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5 Reasons to Become a LEED Accredited Interior Designer

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Photo via Sera Architects

According to the U.S. Green Building Council, as humans we spend 90% of our time indoors. Naturally, this causes us to question whether interior materials are safe for our health. Fortunately, LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, has taken a confident step towards implementing safe surroundings into our lives.

What Is LEED?

LEED is an internationally recognized certification system that rates projects and buildings based on guidelines, such as water efficiency, materials and resources, waste stream management, water and energy use, etc. Designers can certify their projects in one of the four possible certifications based on the amount of points earned in each category.LEED certification levels

Photo via

How Does an Interior Designer Use LEED?

  • Help clients get better resale value on their homes
  • Source eco-friendly materials and finishes
  • Educate clients on which products emit harmful chemicals
  • Help clients save money on their utility bills
  • Improve the health and wellness of the community

"Sustainability is on the rise across the construction industry. In the residential market, green-construction spending is projected to increase from $55 billion in 2015 to $100.4 billion in 2018." 

USGBC’s 2015 Green Building Economic Impact Study

Why Should an Interior Designer Become LEED Accredited?

In addition to getting buildings and projects LEED certified, designers can take a step further and become a LEED Accredited Professional.  The process is rigurous, but the reward is significant.  Here are some benefits to becoming a LEED-AP.  


1. The Green Economy is Growing

By 2018, the green-construction industry is expected to account for over 3.3 million U.S. jobs according to the USGBC.  When you become a LEED-AP, you will join a group of over 201,000 professionals who have earned a LEED credential.  So not only will you expand your professional network, but you will now be a member of an exclusive group that clients are seeking out.


2. Stand Out from the Competition

Your LEED-AP credential will give you a specific set of skills that will qualify you for new job opportunities and differentiate your work from other projects in a competitive job market. 


3.  Save Your Clients' Money

More and more clients, commercial and residential, are choosing to have their projects LEED certified because they are realizing the impact that it brings to their bottom line.  You will be the point person that they will turn to for advise on sustainable materials.

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Photo via USGBC Arizona

4. Expand Your Knowledge

Preparing for a LEED exam helps you learn the fundamentals of green building concepts, including transportation, energy, water and air quality.  By educating yourself on sustainability, you are investing in yourself and increasing your areas of expertise.


5. Bring Positive Change to Your Community

We all would love to save extra money on utility bills and generate additional revenue in reselling LEED-certified buildings. But, nothing compares to the feeling of bringing positive change to your community.  Knowing the LEED certification system and having a LEED accreditation will enable you to do that for a living. 

“Studies show that if you work in a green-certified building, you're likely to sleep better and feel better—which can then improve how well you perform at work.”  

John Mandyck, Chief Sustainability Officer at United Technologies

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Photo via SABIC

How Does an Interior Designer Become Leed Accredited?

Step 1: Become a LEED Green Associate 

Learn More

Download the LEED Green Associate Candidate Handbook

Step 2: Choose your LEED AP Specialty and Pass the Exam

Learn More

Download the LEED AP Interior Design + Construction Handbook 


If you are already a LEED-AP, in the middle of becoming accredited, or are just getting started, please share your experience with our community in the comments below. 

Lindsay Paoli
Lindsay Paoli
Lindsay is in charge of the Sales and Marketing team at Design Manager and has enjoyed growing the DM company for the past 10 years. In her spare time though, you can find her taking care of her two adorably demanding little rugrats, traveling, enjoying new restaurants or cheering on her beloved Philadelphia sports teams with her friends and family.

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