CI-2009 IEQc4.1: Low-Emitting Materials—Adhesives and Sealants

  • No reason not to earn this credit

    IEQc4.1 requirementsIt shouldn’t cost you anything to earn this credit—it will just take a little work (the same is true for the related credit, IEQc4.2: Low-Emitting Materials—Paints and Coatings). Your first priority should be to specify only adhesives and sealantsA sealant has adhesive properties and is formulated primarily to fill, seal, or waterproof gaps or joints between 2 surfaces. Sealants include sealant primers and caulks. (SCAQMD Rule 1168. )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. that comply with the credit’s VOC limits, and enforce those specifications on the jobsite. Research low-VOC adhesives and sealants before construction begins and provide lists of acceptable materials to contractors to help ensure that the right products are used. 

    Proactive communication on the jobsite

    Making sure that VOC limits are observed demands proactive communication between the designer, contractor, and all subcontractors who do work inside the building. Subcontractors have to be educated about the requirements, and their contracts should require that they document their compliance.

    If you make a mistake, you can still earn the credit

    Unlike some LEED credits where only a certain percentage of the materials have to comply, this credit is all-or-nothing—all adhesives and coatings must comply.

    However, if a non-compliant adhesive or sealant gets used by mistake, or if you need to bend the VOC limits to meet the requirements of a warranty or fire code, you can still earn the credit following the “VOC budget process.” You’ll simply have to do some calculations to show that your extra use of VOCsA volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is 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. was offset by very low use of VOCs elsewhere. You have to meet the budget for adhesives and sealants separately from paints and coatings (for IEQc4.2), though—you’re not allowed to create a combined VOC budget covering multiple IEQc4 credits.

    Multiple benefits

    Earning this credit is a key part of a construction indoor-air-quality management plan, and will help you earn another LEED point via the testing path in IEQc3.2: Construction Indoor Air Quality Management Plan—Before Occupancy, by reducing the amount of VOCs in the air.

    Using low-VOC adhesives and sealants is not only beneficial to occupants, but can improve air quality and the health of construction workers who are constantly exposed to construction pollution.

    Verify your information

    Don’t allow the use of products that merely claim to be “low VOC.” Everyone specifying and purchasing products must actually find the VOC grams per liter (g/L) information, usually on the product’s technical data sheet or material safety data sheet, and compare that number with VOC limits listed for different uses determined by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) Rule #1168 and Green Seal-36 for aerosol adhesives. Product sheets often provide the maximum g/L (like “<100 g/L”) rather than a specific amount. That’s okay as long as the maximum is under the allowable limit. 

    Only 20% of product cut sheets selected at random need to be uploaded to LEED Online to document this credit although it is best to keep all product cut sheets on file in case the credit is audited.

  • FAQ's for IEQc4.1

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

    Yes, if you have just one non-compliant product, then you can balance it out with just one really good, low VOC product, as long as all your other products meet the requirement. For example, if you have two gallons of non-compliant adhesive that is 100 g/L over its required threshold, then you can balance it out with enough compliant product where you show you are at least 100g/l under the required threshold, thus balancing the VOC budget.

    How is VOC % less water determined for aerosol adhesives?

    This is usually found on a product cut sheet or MSDS1. Material safety data sheets (MSDS) are detailed, written instructions documenting a method to achieve uniformity of performance. 2. A report that manufacturers of most products are required to make available to installers and purchasers, informing them of product information on chemicals, chemical compounds, and chemical mixtures, the existence of potentially hazardous ingredients, and providing instructions for the safe handling, storage, and disposal of products. If you cannot find the information, contact the manufacturer or technical services for the product and they should be able to provide this number for you. The method for dermining this is explained in SCAQMD Method 305-9, Determination of (VOC) In Aerosol Applications.

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

    GBCI has issued a clarification that the actual barrier does not need to comply with this credit. Any applied products that are "touched by the indoor air" would need to be considered for IEQc4.1, but if they fall outside of this they can be excluded.

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

    Yes, grout and caulking need to be included. There is no specific category for them, however. Projects have successfully used ceramic tile adhesive—VOC limit 65g/l—and Architectural Sealant—VOC limit 250 g/l—successfully, the latter being especially appropriate if you are using a product other than ceramic tiles. Since most mortars, grouts, and thinsets are largely cementitious, with inherently low VOC content, they will comply under most categories, anyway. Choose a logical category and explain it in a narrative if necessary.

    How do I determine what application my product falls under?

    SCAQMD Rule 1168 includes definitions of categories that can be helpful in determining where and how your product should be categorized to determine corresponding VOC thresholds.


    What are the adhesives and sealants to be included in the documentation?

    All adhesives and sealants used onsite within the weather barrier need to be included. This should address general construction adhesives, flooring adhesives, fire-stopping sealants, caulking, duct sealants, plumbing adhesives and cove base adhesives.

