LEED Certification

LEED Terms & Processes that People Commonly Mistaken

Is it LEED Certification or LEED Accreditation? Let's clarify these frequently confused LEED terms and more.

LEED Terms & Processes that People Commonly Mistaken

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 LEED terms:

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).

leed accreditation image

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 level 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 Specialty: 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 Specialty has taken and passed the LEED v3 exam. This person has an enhanced specialty in one of five areas.

6. LEED Green Associate vs. LEED AP Specialty: The LEED Green Associate is the newest LEED credential and the required first step before taking the LEED AP Specialty 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, offered in five different specialties that denote prolific knowledge of green building.

Learn more about these LEED terms and concepts during one of our LEED Exam Prep courses! 

Register now for LEED Green Associate

About Lesley Cowie

Lesley has been passionately advocating for and working with green building and renewable energy since 2009. She has experience with LEED certification, home energy auditing, blower door testing, solar energy, and more. She holds many certifications, including LEED Green Associate and NABCEP Certification. Her work has won numerous awards over the past decade.