LEED Frequently Asked Questions

I just finished compiling a LEED FAQ for my firm that I thought I would now share on the blog. I’ve deleted a few questions that are specific to my firm (like what is SHP’s USGBC membership corporate access ID?), but other than those deletions, this is a pretty comprehensive list of the process based questions I get asked on a pretty frequent basis. This list does not include credit specific questions like “what constitutes a “view” in LEED” or “What systems count as renewable energy for EA credit 2”, instead it is the basics of managing a LEED project and being a LEED AP. Check out the list below or download a PDF version here.

How do I access LEED Online?

First, you need to know if your project is using a LEED 2009 Rating System or a pre-LEED 2009 Rating System.

If LEED 2009: go to www.leedonline.com

If pre-LEED 2009: go to leedonline.usgbc.org

Do I have a LEED Online username and password? What are they?

The same username and password work for the USGBC website (www.usgbc.org), the GBCI website (www.gbci.org) and the LEED Online Websites (addresses above). So, if you have established a username and password at any of these sites to take a LEED exam or access a project, you do have a LEED Online username and password. Your username is the email address that you originally used to sign up at one of these sites. If you cannot remember your password, you can use the “forgot password” or “reset password” option at any of the above listed sites.

When should our team be submitting for our Design Review and Construction Review?

While there is no deadline, per se, ideally, all of the required documentation for the LEED design review should be uploaded and submitted during the project’s bidding period. If this is not possible, the design review should be submitted as soon after the construction documents are submitted as possible.

If at all possible, the required documentation for the LEED construction review should be uploaded and submitted within 4 months of the project’s substantial completion date.

How long does a LEED review take?

The stated “typical” timeframe for a preliminary LEED review is 25 business days (approximately 5 weeks). While some reviews take longer, recently most have been returned in a roughly 5 week period.

Once we receive our preliminary review back from GBCI, we have 25 business days to respond to any comments on prerequisites/credits that have been marked “clarify.” Upon submitting these clarifications, it will take approximately 15 business days for GBCI to return our final LEED review.

Are there any credits that SHP very rarely or never attempts?

SHP has never attempted the following credits (although they have been listed as “maybe” on some projects):

WE Credit 2: Innovative Wastewater Technologies

WE Credit 4: Process Water Use Reduction

MR Credit 3.1: Materials Reuse

MR Credit 6: Rapidly Renewable Materials

IEQ Credit 2: Increased Ventilation

ID Credit 3: School as a Teaching Tool

SHP rarely submits for these credits:

SS Credit 7.2: Heat Island Effect, Non-Roof

SS Credit 9: Site Master Plan

EA Credit 2: On-Site Renewable Energy

IEQ Credit 8.1: Daylight and Views- Daylight

Who is responsible for documenting the construction- based Materials and Resources credits, such as Regional Content and Recycled Content?

This varies a little bit from project to project, but the way our contracts are typically structures, the general contractor or construction manager is responsible for tracking their purchases and their compliance toward the regional materials and recycled content credits.

What are some common Innovation and Design credits that SHP uses?

Most projects achieve at least a couple Innovation and Design credits through meeting Exemplary Performance thresholds for credits such as Open Space, Recycle Content, and Regional Materials. When it comes to making up our own credits, we have had luck with things such as Building as a Teaching Tool, Integrated Pest Management, Green Cleaning, and Cradle to Cradle Certified Materials.

If I’m currently a LEED AP, do I need to “opt-in” to the LEED AP with Specialty system?

Right now, SHP is taking a “wait and see” approach toward encouraging staff to “opt-in” to the new LEED AP with Specialty system. LEED APs have an opt-in window that will remain open unitl at least August of 2011. To read more about opting in, visit this blog post: http://www.buildingmygreenlife.com/leed-ap-vs-leed-ap-should-i-opt-in/

If I’m a LEED AP, a LEED AP with Specialty or a Green Associate, how do I indicate this in my email signature and on my business card?

Please refer to this blog post: http://www.buildingmygreenlife.com/designating-leed-in-your-email-signature/ for everything you ever wanted to know about designating your LEED credential in your email signature or on your business card.

If I’m a LEED AP with Specialty or a Green Associate, where can I find Continuing Education opportunities?

USGBC maintains a course catalog of all approved LEED continuing education courses at https://www.usgbc.org/CourseCatalog/CourseCatalog.aspx . To only view the LEED credential approved courses, check mark “GBCI CE Hours” after clicking on “SELECT CREDITS” in the upper left hand portion of the website. Many of these courses are offered by webinar at low or no cost.


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