Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) (Exam Cost Included)

The Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Green Associate course is designed to educate candidates on the cutting edge green building and sustainable design practices, and enables participants to designate that expertise with an internationally recognized professional credential.

Developed and backed by the U.S. Green Building Council, the LEED Green Associate course and its credential have gained national and global notoriety. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)...

3 Months / 40 Course Hrs
Open Enrollment
Offered in partnership with your preferred school

George Mason University

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Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) (Exam Cost Included)

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Course code: GES784

What you will learn

  • Understand LEED & the process of getting a building LEED certified
  • Learn what is expected of a LEED Green Associate
  • Know what material to study and prepare for the LEED Green Associate Exam administered by USGBC
  • Be prepared to contribute to the health, safety, well-being, and productivity of the community at large by implementing best practices as it relates to sustainable design.

How you will benefit

  • Accreditation can be a stepping-stone to new contacts and new opportunities for success in the green building and design fields
  • Learn the steps to implement more sustainable, eco-friendly, and energy-efficient practices
  • Designate your green building expertise with an internationally recognized credential
  • Enrolled students are invited to attend our exclusive annual virtual National Apprenticeship Week events, featuring live webinars, workshops, and employer interactions

How the course is taught

  • Self-paced, online course
  • 3 Months to complete
  • Open enrollment, begin anytime
  • 40 course hours
  1. Introduction to Sustainability
    1. Defining sustainability
    2. Recognizing why sustainable building practices are important
  2. Integrative Strategies
    1. Integrative design process - early analysis of the interrelationships among systems; systems thinking; charettes
    2. Integrative project team members - architect, engineer, landscape architect, civil engineer, contractor, facility manager, etc.
    3. Standards that support LEED - 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.
  3. Introduction to LEED
    1. USGBC®/GBCI
    2. Structure of LEED rating systems - credit categories, prerequisites, credits and/or Minimum Program Requirements for LEED Certification
    3. LEED v4 vs. LEED 2009
    4. Scope of each LEED rating system - rating system selection; rating system families [BD+C, ID+C, O+M, ND, Homes]
    5. LEED development process - consensus based; stakeholder and volunteer involvement; rating system updates/evolution
    6. Credit categories - goals and objectives of each and synergies
    7. Impact categories - what should a LEED project accomplish?
    8. LEED certification process - certification levels [Certified, Silver, Gold, Platinum]; LEED Scorecard; 3rd party verification; role of documentation submission; LEED Interpretations; Addenda; awareness of different system versions; Components of LEED Online and Project Registration
    9. Other rating systems – what other green building rating systems are out there?
  4. Location and Transportation
    1. Site selection - targeting sites in previously developed and brownfields/high-priority designation area, avoiding sensitive habitat, located in areas with existing infrastructure and nearby uses, reduction in parking footprint
    2. Alternative transportation - type, access, and quality; infrastructure and design
  5. Sustainable Sites
    1. Site assessment - environmental assessment, human impact;
    2. Site design and development - construction activity pollution prevention; habitat conservation and restoration; exterior open space; rainwater management; exterior lighting; heat island reduction
  6. Water Efficiency
    1. Outdoor water use - use of graywater/rainwater in irrigation; use of native and adaptive species
    2. Indoor water use - concepts of low flow/waterless fixtures; water-efficient appliances
    3. Water performance management - measurement and monitoring
  7. Energy and Atmosphere
    1. Building loads - building components, space usage [private office; individual space; shared multi-occupant spaces]
    2. Energy efficiency - design, operational energy efficiency, commissioning, energy auditing
    3. Alternative and renewable energy practices - demand response, renewable energy, green power, carbon offsets
    4. Energy performance management - energy use measurement and monitoring; building automation controls/advanced energy metering; operations and management; benchmarking; ENERGY STAR®
    5. Environmental concerns - sources and energy resources; greenhouse gases; global warming potential; resource depletion; ozone depletion
  8. Materials and Resources
    1. Reuse - building reuse, material reuse, interior reuse, furniture reuse
    2. Life-cycle impacts - concept of life-cycle assessment; material attributes; human and ecological health impacts; design for flexibility
    3. Waste - construction and demolition; maintenance and renovation; operations and ongoing; waste management plan
    4. Purchasing and declarations - purchasing policies and plans; environmental preferable purchasing (EPP); building product disclosure and optimization [i.e., raw materials sourcing; material ingredients; environmental product disclosure]
  9. Indoor Environmental Quality
    1. Indoor air quality - ventilation levels; tobacco smoke control; management of and improvements to indoor air quality; low-emitting materials; green cleaning; integrated pest management
    2. Lighting - electric lighting quality, daylight
    3. Sound - acoustics
    4. Occupant comfort, health, and satisfaction - controllability of systems, thermal comfort design, quality of views, assessment/survey
  10. Project Surroundings and Public Outreach
    1. Environmental impacts of the built environment - energy and resource use in conventional buildings; necessity of green buildings; environmental externalities; triple bottom line
    2. Codes - relationship between LEED® and codes [building, plumbing, electrical, mechanical, fire protection]; green building codes
    3. Values of sustainable design - energy savings over time; healthier occupants; money-saving incentives; costs [hard costs, soft costs]; life-cycle
    4. Regional design - regional green design and construction measures as appropriate, regional emphasis should be placed in Sustainable Sites and Materials & Resources
    5. Exam Tips and Logistics
    6. Credentialing Exam

