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LEED v4.1
Hospitality – Commercial Interiors
Indoor Environmental Quality
Low Emitting Materials

LEED CREDIT

Hospitality-CI-v4.1 EQc2: Low emitting materials 1-3 points

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SPECIAL REPORT

LEEDuser expert

Deborah Lucking

AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Fentress Architects
Director of Sustainability

SPECIAL REPORT

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Credit language

USGBC logo

© Copyright U.S. Green Building Council, Inc. All rights reserved.

Intent

To reduce concentrations of chemical contaminants that can damage air quality, human health, productivity, and the environment.

Requirements

Use materials on the building interior (everything within the waterproofing membrane) that meet the low-emitting criteria below. Points are awarded according to Table 1:

Table 1. Points for low-emitting materials
Table 1. Points for low-emitting materials
2 product categories 1 point
3 product categories 2 points
4 product categories 3 points
5 product categories 3 points + exemplary performance
Reach 90% threshold in at least three product categories Exemplary performance or 1 additional point if only 1 or 2 points achieved above.
Paints and Coatings

At least 75% of all paints and coatings, by volume or surface area, meet the VOC emissions evaluation AND 100% meet the VOC content evaluation. To meet the 100% requirement for VOC content evaluation, a VOC budget may be used.

The paints and coatings product category includes all interior paints and coatings wet-applied on site.

Exclude foamed-in place and sprayed insulation (include in Insulation category).
Adhesives and Sealants

At least 75% of all adhesives and sealants, by volume or surface area, meet the VOC emissions evaluation AND 100% meet the VOC content evaluation. To meet the 100% requirement for VOC content evaluation, a VOC budget may be used.

The adhesives and sealants product category includes all interior adhesives and sealants wet-applied on site.

Flooring

At least 90% of all flooring, by cost or surface area, meets the VOC emissions evaluation OR inherently nonemitting sources criteria, OR salvaged and reused materials criteria.

The flooring product category includes all types of hard and soft surface flooring (carpet, ceramic, vinyl, rubber, engineered, solid wood, laminates), raised flooring, wall base, underlayments, and other floor coverings.

Exclude subflooring (include subflooring in the composite wood category, if applicable. Exclude wet-applied products applied on the floor (include in paints and coatings category).

Wall panels

At least 75% of all wall panels, by cost or surface area, meet the VOC emissions evaluation, OR inherently nonemitting sources criteria, OR salvaged and reused materials criteria.

The wall panels product category includes all finish wall treatments (wall coverings, wall paneling, wall tile), surface wall structures such as gypsum or plaster, cubicle/curtain/partition walls, trim, interior and exterior doors, wall frames, interior and exterior windows, and window treatments.

Exclude cabinetry (include built-in cabinetry in the composite wood category and free-standing cabinetry in the furniture category), and vertical structural elements (include structural elements such as structural panels or structural composite wood in the composite wood category, if applicable).

Ceilings

At least 90% of all ceilings, by cost or surface area, meet the VOC emissions evaluation, OR inherently nonemitting sources criteria, OR salvaged and reused materials criteria.

The ceilings product category includes all ceiling panels, ceiling tile, surface ceiling structures such as gypsum or plaster, suspended systems (including canopies and clouds), and glazed skylights.

Exclude overhead structural elements (include structural elements in the composite wood category, if applicable).

Insulation

At least 75% of all insulation, by cost or surface area, meets the VOC emissions evaluation.

The insulation product category includes all thermal and acoustic boards, batts, rolls, blankets, sound attention fire blankets, foamed-in place, loose-fill, blown, and sprayed insulation.

Exclude insulation for HVAC ducts and plumbing piping from the credit. Insulation for HVAC ducts may be included at the project team’s discretion.

Furniture

At least 75% of all furniture in the project scope of work, by cost, meets the furniture emissions evaluation, OR inherently nonemitting sources criteria, OR salvaged and reused materials criteria.

The furniture product category includes all seating, desks and tables, filing/storage, free-standing cabinetry, workspaces, and furnishing items purchased for the project.

Exclude office accessories from the credit.

Composite Wood

At least 75% of all composite wood, by cost or surface area, meets the Formaldehyde emissions evaluation OR salvaged and reused materials criteria.

