What is the LEED Exam?

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  • Written By: Josie Myers
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 11 December 2018
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Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) accreditation is run by the US Green Building Council (USGBC). Those who obtain LEED accreditation are in charge of inspecting buildings for LEED building certification, meaning that the structure meets certain standards of water savings, energy savings, reduced emissions such as CO2, and shows environmental responsibility both indoor and outdoors. Both residential and commercial buildings can be certified.

Those building professionals who are interested in LEED certification can take coursework offered by the USGBC. The Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) is a separate entity that develops the LEED exam that gives LEED Accreditation to professionals. LEED exam preparation is available through the GBCI, but can also be found from numerous sources. Flash cards and online sample tests are some the most common ways to prepare for the exam.

Changes to the LEED exam and accreditation process were made in 2009. These changes to the test were intended to keep the curriculum current, and to improve the knowledge and options for the building professionals involved. The LEED accreditation process now offers specialization, and levels of accomplishment that were previously not offered.

The three levels of expertise offered through the LEED exam are Green Associate, LEED AP, and LEED Fellow. Green Associate is intended for those with less technical backgrounds, but who demonstrate a basic understanding of green building and operation practices. For those who wish to move to the next level, this accreditation is the first step.


LEED AP has been the most common designation for LEED professionals since the program began in 2001. Specialization is possible in this designation. The specializations available are Operations and Maintenance, Homes, Building Design and Construction, Interior Design and Construction and Neighborhood Development. These specializations were phased in over the course of 2009 into 2010. The LEED exam at this level has two separate parts, the Green Associate exam followed by the specialty exam. Candidates may take one exam at a time, or take them together.

The final designation, the LEED Fellow, is reserved for the highest caliber of LEED AP. LEED Fellows have years of experience and training that give them a greater knowledge base than the average AP. In the development of the LEED Fellow program, GBCI took considerations and comments from professionals in the field into consideration. Their goal was to develop a program that would reward the best students and professionals and give them an edge in the field.



Discuss this Article

Post 3

Good article. Thanks for sharing. I took Planet Principles's prep course and I passed my LEED exam. I found it better more than i expected. It was an excellent guide to pass the LEED Exam.

Post 2

Good article and i enjoyed reading it. Thanks for sharing.

Post 1

Green work experience is one way to take the prerequisite for the LEED ap exam. You will gain your letter of attestation.

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