A Better Credential Experience is Here | U.S. Green Building Council
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Posted in LEED
Published on
Written by
Posted in LEED

One of LEED’s greatest strengths is its ability to evolve and improve along with the industry, continuously raising the bar on green building practice.

The same is true of the LEED Professional Credentials – the industry-respected LEED AP with specialty and LEED Green Associate designations. These credentials call on professionals to constantly enhance their knowledge and skills, and the credentialing program itself must be nimble and adaptable.

Today we’ve announced the most significant updates to the LEED Professional Credentials since the specialty credentials and credential maintenance program (CMP) were introduced in 2009.

The improvements are the result of feedback from professionals throughout the industry, and they are designed to achieve two important goals: Preserving the rigor of the LEED credentials while making them simpler and more straightforward to maintain, and giving LEED APs a better opportunity to get back into the community through earning a specialty credential.

From applying for an exam to reporting hours, we’ve worked hard to eliminate 50 percent of GBCI’s front- and back-end rules, streamlining the process from start to finish. These real, thoughtful changes will ensure that your LEED credentials fit better into your daily professional lives.

Here’s what’s improved:

Credential Maintenance improvements

  • Easier reporting. You no longer have to report categories, and there are fewer limits on your CE hours.
  • Simplified activity types. Now there are only four activity types: education, LEED project participation, volunteering, and authorship. Volunteering has a 50% hour limit and the other activities have no limit.
  • Better forms. The simpler reporting forms mean you only have to fill in the basics.
  • Automatic reporting. Education providers will soon have the ability to automatically upload your continuing education hours when you take a course.
  • Improved course catalog. We’re hard at work on improving functionality for USGBC’s course catalog, which will soon offer course ratings so professionals can chose the educational options that best fit their needs.
  • Prescriptive alternative and new chance to upgrade to a specialty credential

    We're thrilled to introduce Principles of LEED, a free, intensive, six-hour webinar series that will give LEED APs a specialty credential and can be used by those already opted in as an alternative to prescriptive CMP.

    • All LEED APs can take the six-hour series to earn a BD+C, ID+C or O+M specialty credential.
    • LEED APs with specialty doing prescriptive CMP can use the series to satisfy their prescriptive credential maintenance and LEED-specific requirements and shift their reporting period from prescriptive to regular CMP.
    • All other LEED APs with specialty and LEED Green Associates can use the series to earn up to six LEED-specific CE hours for free.
    To learn more and register for the series, visit Principles of LEED now » Exam improvements
    • Streamlined exam applications. Exam application and registration steps have been cut in half, and letters of attestation are no longer needed up front.
    • No more eligibility requirement for the LEED Green Associate. Anyone over age 18 is eligible.

    We’re excited about these improvements to the LEED credential experience, and we invite you to learn more. The power of LEED to change the marketplace comes from the innovations of its practitioners and the ability of the program to react to the lessons learned by professionals and the feedback they provide. These newest improvements to the LEED Professional Credentials are the next step toward a marketplace transformed by cutting-edge green building practice.

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Total 37 commentsLeave a comment

As a LEED AP BD+C, can I take a ID+C course and receive credit for my BD+C credential maintenance?
Green Building Specialist, U.S. Green Building Council
The 6 LEED-specific credits need to be within your specialty, but the 24 non-LEED-specific credits can be from any applicable courses. See pg. 2 of the CMP for more info - http://www.usgbc.org/resources/cmp-guide.
Elizabeth, I need to take ID+C courses for my LEED specific hours. Are courses with a GBCI # that address interior design acceptable for the 6 LEED specific hours or does there need to be a specific designation "ID+C" in the course description?
Leasing and Property Management, Marcarko Ltd.
Haley, in order for a GBCI approved course to be used for LEED Specific CE hours the ID+C designation does need to be in the course description. If the course is not GBCI approved it can still be utilized for LEED Specific CE hours. Examples of LEED Specific content include a LEED update, an in-depth LEED project case study, a review of successful or unsuccessful implementation of LEED, or an analysis of the benefits of LEED. I hope that helps.
Staff Engineer, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc.
I cannot get the system to accept any end date as valid! Anyone have a solution to this? If I put an end date after my current reporting period it's invalid, so is any date within my reporting period. This exercise is proving to be very time consuming...
Senior Infrastructure Engineer, Arup
Where do I have to send an attestation letter in order to take LEED AP BD+C exam?
Green Building Specialist, U.S. Green Building Council
This letter is not required.
What represents the valid end date for LEED Project Participation? No matter what date I put in LEED online says its not valid. All dates I put in are within my reporting period.
Architect / Sustainable Building Advisor, CBRE
Hi Julie! I had the same problem and after several attempts finally the hours were accepted. I still don't know what was the problem.
I wish to obtain continuing education courses that satisfy the Ohio and AIA credit requirements of health, safety and welfare in addition to green objectives.

