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How to Prepare for Your LEED Exam: A Step-By-Step Guide

So…you have decided to become a LEED professional? Congratulations on your decision to advance your career and become part of the green movement! Now, you mustidentify exactly how to achieve a LEED professional credential. This step should be easy, however, it can be difficult to navigate through all the information available to determine how to begin your LEED training. Don’t worry; we are here to help! Follow this step-by-step process, and you’ll be good as gold:

1st: Determine which LEED credential you want to achieve.

In order to receive the proper LEED training, you need to decide which LEED credential is right for you. There are currently two levels of LEED credentials: LEED Green Associate and LEED Accredited Professional. Think of the levels as if they were a high school diploma and bachelordegree; you must obtain onefirst before you can obtain the other. The LEED Green Associate credential is the first, more general, level like a high school diploma. The LEED Accredited Professional credential is the next, more technical, level like a bachelor degree.

You must first pass the LEED Green Associate exam before you can take a LEED Accredited Professional exam.

2nd: Ensure you are eligible to take a LEED exam.

In order to be eligible to take the LEED Green Associate exam you must have experience in at least one of the following forms: involvement on a LEED project, employment in a sustainable field of work, or engagement in an education program that addresses green building principles. If you do not currently meet any one of these three options, it is easy to become eligible by engaging in an education program that addresses green building principles. For example, if you take an online course with Planet Principles you will receive a Certificate of Completion to submit with your LEED Green Associate exam application so you will be eligible for the LEED exam.

In order to be eligible to take a LEED Accredited Professional exam you must have been involved with a LEED project within three years of the date you apply to take the LEED AP exam. This experience must be documented in LEED Online or in the form of a letter of attestation that describes your involvement on the LEED project.
For more information about eligibility requirements, visit the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) website. GBCI oversees the development of all the LEED exams and is in charge of the LEED credentialing process.

3rd: Decide how to prepare for your LEED exam.

The primary sources used to develop the LEED exams are the Reference Guides for each LEED Rating System. Each LEED Reference Guideisover 500 pages in length; therefore, many people choose to purchase a LEED exam prep program to ensure they have studied all the correct information. It is also important that your LEED training experience provides you with the skills necessary to apply what you have learned in your field of expertise.

When trying to decide what LEED exam prep solution is right for you, view samples of the product you are interested in to ensure you are getting the right solution for your individual study needs. There are many different options available in the marketplace, so it is important that you see a demo before purchasing a LEED exam prep course to ensure you are getting a good product. For example,Planet Principles’ LEED training program offers a sneak preview of their online courses, plus they provide practice exams and flash cards to prepare you exam day.

4th: Apply for your exam and schedule your exam date.

You must apply to take your exam at GBCI’s website. Once you are approved to take the exam, you will be given an eligibility ID number. Use this number to schedule a time to take you exam at a local Prometric testing center. Prometric is a testing center that provides many different computer-based exams in locations all over the United States. Don’t stress overscheduling your exam because LEED exams are offered almost every day of the week during normal business hours at your local Prometric testing center.

Each LEED exam is given on a computer and is comprised of 100 randomly delivered multiple-choice questions. You are given 2 hours to complete a LEED exam.

5th: Pass your exam and earn your LEED credential!

If you pass the LEED Green Associate exam then you will earn the LEED Green Associate credential. This credential denotes basic knowledge of green building principles and practices required in the LEED Green Building Rating System.

If you pass the next level exam, LEED Accredited Professional, you will become a LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP) under the specialty exam you chose to take. Before you take a LEED AP exam you must first decide which LEED Rating System you want to specialize under. There are five different options: Building Design & Construction, Homes, Interior Design & Construction, Operations & Maintenance, or Neighborhood Development. You will be tested over the specialty you choose. For instance, if you choose to specialize as a LEED AP for Homes then you will have to demonstrate your technical knowledge and skill in understanding the LEED for Homes Rating System and must also demonstrate you ability to facilitate the LEED for Homes project certification process. The LEED AP exam is a lot more technical in nature than the LEED GA exam. For example, the LEED AP: Homes exam will specifically test your knowledge overdocumentation and calculation requirements for each credit or prerequisite in the LEED for Homes Rating System; the LEED GA exam will just test your general understanding of common sustainable strategies that are used in the green building industry.

