We recently described what the LEED Green Associate certification was and how valuable and important it was, as an entry gate on your way to get LEED certified. Indeed, this certification is just the first one of a long list, and gives the opportunity to obtain one of the several LEED Accredited Professional certification or LEED AP. So what is exactly this certification and why is it important?
The LEED Accredited Professional Certification
While the LEED Green Associate certification was meant for individuals, within any profession, to show fundamental knowledge of green buildings, the LEED AP designation signifies technical and advanced expertise in specific fields within green buildings. TheLEED AP certification is divided into five different exams, each focusing on different specialties, LEED AP Building Design & Construction, LEED AP Operations & Maintenance, LEED AP Homes, LEED Interior Design & Construction and LEED AP Neighborhood Development. This certification is dedicated to professionals such as Engineers, Architects, Developers or Builders for example, who wish to demonstrate an advanced knowledge of key LEED specialties. Unlike LEED GA, in order to sit for the LEED AP exam, candidates will have to demonstrate experience working on a LEED-registered project within the previous 3 years of their registration date, this must be demonstrated in the form of an attestation letter from either a supervisor, client or project manager that will describe your involvement on the project. For people that do not have this experience, a LEED project experience course is available in order to qualify for the LEED AP certification.
Why would you get it?
If the LEED GA certification is a gateway to the green energy industry and shows understanding of current green building’s principles, the LEED AP certification is a proof of advanced knowledge in a particular LEED category. Each LEED specialty will has its own specificities, for example the LEED AP Building Design & Construction credential will be a better match for professionals looking to gain expertise in the design and construction of green buildings in the commercial, residential sectors while the LEED AP Homes credential is suited for candidates working on the development and construction of sustainable houses. Being LEED AP certified is also the guarantee of being part of a brighter future, LEED certified buildings have lower operating costs and higher asset values than regular buildings and are qualified for tax rebates, zoning allowances and other governmental incentives. These are the premise for a booming industry where building professionals want to be in.
The LEED AP Exam
The exam is a 4 hour, two-part computer-based test with each part consisting of 100 multiple-choice questions. The results will be available right after finishing the exam and you’ll need a score above 170 in order to pass. The application fees are $100 and the exam is $400 if you’re an USBC member and $550 if you’re not.
Every LEED AP certified candidates are required to maintain their status, to do so they must attend and complete 30 hours of continuing education every two years. After 10 years in this industry, LEED AP certified professionals will have access to the LEED Fellow certification. This certification reward individuals that have shown valuable contributions to advancing their industry and is distributed by their own peers.