The composite wood product category includes all particleboard, medium density fiberboard (both medium density and thin), hardwood plywood with veneer, composite or combination core, and wood structural panels or structural wood products.

Exclude products covered in the flooring, ceiling, wall panels, or furniture material categories from this category.

Low-emitting criteria
inherently nonemitting sources

Product is an inherently nonemitting source of VOCs (stone, ceramic, powder-coated metals, plated or anodized metal, glass, concrete, clay brick, and unfinished or untreated solid wood) and has no binders, surface coatings, or sealants that include organic chemicals.

Salvaged and reused materials

Product is more than one year old at the time of use. If finishes are applied to the product on-site, the finishes must meet the VOC emissions evaluation AND VOC content evaluation requirements.

VOC emissions evaluation

Product has been tested according to California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Standard Method v1.2–2017 and complies with the VOC limits in Table 4-1 of the method. Additionally, the range of total VOCs after 14 days (336 hours) was measured as specified in the CDPH Standard Method v1.2 and is reported (TVOC ranges: 0.5 mg/m3 or less, between 0.5 and 5 mg/m3, or 5 mg/m3 or more).

Laboratories that conduct the tests must be accredited under ISO/IEC 17025 for the test methods they use. Products used in any setting other than schools and classrooms must be modeled to private office scenario. For schools projects, modeling to office and/or schools scenario is permitted.

The statement of product compliance must include the exposure scenario(s) used, the range of total VOCs, and must follow the product declaration guidelines in CDPH Standard Method v1.2-2017, Section 8. Manufacturer statements must also include a summary report from the laboratory that is less than three years old and the amount of wet-applied product applied in mass per surface area (if applicable). Organizations that certify manufacturers’ claims must be accredited under ISO/IEC Guide 17065.

VOC content evaluation

Product meets the VOC content limits outlined in one of the applicable standards and for projects in North America, methylene chloride and perchloroethylene may not be intentionally added.

Statement of product compliance must be made by the manufacturer or a USGBC-approved third-party. Any testing must follow the test method specified in the applicable regulation. If the applicable regulation requires subtraction of exempt compounds, any content of intentionally added exempt compounds larger than 1% weight by mass (total exempt compounds) must be disclosed.

  • Paints and coatings:
    • California Air Resource Board (CARB) 2007 Suggested Control Measure (SCM) for Architectural Coatings
    • South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) Rule 1113, effective February 5, 2016
  • Adhesives and sealants:
    • SCAQMD Rule 1168, October 6, 2017
Formaldehyde emissions evaluation

Product meets one of the following:

  • Certified as ultra-low-emitting formaldehyde (ULEF) product under EPA Toxic Substances Control Act, Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products (TSCA, Title VI) (EPA TSCA Title VI)or California Air Resources Board (CARB) Airborne Toxic Control Measure (ATCM)
  • Certified as no added formaldehyde resins (NAF) product under EPA TSCA Title VI or CARB ATCM
  • Wood structural panel manufactured according to PS 1-09 or PS 2-10 (or one of the standards considered by CARB to be equivalent to PS 1 or PS 2) and labeled bond classification Exposure 1 or Exterior
  • Structural wood product manufactured according to ASTM D 5456 (for structural composite lumber), ANSI A190.1 (for glued laminated timber), ASTM D 5055 (for I-joists), ANSI PRG 320 (for cross-laminated timber), or PS 20-15 (for finger-jointed lumber).
Furniture emissions evaluation

Product has been tested in accordance with ANSI/BIFMA Standard Method M7.1–2011 (R2016) and complies with ANSI/BIFMA e3-2014e or e3-2019e Furniture Sustainability Standard, Sections 7.6.1 (for half credit, by cost) OR 7.6.2 (for full credit, by cost), OR 7.6.2 AND 7.6.3 for one and a quarter credit, by cost. Laboratories that conduct the tests must be accredited under ISO/IEC 17025 for the test methods they use.

Seating products must be evaluated using the seating scenario. Classroom furniture must be evaluated using the standard school classroom scenario. Other products should be evaluated using the open plan or private office scenario, as appropriate. The open plan scenario is more stringent.

Statements of product compliance must include the exposure scenario(s). Organizations that certify manufacturers’ claims must be accredited under ISO/IEC Guide 17065.

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Frequently asked questions

For the insulation product category, should we demonstrate compliance based on cost or surface area?

