LEED Fellow 2016 application guide

Nick Firmand

"LEED Fellow" designates the most exceptional professionals in the green building industry, and it is the most prestigious designation awarded by GBCI. Here are the answers to some of the questions you may have about applying for the LEED Fellow program:

Who should be involved?

The nominee will submit all the documents comprising the application packet, but they are encouraged to work closely with their application team, which includes their nominator, LEED Project Experience statement writer and four endorsers. Each statement should be signed by the author on that individual's company letterhead.

GBCI staff are available to support nominees during the application period, if they need assistance getting their documents submitted.

When should this be done?

The nominee and nominator should start working to identify endorsers as soon as possible. Application materials may be submitted from Feb. 8 through April 4 at 8:00 a.m. Nominees pay the fee when they submit their completed application.

Nominees will receive feedback from the evaluators starting on Monday, April 25, and will have until 8:00 a.m. ET, on Tuesday, May 24, to submit any updated documents into their application.

Where do we submit?

The nominee should submit all application materials through the LEED Fellow Portal, which can be accessed through their credentials account.

What should be addressed in the application materials?

During the application period, the team will submit 10 documents, not to exceed 25 total pages in length:

  • The nominee’s personal statement
  • The nominee's CV
  • The nominator’s recommendation
  • The nominator's CV
  • LEED project experience statement
  • Four mastery element endorsements 
  • Any relevant attachments

It is up to the team’s discretion as to what they include in each statement to make the strongest case for the nominee, but the strongest applications follow the guidelines below.

1. Nominator’s Recommendation (4 pages)

  • Should serve as an introduction to the nominee’s application
  • Based on the four mastery elements for which endorsement statements are provided
  • Can be used to highlight additional achievements not covered in endorsement statements

2. Nominee’s Personal Statement (4 pages)

  • Based on the four mastery elements for which endorsement statements are provided
  • Can be used to highlight additional achievements not covered in endorsement statements

3. Project Experience (2 pages)

  • Should represent one of the nominee’s most exceptional projects
  • Should highlight nominee’s unique contribution and their impact on specific outcomes of the project

4-7.  Four Endorsement Statements (2 pages each)

  • All nominees must include an endorser statement speaking to their technical proficiency, and may choose three out of the remaining four topics.

Technical Proficiency (Required)

  • Ability to take a project from start to finish within a rating system in depth
  • Understanding of the application of one LEED rating system
  • General understanding of multiple LEED rating systems
  • Exceptional technical contributions to the green building industry
  • Technical accomplishments that distinguish them from their peers
  • Ability to understand and communicate technical content

Education and Mentoring

  • Achievements creating education for their peers
  • Achievements creating education for the next generation of leadership
  • Ability to identify learner’s needs and create education to satisfy them (with specific examples)
  • Research activities that contribute to the green building body of knowledge
  • Speaking engagements or published works related to LEED and green building


  • Overall history of leadership in advancing and implementing the green building body of knowledge
  • Overall history of utilizing green technologies and practices within their organization, client’s projects, and/or the community
  • Overall history of taking the lead within a project and facilitating the accomplishment of the project vision/goals
  • Has been involved in the development of LEED (this concept could also be addressed in the commitment and service statement)

Commitment and Service

  • Overall history volunteering for USGBC, other GBCs, or GBCI
  • Overall history of community service (in regard to green building and sustainability)
  • Professional and sustainability-related values that are in line with USGBC and GBCI


  • Positive representation of USGBC, GBCI, other GBCs or the green building industry in general, on a local, national or international stage
  • History of encouraging the adoption of LEED rating systems within their organization, community or government
  • Advocacy for a holistic approach to sustainability

8. Nominee's CV/Resume (The remaining 7 pages can be used by the Nominee's CV/Resume and related attachments)

  • Acts as a "table of contents" for the entire application
  • Should demonstrate the breadth and depth of the nominee's work achievements
  • Must demonstrate 10 years of continuous engagement in the green building industry
  • Should be organized around the selected mastery elements

9. Optional Attachments (see note above about length restrictions)

  • Can provide supplementary information about projects or achievements
  • Mentioned in the other application materials. (e.g., images, articles, animations, video)
  • Cannot be an additional endorsement providing new statements about the nominee's achievements

10. Nominator's CV/Resume (no page limit; does not contribute to 25-page limit for entire application)

  • Must demonstrate 10 years of experience in the green building industry to meet eligibility requirements  

How should these topics be addressed?

It is important that each document submitted highlight an element of the nominee’s career in a way that is concise and minimizes duplication. USGBC suggests nomination teams take an “integrative design approach” to make sure the different components work together in a way that highlights the nominee’s entire career as described in their CV/resume. A well-written application addresses each topic by highlighting not only the nominee’s exemplary achievements, but also the qualitative and quantitative impacts of their work in the industry. Please refer to the examples below for commitment and service.

Poor statement: As Executive Director of our local chapter, I can say Nominee X is one of the most committed people I know. Their persistent efforts, both in the workplace (as evidenced by their work as Sustainable Design Lead at XYZ Architects) and outside the workplace, are what truly make them a leader. It was with this passion that they founded our local USGBC chapter, a vibrant and active community of professionals. They are also committed to encouraging young professionals, as evinced by the numerous hours they spend chairing our chapter’s Emerging Leaders initiative.

Average statement: As Executive Director of our local chapter, I can say Nominee X is one of the most committed people I know. It was with this passion that they founded our local USGBC chapter, a vibrant and active community that is one of the largest in the area. They use their unique ability to motivate and engage others in their work chairing our chapter’s Emerging Professionals initiative. They have put in countless hours mentoring, teaching and supporting these young professionals, who continue to drive sustainability globally.

Exemplary statement: As Executive Director of our local chapter, I have seen the impact of Nominee X’s commitment and service in our region and beyond. They founded our chapter, which is now a vibrant and active community of 10,000 members. As the chair of our chapter’s Emerging Leaders initiative, they have used their unique ability to motivate others to engage over 300 young professionals, who now drive sustainability in organizations worldwide.

This year, GBCI has provided a packet of actual statements provided in the applications of people who were selected as Fellows last year. This packet gives one sample of each letter type, each taken from a different person's successful application. Although this provides the most diverse selection of samples to review, it cannot demonstrate how each individual's application was designed to work together holistically. It is important that the application "tell the story" of the nominee's impact, and that each statement fill in a different part of that story and avoid repeating impacts that have already been described.

See last year's LEED Fellows

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