Sustainable You

Sustainability and the Built Environment

Prep for the LEED GA Exam

Below is some information for those of you consider Option#2 on your final project assignment. We will have a class on Feb 17th dedicated to just talking about prep for the exam, however, if you’d like to start preparation now, please use the following information as a direct guide.  I am also happy to meet with you privately to help get your started before Feb 17.

LEED Green Associate information LEED credentials now have a tiered system, please read about it here GBCI: Tiered Credential FAQS.

Below is a quick excerpt from GBCI: Tiered Credential FAQS page explaining the tiered system:

“Q: What are the three tiered credentials?
A: Tier I
LEED Green Associate: As the first step in a LEED professional’s career pathway, the Green Associate credential attests to basic knowledge and skill in understanding and supporting green design, construction, and operations. There are no specialties within the LEED Green Associate tier.

Tier II
LEED AP with specialty: The LEED AP with specialty credential signifies an advanced depth of knowledge in green building practices and specialization in a particular LEED Rating System:

  1. Building Design & Construction (BD&C)
  2. Operations & Maintenance (O&M)
  3. Interior Design & Construction (ID&C)
  4. Homes
  5. Neighborhood Development (ND)

**You must have field experience working on a LEED project to be eligible for Tier II.

Tier III
LEED AP Fellow: Although the application process is currently under development, this tier will distinguish an elite class of leading professionals. Fellows contribute to the standards of practice and body of knowledge for achieving continuous improvement in the green building field.”

View more information about GBCI’s new credentialing tiers. “ (Source: GBCI: Tiered Credential FAQS)

Anyone will be eligible to take the LEED Green Associate , which is the Tier I of testing. Once you gain professional work experience on LEED projects, you will then be able to test into Tier II: Leed AP with Speciality.

Page 11 & 12 of the LEED Green Associate Candidate Handbook explain the Eligibility Requirements:

“To take the LEED Green Associate exam, you must have experience in the form of involvement on a LEED-registered project, employment (or previous employment) in a sustainable field of work, or engagement in (or completion of) an education program that addresses green building principles. You only have to meet one of these criteria to demonstrate eligibility.”  (Source: LEED Green Associate Candidate Handbook, p. 12)

Students of Dr. Lee’s 4900/6900, please contact me personally to discuss your eligibility for the Green Associate exam.  Non-students of my class reading this post can take educational eligibility requirements offered through USGBC educational website, easy enough to achieve the educational component.


  1. First read the LEED Green Associate Candidate Handbook and it will tell what references are needed to study for the exam (page 8).  You must read this handbook to understand how to get started!
  2. Read the Green Building & LEED Core Concepts Guide, 1st Edition (US Green Building Council, 2009) (available for purchase at > Publications).  This is a really helpful overview of LEED, itis a great introduction and quick easy way to get the basic grasp of what LEED is all about.
  3. Very helpful Study Guide “Walkthrough” that is really really helpful!  It does cost a couple dollars but students have found it useful. Due to copyright I can not provide you with a copy but I do I have a copy for you to look over to see if you’d like to consider purchasing it.
  4. Definitely take some online exams prior to taking your exam to make sure you are prepared for the exam.  This site offers quality exams at reasonable prices (Green Exam Prep).  The majority of students agree that using the mock exams is one of the best and primary study tools.

Filed under: Sustainable Design

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