2005/04a: Ask Me
Q&A 15 years ago No Comments

I’ve seen the letters “LEED AP” after people’s names associated with the design industry. What does this mean” Is it something having to do only with registered interior designers”


(submitted by Bonnie Sampler)

LEED AP stands for LEED Accredited Professional, but what is LEED” LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

Following the formation of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in 1993, the membership quickly realized that a priority for the sustainable building industry was to have a system to define and measure “green buildings”. The LEED Green Building Rating System was developed through members of the USGBC representing all segments of the building industry.

The first program was LEED-NC Pilot Project Program (LEED for new construction). Various LEED programs have evolved and matured and future LEED programs are in the works. The LEED rating system is a voluntary, consensus-based national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings.

LEED standards are currently available or under development for:

  • New commercial construction and major renovation (LEED-NC)
  • Existing building operations (LEED-EB)
  • Commercial interiors (LEED-CI)
  • Core and shell (LEED-CS)
  • Homes (LEED-H)
  • Neighborhood development (LEED-ND)

LEED was created to (per the USGBC):

  • define “green building” by establishing a common standard of measurement
  • promote integrated, whole-building design practices
  • recognize environmental leadership in the building industry
  • stimulate green competition
  • raise consumer awareness of green building benefits
  • transform the building market

So back to becoming a LEED AP (Accredited Professional)”

The USGBC initiated a professional exam that you must pass to become a LEED AP. The purpose of the exam is to ensure that a successful candidate [interior designer, architect, manufacturer, whoever] has knowledge and skills necessary to participate in the LEED design process, and test understanding of green building practices and principles, and familiarity with LEED requirements and resources.

Successful examinees earn:

  • recognition as a LEED AP on the USGBC web site
  • one point toward LEED certification of their green building projects
  • a LEED AP Professional Certificate

There really are not different perspectives from manufacturer vs. designer / architect. We are all doing this for the same cause and the process for LEED and the USGBC programs and organization is the same for everyone.

An exam overview is available at USGBC.org, and contains information about the exam’s structure/content, study materials, and scheduling as well as sample questions. You can take the test in any city where there an exam center. I took my test at a facility in North Dallas .

To learn about LEED and the organization itself, USGBC.org is a great web site. That would be a perfect place to start. If you are local, I would also suggest that you to participate in the local DFW USGBC chapter, which has educational programs each month, many in which you can earn CEU credits. If you live outside of the D/FW area, I encourage you to find out more about a chapter in your area on the USGBC.org website.