    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?

    No, but it might not hurt. Items commonly included in the credit are general construction adhesives, flooring adhesives, fire-stopping sealants, caulking, duct sealants, plumbing adhesives, and cove base adhesives. If your project doesn't report using one or more of these, your LEED reviewer might ask you to verify your list of documented items, to check that something wasn't inadvertently omitted. In LEEDuser's opinion, a brief narrative noting what you used and verifying that you're conscious of the fact that some common items weren't used might anticipate and answer this type of review comment.

Legend

  • Best Practices
  • Gotcha
  • Action Steps
  • Cost Tip

Schematic Design

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  • There is no reason not to earn this credit, as long as you are willing to take a bit of extra time to specify compliant products, and make sure that only those products are used on the jobsite.

Design Development

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  • construction work applying adhesivesLow-VOC adhesives benefit both the project and construction workers. Photo – ITW TACC Start researching and selecting compliant low-VOC adhesives and sealants needed for the project.


  • First check the allowable VOC levels for each product type you are using – see the summary of VOC limits in the Low-Emitting Material Limits document (see Documentation Toolkit) and then make sure the products specified do not exceed those limits.  


  • Keep VOC requirements in mind when selecting all materials used indoors. Watch out for warranty restrictions that call for use of a manufacturer-specified adhesive or sealant (which may or may not comply). 


  • Finding adhesives and sealants that are compliant with the credit requirements may sometimes take a little extra time, but is rarely a problem.

Construction Documents

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  • Make sure low-emitting requirements have been integrated in construction specifications. Products must be at or below the recommended VOC limits. VOC levels can be found on a product’s MSDS or technical data sheet and are measured in grams per liter (g/L).


  • Guidance on incorporating LEED specifications into construction documents, along with samples, is available from MasterSpec and from the Whole Building Design Guide (see Resources).


  • Identifying VOC requirements directly on the drawings as well as in the specs is a good way to remind the contractor and subcontractors of the requirements, but be careful to make sure the information is consistent between the drawings and the specs. 


  • It is best to require subcontractors to supply all LEED-required VOC information on the products they purchase at the time they are submitting products for approval. This way contractors do not wait until the end of construction to supply information, and you have the opportunity to review products for LEED compliance before products are purchased.


  • Specify compliant products by brand name whenever possible. It is best to distribute a list of acceptable products and the VOC limit chart from the LEED rating system at the contractor and subcontractor orientation meetings. 


  • Low-emitting products can be part of a more comprehensive IAQ management plan, as required for IEQc3.1: Construction Indoor Air Quality Plan—During Construction. A comprehensive IAQ plan covers all adhesives, sealants, paint, coatings, composite materials, and overall construction best practices protecting air quality.  


  • Achieving this credit can also help achieve IEQc3.2: Construction IAQ Management Plan—Before Occupancy, if your project pursues the air-testing option for this credit. Using low-VOC products improves your odds of passing the air quality tests. 


  • Only products installed within the weather barrier need to comply with VOC limits, according to the credit requirements. For adhesives and sealants that are part of the weather barrier, the LEED requirements are ambiguous, so it is best to err on the side of caution and use low-VOC products. Remember that the intention of the credit is to make sure all adhesives and sealants that have the potential to interact with indoor air are compliant. 


  • Products assembled off-site or factory-finished are exempt from this credit, because it is assumed that VOCs have off gassed before arriving at the site.


  • Using low-emitting adhesives and sealants is a no-cost measure.  


  • Some water-based adhesives and sealants that are credit-compliant may not be as strong as non-water-based adhesives and sealants. However, this is usually not a problem, as adhesive and sealants are often stronger than they need to be. 


  • Some contractors might charge a premium for implementing and documenting this credit but, in general, costs should be minor or nonexistent as more firms start incorporating these as standard best practices. 


  • Hiring construction teams with LEED experience is helpful, as is reviewing LEED requirements and responsibilities with the contractor during the bidding process. Construction teams without LEED experience can be successful with this credit, but will require more training and a closer eye on quality control to make sure compliant materials are used and that items are documented correctly.  


  • Implementing an IAQ plan and use of low-emitting materials demands accountability. It is best if subcontractors are contractually required to implement their parts of the IAQ plan. 

Construction

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  • Preparation Before Construction Begins


  • The general contractor (GC) should be oriented to all LEED-related issues, including IAQ management, low-emitting materials, environmental material tracking tools, construction waste management, and so on. A list of acceptable products for each use type, and the list of VOC limits, should be provided to aid subcontractors in product selection. 


  • The GC should hold orientation meetings with the subcontractors to review the LEED responsibilities related specifically to their trades. This exercise helps to build trust and is crucial for obtaining buy-in from all participants in the process.


