Posted by: lcowie | July 22, 2009

6 Commonly Mistaken LEED Terms or Processes

Over the last few months, there has been much confusion regarding not only LEED in general, but the transition from LEED v2.2 to LEED 3.0. Here is a quick summation, or clarification, of some of these commonly mistaken points:

1. LEED vs. LEEDs: Leeds is a city in England while LEED is a rating system used to distinguish high-performing, sustainable buildings.

2. Certification vs. Accreditation: Buildings and projects earn LEED certification, while people become LEED Accredited Professionals (AP).

3. LEED Certified vs. Silver vs. Gold vs. Platinum: There are four levels for achieving LEED certification. LEED Accredited Professionals must set a goal for a specific LEED certification and must abide by the appropriate guidelines to achieve points. The point ranges for each level are as follows: LEED Certified 40-49, LEED Silver 50-59, LEED Gold 60-79, and LEED Platinum 80-100. This is before achieving the Innovation in Design credits and the ten points they can earn you:

IDc 1.1 – 1.5: 5 points

IDc2 LEED AP: 1 point

Regional Priority Credits: 4 points max

4. USGBC vs. GBCI: In the beginning, there was only the USGBC. Now, the USGBC has split and become two separate organizations: the USGBC and the GBCI. The USGBC developed the LEED Rating System and now hosts an online membership directory of all LEED APs. The GBCI provides third-party project certification and professional credentials recognizing excellence in green building performance and practice.

5. Legacy LEED AP vs. LEED AP+: A Legacy LEED AP is someone who passed any version of the LEED AP exam prior to June 30, 2009. One who has earned the designation of LEED AP+ has taken and passed the LEED v3.0 exam. This person has an enhanced specialty in one of five areas. See the entry on opting into LEED v3.0 to learn more.

6. LEED Green Associate vs. LEED AP: The LEED Green Associate is the newest LEED credential and the required first step before taking the LEED AP+ exam. The GBCI has created the LEED Green credential to denote basic knowledge of green design, construction, and operations. The second course and exam is the LEED AP Plus offered in five different specialties denoting prolific knowledge of green building.

For more information on LEED Accreditation, visit the Everblue Training Institute web site. Still have questions about LEED? Leave us a comment!



  1. With reference to your 6th point, just thought I’d clarify, I didn’t think you needed to take the LEED Green Associate exam before you took the LEED AP exam. I looked it up on the GBCI website and here’s what they say:

    “Q: Do I need to take the LEED Green Associate exam to be eligible to take the LEED AP exam?
    A: No. The LEED Green Associate exam is the first part of the LEED AP exam so you do not have to take it before you apply. In order to be eligible for the LEED AP exam, you must meet the requirements above.”

    • If you are completely new to LEED, then you must take the Green Associate exam before the LEED AP exam. If you took and passed the LEED v2.2 exam (and are therefore a LEED AP), then you can go on to take the LEED AP Exam.

  2. Has anyone taken the Green Associate exam yet? I took the online education hours required to
    sit for the exam and printed out a certificate of
    completions. Does anyone have any advice
    on any other books to study before taking
    the Green Assoicate exam?

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