LEED AP Exam Guide

Study Materials, Sample Questions, Mock Exam, Building LEED Certification (LEED-NC) and Going Green

by Gang Chen, LEED AP BD+C, AIA

LEED AP Exam Guide

LEED AP Exam Guide

Study Materials, Sample Questions, Mock Exam, Building LEED Certification (LEED-NC) and Going Green

by Gang Chen, LEED AP BD+C, AIA

Published Sep 24, 2008
240 Pages
Genre: STUDY AIDS / Professional


Book Details

Pass the LEED AP Exam, Get your building LEED Certified, Fight Global Warming and Save Money!

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the most important trend of development and it is revolutionizing the construction industry. It has gained tremendous momentum and has a profound impact on our environment.

From this book, you will learn how to

1. Pass LEED AP exam.

2. Register and certify a building for LEED certification.

3. Understand the intent for each LEED prerequisite and credit.

4. Calculate points for LEED credit.

5. Identify the responsible party for each prerequisite and credit.

6. Earn extra credit (Exemplary Performance) for LEED.

7. Implement the local codes and building standards for prerequisite and credit.

8. Get points for categories not yet clearly defined by USGBC.

Most of the existing books on LEED and LEED AP are too expensive and too complicated to be practical and helpful. This pocket guide demystifies LEED and uncovers the secrets, codes and jargons for LEED as well as the true meaning of "going green." It will set up a solid foundation and fundamental framework of LEED for you. It covers every aspect of LEED-NC in plain and concise language, and introduces it to ordinary people.

This pocket guide is small and easy to carry around. You can read it whenever you have a few extra minutes. It is an indispensable book for ordinary people, developers, contractors, architects, landscape architects, civil, mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineers, interns, drafters, designers and other design professionals.

You may be interested in other books I wrote:

LEED GA Exam Guide. It is available at:


Click here to view LEED GA Exam Guide

Architectural Practice Simplified. It is available at:


Click here to view Architectural Practice Simplified

Planting Design Illustrated (2nd edition) . It is available at:


Click here to view Planting Design Illustrated (2nd edition)

LEED BD&C Exam Guide. It is available at:


Click here to view LEED BD&C Exam Guide


Book Excerpt

Sample Text from LEED AP Exam Guide


There are two main purposes for this book: to help you pass the LEED AP exam and to assist you to get your building LEED certified.

The LEED AP exam tactic 101 is that you must recognize that you only have a limited time to prepare for the exam. So, you must concentrate your time and effort on preparing for the most important content of the LEED AP exam. To assist you in achieving this goal, the book is broken into two major sections: the study materials and the sample questions and mock exam. In the front section, for general information, I use the question and answer format and try to give you the most comprehensive coverage on the subject of the LEED AP Exam. I have just given you the correct answers or information to save you time, i.e., you do not need to waste your time reading and remembering the wrong information. As long as you understand and remember the correct information, you can pass the exam, no matter how USGBC changes the format of the exam. For the criteria of LEED, I’ve listed each credit point with a brief description. In the back section, you’ll find sample questions and answers plus a complete set of mock exam and answers. It is to match the latest real LEED AP Exam as closely as possible and assist you in becoming familiar with the format of the exam. Each credit is noted in abbreviation. For example, SSc6.1 stands for SS Credit 6.1.

Most people already have some knowledge of LEED. I suggest that you use a highlighter when you read this book; you can highlight the content that you are not familiar with when you read the book for the first time. You can try to cover the answer and read a question first. If you can come up with the correct answer before you read the book, you do not need to highlight the question and answer. If you cannot come up with the correct answer before you read the book, then you can highlight them. This way, when you do the review later and read the book for the second time, you can just focus on the portion that you are not familiar with and save yourself a lot of time. You can repeat this process with different colored highlighters until you are very familiar with the content of this book and you’ll be ready to face the music and take the LEED AP exam.

The tip to passing the LEED AP exam, or any other exam, is to know the scope of the exam, and not to read too many books, but select one or two really good books and focus on them. Actually understand the content and memorize it. For your convenience, I have underlined the information that I think is very important and fundamental. You definitely need to memorize all the information that I’ve underlined. You should really try to understand the content first, and then memorize the content of the book by reading it multiple times. This is a much better way than the “mechanical” memory without understanding. I suggest you read the latest version of LEED for New Construction Reference Guide (Reference Guide) published by USGBC and this book. The Reference Guide is very comprehensive and detailed. The problem is that it probably has too much information for you to memorize. I suggest you read the Reference Guide first, then read this book and remember the main points for the exam. If you really do not have much time, you can read this book first, and then just refer to the Reference Guide for the part that you may have questions about. This way, you cover the most important information and you should be able to pass the exam.