Hi Amy, I understood the following to mean that the 6 hours of Principals of LEED would be enough to satisfy the entire reporting period. "When you’ve completed the series, your prescriptive requirements will be satisfied...." Is this not the case? If so, the wording is very confusing.

Queens Botanical Garden

I don't know why I'm still so confused even after reading everything. My reporting period ends mid Sept 2013 and I want to make sure I get everything covered in time. I am LEED AP BD+C and have been working towards the 30 credits needed through the prescriptive maintenance process. I plan to complete the 6 Principles of LEED webinars (I have 1 to go)-- Is it true that I no longer have to complete specific number of credits within each category? I am almost to 30 but still short in IEQ, etc. With new CMP do I just have to do the 6 principles of LEED and then 24 credits in any other topics-- no more requirement by category?

Dean F. Unger, AIA, Inc.

I went to update my credential and was left a note that the information had been migrated so I clicked the link, but was not taken to the page I need to update--I've wasted an hour--

Green Potential

Thanks for your reply
Where I can find these courses and the quizzes?

Green Potential

"Take the six modules at your own pace, and complete the quizzes at the end of each module by Oct. 27, 2013.

Where can I find and how can I down load and get these CMP Credits?

Turner Construction Company

I am helping people in my company make sure they take the required courses to complete their 30 hours of training. I was able to get 1 hour of Project surrounding & public outreach by taking "HOMES 202: Financing Green Multifamily Retrofits" I can't find that course anymore. Can you tell me which course they can take from the online webinars to get their 1 hour of Project Surrounding & Public Outreach prereq?

Kitchen & Associates

Hi Erin,
My question is about the Principles of LEED. I have a specialty already (BD+C), and my current (initial) CMP reporting period goes through 3/29/13. I need about 10 more hours to finish my prescriptive credential maintenance. Under the "Upgrade your LEED AP credential" page, the option For LEED APs with specialty currently in the prescriptive path states "Take the six modules at your own pace, and complete the quizzes at the end of each module by Oct. 27, 2013." If I register for Principles of LEED, I have to complete the series by 3/29/13 (end of initial reporting period) and not 10/27/13, correct? All of my current hours will remain as is and I will be able to finish the balance with no category restrictions?

EA Engineering, Science, and Technology,

Hi Erin, thanks for the post, definitely helps clarify the new option. I'm still a bit hesitant on jumping into the new option though. Since I'm in the prescriptive pathway, are there any major disadvantages of switching? I haven't earned many CMP hours under my current cycle that ends next year so I don't think that would be an issue. Thanks!

Industry Marketing Manager - Building Design, Autodesk

Hi William,
This alternative is completely optional, so if you'd prefer to continue doing prescriptive credential maintenance, you're more than welcome to. Some people prefer to have detailed and specific instructions on exactly what type of activities to complete; if that's your situation, staying on prescriptive may be best for you. You can still take Principles of LEED for free and enjoy six free LEED-specific hours of our most advanced and up-to-date LEED education yet.
Our intention with Principles of LEED is to offer a no-strings-attached, free, high-quality program that provides an opportunity for you to earn your future hours in a more flexible way, and in the subjects that make the most sense for your professional focus and expertise.

Programmer/Planner, Texas A&M University

Hello Erin,

This is a fantastic opportunity, but I have a few questions for you:

I am a LEED AP who opted in to complete the prescriptive maintenance path. I do not yet have my LEED specific hours and plan to take the six modules.

When we complete these modules, my understanding is that our reporting period will convert to a regular CMP. Does this mean we need to complete 24 more hours to finish the reporting period or do we start a new 30 hour CMP reporting period? If we start a new 30 hour reporting period, how does the start date work? I have hours I have completed recently for the prescriptive path that I do not want to loose credit for.

