Sustainable You

Sustainability and the Built Environment

Week 4: LEED AP Certification

 Response due at the beginning of class 2/6


Photo by: P.13

In an attempt to stay competitive as a potential employee, but also to be well versed in sustainable design, many students are seeking LEED Professional Accreditation (LEED AP).  It is important to be prepared for people to ask if you are LEED AP, or if you know about LEED . LEED is quickly becoming an industry standard.  Therefore, I’d like for you to look through the  LEED AP Exam Preparation

On the LEED AP Exam Preparation site please download and read the LEED AP Candidate Handbook.  Read through document to get a good sense of how LEED AP process works.  Then on that same page download and read the Specifications and Exam Questions Examples for the LEED NC  exam.

After reading through that material please discuss:

1) Do you think you will be taking the exam in the near future? Explain your answer on why you think you will or will not be taking the exam.

2) When you flip through and look at the sample questions, do you feel aware of many of the topics discussed?

3) What do you think are the benefits to being LEED AP?





Filed under: Sustainable Design

24 Responses

  1. Rachel Vaccaro says:

    After looking over the LEED AP exam preparation site I realize that I still have a ton to learn about LEED. However I definitely see myself taking the exam in the near future. The economy is bad right now and we need to be competitive when looking for work and because this is the new standard I want to be on top and have a lot of good design certifications under my belt. Being a LEED AP will help us in many ways but most importantly it will help us design better and it will give us an understanding of how to better the environment.

  2. jason reid says:

    the sample questions were all pretty much greek to me, so i think i’d definitely want some experience working on a LEED project before taking the exam. i will say that some of them were a little familiar, even interesting, although it was still scary. as for benefits, obviously the knowledge would open new doors and make a LEED AP qualified for more jobs. also, i think it always helps to be able to build your resume, and a little something extra to put on a business card, especially since we can’t put ‘interior designer’ anywhere near our business cards (haha).

  3. Jill Vaughan says:

    I am very interested in becoming LEED certified. I really wanted to take the exam last fall when I had time to view the application process, but after looking at the prices (books, fees, etc.) and all the information I still need to familiarize myself with, I decided it would be best to wait awhile :)!! I definitely hope to take this exam though in the near future, one because I’m very interested in the green aspects of design, but two because I really think and hope that it will become very beneficial and maybe even a necessity in the years ahead. It is a competitive world out there, especially now with our economy, so to have any additional/extra knowledge and certification can only help your career advancements and opportunities.
    The exam questions are challenging, but I believe as long as you want to learn the information you can with due time. We just need a little more time (what we don’t have right now :)), practice, and further knowledge.

    Since Domino magazine was on the blog, I decided to post this. It is said to be the first LEED-certified house in Atlanta, Georgia.

  4. Leah Williams says:

    I am very interested in becoming aware of LEED certification and going through that process. But I am overwhelmed with all the information needed to pass the test! I realized that there is still alot to learn about before that happens! Looking at the topics and sample questions made me realize that, geez there’s alot! haha. But in due time, these things will be learned and with practice-remembered in order to prepare for the exam. I feel like I will take the exam to be certified because it would be an advance in the industry. Especially right now with the economy, I think becoming LEED certified would be something that would look great on a resume when applying for a job and securing that job. Because it is still such a new concept, many employers would find that impressive (I would hope) that I knew about it and wanted to help the economy become green! 🙂

  5. Sloan Rhodes says:

    After looking at the exam questions, I don’t think I’ll be taking the exam anywhere in the near future! A lot of it seemed way over my head without a lot of studying and experience. Currently, I do think that it would be beneficial to take it the exam, but I wonder if in a few years (by the time I am ready to take it), it will become obsolete because LEED will just be standard and everyone will have to be well-versed in it. Of course, that could also mean that being LEED AP would be mandatory. I think the greatest benefit of being LEED AP would be that you wouldn’t have to prove your LEED knowledge; that of course you know LEED because you’ve been certified. I feel like that as greenwashing becomes more widely known and more of a problem, that designers also might start doing the same thing.

  6. Dannon says:

    So after looking over the sample questions and at everything that goes into taking the LEED certification i feel a little overwhelmed!!! Although i REAllY do want to eventually get this certification. I think it is of great value to have right now and even more for the future of green design. Plus, it looks great on a resume. Looking over that information tells me i need to really know my stuff before i go spend $400 on the test. I think first working on a LEED project would most definitely be mandatory for me to get to know all the elements of what goes into a project.

  7. Jennifer Zerrusen says:

    I do think that I will take the exam in the future because I think it would make me more competitive for jobs. I also believe that some of the designs are things that I would like to include in my work. After reading through the sample questions the information sounds familiar, however I would need to study for the exam since I was unsure about the answers. Yet, overall I felt comfortable with the topics that the questions were addressing. I believe the overall benefits of LEED AP are that you are more competitive as a designer, you are a more flexible designer and well rounded with problems that can occur in a design and how to solve them.

