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Provide occupants with good IAQ

The idea behind this credit is to ensure good indoor air quality (IAQ) for building users. The flush-out of indoor air required under Option 1 is frequently pursued by projects seeking a certain and predictable path. Performing testing under Option 2 leaves open the possibility that despite all other efforts to provide and protect air quality, the building could fail the tests, putting the credit in jeopardy. 

You might wonder why there would be any chance of failing the IAQ test if a building earns the other IAQ credits. For whatever reason, it happens. This might be due to VOC emissions from materials not covered by the low-emitting materials credit, or from the undetected use of materials not meeting the spec.

Another reason teams may want to pursue Option 1 is that the cost for IAQ testing is often greater than that of a building flush-out. Testing costs vary depending on the size of the building, the number of samples tested, and the travel and fieldwork the testing agency needs to perform. Additionally, the number of different contaminants that projects must test for has increased from LEED 2009.

On the other hand, there may not been enough time in your project schedule to conduct the flush-out for Option 1. The tenant may also prefer the solid results of a test. All of these factors can push a project toward Option 2.

What’s New in LEED v4

  • This credit now requires–rather than recommends–the installation of movable furnishings, such as workstations and partitions, before testing or flush-out.
  • Options can no longer be combined.
  • Option 1 now provides an upper interior temperature limit.
  • Testing is now required for an expanded list of contaminants in Option 2.