There is a part of the LEED AP exam that you can control: The part about the points and credit for the LEED building rating system. You should become very familiar with every point and credit for the LEED building rating system. You should try to answer all questions related to this part correctly.

There is also a part of the exam that you may not be able to control. You may not have done actual LEED building certification, so there will be some questions that you may have to guess. This is the hard part of the exam, but these questions should be only a small percentage of the test if you prepare well. You should eliminate the obvious wrong answers and then do an educational guess. There is no penalty for guessing. If you have no idea what the correct answer is and cannot eliminate any obvious wrong answer, then do not waste too much time on the question, just pick a guess answer. The key is, you probably should try to use the same guess answer for all the questions that you have no ideas at all, i.e., if you choose “a” as the guess answer, then you should be consistent and use “a” as the guess answer for all the questions that you have no ideas at all. This way, you probably have a better chance to guess more correct answers.

The actual LEED AP exam has 80 questions and you must finish it within two hours. The raw exam score is converted to a scaled score ranging from 125 to 200. The passing score is 170 or higher. You need to answer about 48 questions correctly to pass. There is an optional 15-minute tutorial for computer testing before the exam and an optional 15-minute exit survey. This is not an easy exam, but you should be able to pass it if you prepare well. Set your goal for a high score and study hard, and you have a better chance of passing. If you set your goal for the minimum passing score of 170, you will probably end up scoring 169 and fail, and you’ll have to retake the exam again. That’ll be the last thing you want. Give yourself plenty of time to prepare and do not wait until the last minutes to crank on the exam. I have met people who’ve spent 40 hours preparing and pass the exam, but I suggest that you give yourself at least two to three weeks of preparation time. On the night before the exam, you should look through the questions that you did not answer correctly before and remember what the correct answers are. Read this book carefully, prepare well, relax and put yourself in the best physical, mental and psychological state on the day of the exam, and you’ll pass.

LEED AP stands for LEED Accredit Professionals. An LEED AP is a person who passed at least one of the three LEED Exams (LEED-NC, LEED-CI, and LEED-EB) and has the skills and knowledge to encourage and support integrated design, to take part in the design process, and to control the application and certification process for an LEED building. Since most people tend to take the LEED-NC exam to become LEED AP, we cover all three LEED AP exams briefly, but we focus on the LEED-NC exam...

...SSc5.2: Site development: Maximize Open Space (1 Point)

To promote biodiversity via high ratio of open space to development footprint.

Credit Paths:

1) If local codes have open space requirements, you need to provide open space with planting in the project boundary to exceed the local zoning requirements by 25% and /or reduce the development footprint, i.e., the total area of parking, access road, hardscape and building footprint.


2) Provide open space with planting equal to the building footprint if there is no local zoning requirements. The requirement shall be maintained for the life of the building.


3) Provide open space with planting equal to 20% of the site area in areas with a zoning ordinance but no open space (zero) requirements.

For all 3 paths:
1) If your project is already earning SSc2 and is located in urban areas, you can still contribute to credit in this category via vegetated roof areas.
2) If your project is already earning SSc2 and is located in urban areas, hardscape area for pedestrian can contribute to credit in this category. For this purpose, at least 25% of the open space counted shall be vegetated.
3) Vegetated naturally designed ponds and wetlands with side slope less than 1:4 can be counted as open space.

Possible strategies and technologies:

1) Do a site element survey and develop a master plan.

2) Locate the building on the site carefully and minimize its footprint to avoid disrupting the site.

3) Share facilities with neighbors, build multi-story buildings and place parking under the buildings to maximize open space.

Extra Credit (Exemplary Performance): You can get 1 innovation point by doubling the requirements, i.e., 50% instead of 25% for Credit Path #1 above, and 40% instead of 20% for Credit Path #3 above.

Project Phase: Schematic Design

LEED Submittal Phase: Design

Related Code or Standard: None

Responsible Party: Civil Engineer and Contractor...

Sample questions from LEED AP Exam Guide

1. For EA Credit 1, Optimize Energy Performance, which of the following statements is correct?

a. Your building performance is compared to the baseline building performance.

b. You should compare baseline building performance to ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2004.

c. You should compare baseline building performance to ASHRAE Standard 90.1-1999.

d. You should compare baseline building performance to ASHRAE Standard 90.1-1989.

