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LEED v2009
New Construction
Indoor Environmental Quality

Low-Emitting Materials—Adhesives and Sealants

LEED CREDIT

NC-2009 IEQc4.1: Low-emitting materials - adhesives and sealants 1 point

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Credit achievement rate

XX%

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Brent Ehrlich

BuildingGreen
Products and materials specialist

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Credit language

USGBC logo

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

Requirements

All adhesives and sealants used on the interior of the building (i.e., inside of the weatherproofing system and applied on-site) must comply with the following requirements as applicable to the project scope1:

  • Adhesives, Sealants and Sealant Primers must comply with South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) Rule #1168. Volatile organic compound (VOC) limits listed in the table below correspond to an effective date of July 1, 2005 and rule amendment date of January 7, 2005.

    Architectural Applications

    VOC Limit

    (g/L less water)

    Specialty Applications

    VOC Limit

    (g/L less water)

    Indoor carpet adhesives

    50

    PVC welding

    510

    Carpet pad adhesives

    50

    CPVC welding

    490

    Wood flooring adhesives

    100

    ABS welding

    325

    Rubber floor adhesives

    60

    Plastic cement welding

    250

    Subfloor adhesives

    50

    Adhesive primer for plastic

    550

    Ceramic tile adhesives

    65

    Contact adhesive

    80

    VCT and asphalt adhesives

    50

    Special purpose contact adhesive

    250

    Drywall and panel adhesives

    50

    Structural wood member adhesive

    140

    Cove base adhesives

    50

    Sheet applied rubber lining operations

    850

    Multipurpose construction adhesives

    70

    Top and trim adhesive

    250

    Structural glazing adhesives

    100

    Substrate Specific Applications

    VOC Limit

    (g/L less water)

    Sealants

    VOC Limit

    (g/L less water)

    Metal to metal

    30

    Architectural

    250

    Plastic foams

    50

    Roadway

    250

    Porous material (except wood)

    50

    Other

    420

    Wood

    30

    Fiberglass

    80

    Sealant Primers

    VOC Limit (g/L less water)

    Architectural, nonporous

    250

    Architectural, porous

    775

    Other

    750

    This table excludes adhesives and sealants integral to the water-proofing system or that are not building related.

  • Aerosol Adhesives must comply with Green Seal Standard for Commercial Adhesives GS-36 requirements in effect on October 19, 2000.

    Aerosol Adhesives

    VOC weight (g/L minus water)

    General purpose mist spray

    65% VOCs by weight

    General purpose web spray

    55% VOCs by weight

    Special purpose aerosol adhesives (all types)

    70% VOCs by weight

Credit substitution available
You may use the LEED v4 version of this credit on v2009 projects. For more information check out this article.
See all forum discussions about this credit »

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Frequently asked questions

How do I determine what application my product falls under?

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

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How is VOC % less water determined for aerosol adhesives?

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.)

Do grout and caulking need to be included, and if so, what is the application category?

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.)

Our project didn't use some common adhesive types, and our LEED reviewer asked about this. Are we supposed to justify not using certain adhesives in our documentation?

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

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Is there a shortcut to the VOC budget method if you have just one product that is used minimally on a project?

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Do products applied to the weather barrier need to comply with VOC thresholds?

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See all forum discussions about this credit »

Addenda

11/3/2010Updated: 2/14/2015
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
In the "Sealants" section, remove the items "Nonmembrane roof, 300" and "Single-ply roof membrane, 450"
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
11/3/2010Updated: 2/14/2015
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
In the "Sealants" section, remove the items "Nonmembrane roof, 300" and "Single-ply roof membrane, 450"
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
10/1/2012Updated: 2/14/2015
Global ACP
Description of change:
Add the following sentence to the end of "sealant" defintion, "Sealants are used on wood, fabric, paper, corrugated paperboard, plastic foam and other materials with tiny openings, often microscopic, that may absorb or discharge gas or fluid."
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
2/2/2011Updated: 2/14/2015
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
Replace text with the following:NC & SchoolsThis credit is not eligible for exemplary performance under the Innovation and Design section.CSProjects that require and enforce tenants to meet the requirements in IEQ Credit 4 (4.1, 4.2, 4.3, and 4.4) throughout the tenant space are eligible for exemplary performance under the Innovation in Design section.
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
11/3/2010Updated: 2/14/2015
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
Add footnote number 2 at the end of the first bullet, "This table excludes adhesives and sealants integral to the roof waterproofing system or that are not building related.".
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
11/3/2010Updated: 2/14/2015
Rating System Correction
Description of change:
In the "Sealants" section, remove the items "Nonmembrane roof, 300" and "Single-ply roof membrane, 450"
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
10/1/2012Updated: 2/14/2015
Global ACP
Description of change:
Replace the definition of "volatile organic compounds (VOC's)" with "a carbon compound that vaporizes (becomes a gas) at normal room temperatures. VOCs contribute to air pollution directly and through atmospheric photochemical reactions (excluding carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, carbonic acid, metallic carbides and carbonates, and ammonium carbonate) to produce secondary air pollutants, principally ozone and peroxyacetyl nitrate."
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
12/2/2009Updated: 2/14/2015
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
At the end of box, insert new text and table as indicated in the supplemental document.
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
4/20/2007
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

