Wednesday, April 11, 2012

LEED Certification for the Interior Designer – Are You Confused?

By Kathleen Kita-Palmer, ASID San Diego Director at Large, CID, LEED AP
K. Kita Design

Are you confused when it comes to understanding the basics of LEED certification for the professional interior designer?  You are not alone!  With all the changes that LEED certification and credentialing has gone through it’s no wonder we designers are confused!  For those of you who are interested in learning more, please read on!  I’ve outlined a simple step-by-step instruction on the process of obtaining your certification and appropriate LEED credential.

First, you should know that the LEED professional credentials and exams are now administered by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI).  So, if you have any questions about the credentialing process and testing, please check out their website  In fact, all of the information listed below is directly from their website and a friendly customer service representative!

1)         Eligibility & Designation

Determine what professional credential “designation” you want, and if you are eligible to apply for it.  There are many, but 3 of the designations may work best for you as an interior designer.  Make sure you fulfill the eligibility requirements for the credential you are seeking (very important!).

Look into the following to see which one is best suited for you and your work: 

•LEED Green Associate

•LEED AP ID+C (Interior Design + Construction)

•LEED AP Homes.

LEED Green Associate is perfect for professionals who want to better understand how to support green building design, construction, and operations. The LEED Green Associate credential denotes basic knowledge of green building principles and practices and LEED.  It’s the foundation for understanding green design, and in fact, the prerequisite for the other designations.

LEED AP ID+C is for professionals wanting to participate in the design and construction of environmentally responsible, high-performance commercial spaces and tenant improvements that provide healthful, productive places to work and are less costly to operate and maintain.  The LEED AP Interior Design + Construction exam is designed to measure your knowledge and skill in understanding the LEED Rating System and ability to facilitate the project certification process.  Commercial and residential designers can benefit from taking this test. 

LEED AP Homes is suitable for the professional participating in design and construction of high-performance green homes that use less energy, water, and natural resources, create less waste, and are more healthful and comfortable for the occupants.  The LEED AP Homes exam is designed to measure your knowledge and skill in understanding the LEED Rating System and ability to facilitate the project certification process.  This is perfect for the residential designer who participates in green building construction.

2)         Application

Sign-up or apply for an exam.

3)         Registration

Register for your exam.

4)         Scheduling

After you have registered on-line and received your eligibility ID, go to to schedule an exam appointment. 

5)         Preparation

Purchase the appropriate exam prep and study guides for your particular exam.

6)         Exam Day

Arrive at the test center 30 minutes before their exam appointment time to check in, get settled, and begin the tutorial.  Be prepared to leave all belongings outside the testing room.

7)         After Exam

Your results will be posted to My Credentials, on the account your created on the GBCI website, no later than 72 hours after your exam appointment. 

That’s it!  Congratulations on your new LEED credential! 

For more information go to

K. Kita Design is a full-service interior design firm, founded in 1989.  With extensive experience in a variety of styles and project types, K. Kita Design's objective is to provide clients with the highest level of  personalized service to create a timeless interior that acheives the client's design goals and requirements.