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Environmental Tobacco Smoke Control

The cost of this credit is project-specific. 

Non-smoking signage is a minor cost and may be required on many projects anyway due to laws.

More significant costs may come up on a residential project when smoking will be allowed within units. The building must be designed and constructed to eliminate smoke migration between the units, or from a unit out into a common corridor. Common practices include sealing wall penetrations like outlets, switches, thermostats, pipes and ducts, and wall headers and footers.

To some extent these practices are required by fire codes, but meeting LEED will require greater attention to detail and additional measures. Common areas need to be positively pressurized relative to the units, and the units need to be tested to prove that migration between units has been eliminated.

To demonstrate a tight unit, it is common to use a tracer gas test, in which a harmless gas is released inside one unit, and the surrounding units (both sides, across the hall, above and below) all have sensors. The test is usually performed on completed units, once all finishes and commissioning is done.

To ensure success during final testing and avoid costly repairs, the testing agency will usually review the architectural details and make suggestions for sealing and tightening, and then will review construction methods onsite during installation. Preliminary testing can also performed on partially completed units before final finishes are installed.

When it comes to the final testing, a percentage of units are checked. If those initial units pass, then the test is assumed to be complete for the entire project, but if some units fail, then additional units are included in the sample to be tested.

Unit testing generally includes the design review, onsite construction visits, and the actual testing and documentation:

  • The Design review fee will be based on the project size and number of units to be re- viewed and should be a small percentage of the overall fee, generally $3,000–$10,000.

  • Onsite construction visits will generally be on a per-visit basis, probably $1,500–$2,000/ unit depending on travel time and costs, and more units will need more visits because the units won’t all be completed on the same schedule.

  • Final testing is done on a per-unit basis and will be the percentage of the units needed for compliance. This may cost $3,000–$3,500 per unit, including equipment and the cost of the site visit.

As with all LEED-related costs, these should be viewed in the context of added value as appropriate for the project. For residential projects that allow smoking, these are essential quality control measures to avoid cross-contamination affecting public health.