The essential LEED Green Associate cheat sheet | U.S. Green Building Council
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Posted in LEED

You've decided to pursue the LEED Green Associate professional credential, but you aren't sure how to start preparing for the exam.

Review this cheat sheet for a description of exam content areas, which include task domains and knowledge domains.

  1. Task Domains reflect the tasks necessary to perform LEED safely and effectively. 
  2. Knowledge Domains reflect the rating systems’ credit categories and what one needs to know. 

Task Domains

  • Communicate broad and basic green building concepts to team or colleagues 
  • Research and create a library of sustainable building materials 
  • Assist others with sustainability goals 
  • Create project profiles/case studies/press releases
  • Serve as a green advocate to clients, team members and the general public (e.g. why green building) 
  • Stay current on any updates to LEED and green strategies in general 
  • Navigate LEED Online 
  • Assist project leaders with LEED correspondence to project team members (consultants, contractors, owner, etc.) 
  • Assist in managing the documentation process
  • Assist in managing the LEED certification timeline

Knowledge Domains

LEED Process (16 questions)

  • Organization fundamentals (e.g. role of USGBC/GBCI; mission/vision; non-profit)
  • Structure of LEED rating systems (e.g., credit categories, prerequisites, credits and/or Minimum Program Requirements for LEED certification)
  • Scope of each LEED rating system (e.g., rating system selection; rating system families: BD+C, ID+C, O+M, ND, Homes)
  • LEED development process (e.g., consensus based; stakeholder and volunteer involvement; rating system updates/evolution)
  • Credit categories (e.g., goals and objectives of each: LT, SS, WE, EA, MR, EQ, IN, RP; synergies)
  • Impact categories (e.g. What should a LEED project accomplish?)
  • LEED certification process (e.g. certification levels: Certified, Silver, Gold, Platinum; LEED Scorecard; 3rd party verification; role of documentation submission; LEED Interpretations; Addenda; awareness of different system versions [e.g., LEED Online])
  • Components of LEED Online and project registration
  • Other rating systems (e.g., in general what other rating systems are out there?)

Integrative Strategies (8 questions)

  • Integrative process (e.g., early analysis of the interrelationships among systems; systems thinking; charettes)
  • Integrative project team members (e.g., architect, engineer, landscape architect, civil engineer, contractor, facility manager, etc.)
  • Standards that support LEED (e.g., breadth not depth of American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineers [ASHRAE]; Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Association [SMACNA] guidelines; Green Seal, 
  • ENERGY STAR®, HERs, Reference Standards listed in ACPs, etc.)

Location and Transportation (7 questions)

  • Site selection (e.g. targeting sites in previously developed and brownfields/high-prioriy designation areas, avoiding sensitive habitats, located in areas with existing infrustructure and nearby users, reduction in parking footprint.

Sustainable Sites (7 questions)

  • Site assessment (e.g., environmental assessment, human impact)
  • Site design and development (e.g., construction activity pollution prevention; habitat conservation and restoration; exterior open space; rainwater management; exterior lighting; heat island reduction)

Water Efficiency (9 questions)

  • Outdoor water use (e.g., use of graywater/rainwater in irrigation; use of native and adaptive species)
  • Indoor water use (e.g., concepts of low flow/waterless fixtures; water-efficient appliances; types and quality)
  • Water performance management (e.g., measurement and monitoring) 


Energy and Atmosphere (10 questions)

  • Building loads (e.g., building components, space usage [private office; individual space; shared multi-occupant spaces])
  • Energy efficiency (e.g., basic concepts of design, operational energy efficiency, commissioning, energy auditing)
  • Alternative and renewable energy practices (e.g., demand response, renewable energy, green power, carbon offsets) 
  • Energy performance management (e.g., energy use measurement and monitoring; building automation controls/advanced energy metering; operations and management; benchmarking; ENERGY STAR) 
  • Environmental concerns (e.g., sources and energy resources; greenhouse gases; global warming potential; resource depletion; ozone depletion)

Materials and Resources (9 questions)

  • Reuse (e.g., building reuse, material reuse, interior reuse, furniture reuse)
  • Life-cycle impacts (e.g., concept of life-cycle assessment; material attributes; human and ecological health impacts; design for flexibility)
  • Waste (e.g., construction and demolition; maintenance and renovation; operations and ongoing; waste management plan)
  • Purchasing and declarations (e.g., purchasing policies and plans; environmental preferable purchasing (EPP); building product disclosure and optimization [i.e., raw materials sourcing; material ingredients; environmental product disclosure])

Indoor Environmental Quality (8 questions)

  • Indoor air quality (e.g., ventilation levels; tobacco smoke control; management of and improvements to indoor air quality; low-emitting materials; green cleaning)
  • Lighting (e.g., electric lighting quality, daylight)
  • Sound (e.g., acoustics)
  • Occupant comfort, health, and satisfaction (e.g., controllability of systems, thermal comfort design, quality of views, assessment/survey)

Project Surroundings and Public Outreach (11 questions)