  8. Heather says:

    I think being a LEED AP would give me such a huge advantage in such a competitive field. I definitely want to do this sometime in the near future. However, it is expensive and I would have a lot of studying to do! Even if I didn’t go for the certification, I think knowing about LEED and it’s certifications are a big value to us as designers since “going green” is (hopefully!) becoming more of a standard rather than just a trend. Forbes even had an article about how much the opportunity for green jobs will grow:

  9. Lia Moraitakis says:

    I am so happy that Jill posted the video for the EcoManor! I brought this up in one of our first days of class because this is one of my friend’s houses and I thought it would be fun to use this as one of my case studies. My parents went to a party a few weeks ago that the Seydel’s hosted (our sisters play basketball together) and my mom said it was one of the most incredible houses she’s ever been to! However, she did say that it must have cost a lot of money to go through all of the extra effort to attain the LEED certification. I think this is a situation that needs to be addressed more because sometimes it does cost more to choose green products, but the long term effects make it worth the extra work. That’s how I feel about becoming LEED certified…it will take a lot of energy but it will be to my advantage in the long run.

    Here is the actual website for the EcoManor if anyone is interested!

  10. Jaclyn Butler says:

    I think there are major benefits to being LEED approved, obviously, considering we have spent two full class periods on the topic. As a designer I know that it will be beneficial to know how to improve a building in as many ways as possible. And to have the certification is great for the community as well because that knowedlege is only going to gain importance as we begin to know more about LEED. But with all of this in mind, I know I would be guessing on almost all of those questions. The topics are really interesting though and are things I hadn’t even thought of looking into yet. So, I think after looking into the LEED exam, I would love to work with a certified LEED designer. This way, when I take the test its more like common sense that I have witnessed in person than just studying for a really hard test!

  11. Rachel Lawrence says:

    As of right now I do not think becoming LEED certified will help me in my goals to be a residential designer? I think that to a client, being LEED certified can be very impressive but it also is an expensive and time consuming process, that could potential turn clients off to working with me. Until LEED becomes a standard I do not think I will take the test. Don’t get me wrong I think LEED design is great and I think we should design in a way that helps the environment. But as of right now I don’t think that the work needed and the time and money spend to being LEED certified will help me personally in the end.

  12. I wish to become LEED certified, however after reading through the material on becoming LEED AP, I feel that I have a lot of work to do before I am comfortable taking the test. I have worked for a construction company that only takes on LEED projects, however I only specialized in the Commercial Interiors segment, and within that field I only focused on waste materials where I calculated the total amount of drywall, metal, light fixtures, carpet tiles, etc. that were recycled within the renovation of the Bank of America Corporate Center in Charlotte, NC. The project manager who was in charge gave me a brief overview of LEED before I began the internship, and after all of this experience I still do not feel that I am qualified to take the exam at the moment, however I do wish to it in the future. I also feel that I can not afford to take the test right out of college, and will need some time in the workforce to prepare for this certification.

  13. Katie Crider says:

    I think I will decide if I want to become LEED AP certified after I have some work experience. Right now, I’m just learning about LEED so I don’t think I will have a realistic idea about how it will impact my career until the end of the semester. I felt like I could figure out some of the questions based on knowledge I already had, but most of the questions referred to specific standards that I’m not familiar with. I know that gaining certification would make me a competitor in the work force and I think that even if I don’t become LEED certified, it is important to stay well versed in LEED standards and certified projects etc.

  14. Claire Moses says:

    Well, I just looked over some of the sample questions on the LEED exam…and realized I have a lot more to learn. That’s an understatement! Every question that was asked was pretty much foreign to me, but that’s okay, we’ve just started learning about it right?? 🙂 Anyway, I would like to take the exam at some point, because I feel like it would give me an advantage over other designers in the area I choose to live…but I’m not sure if that will be in the near future. It’s a new thing, and I feel like the word will continue to get out and grow about LEED and people will start wanting to use it when constructing new homes! So it’s a great thing

  15. Courtney Crosby says:

    I would love to take the LEED AP exam, but I do not see this happening in the near future. The deadline to sign up for this year is March 31st, and I do not think I will feel prepared enough to take the examination by that date. Hopefully after working for a coupe years and getting some experience I will be better prepared for this test because there is so much information to learn about LEED. As much as I could study for the test, some things are not learned until you have actually had experience in working with LEED. I am familiar with some of the questions, but for the most part I need more education on LEED. There are many benefits to being LEED AP. You are a more qualified job candidate for one. LEED is becoming an industry standard quickly, and it soon may be a requirement to have your LEED AP so it would be nice to be ahead of the game. These are just a few of the many benefits of having your LEED AP.

  16. Caroline Irvin says:

    After looking over the LEED sample questions, I do not see myself taking this exam in the near future, as I did not feel confident about most of the material. I plan on getting out into the work force and gaining experience before making a decision about taking the exam. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain from taking the exam, but it will absolutely take a lot of time and preparation. I would feel much more qualified as a designer and applying for jobs in the future if I was certified.