2. Which of the following factors does not improve human comfort?

a. Air temperature.

b. Ventilation.

c. Radiation exchange.

d. All of the above.

3. The standard used for Measurement and Verification is:

a. ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2004.

b. The Department of Energy Verification Protocol.

c. Signed statement from the designer.

d. International Performance Measurement and Verification Protocol...

You can find more study materials, sample questions and answers, plus a complete set of Mock exam and answers in "LEED AP Exam Guide.

Table of Content for LEED AP Exam Guide


Chapter One Overview

1. What is LEED? What is the difference

between LEED and LEEP AP?

2. What are the six key areas that USGBC

uses to measure the performance of a

building’s sustainability?

3. How many LEED AP exams does USGBC have?

4. Is the LEED AP Exam valid and reliable?

5. How many member organizations does USGBC have?

6. How many regional chapters does

USGBC have?

7. What is the main purpose of USGBC?

8. What are the guiding principles of USGBC?

9. How much energy and resources do

buildings consume in the US?

10. What is the most important step to get

your building certified

11. What are the benefits of green buildings

and LEED Certification?

12. Who developed the LEED green building

rating systems?

13. What specific green building rating systems

does USGBC have?

14. How many different levels of building

certification does USGBC have?

15. How does LEED fit into the green building


16. What are the benefits of LEED certification

for your building?

17. What is the procedure of LEED certification

for your building?

Chapter Two Introduction to LEED-NC

1. What is the scope of the LEED-NC test?

2. What is the latest version of LEED-NC

and when was it published?

3. How many possible points does LEEDNC


4. What are the basic steps for LEED certification?

5. What does the registration form include?

6. What is pre-certification?

7. What is CIR?

8. When do you submit a CIR?

9. What are the steps for CIR?

10. Will CIR guarantee a credit?

Chapter Three LEED-NC Technical Review

1. Sustainable Sites

2. Water Efficiency

3. Energy & Atmosphere

4. Materials & Resources

5. Indoor Environmental Quality

6. Innovation & Design Process

Note: Each credit is described in a standard format,

including Credit Purpose, Credit Path, Possible

Strategies and Technologies, Extra Credit (Exemplary

Performance), Project Phase, LEED Submittal

Phase, Related Code or Standard and Responsible


Chapter Four Summary & Review Tables

1. Reference Codes and related LEED-NC


2. LEED Submittal Phase and related

LEED-NC credits

3. Prerequisites/Credits & Responsible


Chapter Five LEED AP Exam Samples Questions, Mock Exam (LEED-NC), Answers and Exam Registration

1. LEED AP Exam Samples Questions

2. Answers to LEED AP Exam Samples


3. LEED AP Mock Exam (LEED-NC)

4. Answers to LEED AP Mock Exam


5. How Were the LEED AP Mock Exams


6. Where can I find the official and latest

sample questions for LEED AP exam?


Annotated Bibliography

Valuable Websites and Links

Order Form

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About the Author

Gang Chen, LEED AP BD+C, AIA

Gang Chen holds a Master Degree from School of Architecture, University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles, and a Bachelors Degree from the Department of Architecture, South China University of Technology. He has over 20 years of professional experience. Many of the projects he was in charge of, or participated in, have been published extensively in Architecture, Architectural Record, The Los Angeles Times and The Orange County Register, etc. He has worked on a variety of unusual projects, including well-known large-scale healthcare and hospitality projects with over one billion dollars in construction costs, award-winning school design, highly-acclaimed urban design and streetscape projects, multi-family housing and high-end custom homes, and regional and neighborhood shopping centers.

Gang Chen is a LEED AP and a member of American Institute of Architects (AIA). He is also the internationally acclaimed author for another fascinating book entitled "Planting Design Illustrated."

If you have any comments or questions, you can send an e-mail to Gang Chen at this link:
Click here to e-mail Gang Chen

The following are some useful links:

The U.S. Green Building Council(USGBC):
Click here to go to USGBC

The American Institute of Architects (AIA):
Click here to go to AIA:

Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD):
Click here to go to APLD

American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA):
Click here to go to ASLA

Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF):
Click here to go to LAF

American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP):
Click here to go to AICP

International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA):
Click here to go to IFLA

Also by Gang Chen, LEED AP BD+C, AIA

Architectural Practice Simplified
LEED Green Associate Exam Guide (LEED GA)
Planting Design Illustrated (2nd edition)