Many new buildings that are constructed have a LEED-certified label attached to them. Generally speaking, this means that these buildings were constructed with a green building mentality. To be able to do this, the architects and engineers who design these buildings usually carry a LEED Accreditation. Below, let's take a closer look at what goes into a LEED Accreditation and how it can be beneficial.

What is the difference between LEED Certification and LEED Accreditation?

Often, you may see two different terms associated with LEED floating around. One term is "certification," and the other is "accreditation." So what is the difference?

A LEED certification is for buildings only. This can be awarded to buildings that meet specific energy efficient criteria and practice sustainable building principles through the construction process. LEED Accreditation, however, is awarded to a person, such as an architect or engineer. The term most often used to describe a professional is a LEED Accredited Professional, abbreviated to a LEED AP.

How do you become LEED AP?

The first step to becoming a LEED AP is to schedule and complete the LEED Green Associate Exam. There are study materials available through Green Business Certification Inc., and there are test centers located throughout the world in major cities.

The next step, following successful completion of the Green Associate Exam, is to take the AP Exam. This exam is designed for different LEED rating systems, including LEED for Building Construction and Design, Interior Design and Construction, Neighborhood Design, Operations and Management, and Homes.

There is no set time frame to take the AP Exam following the Green Associate Exam. To be able to keep your accreditation, every two years you must gain 15 continuing education hours, of which three hours of LEED specific education is required.

What are the benefits of becoming a LEED AP?

For job seekers, being a LEED AP can be incredibly attractive to potential employers. In emerging markets, such as China, the Middle East, and India, LEED AP employees are very valuable and are in high demand. Aside from being desirable in the job market LEED APs have a wide range of knowledge with various components of green building skills.

It can also help spark interest in one area or another of green construction. Becoming an AP can lead to exposure for different fields of green building that you did not know existed. Further, having AP at the end of your name conveys to potential employers and clients that you know the basics about environmental building and most likely have special knowledge about energy design.

At Gausman & Moore, we are passionate about sustainable building techniques and are proud to employ many LEED AP engineers at our company. We believe in constructing sustainable, energy-efficient buildings that leave a minimal footprint on our environment. To learn more about what projects are LEED certified, check out our portfolio.