Atten. Alex Spilger: LEED AP credential and testing advice

Building Engineer
May 30, 2013

Second question regarding this subject, but getting second opinion before making ny final decision: I was hoping to get some advice from you on which LEED AP credential I should test for. I have 20 years of building Operations experience, so one would tend to think that I should look at taking the test for O&M? On the other hand, my nephew has started a demolition and asbestos abatement company and sometime in the future, I may be joining his company and will try to incorporate LEED consultancy and “green” principles into the business (if and when I pass the testing). I have already purchased the NC reference guide (and used it during the project experience course that I just finished with Green Step). Can you give me any pros and/or cons that would steer me one way or another towards NC, O&M, or CI testing? (I won’t have a problem purchasing a different reference guide if I switch from NC). Thanks   



Jim Bredesen, LEED GA

Operating Engineer

Jones Lang LaSalle 

Facility Management at Amgen 


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Alexander Spilger's picture
June 3
1 users voted0 users voted


Good question. Ultimately, the main factor in decided which LEED AP exam to take should be the type of LEED projects you anticipate working on (New Construction, Interiors, Existing Buildings, etc). The advantage to taking the BD+C exam is that it covers important design based elements such as an understanding of the energy model process. The advantage to the LEED EBOM exam is that there are many more potential EBOM projects than New Construction projects; therefore, there is more opportunity in this area. If and when New Construction projects slow down, there will always be a market for LEED EBOM, especially since its the only LEED Rating System that requires re-certification. For these reasons, I'd recommend the EBOM exam if all else is equal.

Another thing to keep in mind is that earning one LEED AP with Specialty designation, such as EBOM, does not preclude you from working on a New Construction or Interiors project.

To relate this to a LEED AP exam question: What is the minimum number of LEED APs required on a project if the project is attempting LEED Platinum?

. . . the answer: Zero.

None of the team members on a LEED project (not even the LEED Consultant) are required to be LEED APs. It obviously helps, but it's not required.

For the most part, clients don't pay much attention to which specialty you have. The main question they ask is 'are you a LEED AP', not 'which designation do you have'

Thank you for participating in our LEED Project Experience Program and hope this helps!

- Alex

0 users voted0 users voted

Great answer. Thanks Alex!

June 6
0 users voted0 users voted

Great answer Alex! Thanks for explaining the pros and cons for the different specialties. Your excellent advice will help me make an informed decision on which AP exam to take. Thanks again


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