6th: Receive your official certificate as a LEED Professional.

Upon passing a LEED exam, an official LEED Professional Certificate with your name on it will be mailed to you and your name will be listed in the database of LEED Professionals with the corresponding level of expertise (LEED GA or LEED AP) you have achieved as a result your LEED training.

Official Launch of LEED for Neighborhood Development Rating System

The official launch of the LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) Rating System was on April 29, 2010. The US Green Building Council (USGBC) is the first national organization to regulate neighborhood design by focusing on smart growth and eco-friendly building principles. The LEED for Neighborhood Development Certification awards a stamp of approval for developmental design and location choices that meet the high standards of sustainable development and environmental responsibility in urban building practices.

USGBC has partnered with the Congress for New Urbanism and the Natural Resources Defense Council to launch the LEED-ND Rating System, which aims to reduce the negative environmental impacts associated with urban sprawl. Urban sprawl is the spreading outwards of a city and its suburbs to the outskirts where people become highly dependent on automobiles for transportation to basic services. The LEED-ND Rating System has identified building standards that will promote land conservation and transportation efficiency to reduce the depletion of natural resources and overall greenhouse gas emissions.

The importance of developing this rating system became apparent after the results of The Economic Value of Walkability study were published in 2008; this study revealed that households in automobile-dependent communities spend 50% more, at roughly $8,500 per year, on their regular mode of transportation. This, combined with information from other similar studies, encouraged the USGBC to begin focusing on creating a LEED rating system that champions sustainable urban development to encourage building near existing communities and public transportation to reduce urban sprawl and provide alternative transportation options. Overall, these options decrease automobile dependence while also promoting a healthy community that chooses to walk, bike, or use other forms of transportation, besides automobiles, to carryout their daily activities.

One of the greatest benefits of the LEED Neighborhood Development Rating System when compared to other rating systems available through LEED is that it offers three different stages of certification:

• Stage I: A successful building project plan will be awarded LEED conditional approval.
• Stage II: An approved project plan becomes a pre-certified LEED for Neighborhood Development plan.
• Stage III: A project will earn certification and become officially LEED Certified after submitting

the necessary documentation that proves all certification requirements have been actualized.
This intricate process provides an opportunity wherein a building project can be marketed as a pre-approved LEED for Neighborhood Development Certified project in order to attract investors early in the design process. The USGBC has also developed the LEED for Neighborhood Development Accredited Professional (LEED AP: Neighborhood Development) credential in order to identify building professionals who have achieved a high level of skill and knowledge regarding sustainable neighborhood development.

In order to become an official LEED AP in Neighborhood Development, a person must pass two professional exams: the LEED Green Associate exam and the LEED Accredited Professional in Neighborhood Development exam. When a person passes the LEED Green Associate exam, they receive the LEED Green Associate credential and are then able to advance to the next step and begin preparing for the LEED Accredited Professional in Neighborhood Development exam.

There are LEED training options available in the marketplace, including online LEED exam prep courses and practice tests. Planet Principles is a company that provides online LEED training and is a great option because it has a free Introduction to LEED online course to get you started on preparing for the LEED exam. However, the best way to prepare for the exam will vary for each individual based on a person’s experience in the building industry, or a person’s individual study preferences, so take the time to review your options and decide the best path for your career goals.

LEED Green Building Standards Expanding

With the current push for more stringent, eco-friendly, building standard practices being supported by the federal government and abroad, the need for LEED training is now expanding globally. An agreement was signed between the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) and China’s Green Building Council (CBGC) on April 6, 2010 that signifies the dawn of a new era between these two powerful green building organizations. The agreement officially acknowledges that the two parties will begin to collaborate together to promote the reduction of carbon emissions and support eco-friendly building practices worldwide.

The demand for LEED Accredited Professionals in the building workforce is becoming even greater with the recent collaboration between these two parties. China’s Green Building Council has only been in existence for two years, but in that time, they have worked rigorously to promote green building practices worldwide, especially due to the latest economic expansions and urbanization projects in China. As a professional in the building industry, becoming a LEED Accredited Professional is no longer a luxury since the influence of the USGBC, or United States Green Building Council, is gaining worldwide notoriety.