  • Coordination and communication among the GC, subcontractors and design team early in the process can minimize scheduling delays and pushback from subcontractors.


  • Give the GC and subcontractors the following tools to help them track materials data for all MR and IEQ credits. (See the Documentation Toolkit for access.)

    • Materials Calculator:  This is a master tracking spreadsheet that the GC can use internally to compile product information received from the subcontractors. The spreadsheet tracks LEED values across multiple LEED MR and IEQ credits.
    • Environmental Materials Reporting Form: This is a material tracking form that helps subcontractors record the environmental values for products they purchase. This can be distributed to each trade subcontractor and submitted to the GC for filing. 
    • Low-Emitting Materials Reporting Form: This is a VOC tracking sheet that helps subcontractors record the low-emitting qualities of the products they purchase and can be distributed to each trade subcontractor and submitted to the GC for filing.
    • Low-Emitting Material Limits: These tables, found with each credit here on LEEDuser, summarize the maximum VOC limits for different types of adhesives, sealants, paints, coatings, composite wood, and flooring products. When subcontractors search for low-emitting products, they should consult these charts.

  • Research compliant, low-emitting products before construction begins. If product decisions are made after construction begins, with less time to carefully review data sheets, there is a much greater risk of using a non-compliant product. 


  • There is some room for interpretation in VOC limits, because the limits are determined by product usage and product type. For example, cove-base adhesives have a VOC limit of 50 g/L, and a multipurpose construction adhesive has a VOC limit of 70 g/L. If you use a multipurpose adhesive on a cove base, it is up to you whether to use either 50 g/L or 70 g/L as your VOC limit. Erring on the side of caution with a lower limit is generally a good idea.


  • When researching low-emitting products, double-check that the manufacturer’s information does not use misleading language. A common example is a product cut sheet that uses the term “low-emitting” without providing a specific VOC g/L value. Many cut sheets give a maximum value of, for example, VOC < 100g/L. That’s fine as long as 100 g/L meets the criteria for that product—just enter 100 g/L VOC amount for LEED documentation.


  • It is common for an MSDS to list the chemical contents of a product without giving an overall VOC g/L number. You’ll need to contact the manufacturer or check cut sheets to get the total VOC number. (See the Documentation Toolkit for a sample cut sheet.)


  • Obtain VOC levels, in writing, from the manufacturer, for the actual products used on the project—don’t rely on VOC quotes given over the phone.


  • The VOC value on an MSDS can be unreliable when several different products are listed on one sheet. Get clarification from the manufacturer on the actual VOC content of the product you are using.


  • The GC should be aware of any warranty issues that may exist if alternative adhesives or sealants are used. For example, a carpet company’s warranty may require a certain adhesive that does not meet the VOC requirements. To keep the warranty valid, use the adhesive or sealant specified in the warranty and use the VOC budget method to show a weighted average VOC compliance, or use carpet from a company that offers a low-VOC option.


  • If noncompliant materials are used onsite accidentally, or due to a warranty or other issue, you can use the VOC budget method. This method compares the total amount of VOCs (in grams per liter) used in the design case to the total amount of VOCs that would have been used if every product exactly met LEED VOC allowances. The calculation must be determined for adhesives and sealants separately from paints and coatings. For example, it won’t necessarily help your case to use low-VOC paints but also some high-VOC sealants. (See the compliance example below for adhesives and sealants.)


  • Using the VOC budget method is usually successful, but can be time-consuming to document.


  • During Construction


  • Throughout construction, the GC should collect material safety data sheets (MSDS) from subcontractors and completed VOC tracking forms for all products used onsite associated with this credit.


  • Assign someone to be responsible for inputting the subcontractors’ tracking forms into the master spreadsheet. A LEED consultant or an administrative assistant in the GC’s office may be the best choice for this role. 


  • Review subcontractor product suggestions ahead of time to avoid the purchase of inappropriate materials and eliminate the need for costly change orders.


  • Streamline documentation and research by keeping a master spreadsheet of all the items being tracked for each material across MR and IEQ credits. For example, you may need to ask the millworker for regional information for MRc5, certified wood information for MRc7, and information about coatings installed on-site for IEQc4.1. If one spreadsheet collects all the data, it can streamline your documentation, associated research, and help with quality control. (See the Materials Calculator in the Documentation Toolkit.)


  • A master spreadsheet helps ease information collection for subcontractors, giving them a road map of exactly what types of information to collect for each product.  


  • The GC functions as the overall quality assurance provider for this credit. Responsibilities include conducting weekly reviews of subcontractor product safety data sheets and tracking forms, as well as spot checks in dumpsters to determine which products are actually being used.


  • Post signs at the construction site that reminds subcontractors to follow LEED requirements for low-VOC products. (See Documentation Toolkit for sample signs.) 


