LEED Certification

How to Become a LEED Silver Certified Contractor

You want to qualify for a building project that's requesting LEED Silver. Let's discuss the process and terminology that'll get you to the finish line.

How to Become a LEED Silver Certified Contractor

Let me first start by saying that a “LEED Silver Certified Contractor” is not a thing.

You must be thinking, “How can that be? Why does the title of this post talk about becoming something that doesn’t exist?”

Here’s the thing – the LEED terminology can be a bit confusing because there are LEED labels for both buildings AND people. A “LEED Silver Certified Contractor” is nonsense because it combines terms related to buildings and terms related to people. Which achievement are you pursuing, or both? If both, there are definitely some things you should know about each respective process, so keep reading!

If you’re new to the concept of LEED, take a moment to browse our What is LEED? section and then rejoin us here.

LEED Certification

When a project team incorporates a variety of strategies into a building project that results in the structure being more sustainable, energy-efficient, and healthy, the building earns LEED Certification.

There are four levels of LEED Certification:

  • Certified
  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Platinum

Each level corresponds with a point range. In other words, project teams that meet the bare minimum of LEED requirements will earn the LEED Certified designation for their building. Project teams that go above and beyond can earn a LEED Silver, Gold, or Platinum designation.

LEED Certification levels image

LEED Accreditation

When an individual passes an exam denoting their knowledge of the LEED standards and concepts, he/she earns a LEED Accreditation.

There are two levels of LEED Accreditation:

  • LEED Green Associate
  • LEED AP with a Specialty

All candidates are required to first pass the LEED Green Associate exam before they can pursue ANY other designation.

After passing the LEED Green Associate exam, an individual may choose to upgrade to a LEED AP with a Specialty, which involves passing an exam specifically devoted to the specialized material.

There are five LEED AP specialties available:

  • LEED AP Building Design + Construction
  • LEED AP Operations + Maintenance
  • LEED AP Interior Design + Construction
  • LEED AP Homes
  • LEED AP Neighborhood Development

So you see now how becoming a LEED Silver Certified Contractor is truly not an option.

Real-case scenario of when you might think you see this phrase…

Oftentimes this confusion regarding terminology comes into play when a contractor is reviewing project RFPs and determining whether he/she is eligible to apply.

Since LEED has been in existence for over 15 years, the respective terms for buildings and people are fairly well known to those in the industry who work on such projects regularly.

A Request for Proposal (RFP) from the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County specified its requirements for a LEED Silver certified building and a qualified contractor who has experience working on such projects.

Because the LEED terminology can be confusing to those who are new to it, it’s easy to see how someone might think that they, in fact, need to become a LEED Silver Certified Contractor. As we now know, that’s really not how it works.

Pop Quiz – so how would you qualify for this LEED Silver project?

First of all, building project RFPs will vary by metro area and facility owner. Most RFPs will be quite clear on the qualifications and experience required for their specific project.

In general, the best way to qualify for a LEED Silver building project would be as follows:

  • Someone on staff pass the LEED Green Associate exam
  • This individual should probably upgrade to a LEED AP specialty
  • This individual should take an active role managing LEED projects for the company
  • Now this individual has a competitive background with knowledge and experience

If you’re exploring the idea of earning LEED Accreditation and have more questions, give us a call at (800) 460-2575. If you’re ready to start learning, browse our formats and pricing for the LEED Green Associate Exam Prep now.

Register now for LEED Green Associate

About Lesley Baulding

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.