Log in
LEED v4.1

Retail – New Construction

Indoor Environmental Quality
Low-Emitting Materials

LEED CREDIT

Retail-NC-v4.1 EQc2: Low-emitting materials 1-3 points

See all forum discussions about this credit »

SPECIAL REPORT

LEEDuser expert

Christopher Davis

LEED AP O+M, WELL AP

Sustainable Design Consulting
Senior Consultant

SPECIAL REPORT

LEEDuser’s viewpoint

Explore this LEED credit

Post your questions on this credit in the forum, and click on the credit language tab to review to the LEED requirements.

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.

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

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.

The adhesives and sealants product category includes all interior adhesives and sealants 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), wall base, underlayments, and other floor coverings.

Subflooring is excluded.

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, doors, frames, windows, and window treatments.

Removable/interchangeable fabric panels, built-in cabinetry, and vertical structural elements are excluded.

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.

Overhead structural elements (exposed, finished, and unfinished) are excluded.

Insulation

At least 75% of all insulation, meets the VOC emissions evaluation.

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

Insulation for HVAC ducts and plumbing piping are excluded.

Furniture

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

The furniture product category includes all stand-alone furniture items purchased for the project.

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, hardwood veneer plywood, and structural composite wood not included in the flooring, ceiling, wall panels, or furniture material categories.

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 integral organic-based surface coatings, binders, or sealants.

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

Option 1. 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 school classrooms must be evaluated using the classroom scenario, products used in other spaces must be evaluated using the default private office scenario

The statement of product compliance must include the exposure scenario(s) used, the amount of wet-applied product applied in mass per surface area (if applicable), the range of total VOCs, and follow guidelines in CDPH Standard Method v1.2-2017, Section 8. Organizations that certify manufacturers’ claims must be accredited under ISO Guide 17065.

Option 2. Product has been tested according to EN 16516:2017 and complies with the LCI values from Table 1 of the German AgBB Testing and Evaluation Scheme (2015) and a formaldehyde limit of 10 micrograms per cubic meter. Additionally, the range of total VOCs after 28 days was measured as specified in EN 16516 and 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.

The statement of product compliance must include the amount of wet-applied product applied in mass per surface area (if applicable) and the range of total VOCs. Organizations that certify manufacturers’ claims must be accredited under ISO 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. 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
    • European Decopaint Directive (2004/42/EC)
    • Hong Kong Air pollution control (VOC) Regulation for regulated architectural paints (January 2010)
  • Adhesives and sealants:
    • SCAQMD Rule 1168, October 6, 2017
    • Canadian VOC Concentration Limits for Architectural Coatings (SOR/2009-264)
    • Hong Kong Air Pollution Control (VOC) Regulation for regulated adhesives and regulated sealants (April 2012)
    • Free of solvents, as defined in TRGS 610 (January 2011)
Formaldehyde emissions evaluation

Product meets one of the following:

  • EPA TSCA Title VI or California Air Resources Board (CARB) ATCM for formaldehyde requirements for ultra-low-emitting formaldehyde (ULEF) resins or
  • EPA TSCA Title VI or CARB ATCM formaldehyde requirements for no added formaldehyde resins (NAF).
  • Tested per EN 717-1:2014 for formaldehyde emissions and complies with emissions class E1.Structural composite wood product made with moisture resistant adhesives meeting ASTM 2559, no surface treatments with added urea-formaldehyde resins or coatings, and certified according to one of the following industry standards:
    • Plywood: compliant in accordance with Voluntary Product Standard - Structural Plywood (PS 1-09), Voluntary Product Standard – Performance Standard for Wood-Based Structural-Use Panels (PS 2-10), or one of the standards considered by CARB to be equivalent to PS 1 or PS 2: (AS/NZS 2269, EN 636 3S (including CE label), Canadian Standards Association CSA O121 for Douglas fir plywood, CSA O151 for Canadian softwood plywood, for CSA O153 Poplar plywood, or CSAO325 for Construction sheathing)
    • Oriented strand board: specified with the Exposure 1 or Exterior bond classification in accordance with Voluntary Product Standard – Performance Standard for Wood-Based Structural-Use Panels (PS 2-10)
    • Structural composite lumber: compliant in accordance with Standard Specification for Evaluation of Structural Composite Lumber Products (ASTM D 5456-13)
    • Glued laminated timber: compliant in accordance with Structural Glued Laminated Timber (ANSI A190.1-2012)
    • I-joists compliant in accordance with Standard Specification for Establishing and Monitoring Structural Capacities of Prefabricated Wood I-Joists (ASTM D 5055-13)
    • Cross-laminated timber: compliant in accordance with Standard for Performance-Rated Cross-Laminated Timber (PRG 320-15)
    • Finger-jointed lumber labeled “Heat Resistant Adhesive (HRA)” in accordance with the American Softwood Lumber Standard (DOC PS-20 2015)
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 Furniture Sustainability Standard, Sections 7.6.1 (for half credit, by cost) OR 7.6.2 (for full credit, by cost). If 75% of the furniture also complies with Section 7.6.3 in addition to 7.6.2, the category counts for exemplary level (90%). 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 Guide 17065.

See all forum discussions about this credit »

What does it cost?

Cost estimates for this credit

On each BD+C v4 credit, LEEDuser offers the wisdom of a team of architects, engineers, cost estimators, and LEED experts with hundreds of LEED projects between then. They analyzed the sustainable design strategies associated with each LEED credit, but also to assign actual costs to those strategies.