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See all forum discussions about this credit »

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LEEDuser expert

Deborah Lucking

AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Fentress Architects
Director of Sustainability

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USGBC logo

© Copyright U.S. Green Building Council, Inc. All rights reserved.

Intent

To reduce concentrations of chemical contaminants that can damage air quality, human health, productivity, and the environment.

Requirements

Use materials on the building interior (everything within the waterproofing membrane) that meet the low-emitting criteria below. Points are awarded according to Table 1:

Table 1. Points for low-emitting materials
Table 1. Points for low-emitting materials
2 product categories 1 point
3 product categories 2 points
4 product categories 3 points
5 product categories 3 points + exemplary performance
Reach 90% threshold in at least three product categories Exemplary performance or 1 additional point if only 1 or 2 points achieved above.
Paints and Coatings

At least 75% of all paints and coatings, by volume or surface area, meet the VOC emissions evaluation AND 100% meet the VOC content evaluation. To meet the 100% requirement for VOC content evaluation, a VOC budget may be used.

The paints and coatings product category includes all interior paints and coatings wet-applied on site.

Exclude foamed-in place and sprayed insulation (include in Insulation category).
Adhesives and Sealants

At least 75% of all adhesives and sealants, by volume or surface area, meet the VOC emissions evaluation AND 100% meet the VOC content evaluation. To meet the 100% requirement for VOC content evaluation, a VOC budget may be used.

The adhesives and sealants product category includes all interior adhesives and sealants wet-applied on site.

Flooring

At least 90% of all flooring, by cost or surface area, meets the VOC emissions evaluation OR inherently nonemitting sources criteria, OR salvaged and reused materials criteria.

The flooring product category includes all types of hard and soft surface flooring (carpet, ceramic, vinyl, rubber, engineered, solid wood, laminates), raised flooring, wall base, underlayments, and other floor coverings.

Exclude subflooring (include subflooring in the composite wood category, if applicable. Exclude wet-applied products applied on the floor (include in paints and coatings category).

Wall panels

At least 75% of all wall panels, by cost or surface area, meet the VOC emissions evaluation, OR inherently nonemitting sources criteria, OR salvaged and reused materials criteria.

The wall panels product category includes all finish wall treatments (wall coverings, wall paneling, wall tile), surface wall structures such as gypsum or plaster, cubicle/curtain/partition walls, trim, interior and exterior doors, wall frames, interior and exterior windows, and window treatments.

Exclude cabinetry (include built-in cabinetry in the composite wood category and free-standing cabinetry in the furniture category), and vertical structural elements (include structural elements such as structural panels or structural composite wood in the composite wood category, if applicable).

Ceilings

At least 90% of all ceilings, by cost or surface area, meet the VOC emissions evaluation, OR inherently nonemitting sources criteria, OR salvaged and reused materials criteria.

The ceilings product category includes all ceiling panels, ceiling tile, surface ceiling structures such as gypsum or plaster, suspended systems (including canopies and clouds), and glazed skylights.

Exclude overhead structural elements (include structural elements in the composite wood category, if applicable).

Insulation

At least 75% of all insulation, by cost or surface area, meets the VOC emissions evaluation.

The insulation product category includes all thermal and acoustic boards, batts, rolls, blankets, sound attention fire blankets, foamed-in place, loose-fill, blown, and sprayed insulation.

Exclude insulation for HVAC ducts and plumbing piping from the credit. Insulation for HVAC ducts may be included at the project team’s discretion.

Furniture

At least 75% of all furniture in the project scope of work, by cost, meets the furniture emissions evaluation, OR inherently nonemitting sources criteria, OR salvaged and reused materials criteria.

The furniture product category includes all seating, desks and tables, filing/storage, free-standing cabinetry, workspaces, and furnishing items purchased for the project.

Exclude office accessories from the credit.

Composite Wood

At least 75% of all composite wood, by cost or surface area, meets the Formaldehyde emissions evaluation OR salvaged and reused materials criteria.

The composite wood product category includes all particleboard, medium density fiberboard (both medium density and thin), hardwood plywood with veneer, composite or combination core, and wood structural panels or structural wood products.

Exclude products covered in the flooring, ceiling, wall panels, or furniture material categories from this category.