  • Schedule the application of adhesives and sealants so that offgassing does not contaminate other absorptive materials. This is required if projects are attempting IEQc3.1: Construction Indoor Air Quality Plan—During Construction. For example, do not store or install acoustic ceiling tile before flooring and wall adhesives are put down, because ceiling tiles will absorb the off-gassing of paint and floor adhesives and contaminate the air over a longer time period.


  • It is usually a good idea to do a “mini air flush” (if your project is not attempting IEQc3.2) before occupancy to help remove any lingering VOCs from the construction process. This can be as simple as putting industrial sized fans in the window and pumping in fresh air overnight or running the HVAC exhaust on high for a few days. (See IEQc3.2: Construction Indoor Air Quality Plan—Before Occupancy if the team wants to do a full flush-out for an additional LEED point.)


  • Transfer all the data collected in the master material tracking spreadsheet to the LEED Online form and upload the product cut sheets.

Operations & Maintenance

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  • Provide the owner with a list of compliant, low-emitting adhesives and sealants used on the project so that O&M staff can use these products for future renovations.

  • USGBC

    Excerpted from LEED 2009 for Commercial Interiors

    IEQ Credit 4.1: Low-emitting materials - adhesives and sealants

    1 Point

    Intent

    To reduce the quantity of indoor air contaminants that are odorous, irritating and/or harmful to the comfort and well-being of installers and occupants.

    Requirements

    All adhesives and sealantsA sealant has adhesive properties and is formulated primarily to fill, seal, or waterproof gaps or joints between 2 surfaces. Sealants include sealant primers and caulks. (SCAQMD Rule 1168. )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. 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% VOCsA volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is 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. 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.

    Potential Technologies & Strategies

    Specify low-VOC materials in construction documents. Ensure that VOC limits are clearly stated in each section of the specifications where adhesives and sealantsA sealant has adhesive properties and is formulated primarily to fill, seal, or waterproof gaps or joints between 2 surfaces. Sealants include sealant primers and caulks. (SCAQMD Rule 1168. )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. are addressed. Common products to evaluate include: general construction adhesives, flooring adhesives, fire-stopping sealants, caulking, duct sealants, plumbing adhesives, and cove base adhesives. Review product cut sheets, material safety data (MSD) sheets, signed attestations or other official literature from the manufacturer clearly identifying the VOC contents or compliance with referenced standards.

Publications

Specifying LEED Requirements from ARCOM MasterSpec

Guidance and sample language on incorporating VOC limits into Specifications.


South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) Rule 1168 South Coast Air Quality Management District

Outline of Rule 1168 for adhesive and sealant applications.

Web Tools

USGBC’s LEED Resources page

Includes additional resources and technical information.

Organizations

Green Seal Standard 11 (GS–11)

Green Seal is an independent, nonprofit organization that strives to achieve a healthier and cleaner environment by identifying and promoting products and services that cause less toxic pollution and waste, conserve resources and habitats, and minimize global warming and ozone depletion. GS–36 sets VOC limits for commercial adhesives. 


Whole Building Design Guide (WBDG) — Federal Green Construction Guide for Specifiers

Support on incorporating LEED requirements into specifications. 

Materials Calculator

Teams can use this tool to track all materials across various MR and IEQ credits. It helps teams develop a roadmap of what information needs to be tracked for different products. It can also be used early on to create the baseline budget and ensure the products that are being used will apply to the various credit thresholds.

Environmental Materials Reporting Form

This is a materials tracking form that helps subcontractors record the environmental values of products they purchase. This can be distributed to each trade subcontractor and submitted to the GC for filing.

Low-Emitting Materials Reporting Form

This is a VOC tracking sheet that helps subcontractors record the low-emitting qualities of the products they purchase and can be distributed to each trade subcontractor and submitted to the GC for filing. Use it specifically for earning low-emitting materials credits, but in conjunction with documentation for MR credits.

Product Cut Sheets

Look to product cut sheets for information on the VOC content of adhesives and sealantsA sealant has adhesive properties and is formulated primarily to fill, seal, or waterproof gaps or joints between 2 surfaces. Sealants include sealant primers and caulks. (SCAQMD Rule 1168. )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.. The example here clearly displays information needed for documentation.

Jobsite Signs

Products with VOC content not meeting credit requirements for VOC levels can inadvertently get used on the jobsite. A sign like this sample helps remind subcontractors and construction workers of their responsibilities.

Letter to Contractor for MR and IEQ Credits

Use a letter like this sample to orient the contractor to their responsibilities for all MR and IEQ credits. This letter is an introduction that can be customized for the credits your project is pursuing.