Our tab contains overall cost guidance, notes on what “soft costs” to expect, and a strategy-by-strategy breakdown of what to consider and what it might cost, in percentage premiums, actual costs, or both.

This information is also available in a full PDF download in The Cost of LEED v4 report.

Learn more about The Cost of LEED v4 »

Documentation toolkit

The motherlode of cheat sheets

LEEDuser’s Documentation Toolkit is loaded with calculators to help assess credit compliance, tracking spreadsheets for materials, sample templates to help guide your narratives and LEED Online submissions, and examples of actual submissions from certified LEED projects for you to check your work against. To get your plaque, start with the right toolkit.

LEEDuser expert

Christopher Davis

LEED AP O+M, WELL AP

Sustainable Design Consulting
Senior Consultant

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.

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

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.

The adhesives and sealants product category includes all interior adhesives and sealants 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), wall base, underlayments, and other floor coverings.

Subflooring is excluded.

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, doors, frames, windows, and window treatments.

Removable/interchangeable fabric panels, built-in cabinetry, and vertical structural elements are excluded.

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.

Overhead structural elements (exposed, finished, and unfinished) are excluded.

Insulation

At least 75% of all insulation, meets the VOC emissions evaluation.

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

Insulation for HVAC ducts and plumbing piping are excluded.

Furniture

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

The furniture product category includes all stand-alone furniture items purchased for the project.

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, hardwood veneer plywood, and structural composite wood not included in the flooring, ceiling, wall panels, or furniture material categories.

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 integral organic-based surface coatings, binders, or sealants.

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

Option 1. 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 school classrooms must be evaluated using the classroom scenario, products used in other spaces must be evaluated using the default private office scenario

The statement of product compliance must include the exposure scenario(s) used, the amount of wet-applied product applied in mass per surface area (if applicable), the range of total VOCs, and follow guidelines in CDPH Standard Method v1.2-2017, Section 8. Organizations that certify manufacturers’ claims must be accredited under ISO Guide 17065.

Option 2. Product has been tested according to EN 16516:2017 and complies with the LCI values from Table 1 of the German AgBB Testing and Evaluation Scheme (2015) and a formaldehyde limit of 10 micrograms per cubic meter. Additionally, the range of total VOCs after 28 days was measured as specified in EN 16516 and 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.

The statement of product compliance must include the amount of wet-applied product applied in mass per surface area (if applicable) and the range of total VOCs. Organizations that certify manufacturers’ claims must be accredited under ISO 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. 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
    • European Decopaint Directive (2004/42/EC)
    • Hong Kong Air pollution control (VOC) Regulation for regulated architectural paints (January 2010)
  • Adhesives and sealants:
    • SCAQMD Rule 1168, October 6, 2017
    • Canadian VOC Concentration Limits for Architectural Coatings (SOR/2009-264)
    • Hong Kong Air Pollution Control (VOC) Regulation for regulated adhesives and regulated sealants (April 2012)
    • Free of solvents, as defined in TRGS 610 (January 2011)
Formaldehyde emissions evaluation

Product meets one of the following:

  • EPA TSCA Title VI or California Air Resources Board (CARB) ATCM for formaldehyde requirements for ultra-low-emitting formaldehyde (ULEF) resins or
  • EPA TSCA Title VI or CARB ATCM formaldehyde requirements for no added formaldehyde resins (NAF).
  • Tested per EN 717-1:2014 for formaldehyde emissions and complies with emissions class E1.Structural composite wood product made with moisture resistant adhesives meeting ASTM 2559, no surface treatments with added urea-formaldehyde resins or coatings, and certified according to one of the following industry standards:
    • Plywood: compliant in accordance with Voluntary Product Standard - Structural Plywood (PS 1-09), Voluntary Product Standard – Performance Standard for Wood-Based Structural-Use Panels (PS 2-10), or one of the standards considered by CARB to be equivalent to PS 1 or PS 2: (AS/NZS 2269, EN 636 3S (including CE label), Canadian Standards Association CSA O121 for Douglas fir plywood, CSA O151 for Canadian softwood plywood, for CSA O153 Poplar plywood, or CSAO325 for Construction sheathing)
    • Oriented strand board: specified with the Exposure 1 or Exterior bond classification in accordance with Voluntary Product Standard – Performance Standard for Wood-Based Structural-Use Panels (PS 2-10)
    • Structural composite lumber: compliant in accordance with Standard Specification for Evaluation of Structural Composite Lumber Products (ASTM D 5456-13)
    • Glued laminated timber: compliant in accordance with Structural Glued Laminated Timber (ANSI A190.1-2012)
    • I-joists compliant in accordance with Standard Specification for Establishing and Monitoring Structural Capacities of Prefabricated Wood I-Joists (ASTM D 5055-13)
    • Cross-laminated timber: compliant in accordance with Standard for Performance-Rated Cross-Laminated Timber (PRG 320-15)
    • Finger-jointed lumber labeled “Heat Resistant Adhesive (HRA)” in accordance with the American Softwood Lumber Standard (DOC PS-20 2015)
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 Furniture Sustainability Standard, Sections 7.6.1 (for half credit, by cost) OR 7.6.2 (for full credit, by cost). If 75% of the furniture also complies with Section 7.6.3 in addition to 7.6.2, the category counts for exemplary level (90%). 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 Guide 17065.

LEEDuser expert

Christopher Davis

LEED AP O+M, WELL AP

Sustainable Design Consulting
Senior Consultant

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