Low-emitting criteria
inherently nonemitting sources

Product is an inherently nonemitting source of VOCs (stone, ceramic, powder-coated metals, plated or anodized metal, glass, concrete, clay brick, and unfinished or untreated solid wood) and has no binders, surface coatings, or sealants that include organic chemicals.

Salvaged and reused materials

Product is more than one year old at the time of use. If finishes are applied to the product on-site, the finishes must meet the VOC emissions evaluation AND VOC content evaluation requirements.

VOC emissions evaluation

Product has been tested according to California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Standard Method v1.2–2017 and complies with the VOC limits in Table 4-1 of the method. Additionally, the range of total VOCs after 14 days (336 hours) was measured as specified in the CDPH Standard Method v1.2 and is reported (TVOC ranges: 0.5 mg/m3 or less, between 0.5 and 5 mg/m3, or 5 mg/m3 or more).

Laboratories that conduct the tests must be accredited under ISO/IEC 17025 for the test methods they use. Products used in any setting other than schools and classrooms must be modeled to private office scenario. For schools projects, modeling to office and/or schools scenario is permitted.

The statement of product compliance must include the exposure scenario(s) used, the range of total VOCs, and must follow the product declaration guidelines in CDPH Standard Method v1.2-2017, Section 8. Manufacturer statements must also include a summary report from the laboratory that is less than three years old and the amount of wet-applied product applied in mass per surface area (if applicable). Organizations that certify manufacturers’ claims must be accredited under ISO/IEC Guide 17065.

VOC content evaluation

Product meets the VOC content limits outlined in one of the applicable standards and for projects in North America, methylene chloride and perchloroethylene may not be intentionally added.

Statement of product compliance must be made by the manufacturer or a USGBC-approved third-party. Any testing must follow the test method specified in the applicable regulation. If the applicable regulation requires subtraction of exempt compounds, any content of intentionally added exempt compounds larger than 1% weight by mass (total exempt compounds) must be disclosed.

  • Paints and coatings:
    • California Air Resource Board (CARB) 2007 Suggested Control Measure (SCM) for Architectural Coatings
    • South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) Rule 1113, effective February 5, 2016
  • Adhesives and sealants:
    • SCAQMD Rule 1168, October 6, 2017
Formaldehyde emissions evaluation

Product meets one of the following:

  • Certified as ultra-low-emitting formaldehyde (ULEF) product under EPA Toxic Substances Control Act, Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products (TSCA, Title VI) (EPA TSCA Title VI)or California Air Resources Board (CARB) Airborne Toxic Control Measure (ATCM)
  • Certified as no added formaldehyde resins (NAF) product under EPA TSCA Title VI or CARB ATCM
  • Wood structural panel manufactured according to PS 1-09 or PS 2-10 (or one of the standards considered by CARB to be equivalent to PS 1 or PS 2) and labeled bond classification Exposure 1 or Exterior
  • Structural wood product manufactured according to ASTM D 5456 (for structural composite lumber), ANSI A190.1 (for glued laminated timber), ASTM D 5055 (for I-joists), ANSI PRG 320 (for cross-laminated timber), or PS 20-15 (for finger-jointed lumber).
Furniture emissions evaluation

Product has been tested in accordance with ANSI/BIFMA Standard Method M7.1–2011 (R2016) and complies with ANSI/BIFMA e3-2014e or e3-2019e Furniture Sustainability Standard, Sections 7.6.1 (for half credit, by cost) OR 7.6.2 (for full credit, by cost), OR 7.6.2 AND 7.6.3 for one and a quarter credit, by cost. Laboratories that conduct the tests must be accredited under ISO/IEC 17025 for the test methods they use.

Seating products must be evaluated using the seating scenario. Classroom furniture must be evaluated using the standard school classroom scenario. Other products should be evaluated using the open plan or private office scenario, as appropriate. The open plan scenario is more stringent.

Statements of product compliance must include the exposure scenario(s). Organizations that certify manufacturers’ claims must be accredited under ISO/IEC Guide 17065.

For the insulation product category, should we demonstrate compliance based on cost or surface area?

The answer to this question is available to LEEDuser premium members. Start a free trial »

(If you're already a premium member, log in here.)

LEEDuser expert

Deborah Lucking

AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Fentress Architects
Director of Sustainability

See all LEEDuser forum discussions about this credit » Subscribe to new discussions about Hospitality-CI-v4.1 EQc2