LEED Online Forms: CI-2009 IEQ

The following links take you to the public, informational versions of the dynamic LEED Online forms for each CI-2009 IEQ credit. You'll need to fill out the live versions of these forms on LEED Online for each credit you hope to earn.

Version 4 forms (newest):

Version 3 forms:

These links are posted by LEEDuser with USGBC's permission. USGBC has certain usage restrictions for these forms; for more information, visit LEED Online and click "Sample Forms Download."

Construction Submittal

HardhatDocumentation for this credit is part of the Construction Phase submittal.

79 Comments

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Carla Lopez Director of Valuation & Advisory CBRE
Nov 20 2014
LEEDuser Member
9 Thumbs Up

Vinyl electrical tapes

Vinyl electrical tapes (such as Scotch® Super 33+™ Vinyl Electrical Tape) are included in this credit?

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Jon Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, GREENSQUARE Nov 20 2014 LEEDuser Member 758 Thumbs Up

No.
Only wet-applied products.
See SCAQMD Rule 1168.

Post a Reply
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R G
Sep 16 2014
Guest
16 Thumbs Up

Duct Insulation Adhesive

Hi, we used a adhesive for duct insulation. I am trying to find the 'product type' for this Non-Flooring Adhesives & SealantsA sealant has adhesive properties and is formulated primarily to fill, seal, or waterproof gaps or joints between 2 surfaces. Sealants include sealant primers and caulks. (SCAQMD Rule 1168. )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. from the drop down menu options listed in leed online template. Can someone suggest the product type for duct insulation adhesives.
Thanks!

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Jon Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, GREENSQUARE Sep 16 2014 LEEDuser Member 758 Thumbs Up

What material is your duct insulation?
Is it plastic foam? Is it fiberglass? Is it coated with a porous material, like paper or fabric? Does it have a metal foil coating? Does the adhesive glue insulation directly to metal ductwork?
Refer to SCAQMD 1168 for definitions of the adhesive categories.
Compare product data for the adhesive to the “Substrate-Specific Application” types to see whether the product matches these applications. It might also be a “Contact Cement” if the application method matches that described in the SCAQMD definition.

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Akos Brandecker Sustainability Manager ISG
Sep 08 2014
LEEDuser Member
58 Thumbs Up

Glass manifestation

Does anyone know if glass manifestation (decorative films on glass panels) applied on-site falls under any of the IEQ credits and if yes, what requirements it has to meet exactly?

Thank you.

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Jon Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, GREENSQUARE Sep 08 2014 LEEDuser Member 758 Thumbs Up

IEQc4.1 governs wet-applied adhesives and sealantsA sealant has adhesive properties and is formulated primarily to fill, seal, or waterproof gaps or joints between 2 surfaces. Sealants include sealant primers and caulks. (SCAQMD Rule 1168. )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.. However, “Glass Manifestations” appear to be self-adhesive decals applied to glass without the use of a wet adhesive. Therefore, IEQc4.1 VOC restrictions do not seem to apply to this product.

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Akos Brandecker Sustainability Manager, ISG Sep 08 2014 LEEDuser Member 58 Thumbs Up

Thank you for the quick response, Jon.

Please correct me if I am wrong, but the intent of IEQc4.1 is to limit the amount of VOCsA volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is 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. introduced to the indoor air that could off-gas after completion.

Any self-adhesive tape/ decal would start releasing its VOCs when you peel off the backing on-site. Doesn't this make it fall under IEQc4.1?

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Jon Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, GREENSQUARE Sep 08 2014 LEEDuser Member 758 Thumbs Up

Akos - You are correct about the intent of IEQc4.1. However, the referenced standards, SCAQMD 1168 and GS-36 simply do not govern self-adhesive tapes, decals, or films.

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Akos Brandecker Sustainability Manager, ISG Sep 08 2014 LEEDuser Member 58 Thumbs Up

I understand - thank you for the clarification. I really appreciate your help Jon.

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Roberto Meza Sustainable Building Consultant SPHERA Sustainable Building Consultants
Aug 12 2014
LEEDuser Member
489 Thumbs Up

100% Solids Epoxy

I would like to know if a product can be used in a project undergoing certification, however it contains an epoxy that I was told, cannot be measured for it's VOC content. So my question is:

Can 100% Solids Epoxy be measured for VOC content or would this be considered exempt?

The following methods of testing do not comply:
1) ASTMVoluntary standards development organization which creates source technical standards for materials, products, systems, and services D 6886 – 12 Standard Test Method for Determination of the Individual Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCsA volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is 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.) in Air-Dry Coatings by Gas Chromatography: the ASTM STD identifies the test results are for Air-Dry Coatings and this test method is not suitable for the analysis of coatings that cure by chemical reaction. The epoxy in this case, uses chemical reaction.
and
2) ASTM D 2369 – 10 Standard Test Method for Volatile Content of Coatings: This test method describes a procedure for the determination of the weight percent volatile content of solventborne and waterborne coatings. In this case the epoxy is not solventborne and waterborne.

