LEED FAQs

Don't see your questions listed? Check out USGBC's About LEED page,  email Alex Dews with your question, or visit USGBC's Help Center for more FAQ's.

What is LEED?
The LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System™ is a voluntary, consensus-based standard to support and certify successful green building design, construction and operations. LEED is transforming the marketplace by providing a nationally recognized certification system to promote integrated, whole-building design practices in the building industry.

Where can I find a list of LEED Activities in our region, and around the world?
The Green Building Information Gateway is a great interactive and searchable resource with information on not only LEED activites, but also ENERGY STAR and opther green building activities.

When will LEED v4 be available for use?
LEED v4 was launched November, 2013 at Greenbuild in Philadelphia.

What are the changes between LEED v2009 and LEED v4?
USGBC has a number of resources to ease the transition to LEED v4:
Summary of changes between LEED v2009 and LEED v4
LEED v4 project checklists
USGBC has also released a new version of LEED online for LEED v4 projects, and new LEED v4 Reference Guides

For how long can I continue to use LEED v2009 instead of LEED v4?
USGBC will begin phasing out LEED 2009 beginning June of 2015. Registration for all LEED v2009 projects will close June 27, 2015, but the window for certification will remain open until 2021 at which point the sun will set on LEED v2009. Learn more here 
*Update: On 10/29/14 USGBC announced that it will allow LEED users to register projects under the LEED 2009 rating system until October 31, 2016. More information here

Does LEED v4 have new credential exams?
LEED Green Associate, BD+C, ID+C and O+M exams were updated to include v4 material in June of 2014  (exams for Homes and ND will feature v4 content in 2015). There are no new credentials, just updated information based on the new version.

What's the difference between LEED Green Associate and LEED AP with Specialty?
The LEED Green Associate demonstrates a solid, current understanding of green building principles and practices. It is ideal for both professionals newer to the fields of sustainability or looking to gain experience and exposure to LEED, as well as those working in diverse roles such as product manufacturers, students, real estate professionals, contractors and more. The LEED Green Associate credential is for all.
LEED Green Associate — Prerequisites: none; Exam fee: $250; CE Hours required: 15 hours every two years

The LEED AP credential affirms advanced knowledge in specialized areas of green building, expertise in particular LEED rating system, and competency in the certification process. It is suited for practitioners actively working on LEED projects to showcase their deep technical knowledge of LEED in both principle and practice. Project teams with LEED APs demonstrate commitment to quality and competency development. 
LEED AP with Specialty — Prerequisites: LEED Project Experience strongly recommended; Exam fee: $550; CE Hours required: 30 hours every two years

USGBC also offers a third LEED credential, the LEED Fellow, which is an honorary designation bestowed annually upon the most distinguished LEED APs with specialty to recognize exceptional contributions to advancing the field of green building. The highest and most exclusive individual designation in green building, LEED Fellows must hold a minimum of 10 years of green building practitioner experience, be nominated by their peers, pass a rigorous review process and demonstrate consistent mastery in areas of technical proficiency, education and mentoring, leadership, commitment and service, and advocacy.

What are the requirements for being eligible to take the LEED Green Associate exam?
As of November 2012, there are no longer any requirements to sit for the LEED Green Associate exam. Visit USGBC to learn more.

What are the requirements for being eligible to take one of the LEED AP with Specialty exams?
Prerequisites: LEED Project Experience strongly recommended; Exam fee: $550; CE Hours required: 30 hours every two years.
For the first time, LEED project experience competency will be assessed within the LEED AP exam. Practitioner experience is critical to the LEED AP designation and, as such, proficiency will be tested objectively within the LEED AP exam itself. The requirement to submit proof of LEED project experience at the time of application is no longer required as of June 30, 2014. However, GBCI strongly urges candidates to gain meaningful project experience prior to taking the test, as project skills are critical to successful exam performance. Learn more about this change.

As a member of DVGBC, would I qualify for the USGBC member discount on the LEED exams and reference guides?
No, discounted pricing for LEED exams and reference guides are only available to USGBC member companies. If you are a full-time employee of a USGBC member company, then you are eligible for the discount. You can find out if your company is a USGBC member company here. Your individual DVGBC membership does not include LEED exam and reference guide discounts, but you do receive discounts on DVGBC events, tours, workshops, webinars, etc.

How do I mainitain my LEED Green Assocaiate or LEED AP Credential?
USGBC provides this information in a detailed guide available here.

What LEED Rating System should I use?
The introductory section of each LEED Rating System provides general guidance for what application is best for that particular rating system. It is possible that your project might be eligible for Certification under more than one rating system. In order to earn LEED certification, a project must meet all prerequisites and earn the minimum number of LEED credits/points listed on the checklist. Try using the interactive Discover LEED tool, or use the rating system selection guidance to help you decide which rating system to register for.