USGBC has previously stated that if a product is inside the exterior moisture protection, it is a controlled product (it must comply with the credit requirement). Our question concerns the adhesive used to adhere to the concrete the "stick pins" that hold up the insulation to the underside of the concrete slab that forms the garage ceiling. Technically, this area is inside the exterior moisture protection envelope, but garage is not a regularly occupied space, and the concrete slab provides an impenetrable barrier between the stick pins/adhesive and the occupied spaces above. The garage is below and adjacent to occupied space. At the adjacent condition, the garage is separated from the occupied space either by solid wall, intervening utility spaces or a vestibule. The garage has variable active ventilation by two exhaust shafts with fans that are controlled via CO2 detectors. These shafts are located in the southwest and northwest corners of the garage. Distribution fans are also located in opposite corners, etc to move air towards the exhaust fans. Fresh air is brought into the garage via numerous openings along the full length of the east wall and a centrally located fresh air shaft. The adhesive used for this purpose has a VOC content of 420 gm/L, and we have not been able to find an acceptable substitute with a VOC content within the maximum 250 g/L assigned to the "All Others" category of Table 1 of the LEED-NC version 2.1 Reference Guide. (No other category of Table 1 applies.) Given that the product will be used in a non-conditioned, non-regularly occupied space; that there is no acceptable alternative for this application; the presence of the impenetrable concrete stab, and the long duration between application and occupancy of this multi-story project, we request that this application/product be exempted from the requirements of EQ 4.1.

Ruling:

The project is inquiring if an adhesive used within the exterior moisture protection, but above an impenetrable concrete deck in an unconditioned, non-regularly occupied space, is exempt from EQc4.1. The project may exclude the adhesive in question since 1) the garage is open to the outdoors at all times and thus is not technically an interior space and 2) the occupied areas of the building are separated from the garage by solid, impenetrable walls. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
6/26/2009
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

How does a project team classify duct sealants for application under EQc4.1?

Ruling:

Project teams may classify duct sealants under "Other", as listed in the SCAQMD VOC Limits table. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
4/19/2004
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

HVAC duct work is generally installed once the building has walls and a roof, but before windows are installed. It is our project team\'s understanding that the building would not be considered to have indoor air at this time, but since this inquiry deals with the indoor air distribution system, we want to be certain that we will comply with the credit requirements. In climates with freezing temperatures over the winter months, water based duct sealants (which comply with VOC limits) are not acceptable for use due to the fact that they will crack when frozen. Oil-based sealants (which do not comply with VOC limits) are required in freezing weather until the building is enclosed and thermally controlled. It is not clear to this project team whether or not SSc4.1 would apply to sealing the duct work. When, during the construction process, does SSc4.1 start to apply, and does SSc4.1 apply to duct sealants?

Ruling:

Duct sealants must be included under this credit. The VOC limit requirements of EQc4.1 for adhesives and sealants apply to all phases of construction. The LEED-NC v2.1 Reference Guide states on page 276 that this credit applies to products and installation processes that have the ability to adversely affect indoor air quality on site: and those that are exposed in interior spaces accessible by occupants (meaning all space within the weatherproofing layer of the building envelope). The VOCs from this product will offgas long enough to effect the building\'s indoor air quality. In addition, installers are immediately exposed to the product\'s emissions. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
See all forum discussions about this credit »

Checklists

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Credit achievement rate

XX%

Upgrade to LEEDuser Premium to see how many projects achieved this credit. Try it free »

LEEDuser expert

Brent Ehrlich

BuildingGreen
Products and materials specialist

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USGBC logo

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

Requirements

All adhesives and sealants used on the interior of the building (i.e., inside of the weatherproofing system and applied on-site) must comply with the following requirements as applicable to the project scope1:

  • Adhesives, Sealants and Sealant Primers must comply with South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) Rule #1168. Volatile organic compound (VOC) limits listed in the table below correspond to an effective date of July 1, 2005 and rule amendment date of January 7, 2005.

