Thursday, September 12, 2013

An Inside Look At LEED Accredited Professionals

The green building industry continues to expand and become more mainstream in the United States and globally, significantly due to a growing number of professionals who have trained in green building practices and are advocates for the movement. Many of these professionals have earned a LEED credential to designate their expertise. These credentials include the LEED Green Associate; LEED AP (Accredited Professional) with Specialty; and LEED Fellow. The professionals who have achieved these designations cross-path a variety of careers from mechanical engineering to marketing. The green building movement recognizes a LEED credential as one that will continue progress and enhance the sustainability, safety, and security of buildings. Buildings that are LEED-certified have been proven to be higher in value and because of the effort and education involved in becoming green.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) was created by U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and is a voluntary, consensus-based, and quantifiable rating system for green building. LEED has become the most popular and widely recognized green building rating system in the world. LEED can be applied to individuals and buildings but LEED Accreditation is for individuals while LEED Certification is for buildings.

Green credential data
Here are the descriptions of the various certificates and designations for the LEED Professionals Movement:

LEED Green Associate
A LEED Green Associate demonstrates a solid and current foundation in green building principles and practices.

LEED APs with Specialty
Advanced knowledge in green building as well as expertise in a particular LEED rating system.

LEED Fellow
A LEED Fellow denotes highly accomplished individuals nominated by their peers. LEED Fellows are LEED Aps with Specialty who have more than 10 or more years of experience in professional green building.

In order to become a LEED AP you must pass both the LEED Green Associate and a specialized LEED Accredited Professional Exam. Each LEED exam is 2 hours long and is comprised of 100 multiple choice questions. It is scored on a scale of 125 to 200 with 170 being a passing grade. The allotted time for each exam is 2 hours.

USGBC reports that there are currently 186,476 total LEED Professionals, including LEED Green Associates, LEED APs with specialty, and LEED APs without specialty. There are 187,428 total LEED credentials held, including the total number of credentials held by LEED professionals, many of whom have earned more than one credential.

Earning a LEED credential allows one to be a leader in a variety of different industries, from architecture to electrical engineering. Architecture remains the most common profession of LEED accredited professionals with 28,905 credential holders, with Construction Management, Mechanical Engineering, Project Management, and Interior Design rounding out the top five sectors.

Industries focusing on Green Movement

The top ten locations for accredited LEED professionals are:
  • California: 11,881
  • New York: 5,997
  • Texas: 5,071
  • Illinois: 4,650
  • Florida: 4,620
  • Virginia: 3,670
  • Georgia: 3,223
  • Massachusetts: 3,196
  • Pennsylvania: 2,972
  • Colorado: 2,949
For more information on USGBC's LEED credentials, and to learn how you can join the green building movement, visit