Will this product therefore be exempt?

Thanks!

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John-David Hutchison, LEED AP BD+C, PMP Sustainability Consultant, CSV Architects Aug 12 2014 LEEDuser Expert 2394 Thumbs Up

You could ask the question to USGBC, but they don't make alot of exemptions that I have seen.

It would be easier to find a compliant epoxy, they are available.

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Dwayne Fuhlhage Sustainability and Environment Director, PROSOCO, Inc. Aug 12 2014 LEEDuser Member 1869 Thumbs Up

For LEED 2009, demonstration of compliance with referenced CARBThe California Air Resources Board, part of the state government, is charged with maintaining clean air. This agency is unique at the state level: California was the only state that had such an agency before the passage of the federal Clean Air Act, and was allowed to keep it. or SCAQMD coating regulations are sufficient. The regulation does not require testing to determine VOC content. It can be calculated based on supplier information and is subject to legal enforcement by either method. Two part products have specific testing requirements.

That said, if your supplier has no idea what a VOC regulation is or how to calculate VOC content, doesn't know how to comply in California, or doesn't understand LEED credit conformance and likely submital requirements, another supplier may be a safer option.

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Jon Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, GREENSQUARE Aug 12 2014 LEEDuser Member 758 Thumbs Up

Dwayne – Judging from the recent flurry of similar LEEDuser postings, Roberto’s difficulties obtaining valid VOC data for projects outside the US are increasingly common.

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Roberto Meza Sustainable Building Consultant, SPHERA Sustainable Building Consultants Aug 12 2014 LEEDuser Member 489 Thumbs Up

Thank you John and Dwayne for your advice! That is correct Jon! Here in Central America, many local companies still do not have this information and we are trying to find a way on how to obtain it.

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Jon Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, GREENSQUARE Aug 12 2014 LEEDuser Member 758 Thumbs Up

Roberto – We faced similar issues a decade ago, when LEED was new to the central United States, and VOC regulations only applied in Southern California and a few East Coast cities.

At that time, many companies only published VOC data where local laws required them to do so. Marketing agents were often evasive and suspicious of our inquiries. Once, I found myself in a conference call with the legal department of a major U.S. chemical company simply because I dared to ask the VOC content of one of their products.

Often, it was difficult to contact chemists that could understand what we were asking for and why. On a few occasions, we found that we could call non-emergency technical support phone numbers printed on Manufacturer's Data or Material Safety Data Sheets to reach the technicians who could answer our questions.

In any case, your only solution may be to make it clear that your project refuses to purchase from manufacturers that fail to provide valid VOC data and that unwilling companies will lose business to competitors who can provide the required information.

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Meredith Park Turelk
Apr 16 2014
Guest
8 Thumbs Up

Stone Counter adhesive

We are running into an issue with the stone counter top adhesive. The typical product that our sub uses is "Superior Gold Knife Grade" and it does not meet the limits. Any suggestions of products to use or how to get around this to still get the IEQc4.1?

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John-David Hutchison, LEED AP BD+C, PMP Sustainability Consultant, CSV Architects Apr 16 2014 LEEDuser Expert 2394 Thumbs Up

#1 - request your sub asks his suppliers for other options, SCAQMD has been around long enough that there is almost always a quality product that will meet the limits.
#2 - see VOC budget above.

Good Luck!

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Meredith Park Turelk Apr 28 2014 Guest 8 Thumbs Up

Would you use the same limit as ceramic tile for the solid surface counter top (65g/L)?

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John-David Hutchison, LEED AP BD+C, PMP Sustainability Consultant, CSV Architects Apr 29 2014 LEEDuser Expert 2394 Thumbs Up

Good question! I would start with what is the adhesive you are using; my guess is that it would more likely fall into the "Multipurpose Construction Adhesives - 70 g/l max.

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Landis Wilson
Sep 17 2013
Guest
9 Thumbs Up

Electrical PVC Cement

My electrical contracting company is using PVC for underground applications(e.g. floorboxes). I assume that it should be characterized under the PVC welding VOC limits of 510g/L. I also assume that mechanical, electrical and plumbing contractors are not excluded from tracking the VOC products. If any of these assumptions are incorrect please let me know; furthermore, my concern is below.

1) Table 1 states "This table excludes adhesives and sealantsA sealant has adhesive properties and is formulated primarily to fill, seal, or waterproof gaps or joints between 2 surfaces. Sealants include sealant primers and caulks. (SCAQMD Rule 1168. )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. integral to the water-proofing system or that are not building related." Is the sealant for underground PVC routing considered water-proofing and it is 'building related'?