  • Environmental impacts of the built environment (e.g. energy and resource use in conventional buildings; necessity of green buildings; environmental externalities; triple bottom line)
  • Codes (e.g., relationship between LEED and codes [building, plumbing, electrical, mechanical, fire protection]; green building codes) 
  • Values of sustainable design (e.g., energy savings over time; healthier occupants; money-saving incentives; costs [hard costs, soft costs]; life-cycle)
  • Regional design (e.g., regional green design and construction measures as appropriate, regional emphasis should be placed in Sustainable Sites and Materials & Resources)

Download the full LEED Green Associate Candidate Handbook to learn more

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Total 21 commentsLeave a comment

Lead Electrical Engineer, BK Gulf WLL
Thank you Nora for a grate article & a very useful insight to LEED Green Associate Exam content
PROJECT MANAGER(ARCHITECTURE)-ASSOCIATE, KGD
Hi, would like to know where i can find the study material for project surroundings and public outreach segment.? It is not there in the all inclusive package with study guide i had purchased for BD+C ! As i learn from the candidate handbook, this chapter will also come in the LEED AP BDC exam Regards Gaurav
Student, American University of Sharjah
Hello, Can I please be direct towards an e-book I should be specifically studying from for my GA Exam? I only received a candidate handbook that tells me what I should expect in the exam but no content towards what book I should study from. Please help.
LEED Specialist, U.S. Green Building Council
HI Hala, First you should look at the resources listed in the end of the candidate handbook. After those resources have been explored and studied, you can check out exam prep publications in the Store http://www.usgbc.org/store/products/publications and study resources at Education @USGBC http://www.usgbc.org/education-at-usgbc/listing/study. Good luck studying for your exam!
What will be on the test in addition to this if I were to take LEED AP BD+C at the same time that I'm taking LEED GA?
., .
Thank you for your interest in taking a LEED AP with specialty combined exam. The candidate handbook will provide more information about the topics in the combined exam: http://www.usgbc.org/resources/leed-v4-ap-bdc-candidate-handbook. The references listed there were used to develop the exam. Good luck!
Director of Sustainability @ GBRI, Green Building Research Institute (GBRI)
Hi Maral, The LEED AP BD+C Exam will have more in-depth questions that represent the task domains and knowledge domains. Here is a blog where you can more about LEED v4 BD+C Exam - https://www.gbrionline.org/leedv4-exam-important-things-to-know/
Is this for Leed V4 or V3?
Digital Marketing Manager, U.S. Green Building Council
Hi Linda, this is for the current exam, which features LEED v4 content.
Current Independent Consultant & Masters Sustainability Student, Independent consultant
When will meaningful study materials actually addressing in depth the headings above (not guides on how to sign up or 800+page rambling "reference guides" or lists or changes from old versions) be made available for V4? More specifically than "this fall". Incredibly frustrating.
Project Manager, Education Platforms, U.S. Green Building Council
Hi Steven, LEED v4 exam prep materials are now available for purchase. Please check out this article for more information! Thanks!
Industry Marketing Manager - Building Design, Autodesk
Hi Steven, Two esteemed USGBC Education Partners will launch an online preparation course series and a study guide series by Greenbuild (October 22-24) this year. We will keep you updated as we have more detailed information and appreciate your patience.
Sr.Mechanical Engineer, Gulf Engineering and Industrial Consultancy,Doha-Qatar
Congratulation to get a such Certificate.
chairman assistant , Redcon construction Co.
Dear I tired pass LEED Green associated exam but I failed both time and my score was almost the same 156, I'm GM for Egyptian construction company I need this as a knowledge not as credit could you please gave me more informations how I can increase my knowledge about LEED like workshops and practical lectures
Architect, Self Employed
hii Osama, try going there prepared GBES practice tests and thoroughly reading the flashcards they provide, i cleared the exam today with 198
Digital Marketing Manager, U.S. Green Building Council
Hi Osama, please review this article for LEED v4 study tips.
BD Director, KKECO
Two LEED professional EXAM (LEED AP AND LEED GA) questions will be in single choice, or multiple choice? i was told that all of them have been changed from v2009 multiple choice to v4 single choice.
Vice President, International
Hi Gang Deng, All LEED credential exams are "multiple choice", meaning that under the question, test takers need to choose the right answer or answers (depending on what the question instructs you to do). This means for some questions, you will only choose one answer from the answers provided and for other questions (it will be indicated in the question), you may be asked to choose more than one answer. In terms of format, there is no difference between the LEED 2009 and the upgraded LEED v4 exams.
BD Director, KKECO
Dear Jennivine, Thanks a lot for your further explanations.
Johnson Controls
How do I get started to obtain a LEED certification? Is it just a matter of taking an exam or are there class hours needed? If hours are necessary do you have a list of schools in the NY,NJ area? thanks!
Digital Marketing Manager, U.S. Green Building Council
Hi Ernest, there are two LEED professional credential categories. Please review this article about eligibility requirements.

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