    Architectural Applications

    VOC Limit

    (g/L less water)

    Specialty Applications

    VOC Limit

    (g/L less water)

    Indoor carpet adhesives

    50

    PVC welding

    510

    Carpet pad adhesives

    50

    CPVC welding

    490

    Wood flooring adhesives

    100

    ABS welding

    325

    Rubber floor adhesives

    60

    Plastic cement welding

    250

    Subfloor adhesives

    50

    Adhesive primer for plastic

    550

    Ceramic tile adhesives

    65

    Contact adhesive

    80

    VCT and asphalt adhesives

    50

    Special purpose contact adhesive

    250

    Drywall and panel adhesives

    50

    Structural wood member adhesive

    140

    Cove base adhesives

    50

    Sheet applied rubber lining operations

    850

    Multipurpose construction adhesives

    70

    Top and trim adhesive

    250

    Structural glazing adhesives

    100

    Substrate Specific Applications

    VOC Limit

    (g/L less water)

    Sealants

    VOC Limit

    (g/L less water)

    Metal to metal

    30

    Architectural

    250

    Plastic foams

    50

    Roadway

    250

    Porous material (except wood)

    50

    Other

    420

    Wood

    30

    Fiberglass

    80

    Sealant Primers

    VOC Limit (g/L less water)

    Architectural, nonporous

    250

    Architectural, porous

    775

    Other

    750

    This table excludes adhesives and sealants integral to the water-proofing system or that are not building related.

  • Aerosol Adhesives must comply with Green Seal Standard for Commercial Adhesives GS-36 requirements in effect on October 19, 2000.

    Aerosol Adhesives

    VOC weight (g/L minus water)

    General purpose mist spray

    65% VOCs by weight

    General purpose web spray

    55% VOCs by weight

    Special purpose aerosol adhesives (all types)

    70% VOCs by weight

Credit substitution available
You may use the LEED v4 version of this credit on v2009 projects. For more information check out this article.

XX%

Upgrade to LEEDuser Premium to see how many projects achieved this credit. Try it free »

Got the gist of IEQc4.1 but not sure how to actually achieve it? LEEDuser gives step-by-step help. Premium members get:

  • Checklists covering all the key action steps you'll need to earn the credit.
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In the end, LEED is all about documentation. LEEDuser’s Documentation Toolkit, for premium members only, saves you time and helps you avoid mistakes with:

  • Calculators to help assess credit compliance.
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  • Spreadsheets and forms to give to subs and other team members.
  • Guidance documents on arcane LEED issues.
  • Sample templates to help guide your narratives and LEED Online submissions.
  • Examples of actual submissions from certified LEED projects.

How do I determine what application my product falls under?

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.)

How is VOC % less water determined for aerosol adhesives?

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.)

Do grout and caulking need to be included, and if so, what is the application category?

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.)

Our project didn't use some common adhesive types, and our LEED reviewer asked about this. Are we supposed to justify not using certain adhesives in our documentation?

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.)

Is there a shortcut to the VOC budget method if you have just one product that is used minimally on a project?

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.)

Do products applied to the weather barrier need to comply with VOC thresholds?

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.)

11/3/2010Updated: 2/14/2015
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
In the "Sealants" section, remove the items "Nonmembrane roof, 300" and "Single-ply roof membrane, 450"
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
11/3/2010Updated: 2/14/2015
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
In the "Sealants" section, remove the items "Nonmembrane roof, 300" and "Single-ply roof membrane, 450"
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
10/1/2012Updated: 2/14/2015
Global ACP
Description of change:
Add the following sentence to the end of "sealant" defintion, "Sealants are used on wood, fabric, paper, corrugated paperboard, plastic foam and other materials with tiny openings, often microscopic, that may absorb or discharge gas or fluid."
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
2/2/2011Updated: 2/14/2015
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
Replace text with the following:NC & SchoolsThis credit is not eligible for exemplary performance under the Innovation and Design section.CSProjects that require and enforce tenants to meet the requirements in IEQ Credit 4 (4.1, 4.2, 4.3, and 4.4) throughout the tenant space are eligible for exemplary performance under the Innovation in Design section.
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
11/3/2010Updated: 2/14/2015
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
Add footnote number 2 at the end of the first bullet, "This table excludes adhesives and sealants integral to the roof waterproofing system or that are not building related.".
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
11/3/2010Updated: 2/14/2015
Rating System Correction
Description of change:
In the "Sealants" section, remove the items "Nonmembrane roof, 300" and "Single-ply roof membrane, 450"
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
10/1/2012Updated: 2/14/2015
Global ACP
Description of change:
Replace the definition of "volatile organic compounds (VOC's)" with "a carbon compound that vaporizes (becomes a gas) at normal room temperatures. VOCs contribute to air pollution directly and through atmospheric photochemical reactions (excluding carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, carbonic acid, metallic carbides and carbonates, and ammonium carbonate) to produce secondary air pollutants, principally ozone and peroxyacetyl nitrate."
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
12/2/2009Updated: 2/14/2015
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
At the end of box, insert new text and table as indicated in the supplemental document.
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
4/20/2007
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