Jean Cipriano

Jean Cipriano has been the principal of her own firm for over 25 years and has consulted on projects for major corporations and universities. She infuses her work with awareness and regard for the environment and applies this philosophy to the inhabitants of the buildings she designs. As a LEED AP, she has instructed adults in all aspects of interior architecture. Cipriano holds a bachelor's degree in Interior Architecture and is a member of ASID.


There are no prerequisites to take this course.


Hardware Requirements:

  • This course can be taken on either a PC or Mac.

Software Requirements:

  • PC: Windows 8 or later.
  • Mac: macOS 10.6 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader.


  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.

Instructional Material Requirements:

The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.

Yes, LEED Green Associate Credential from USGBC (US Green Building Council). This is an internationally recognized certification that designates expertise in green building and design principles. To earn the certification students must pass a 100 question proctored exam following the course. The exam fee is included with the course.

This course is open enrollment, so you can register and start the course as soon as you are ready. Access to your course can take 24-48 business hours.

This course is self-paced and open enrollment, so you can start when you want and finish at your own pace. When you register, you'll receive three (3) months to complete the course.

The time allotted for course completion has been calculated based on the number of course hours. However, if you are unable to complete the course, contact the student advising team to see what options you may have available to work out a suitable completion date. Please note that an extension fee may be charged.

Our courses are designed to accommodate various learning preferences. Depending on the course structure, you may get different forms of support. Self-paced courses are designed to be user-friendly and independent, minimizing the need for external support. In courses with instructors, our direct platform support feature includes opportunities for questions, discussions, and remediation, with email and phone support available for select courses. Our student advising team is available to guide you on program requirements and administrative requests, but they do not provide assistance with course content. Our goal is to provide you with the necessary support for success, whether it's through self-paced exploration, direct communication, or guidance from our advising team.

Upon successful completion of the course, you will be awarded a Certificate of Completion.

This course will provide you with the skills you need to obtain an entry-level position in most cases. Potential students should always do research on the job market in their area before registering.

This course is non-credit, so it does not qualify for federal aid, FAFSA and Pell Grant. In some states, vocational rehab or workforce development boards will pay for qualified students to take our courses. Additionally, some students may qualify for financial assistance when they enroll, if they meet certain requirements. Financing is available from select schools. Learn more about financial assistance.

If you have questions that are not answered on our website, representatives are available via LIVE chat. You can also call us at 1-877-221-5151 during regular business hours to have your questions promptly answered. If you are visiting us during non-business hours, please send us a question using the "Contact Us" form.