What is LEED Certification?

What is LEED Certification?

As the gold standard in the construction industry, LEED Certification refers to buildings that have been designed, built, and maintained using green building and energy efficiency best practices.

Keep reading to learn how LEED applies to people, companies, and products.

LEED Certified building
What is LEED?

LEED = Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design

LEED is one of the most popular green building certification programs.

  • Created by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)
  • Examines 100+ areas of green building
  • Recognized internationally

The LEED principles can be relevant to a range of stakeholders.

People often come to us seeking information about:

  • LEED Certification for Buildings
  • LEED Certification for People
  • LEED Certification for Companies
  • LEED Certification for Products and Services
LEED certification environment
LEED Certification Overview

What Can Get LEED Certified?

Each of these stakeholders CAN play a role, but not all can earn a "LEED Certification."



Offices, schools, homes & more can become LEED Certified.

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People go through a process to become “LEED Accredited.”

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Companies pay an annual fee to become a “USGBC Member.”

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Products earn eco-labels within their material’s industry.

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LEED Certification for Buildings

LEED Certification refers to buildings that have been designed, built, and maintained using best practices for green building.

LEED applies to all buildings everywhere, regardless of where they are in their life cycle.

The benefits of LEED Certification include:

  • Reduced energy and water usage
  • Lower operating costs
  • Less construction waste
  • Reduced liability
  • More durable buildings
  • Supports the local economy
  • Greater resale value
  • Improved indoor air quality
  • Increased employee productivity
  • Better public image
LEED Statistics

LEED Certification is Global

LEED is the most widely adopted benchmark because its standards apply to buildings at the global, regional, and local levels.

That means that LEED works no matter where you live — from Seattle, Washington to Taipei, Taiwan.


Projects that have a LEED Certification


Participating countries and territories

15 Billion

Square feet made up of LEED certified space

5 Million

People experience a LEED building every day


How LEED Certification Works

LEED applies to all buildings everywhere, regardless of where they are in their life cycle.

To understand LEED, you first have to recognize that the information is organized in different sections.

The sections start broad and then funnel down to specific details.

  • Rating Systems categorize your building project.
  • Credit Categories target systems in the building.
  • Credits are the actual strategies to improve your building.
  • Points are earned when you correctly implement a strategy.

When you work on a LEED certification project, you’ll choose relevant credits that help you optimize building performance.

Some credits offer a point range, giving you additional flexibility in terms of how sustainable you want to be.

The more points earned, the more sustainable the building is.

What is LEED? terms chart

LEED Certification Levels

Depending on the number of points received, the project can earn certification on one of the following levels:


40-49 points

LEED Certified logo


50-59 points

LEED Silver logo


60-79 points

LEED Gold logo


80+ points

LEED Platinum logo

What is LEED Accreditation?

LEED Certification for People

LEED Certification would be hard to accomplish without the passionate work of LEED accredited professionals.

LEED Accreditation is the term used to describe people who have passed a professional exam on LEED concepts.

The benefits of LEED Accreditation include:

  • Adding an internationally recognized credential to your resume
  • Improved marketability when looking for jobs
  • Competitive advantage over jobseekers in your industry
  • Third-party recognition of your knowledge
  • More likely to qualify for a salary increase or promotion
  • Better suited for a leadership role
  • Capable of taking on more responsibility
  • Stronger eligibility to work on green projects
  • Expanded business services & client reach
  • Becoming a stronger asset to your company
  • Serving as a credible green building advocate
LEED Exam Process

How to Get LEED Accredited

Pursuing a LEED credential is a simple three-step process.

1. Get Trained

Register for LEED training

Learn key terms and concepts about how LEED Certification works and why green building matters.

2. Buy Exam

Buy LEED exam

When you're ready, create an account with the U.S. Green Building Council and buy your LEED exam(s).

3. Take Exam

Schedule LEED exam

Schedule your 2-hour test by appointment at one of Prometric's worldwide testing centers.


Which LEED Credential Should I Get?

There are three tiers for LEED Accreditation.

All candidates are required to start at the LEED Green Associate level.

Tier 1: LEED Green Associate

  • Start here and learn the basic structure of the LEED Rating System

Tier 2: LEED AP with Specialty

  • Next, choose to specialize in a specific area of green building.

Tier 3: LEED Fellow

  • This honorary title is for LEED APs with 10+ years of experience.
leed accredited professionals
Get Started

Earn Your LEED Credential Today

Sign up now to start with the LEED Green Associate Exam Prep training!

Not ready? Explore the LEED credentials in greater detail.

USGBC Membership

LEED Certification for Companies

The LEED Accreditation title is tied to the person, not the company.

Instead, companies become USGBC Members.

USGBC membership benefits companies in the following ways:

  • Companies can use the USGBC logo in their advertising
  • Full-time employees can get discounts on the LEED Exam
  • Companies can get listed in the USGBC Member Directory

Membership is offered at four levels:

  • Organizational
  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Platinum

Note - USGBC membership does not represent understanding of LEED. It is merely a fee paid to show support of USGBC’s mission.

Membership Levels

All organizations can use the USGBC logo in their advertising regardless of which level they belong to.

The benefits increase with each level of USGBC membership.


From $450/year


From $1,500/year


From $5,000/year




LEED Certification for Products

The USGBC does not certify, promote, or endorse products.

However, products and services can play a role in the LEED Certification process, by helping project teams earn points.

The products themselves do not earn points; rather, they contribute to meeting LEED credit requirements.

For example, a steel roofing company could advertise that their product contributes…

  • 1 point to SS Credit – Site Development
  • 2 points to SS Credit – Heat Island Reduction
  • 3 points to EA Credit – Renewable Energy Production
  • 2 points to MR Credit – Building Life Cycle Impact Reduction

It is the manufacturer’s responsibility to provide transparent information that shows how their product satisfies the LEED credit.

Take the first step of understanding LEED requirements by joining our LEED Green Associate training!

LEED certification for building products

Sign Up for LEED Training

Now that you have a basic understanding of how LEED works, it's time to dive into the LEED credits and show true proficiency.


Still have questions about LEED? Check out our LEED FAQs page.