USGBC has previously stated that if a product is inside the exterior moisture protection, it is a controlled product (it must comply with the credit requirement). Our question concerns the adhesive used to adhere to the concrete the "stick pins" that hold up the insulation to the underside of the concrete slab that forms the garage ceiling. Technically, this area is inside the exterior moisture protection envelope, but garage is not a regularly occupied space, and the concrete slab provides an impenetrable barrier between the stick pins/adhesive and the occupied spaces above. The garage is below and adjacent to occupied space. At the adjacent condition, the garage is separated from the occupied space either by solid wall, intervening utility spaces or a vestibule. The garage has variable active ventilation by two exhaust shafts with fans that are controlled via CO2 detectors. These shafts are located in the southwest and northwest corners of the garage. Distribution fans are also located in opposite corners, etc to move air towards the exhaust fans. Fresh air is brought into the garage via numerous openings along the full length of the east wall and a centrally located fresh air shaft. The adhesive used for this purpose has a VOC content of 420 gm/L, and we have not been able to find an acceptable substitute with a VOC content within the maximum 250 g/L assigned to the "All Others" category of Table 1 of the LEED-NC version 2.1 Reference Guide. (No other category of Table 1 applies.) Given that the product will be used in a non-conditioned, non-regularly occupied space; that there is no acceptable alternative for this application; the presence of the impenetrable concrete stab, and the long duration between application and occupancy of this multi-story project, we request that this application/product be exempted from the requirements of EQ 4.1.

Ruling:

The project is inquiring if an adhesive used within the exterior moisture protection, but above an impenetrable concrete deck in an unconditioned, non-regularly occupied space, is exempt from EQc4.1. The project may exclude the adhesive in question since 1) the garage is open to the outdoors at all times and thus is not technically an interior space and 2) the occupied areas of the building are separated from the garage by solid, impenetrable walls. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
6/26/2009
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

How does a project team classify duct sealants for application under EQc4.1?

Ruling:

Project teams may classify duct sealants under "Other", as listed in the SCAQMD VOC Limits table. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
4/19/2004
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

HVAC duct work is generally installed once the building has walls and a roof, but before windows are installed. It is our project team\'s understanding that the building would not be considered to have indoor air at this time, but since this inquiry deals with the indoor air distribution system, we want to be certain that we will comply with the credit requirements. In climates with freezing temperatures over the winter months, water based duct sealants (which comply with VOC limits) are not acceptable for use due to the fact that they will crack when frozen. Oil-based sealants (which do not comply with VOC limits) are required in freezing weather until the building is enclosed and thermally controlled. It is not clear to this project team whether or not SSc4.1 would apply to sealing the duct work. When, during the construction process, does SSc4.1 start to apply, and does SSc4.1 apply to duct sealants?

Ruling:

Duct sealants must be included under this credit. The VOC limit requirements of EQc4.1 for adhesives and sealants apply to all phases of construction. The LEED-NC v2.1 Reference Guide states on page 276 that this credit applies to products and installation processes that have the ability to adversely affect indoor air quality on site: and those that are exposed in interior spaces accessible by occupants (meaning all space within the weatherproofing layer of the building envelope). The VOCs from this product will offgas long enough to effect the building\'s indoor air quality. In addition, installers are immediately exposed to the product\'s emissions. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes

LEEDuser expert

Brent Ehrlich

BuildingGreen
Products and materials specialist

See all LEEDuser forum discussions about this credit » Unsubscribe from discussions about NC-2009 IEQc4.1