This new information sheds light on all modern building professionals to signify that green building accreditations in the workforce are becoming more of a necessity than an option.
As these green standards begin to expand globally, LEED training becomes a must for all building professionals. In order to become a LEED professional, you must first pass the LEED exam, therefore choosing the right LEED exam prep provider becomes crucial to your success. Most building professionals prefer to take convenient online courses, such as the ones provide by a company called Planet Principles. This company provides access to their online courses and practice exams for 60 days with the end result of training building professionals to pass the LEED exam in order to become an official LEED Accredited Professional. This simple accreditation holds more than its weight in the modern building industry since it provides the worker with the qualifications necessary to become marketable in this new green economy and building workforce.

This collaboration between the United States and China in green building leadership is only the tip of the iceberg, and all building professionals can expect even more countries to begin taking steps toward eco-friendly building practices. If you have a desire to become marketable in the job force as a green building professional, LEED training is a good step in the right direction to become educated on sustainable practices as a builder, designer, or construction worker today.

As we move into the future, the USGBC confirms that China has already registered for more than 200 building projects to receive LEED certification, which means these projects will be seeking to have LEED Accredited Professionals to oversee the LEED Certification process. China’s booming economy provides a pathway into the future for green and eco-friendly building practices, signifying that LEED trained professionals will be sough-after as the economy moves towards a more globalized workforce.
The first step in the right direction is through LEED training and choosing the right LEED exam prep solution is essential so that you pass the LEED exam with ease. Each person has their own learning style and personal preferences when it comes to studying for an exam, so look for a convenient course to help you meet the requirements of LEED accreditation and further expand you career in today’s ever-expanding green job market.

LEED Exam Preparation: Face Your Fears

Too many people think of professional exams or continuing education as cruel exercises in futility; a complete waste of time spent learning about a new concept that will eventually be trumped in a year by a newer, more innovative concept. But, what if your medical doctor thought this way?

Whether you have been reading headline after headline in the news, or perhaps your clients are already asking for it, the green movement is here to stay! It’s time to pull up your bootstraps and get yourself educated in all things green. Developments like new International Green Construction Code (IGCC) are gaining momentum fast and many people find that becoming a LEED professional is the fastest way to better understand all the new, more stringent, green codes. Plus, you get a shiny new professional credential that identifies you as a green-minded professional.

What is IGCC? In March 2010 the International Code Council (ICC) launched Public Version 1.0 of the new International Green Construction Code (IGCC). Big names like the American Institute of Architects (AIA); ASTM International; American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE); United States Green Building Council (USGBC); and the Illuminating Engineers Society (IES) are strong supporters of the new IGCC building code. These well-established groups have set industry codes and standards for the safe design, construction, operations and maintenance of buildings for decades. Therefore, the convergence of their efforts into the new International Green Construction Code is a strong indicator that the building industry’s demand for a more environmentally sound code was high and if they didn’t develop the code soon – someone else would have.

You may think the LEED exam isn’t a fair or decent predictor of a person’s ability to carryout green building strategies and technologies – but that attitude won’t help you pass the LEED exam! The key discovery that people who have passed a LEED exam have made is that raging against the machine doesn’t hurt the machine. If that’s what you choose to do, rage on my friend. However, people who pass the LEED exam tend to approach the LEED training process as an opportunity to advance their skills – not an instrument of punishment, but an opportunity for reward.

A good way to face your fears is to do a little research, check out your LEED training options, view a LEED training course demo to excite your interests, and let the LEED training experts teach you all the information you need to know to pass the LEED exam the first time. Planet Principles offers online LEED exam prep courses so you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your home while studying for the LEED exam.

Believe us when we say that none of the LEED exam prep experts who work at Planet Principles were born acing the LEED exams. No one is. That’s because the LEED exams do not measure innate skills; they measure acquired skills. People who pass the LEED exams are simply people who’ve acquired these skills, maybe by working on a LEED certified project, or by reading a lot of green industry articles, or by studying green practices in college, or perhaps the easiest way – in one of Planet Principles LEED exam prep courses. But they have, perhaps without realizing it, acquired the skills that spell success on the LEED exam. And if you haven’t, you have nothing whatsoever to feel worried about. You just have to acquire them now.

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