Thank you,
Amy Kircher

Industry Marketing Manager - Building Design, Autodesk

Hi Amy,
You're correct. Since you already have an open reporting period, you will need to complete however many hours you have left in it. The six Principles of LEED credits will count, and you will not lose any of the work you've already done. So, for example, if you've already done 9 hours before taking all 6 from Principles of LEED, then you'll have 15 left to do (30 total minus 6 minus 9). Those remaining can be taken in any topic without restrictions. Does that help?

Programmer/Planner, Texas A&M University

Yes this has answered my question. Thank you!

Owner Principal, Kevin Bailey Architect

I have completed all of the presecriptive requirements under the old program...all the hours in each category, all the LEED specific, and all of the total LEED. The button to update my credentials indicates incomplete status. I wrote customer service, got a case number and haven't heard back...how long should this response take?

Industry Marketing Manager - Building Design, Autodesk

Hi Kevin,
It looks like you're 0.5 hours short in the Stakeholder Involvement in Innovation category. If you rearrange your hours to account for that, you should be good to go.

Principal, Director of Sustainable Design, EwingCole

I was at Greenbuild and saw a great talk comparing LEEDv3 2009 to LEEDv4 (LEEDv4 Technical Requirements). Will that Powerpoint be made available for those of us who need to educate our staff of LEED APs? Is it on this site somewhere?

Industry Marketing Manager - Building Design, Autodesk

Don, I'm glad to hear you enjoyed that session. Greenbuild conference proceedings are available for purchase at http://greenbuildexpo.org/education/conference_proceedings.aspx. The package includes audio and slides from all sessions.

Bassetti Architects

I just logged onto MyCredentials to self report CE hours. It shows old format, not new, and I cannot open any category to report hours. I don't need the 6 hour webinar series to achieve the required hours. Is USGBC forcing that now as a pre-requisite to any kind of self reporting?

Industry Marketing Manager - Building Design, Autodesk

Hi Don, you will see the old prescriptive format until you complete all six hours in Principles of LEED. This program is optional, so you can feel free to continue doing prescriptive credential maintenance. You can also take any of the individual Principles of LEED courses you'd like for one LEED-specific CE hour each.

If you believe you're experiencing a reporting bug in My Credentials, please email the details to our customer support team at exam@gbci.org. Thank you.


I already have enough hours for this reporting period but not some of the prescriptive requriements. How does this work? I don't really need the hours from the Principles of LEED Series.

Thanks, Matt

Industry Marketing Manager - Building Design, Autodesk

Hi Matthew, the Principles of LEED series offers an optional alternative to the prescriptive path. If you're close to finished, it may make sense for you to complete your remaining prescriptive hours. You will need to satisfy the hour requirements in each category in order to complete prescriptive and earn your specialty credential that way. You can also use portions of the Principles of LEED series and take only courses that satisfy your missing credits.

Administrative Assistant, Brasfield & Gorrie, LLC

Hello Erin,
My question is about the search page for LEED Professionals. I can no longer locate that page on the website. Can you assist with that or point to the correct person to assist in locating.
Rebecca Clark

Customer Service Representative, U.S. Green Building Council

Hi Rebecca,

Please try this direct link for the LEED Professional Directory: https://ssl12.cyzap.net/gbcicertonline/onlinedirectory/

You can still access this database from the GBCI website at the following pathway:

www.gbci.org > Professional Exams > Professional Directory

I hope this helps!

Industry Marketing Manager - Building Design, Autodesk

Rebecca, you can access the old directory here: http://gbci.cyzap.net/certdir/. This will eventually transition to usgbc.org, and you'll be able to find all LEED Green Associates and LEED APs with specialty in the Directory on the top right navigation of this page.

Industry Marketing Manager - Building Design, Autodesk

Matthew: we will email you. If you are in prescriptive, you will see the old format until you complete the Principles of LEED series.

I just logged into my CE hours on GBCI and still see the old reporting format. When will it be updated? Is there something I need to do?

Industry Marketing Manager - Building Design, Autodesk

Hi Antonio, that is correct. Since you already have a BD+C specialty, you'll simply need to take the specialty-only exam for ID+C, O+M, Homes or ND.


Hi, Erin, I just have a question: if I wanted to get any specialty besides the one I already have (BD+C)... I just need to do the exam?

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