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LEED v4.1

Schools – New Construction

Indoor Environmental Quality
Low-Emitting Materials

LEED CREDIT

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

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Deborah Lucking

AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Fentress Architects
Director of Sustainability

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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 2 points are achieved
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 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 17065.

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Addenda

2/1/2021Updated: 2/5/2021
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
Under Guidance, Behind the Intent, Beta Update, delete "In general" from the first sentence. In the second paragraph last sentence, add a new point ii: clear allowance for using VOC budget approach for VOC content for wet-applied products, and renumber existing point ii to iii.

Add "Other standards further modified were as follows: " after the second paragraph.

Delete AgBB and TRGS 610 from the standards list.
In bullet for ANSI/BIFMA e3-2011, add "and ANSI?BIFMA e3-2019 (updated version)" to the end.
Under the EPA TSCA Title VI list, add the words "new standard" at the beginning of the parenthetical.

Add the following sentence at the end of the behind the intent section: "Additionally, standards for projects outside of the U.S. are now available for use through regional compliance pathways (see International Tips section)."

Replace the Step-by-Step Guidance section with the following:

STEP 1. RESEARCH PRODUCTS
Review project documents to identify all applicable products and specify them according to the low-emitting criteria appropriate for the product.

In most cases, turning to a third-party certification program is the easiest way to find and specify products.

VOC emissions evaluation: See the list of certification programs that use CDPH Standard method v1.2 published by the California Department of Public Health at cdph.ca.gov.

VOC content evaluation: The following programs certify VOC content to CARB SCM, SCAQMD Rule 1113 and/or SCAQMD Rule 1168:
o MAS Certified Green
o Indoor Advantage Gold – Building Materials
o ClearChem by Berkeley Analytical (self-declared claims)

• Furniture emissions evaluation: The following certifications and programs use ANSI/BIFMA e3 and are accredited under ISO/IEC 17065:
o Clean Air Silver by Intertek (for half credit)
o Clean Air Gold by Intertek
o GREENGUARD Certified by UL (for half credit)
o GREENGUARD Gold by UL
o Indoor Advantage-Furniture by SCS (for half credit)
o Indoor Advantage Gold- Furniture by SCS
o Level by BIFMA
o MAS Certified Green
o VOC Green by Benchmark International

For the VOC content evaluation, when determining the appropriate VOC limit, use the manufacturer’s product classification rather than how the product was used on the project. For example, a defined roof coating is not a carpet adhesive simply because it was used this way on the project. If the product is classified as a roof coating under the stated regulation (such as SCAQMD), it must meet the appropriate VOC limit for roof coatings.:

STEP 2. INSTALL COMPLIANT PRODUCTS
Make sure selected products are installed in the building. Any product substitutions should be carefully reviewed by the design team and contractor for compliance with credit requirements. At time of product purchase, collect documentation that confirms the product complies with the low-emitting criteria.

STEP 3. CALCULATE PERCENTAGE COMPLIANCE
For each product category being pursued, list out the material, cost/surface area/volume, and compliant criteria. Confirm the percentage compliant meets the threshold for the given product category.
For VOC content, note that the 100% compliance threshold may be met using a VOC budget approach. Refer to the LEED v4 reference guide Option 1. Step 1 for more information on this calculation.
For the Furniture product category, the contributing cost is dependent on the compliance criteria selected. Make sure the actual product cost AND contributing product cost are listed in the calculations.

Under Further Explanation, delete the CARB ATCM section.
Under Further explanation, TSCA Title VI paragraph, add "(with some exemptions for laminated products under hardwood plywood), to the fourth sentence after hardwood plywood.
Under Further Explanation, ANSI/BIFMA standards revise to: Follow the LEED v4 ref guide and use an updated version of the standard ANSI/BIFMA e3-2014 (or 2019) Furniture Sustainability Standard.

Under Further Explanation add new section "International standards"
See International tips section below

Add new section "International Tips"

International Tips
Projects outside of the U.S. may want to consider these additional certifications and programs that have been identified to meet the low-emitting materials credit requirements. Note: This list is not comprehensive. Additional programs may be used if they meet the applicable rating system requirements or regional ACPs.

