Getting LEED Certified

Posted on November 19, 2010


OK, this is a change from the political nature of this blog, but my interests have always been wide ranging, and rather than create a new blog for new interests, I’ve decided to use this same blog for all my interests.

I’ve recently been looking in to what it would take to get LEED certified.  There are several levels of LEED certification.  The first, and easiest level, is LEED green associate.  That can be obtained by taking a course, studying for 20 or so hours, and then taking the certification exam, and scoring 170 or higher out of a possible 200 points.  It appears that some people have done it in as little as a week.  Costs run about $400-500 if you take an online course, up to $2000 or more if you take an in person course.  As best I can tell, it might get you started, but the real meat, and the more valuable certification, comes with the second level, Leed AP with specialty.  There are five specialties:

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

In order to qualify for one of these specialties, you again have to pass a test with a score of 170 or above; in addition, to qualify to take the exam, you must demonstrate experience on a LEED project.  It’s not necessary that you lead a LEED project; for example, you could be a sub-contractor on a LEED project, but you must have documented work experience before taking one or more of the exams.  There is also a third level of professional qualification called an AP fellow, but as of this writing, criteria have not been published and no one can claim this professional qualification.

It appears that there is a booming business training people to take the exams. The “non-profit” US Green Building Council (which originated and monitors LEED certification) is now a 116 person organization with a $50M budget.   In addition to a multitude of courses provided by the USGBC, there are a number of 3rd parties that provide training. A quick Google search identified the following:

  • Everblue Training Institute – they tout that they are the #1 provider of education courses for LEED certification.  Everblue has an extensive list of courses in all formats (live courses, live webinars, online anytime).  Live courses are $595 for a 2-day course and are given frequently, $195 for a 4-day, 10 hour webinar (or $295 if you want the study pack included) and $130 for the on-demand, 8-hour webinar (or $217 if you also want the study pack).  The cost for the exam itself is an extra $200 (through Prometric).
  • Green Building Education Services – they claim to be the #1 selling LEED practice tests. Not sure how they can both be #1.  They also have all formats, and prices are comparable ($225 on demand webinar, practice tests, etc).  One nice feature – they have MP3’s so you can listen to the webinar on the go.  The best deal on their web site appears to be their live webinar, a PDF study guide, and practice questions for $99.

I found a couple of others (RedVector and, but neither seemed up to the standard of the USGBC courses, EverBlue or Green Building Education Services.

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