Maintaining the LEED Green Associate Certification

LEEDS Green building, Bellevue, Washington, USA, by Wonderlane on Flickr

Having decided to become a LEED Green Associate due to your interest in Green Buildings and/or working in that field, you will be faced two years later with a quandary. Your LEED GA certification will expire by then, and since it is a maintainable certification, you will need to maintain it if you want to keep it.

Why to keep the LEED Green Associate certification? Shouldn’t you become a LEED AP instead? The main reason why you would want to postpone the LEED AP for now is that you don’t have (yet) documented experience on at least one full LEED project, the chief requirement of the LEED AP.

So how to go about maintaining the LEED GA? What are the requirements?

NOTE: Updated on November 19, 2013

This article, as well as the corresponding article on getting the LEED GA, have been updated to reflect two developments that took place within the last year:

  • The USGBC has dropped the minimum requirements for getting the LEED Green Associate credential; anyone can now apply to become a LEED GA (naturally, awareness of green buildings and sustainability issues is helpful);
  • Applications for getting the LEED GA and LEED AP credentials and credential maintenance are now submitted on the USGBC site.

All the hyperlinks in this article have been updated to reflect the above.

The ‘Credential Maintenance Program’

Every individual who possesses a LEED certification will need to maintain it, except LEED APs that were certified under the previous system. A general overview of the process is shown here, and it includes the following steps:

  • Understanding the general CMP Requirements and download the CMP guide, where you will find out that LEED Green Associates need to earn a total of 15 CE hours, including 3 LEED-specific CE hours.
  • Deciding how to earn your continuing education requirements. The CE hours can be earned by attending live and online courses and webinars, making presentations, writing articles or books, taking college/university courses, participating in committees/volunteering, and participating in LEED projects. Of course, you could do only one or two of these activities, and still earn all of your CE hours there; however, 3 of those hours have to relate directly to LEED.
  • Renewing you LEED GA certification by declaring your CE hours on the USGBC website and paying the $50 fee (at the time of writing).
  • Documenting your CE hours. You might be subject to an audit, where you will need to provide supporting documentation for your CMP activities. Document everything just in case!

Attending Live and Online Courses

One popular and relatively easy way to earn CE hours is to attend live classes or webinars. You learn new material related to Green Buildings and sustainability, and earn CE hours in the process. The webinars are especially efficient, particularly since some of them are free. A one-and-a-half hour webinar nets you 1.5 CE hours, for example. You can take courses approved by the USGBC, most of which will be directly related to LEED. As an opt-in benefit of registering with the USGBC to take your exam, you will be kept aware of new webinars – or webinar series – that you can attend in the comfort of your own home after work.

A Recommendation: AEC Daily

While some courses delivered by the USGBC and other providers might be for a fee, AEC Daily is a website that offers free CMP hours by attending presentations online, of which you can find the list here. Basically, you can earn your CE hours by attending presentations on your PC on topics related to sustainability and LEED, take a quiz at the end of the course, and get a certificate of completion at the end. Such certificates are handy in case if an audit, and you will have learned about a topic related to the Green Building industry.

Start by creating an online ID on the website, and download presentations of interest to you: most of them require one to two hours of your time. A presentation that lasts 1 hour will give you 1 CE hour; another that is 2-hour long will reward you with 2 CE hours, and so on. Usually, you should answer 80% of the short quiz correctly to get the certificate. If you have followed the presentation well, you should be able to pass the test correctly. The AEC Daily courses are a quick and free way for you to earn CE hours, especially if you are pressed for time.

Questions? Need more information? Use the comments box below. Good luck in maintaining your LEED GA !

 

“LEED Green Associate” and the LEED Green Associate logo are trademarks owned by the U.S. Green Building Council and are awarded to individuals under license by the Green Building Certification Institute.

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13 Responses to Maintaining the LEED Green Associate Certification

  1. Robert February 20, 2012 at 2:37 am #

    Thanks….this info was a HUGE help! I procrastinated and I have a little over 1 month to complete the 15 hours of CE. I’ll be getting my 15 hours through AEC Daily – free!

    Thanks again,
    RD

  2. Rabih Sukkar February 20, 2012 at 8:29 am #

    Robert, you are welcome. The AEC Daily site is specially useful if you have very little time left. Good luck !

  3. Robert February 20, 2012 at 10:05 pm #

    Question: How can I tell which of the ECB approved webinar courses on the AEC Daily site are LEED specific? I need to get 3 hours LEED specific.

    Thanks

  4. Rabih Sukkar February 21, 2012 at 8:53 am #

    For the LEED specific hours, I took the on-demand webinars from USGBC: the ‘Affordable Housing’ series (HOMES 202). A very interesting series (and for free as well).

  5. Myk October 19, 2012 at 7:32 pm #

    how can i renew my expired LEED Green Associate credential?

    • Rabih Sukkar October 19, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

      Hello

      You can not renew an expired credential. In your case, you will have to take the LEED Green Associate exam again.

      Good luck !

  6. David Sears July 29, 2013 at 6:19 pm #

    My LEED Geen Associate has credential has expired. Do I have to be documented on another LEED project before I can take the exam again?

    • Rabih Sukkar July 30, 2013 at 7:25 am #

      Hello

      It looks like the USGBC has dropped any eligibility requirements for the LEED GA, as stated in the exam handbook:

      http://www.usgbc.org/resources/leed-green-associate-candidate-handbook

      You can therefore attend the Green Associate exam without any of the previous requirements of LEED project involvement, course attending , or involvement in a field of work that revolves around sustainability.

      It is safe to take the exam without providing documentation. I shall update the LEED GA articles to reflect the new changes.

      Good luck in you exam!

  7. David S July 31, 2013 at 10:12 pm #

    I researched this a bit further as a began to move forward… In the Policies and Procedures Handbook (p.4) they state that to qualify to take the LEED exam, you need to have been on a LEED project within 3 years of of your test date. The verification can be electronic (your name is attached to a job electronically) or by a letter of reference from someone involved with the project. This verification is only used if you’re audited by the USGBC.

    It’s time to take a test!

  8. Mohamad August 14, 2013 at 11:25 am #

    Dear Rabih,

    DO you advise to take the LEED GA & then later on LEED AP?

    • Rabih Sukkar August 14, 2013 at 12:18 pm #

      Hi Mohamad,

      Definitely, particularly if you are not directly involved in a LEED project. The LEED GA is a great building block. That said, please check the exam handbook:

      http://www.usgbc.org/resources/leed-green-associate-candidate-handbook

      It looks like the USGBC has dropped the previous eligibility requirements for the LEED GA, making it more accessible than before.

      Good luck and let me know how it goes!

  9. McKenna January 22, 2014 at 5:26 am #

    Is it possible to store credits? Kind of like how in college you can transfer credits over from another college, or AP credits you took in the past, in high school, can transfer back to college to help your credits?

    I’m about to graduate with a degree in architecture, and one of our new classes in our curriculum, for our last semester, has the end goal of getting us LEED certified by the time we graduate, so I was just curious if the system worked the same way as a school, since you’re basically taking classes as if you were in school.

    • Rabih Sukkar January 22, 2014 at 9:41 am #

      Hello,

      I am not aware that you can use college credits for LEED education, since it’s a professional certification. On the other hand, any ‘green’/sustainability course(s) that you take in college will definitely make getting the LEED AP easier.

      Best of luck :)

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