attempt the exam of $150 for USGBC members, $200 for non-members. 

 Eligibility Requirements: You must fulfill one of the three following requirements to be eligible to take the LEED Green Associate Exam:

1.    Involvement in a LEED-registered project

2.    Employed (or previously employed) in a sustainable field of work

3.    Engagement in (or completion of) a green building education program

 You must also agree to a disciplinary policy and the Credential Maintenance Program, which will require you, once you have become a LEED Green Associate, to complete 15 hours of continuing education (3 hours must be LEED specific) and pay a $50 fee, every two years.  You will also be required to submit an application audit. There will be an audit of 5-7% of all applications.

 

LEED AP+ Specialty

The LEED AP+ Specialty is the next level of credentialing. The LEED AP+ Specialty tests for advanced knowledge in green building concepts and the LEED Rating Systems in one of the five areas that you choose as your specialty.  The five specialty exams are:

 LEED AP+ Operations & Maintenance: focuses on green building concepts in operations and maintenance of existing buildings and the LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance Rating System. (exam now available)

 LEED AP+ Homes: focuses on green building concepts in single-family and low-rise multi-family homes and the LEED for Homes Rating System. (exam now available)

 LEED AP+ Building Design & Construction: focuses on green building concepts in design & construction of commercial, institutional, and high-rise residential buildings and the LEED for New Construction Rating Systems. (available September 15)

 LEED AP+ Interior Design 7 Construction: focuses on green building concepts in design and construction of commercial spaces and tenant improvement and the LEED for Commercial Interiors Ratings Systems. (available September 15)

 LEED AP+ Neighborhood Development:  focuses on green building concepts in smart growth and urbanism in neighborhood design and the LEED for Neighborhood Development Rating System. (available 2010)

 You must take both the LEED Green Associate exam and a specialty exam to become a LEED AP+ Specialty. The specialty exam is another 2 hour exam, with 100 multiple-choice questions.  There is an application fee of $100.  If you are only going to take the specialty exam (because you are a current LEED AP, or if you applied for and previously passed the LEED Green Associate exam) the exam fee is $150 for USGBC members, $200 for non-members, every time you take the exam.  If you are taking both the LEED Green Associate Exam and the specialty exam concurrently, the fee for both exams is $300 for USGBC members and $450 for non-members.

 Eligibility Requirements: You must have  involvement in a LEED-registered project within the past 3 years.

 You must also agree to a disciplinary policy and the Credential Maintenance Program, which will require, once you have become a LEED Green Associate, to complete 30 hours of continuing education (6 hours must be LEED specific) and pay a $50 fee, every two years.  You will also be required to submit an application prior to scheduling your exam. There will be an audit of 5-7% of all applications.


LEED AP Fellow

The LEED AP Fellow is the highest level of credentials and signifies an “extraordinary class of leading professionals distinguished by their years of experience and contributions to the standards of practice and body of knowledge for achieving continuous improvement in the green building field.”  This program is still in development, however, it is expected that there will not be a test for this credential and that there will be a peer-evaluation process.


Current LEED APs

If you are currently a LEED AP, you have three options under LEED V3:

1.    Become a LEED AP+ Specialty by agreeing to the Credential Maintenance Program, which will entail a $50 fee and 30 Hours (6 LEED specific) of continuing education biannually.  You also must sign the disciplinary policy.  All of this must be done by June 30, 2011.

2.    Become a LEED AP+ Specialty by passing one of the new specialty exams.  You will not be required to take the LEED Green Associate exam if the specialty exam is taken before 2011.  You must also sign the disciplinary policy, and agree to the Credential Maintenance Program ($50 fee and 30 hours (6 LEED specific) of continuing education biannually).

3.    Do nothing and remain an LEED AP without specialty.

 

Classes at the Center for Architecture

SKYed Eco Education, in partnership with the AIA New York Chapter, will be instructing exam preparation at the Center for Architecture.  For class schedules please visit http://cfa.aiany.org/index.php?section=leed-prep. 

For more information please contact us at info@skyedeco.com

 


Sources:

USGBC Website: <www.usgbc.org>

GBCI Website: <www.gbci.org>

 



[i] “LEED Rating System.” USGBC website. <www.usgbc.org>

[ii] “USGBC Press Release – Buildings Seeking LEED to Provide Performance Data: Energy and Water Reporting Becomes a Precondition of Certification.” USGBC website. <www.usgbc.org>

[iii]  “USGBC Education LEED V3.” Powerpoint Presentation. <http://www.usgbc.org/ShowFile.aspx?DocumentID=5823> 


SKYed LLC is not affiliated with the U.S. Green Building Council or the Green Building Certification Institute and hoes not administer the LEED AP Program.  USGBC and GBCI do not endorse or recommend the products or services offered by SKYed, LLC."