VOC emissions evaluation: The following certifications and programs use EN 16516 and may be used to comply with the regional ACP for VOC emissions evaluation:
o Blue Angel (if formaldehyde limit of 10 micrograms per cubic meter after 28 days is also met)
o eco-INSTITUT-Label (if formaldehyde limit of 10 micrograms per cubic meter after 28 days is also met)
o Finnish Emission Classification of Building Materials (M1)
EMICODE EC1 (if formaldehyde limit of 10 micrograms per cubic meter after 28 days is also met. EMICODE has formaldehyde limit of 50 μg/m³ after 3 days)
o EMICODE EC1PLUS (Additional information regarding the formaldehyde limit at 28 days is not required for products meeting EMICODE EC1plus)
o GUT (for textile floorings)
o Indoor Air Comfort Gold
o NaturePLUS (if formaldehyde limit of 10 micrograms per cubic meter after 28 days is also met.)
o TÜV SÜD guidelines TM-07, TM-09, and TM-10 (if formaldehyde limit of 10 micrograms per cubic meter after 28 days is also met.)

VOC emissions evaluation: The following certification uses CDPH Standard Method v1.2-2017 and may be used by projects in Taiwan to comply with VOC emissions evaluation.
o Taiwan Healthy Building Material Label

VOC content evaluation: The following certifications and programs use EN 717 and may be used to comply with the regional ACP for VOC content evaluation:
o Indoor Air Comfort Gold
o Emicode EC1 or EC1 Plus

• Furniture emissions evaluation
o Finnish Emission Classification of Building Materials (M1)
o TÜVRheinland Green Product Mark Furniture

Formaldehyde emissions evaluation
o Blue Angel Composite Wood Panels
o Byggvarubedömningen (BVB)
o Finnish Emission Classification of Building Materials (M1)
o French VOC Emissions Labeling Class A or A+

Required Documentation
• USGBC’s Low-emitting materials calculator or equivalent documentation
• Statement of product compliance
o If Third-party claim: product certificate from third party certifier
o If Manufacturer claim (also called self-declared or first-party claim) for compliance with CDPH Standard Method v1.2 (VOC emissions evaluation):
• test certificate or summary report from an ISO/IEC 17025 accredited laboratory demonstrating a representative sample of the product was tested
• For paints and coatings, adhesives and sealants products, the document must also include amount of wet-applied product applied in mass per surface area during testing
• a manufacturer statement of conformity
o If Manufacturer claim for Inherently nonemitting, VOC content evaluation, or Formaldehyde emissions evaluation:
• Product information or manufacturer statement of conformity


Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
2/1/2021Updated: 2/5/2021
Regional ACP
Description of change:
Projects in Europe may instead meet European Decopaint Directive 


Projects in Asia may instead meet Hong Kong Air pollution control (VOC) Regulation for regulated architectural paints


Projects in Asia may instead meet Hong Kong Air Pollution Control (VOC) Regulation for regulated adhesives and regulated sealants 


Projects in Europe may instead use adhesives and sealants free of solvents, as defined in Technical Rules for Hazardous Substances (TRGS) 610 
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
2/1/2021Updated: 2/5/2021
Regional ACP
Description of change:
For projects outside of the U.S., demonstrate compliance to testing standard EN 16516:2017 with 2018 updates, be compliant with German AgBB Testing and Evaluation Scheme (2018) thresholds and meet a formaldehyde limit of 10 micrograms per cubic meter after 28 days. For individually tested compounds, sum of R ratios must be less than or equal to 1 for all VOCs with LCI values and summed individual VOC concentrations must be less than 100 ug/m3 for VOCs without LCIs. TVOC value measured after 28 days must be less than or equal to 1000 ug/m3.  
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
2/1/2021Updated: 2/5/2021
Rating System Correction
Description of change:
Under "VOC emissions evaluation" and "Furniture emissions evaluation", Delete "Guide" from "ISO/IEC 17065"
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
2/1/2021Updated: 2/5/2021
Regional ACP
Description of change:
Projects in Europe may instead use products compliant with emissions class E1 as Tested per EN 717.