Thank you for any response,

Landis

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Nov 03 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

Landis, MEP contractors are not excluded from credit requirements per se, but the application you describe appears to fall outside of the bulding envelope, and would not be subject to credit requirements.

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cathy keagle
Jun 06 2013
Guest
195 Thumbs Up

How do you simplify the VOC budget method for one non compliant

I read the following. However, how do you do this in the template? Will it accept only putting in the amounts for the one product and the offset? Else you would still have to get the quantities for all products and this is very tedious?

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

Yes, if you have just one non-compliant product, then you can balance it out with just one really good, low VOC product, as long as all your other products meet the requirement. For example, if you have two gallons of non-compliant adhesive that is 100 g/L over its required threshold, then you can balance it out with enough compliant product where you show you are at least 100g/l under the required threshold, thus balancing the VOC budget.

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Susan Walter Sr Project Architect, Wilmot/Sanz Jun 10 2013 LEEDuser Expert 15819 Thumbs Up

So you want to know if you can game the system this way? As I know it, the VOC budget method is for use on projects where the contractor has incorrectly applied the product or to use when you absolutely are backed into a corner.

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Eric Thompson Architect, NBBJ Jun 10 2013 LEEDuser Member 402 Thumbs Up

I don't agree. Where does LEED say that it is only to be used in the case of contractor mistake? I've used this approach before, it is an alternate compliance path but my understanding is that those are absolutely available to project teams if they choose.

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John-David Hutchison, LEED AP BD+C, PMP Sustainability Consultant, CSV Architects Jun 11 2013 LEEDuser Expert 2394 Thumbs Up

From the FAQ's (above this section)
Is there a shortcut to the VOC budget method if you have just one product that is used minimally on a project?

Yes, if you have just one non-compliant product, then you can balance it out with just one really good, low VOC product, as long as all your other products meet the requirement. For example, if you have two gallons of non-compliant adhesive that is 100 g/L over its required threshold, then you can balance it out with enough compliant product where you show you are at least 100g/l under the required threshold, thus balancing the VOC budget.

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Eric Thompson Architect NBBJ
May 01 2013
LEEDuser Member
402 Thumbs Up

Single possibly non-compliant adhesive

I'm working on a project in Norway and it is very difficult to get information from the contractor who is resistant to cooperation.

It appears that one of the adhesive products is non-compliant, the manufacturer's description (translated by Google from Norwegian) of it's function is "Solvent based polychloroprene adhesive. This glue (adhesive) uses together with Kaiflex insulation:
Adhesive designed to cure quickly and create a water vapour tight bond between Kaiflex surfaces, pipe and ductwork. Kaiflex = flexible closed cell rubber insulation".

It's listed at 667 g/l.

First of all, am I correct in thinking I have to include this? It is apparently an adhesive used within the weather barrier.

Secondly, I'm not sure what function this exactly would relate to in the SCAQMD list, but the only one that would seem to qualify is "sheet applied rubber lining operations". Hard to tell how or if this lines up with the function of the adhesive in my project. Does anyone know what the SCAQMD item is meant to describe?

I may be forced to do a budget, and the contractor to date has been unwilling or unable to provide quantities...

Thanks for any help you can give! Eric

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John-David Hutchison, LEED AP BD+C, PMP Sustainability Consultant, CSV Architects Jun 11 2013 LEEDuser Expert 2394 Thumbs Up

For the quantity,you will need to estimate based on material coverage and if you can find a similar product that provides a coverage guide for the adhesive.

Then, as stated in the FAQ's above; Is there a shortcut to the VOC budget method if you have just one product that is used minimally on a project?

Yes, if you have just one non-compliant product, then you can balance it out with just one really good, low VOC product, as long as all your other products meet the requirement. For example, if you have two gallons of non-compliant adhesive that is 100 g/L over its required threshold, then you can balance it out with enough compliant product where you show you are at least 100g/l under the required threshold, thus balancing the VOC budget.

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Giancarlo Perossa Associate Planning Design Research Corporation
Apr 24 2013
Guest
81 Thumbs Up

Smoke & Acoustic Sealant

Does anyone know what category Smoke & Acoustic Sealant would fall under? I didn't find it listed in SCAQMD Rule 1168 and the categories in the LEED manual are a bit generic. Would this fall under "Architectural" Sealant?

Thanks!

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John-David Hutchison, LEED AP BD+C, PMP Sustainability Consultant, CSV Architects Jun 11 2013 LEEDuser Expert 2394 Thumbs Up

Correct, Architectural Sealant.

