Frequently Asked Questions

LEED®, (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), is a global green building certification system that provides third-party verification of the features, design, construction, maintenance, operation and effectiveness of green buildings. Developed and maintained by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED is a simple and effective program for navigating complex, often competing building and environmental issues affecting humans worldwide. It is a tool that can be used to improve the environment, create better performing buildings and enhance public health. With specific achievement paths built in, LEED is designed for use in a variety of climates and localities, often synching with local laws and requirements. Every day, more than 170,000 square meters of space in more than 150 countries and territories certifies with LEED. Every eight hours one international LEED project gets certified. More than 69,800 commercial projects are currently participating in LEED, comprising nearly 1.2 billion square meters of construction space worldwide. Building projects earn points to achieve one of four different levels of LEED certification: Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum. With the support of LEED development committees, volunteers, practitioners, the LEED International Roundtable and more than 40 green building councils around the world, LEED is continually evolving and being optimized for various building types in all global markets.

The Green Business Certification Institute (GBCI) was formed in late 2007 as a part of the USGBC to manage all aspects of the LEED Professional Accreditation program including exam development, registration and delivery.

LEED-certified buildings are resource efficient. They use less water and energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As an added bonus, they save money. In a nutshell, LEED certified buildings demonstrate:

Proven performance: saves money and energy, reduces water consumption, improves indoor air quality, facilitates better product & material choices, and drives innovation.

Lifetime of returns: cost less to operate, reducing energy and water bills by as much as 40%. Businesses and organizations across the globe use LEED to increase the efficiency of their buildings, freeing up valuable resources that can be used to expand operations and invest in emerging technologies.

LEED works for all buildings—from homes to manufacturing facilities—at all phases of development. Projects pursuing LEED certification earn points across several areas that address sustainability issues. Based on the number of points achieved, a project then receives one of four LEED rating levels: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum.

In brief, LEED certification works like this:

Projects apply for LEED certification under a particular rating system (LEED for Building Design and Construction, LEED for Interior Design and Construction, LEED for Building Operations and Maintenance, LEED for Neighborhood Development, LEED for Homes, etc.). Projects achieve points by satisfying various requirements, which are geared toward different methods of green building practice. If a project earns enough points, it gets a ranking (certified, silver, gold or platinum) and is then dubbed a “LEED certified” project.

To learn more about the certification process visit USGBC website.

The USGBC offers two tracks for LEED designations through examination: LEED Green Associate and Accredited Professional (AP) with a specialty.

LEED Green Associate

This is the door to the green building world and to step through it candidate needs to demonstrate and understand the most current green building principles and practices. With this designation you can build upon your certification with a specialty.

Accredited Professional (AP): Signifies advanced knowledge in green building as well as expertise in a particular LEED rating system such as:

  • LEED AP Building Design + Construction (LEED AP BD+C)
  • LEED AP Operations + Maintenance (LEED AP O+M)
  • LEED AP Interior Design + Construction (LEED AP ID+C)
  • LEED AP Neighborhood Development (LEED AP ND)
  • LEED AP Homes

LEED Fellow: The third, and highest professional designation that a LEED professional can earn is a LEED Fellow. This is a peer-nominated distinction for leaders in the LEED and sustainable building industry who have acquired significant technical knowledge and skills and have history of exemplary leadership, impactful commitment, service, and advocacy in green building and sustainability.

EDGE (“Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies”) is another green building certification introduced by IFC (International Finance Corporation), a member of the World Bank Group. EDGE provides market leaders with the opportunity to gain a competitive advantage by differentiating their products and adding value to the lives of their customers. EDGE brings speed, market intelligence and an investment focus to the next generation of green building certification in more than 170 countries. IFC created EDGE to respond to the need for a measurable and credible solution to prove the business case for building green and unlock financial investment. EDGE includes a cloud-based platform to calculate the cost of going green and utility savings. The state-of-the-art engine has a sophisticated set of city-based climate and cost data, consumption patterns and algorithms for predicting the most accurate performance results. Visit to learn more.

EDGE brings international prestige to your project at the design stage. Whether you’re a homebuilder, commercial owner, or are building to sell, capitalize on the value of certification before your project has been built.