Projects in Canada may instead use wood structural panels and structural wood products manufactured according to one of the following Exposure 1 or Exterior standards.  CSA O121 for Douglas fir plywood, Canadian Standards Association, CSA O151 for Canadian softwood plywood, CSA O153 Poplar plywood, CSA O325 for Construction sheathing)


Projects in Australia may instead use AS/NZS 2269, Plywood-Structural, Standards Australia


Projects in Europe may instead use wood structural panels and structural wood products manufactured according to EN 636 3S, Plywood-Specifications, European Committee for Standardization (CEN).
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
11/9/2020Updated: 11/30/2020
Rating System Correction
Description of change:
Under Table 1, revise last column to read "Exemplary performance or 1 additional point if only 2 points are achieved."
Under Paints and Coatings after the first sentence, add the following sentence: "To meet the 100% requirement for VOC content evaluation, a VOC budget may be used."
Under Paints and Coatings second sentence, add "wet-" prior to applied so it reads "wet-applied": and add the following sentence at the end Exclude foamed-in place and sprayed insulation (include in Insulation category).

Under Adhesives and Sealants after the first sentence, add the following sentence: "To meet the 100% requirement for VOC content evaluation, a VOC budget may be used."
Under Adhesives and Sealants second sentence, add "wet-" prior to applied so it reads "wet-applied".

Under Flooring, second sentence, add "raised flooring"
Under Flooring, third sentence, revise to "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). "

Under Wall panels, second sentence, add "interior and exterior" before doors, "wall" before frames, and "interior and exterior" before windows.
Under Wall panels, replace the third sentence with "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). "

Under Ceilings, revise third sentence so it reads "Exclude overhead structural elements (include structural elements in the composite wood category, if applicable)."
Under Insulation, replace "material" in the second sentence with "product"
Under Insulation, revise third sentence with "Exclude insulation for HVAC ducts and plumbing piping from the credit. Insulation for HVAC ducts may be included at the project team’s discretion."

Under furniture, revise second sentence with " 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. "
Under Composite wood, replace second and last sentences with "The composite wood product category includes all particleboard, fiberboard (both medium density and thin), hardwood plywood with veneer, composite or combination core, and wood structural panels or structural wood products."

Under inherently nonemitting sources, revise so it reads "... and has no binders, surface coatings, or sealants that include organic chemicals. "
Under VOC emissions evaluation, delete "Option 1." from beginning of the first sentence.
Under VOC emissions evaluation, replace the fourth sentence with "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."
Under VOC emissions evaluation, replace the third paragraph with "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 3 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. "

Delete Option 2.
Under VOC content evaluation, add "or a USGBC-approved third party" to the end of the second sentence and delete the last two bullets under Paints and Coatings and the last three bullets under Adhesives and Sealants.
Under Formaldehyde emissions evaluation, revise first two bullets so it reads: "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)"
and second bullet: "Certified as no added formaldehyde resins (NAF) product under EPA TSCA Title VI or CARB ATCM"

Under formaldehyde emissions, delete "Tested per EN 717-1:2014 for formaldehyde emissions and complies with emissions class E1."
Under formaldehyde emissions, replace requirements for structural wood with two bullets: "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" and bullet two " 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)."

Under Furniture evaluation, add "or e3-2019e" after ANSI/BIFMA e-3-2014e and replace "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%). " with ", OR 7.6.2 AND 7.6.3 for one and a quarter credit, by cost."
Under Furniture, last sentence add IEC after ISO so it reads "ISO/IEC Guide 17065."









Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
7/25/2019Updated: 7/29/2019
Rating System Correction
Description of change:
Under Insulation, add "by cost or surface area," so the requirement reads: At least 75% of all insulation, by cost or surface area, meets the VOC emissions evaluation.

Under Furniture, replace "VOC emissions evaluation" with "Furniture emissions evaluation" so the requirement reads: "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."

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

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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 2 points are achieved
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 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 17065.

LEEDuser expert

Deborah Lucking

AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Fentress Architects
Director of Sustainability

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