  17. Kimberly Key says:

    I think that being LEED certified would look great on a resume and definitely give you a “leg up” in the interview process. I think it is very important to increase our knowledge in new aspects of design so that we can offer the best possibilities to our clients. I would like to learn more about LEED and the principles behind it but I have not planned to take the exam in the near future.
    After looking at the requirements and sample questions I think I’ve made the right decision. I would need so much more preparation and I don’t see myself doing it while I have classes, projects, trying to get a job and planning a wedding. Then after all that is over I will hopefully have a job and the next step in my plan is to take the NCIDQ. That is more important for my future. I don’t really know where I will end up and it’s important that I be able to work wherever we go.
    One good thing about waiting is that maybe the job I have will offer to pay for it like lots of them do to take the NCIDQ. I would also like to wait and see how companies actually feel about LEED… from some of our discussions in class it seems like some professionals think it is too much work to even deal with.

  18. Meredith Kaltz says:

    I knew there was a lot to learn about LEED, but I didn’t realize how complicated it must be. You would have to dedicate a lot of time, energy, and money to become certified, but I’m sure it would pay off in the end. I will definitely consider taking the exam, especially as I learn more about it, but I won’t be making that decision right now. I would like to get a job and some work experience first, then decide. I’m sure in a particular job, being LEED certified would be great. It could give you a huge advantage over a lot of people in the right market.

  19. Elizabeth Sims says:

    Like just about everyone else in our class, I think I would have to elect to take the LEED exam later rather than sooner. It seems as if LEED, just like everything else in the design industry, is in the midst of fast and great change. After reading the handbook, it also seems like the Green Building Council is leaning more toward several separate specialized LEED exams as opposed to a huge general one. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking, but I think I’ll wait to see if they write a more specialized exam in a LEED subset I’m especially interested in. That way, I might actually be able to grasp all of the exam material and have a better chance of passing.

  20. Meredith Mullis says:

    WOW! After reading through the site a little bit and looking at the exam questions I feel like my knowledge about LEED is far from where it needs to be. I do want to be more knowledgable about the overall idea of LEED and LEED projects but I’m not sure if I will be taking the test to become certified or not. In the area where I currently live, LEED is not even on the radar of important issues in construction or design. Unfortunately for the environment, in that area it is all about the bottom line. So, while I do think that LEED is growing in popularity I’m not certain that its something I am going to become certified in until I see the market where I will be living moving toward that direction.

  21. Deanna Kamal says:

    Ok, so after reading through the Specifications and References for the LEED exam I will probably not be taking this exam for a while! I was unable to answer a majority of the questions listed on the site. However, I do feel confident in my ability to attain the knowledge necessary to pass this test and become a certified LEED AP. I am interested in doing so and feel that when the time is right I will take it. As for now, I will continue to aquaint myself with LEED and its goals toward approving the current environmental conditions. When I do take the exam I want to be knowledgeable. I want to be able to back up my beliefs with facts and sensible reasoning. I feel that I am now on a great track toward achieving this goal but could definitely afford myself some additional time and experience before becoming a LEED AP.

  22. Mallory Gibbs says:

    After looking through some of the exam questions, I am definitely happy that it is multiple choice at least. I like multiple choice the best, if i had to choose. As far as the content though, it looks really complicated and intense. But I definitely think I will be taking the exam in the future. I want to take the LEED exam as well as the NCIDQ. I feel like, as a designer, these are our “master degrees.” : ) In this competitive field, anything that makes me stand out above someone else, to be hired is a great thing. I know that the place I interned at last fall would really take me seriously with this accreditation.

  23. Sara McCullough says:

    After all this research we are doing in this class, I have become very interested in sustainable and green design. I find myself constantly changing parts of my lifestyle as I read “Green Goes with Everything”. I definitely want to get LEED AP certified, but after looking at the website an going to the LEED seminar, I have realized that it’s not something I can do right now. I plan on graduating and over the summer studying very hard for this exam and taking when I feel confident enough to pass. Going to the seminar really opened my eyes to how in depth the questions are going to be and just how prepared one has to be to take the exam. I plan on finishing the six week seminar series which helps give me a better understanding of LEED altogether. They are posting the lectures some how and I would love to share those notes with anyone that is interested in them. I think that being LEED AP certified will not only be to our advantage when geting a job, but I think that we are evolving to this idea and the sooner we learn and understand it the better designer we will be.

  24. Gloria Valencia-Martin says:

    This class has been very interesting for me; I feel that I would love to learn more about LEED, UD, ADA, etc. During the semester it is hard to sit and study thoroughly all this information, but I am exciting about doing it by myself this summer in order to be LEED PA certified. I know that I need a lot of preparation before I take this test, but I am looking forward to doing it. I hope we can be more proficient in LEED at the end of the semester; it would help the students who are taking this test in the future.

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