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Anna Ohlmeier Julius Berger International
Apr 24 2013
LEEDuser Member
11 Thumbs Up

unknown VOC

I am working on an acutal project. We have a product (polyurethan silicone, which already is in use) with an unknown VOC content. Neither in the Data sheet we got any informations and after consulting the maunfacturer. We have to conduct also the budgeting method. Therefore it is important, to know how should i go on. What possibilities did we have?
Thank you

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John-David Hutchison, LEED AP BD+C, PMP Sustainability Consultant, CSV Architects Jun 11 2013 LEEDuser Expert 2394 Thumbs Up

For the quantity,you will need to estimate based on material coverage and if you can find a similar product that provides a coverage guide for the adhesive.

For the VOC level, I would attempt to find 3 similar products, average them and use that for your VOC estimate.

Then, as stated in the FAQ's above; Is there a shortcut to the VOC budget method if you have just one product that is used minimally on a project?
Yes, if you have just one non-compliant product, then you can balance it out with just one really good, low VOC product, as long as all your other products meet the requirement. For example, if you have two gallons of non-compliant adhesive that is 100 g/L over its required threshold, then you can balance it out with enough compliant product where you show you are at least 100g/l under the required threshold, thus balancing the VOC budget.

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Michael E. Edmonds-Bauer Edmonds International
Mar 21 2013
LEEDuser Member
1909 Thumbs Up

Alternative materials

This might sound strange and totally out of the scope of LEED, but we wanted to check within LEED User since there are so many experts here.

There is a project where the tenant has installed some sort of reflecting mirror inside its space. By reflecting mirror we mean a "pool" of some 10 ft by 10 ft and about 2 inches deep. However instead of exposed water it has been filled up with exposed burnt oil.

According to the tenant, this burnt oil has been purified, but it still seems a lot strange to us and we were wondering how we can approach this alternative type of "finishing material".

LEED does not mention anything like this in VOC emissions, but VOC are emmited because they come from hydrocarbons, and burnt oil is an hydrocarbon. And obiously LEED nor SCAQMD provide a VOC limit for "burnt oil". At some point it will have to gasify.

Besides LEED Compliance, does anyone have any advice about this situation? Does anyone know if exposed "purified" burnt oil will gasify or become harmful at any point?

Thank you very much.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Mar 21 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

Michael, it strikes me as out of scope for LEED—more like a furnishing than anything else. Anyone else? Interesting question.

I'm curious about what this stuff is, though. Burnt oil just sounds like blackened stuff on my frying pan. From your description it sounds more like what I'd call lamp oil. If that's the case it might be quite non-volatile.

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Michael E. Edmonds-Bauer Edmonds International Mar 21 2013 LEEDuser Member 1909 Thumbs Up

An internation example from which this application based its design from is the masterpiece "20:50" by Richard Wilson at the Saatchi Gallery in London, UK. It is a mirror pool with oil instead of water.

The "burnt oil" is exactly what you mentioned, an exposed blackened stuff contained inside a metal object.

According to the description of the designer it is innert, it does not gasify and it is not flammable. However we had our doubts since this was totaly a non conventional application of a finishing materials, and specially it was made of hydrocarbons.

In case anyone has any experience with something similar it will be really appreciated to hear more comments.

Thank you very much Tristan. If this evolves with more information we'll keep you posted.

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Lavanya Veerappa Ms LEAD Consultancy & Engineering services
Feb 08 2013
Guest
360 Thumbs Up

HVAC duct insulation adhesive

Hi,

It is a general practice to use Fevicol SR 998 as duct insulation adhesive due to its bonding with the ducting material. However the VOC content of this product is 700 grams per litre. I am not sure which application is best suitable and the VOC limit which needs to be followed. I am facing this problem for all my projects. Will this fall under sheet applied rubber lining operation ?

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John-David Hutchison, LEED AP BD+C, PMP Sustainability Consultant, CSV Architects Feb 08 2013 LEEDuser Expert 2394 Thumbs Up

From USGBC Interpretations:
"Project teams may classify duct sealantsA sealant has adhesive properties and is formulated primarily to fill, seal, or waterproof gaps or joints between 2 surfaces. Sealants include sealant primers and caulks. (SCAQMD Rule 1168. )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. under "Other", as listed in the SCAQMD VOC Limits table. Applicable Internationally."

The maximum allowable VOC content is 420 g/l. We have found a number of very low VOC duct sealants which meet this criteria and are of high quality.

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Tom Peeters
Dec 04 2012
Guest
19 Thumbs Up

Difference VOC emissions - VOC content (adhesives and sealants)

I'm having difficulties to understand the difference between the VOC emission requirements and the VOC content requirements as stated in the LEED-draft. When the MSDS1. Material safety data sheets (MSDS) are detailed, written instructions documenting a method to achieve uniformity of performance. 2. A report that manufacturers of most products are required to make available to installers and purchasers, informing them of product information on chemicals, chemical compounds, and chemical mixtures, the existence of potentially hazardous ingredients, and providing instructions for the safe handling, storage, and disposal of products of a adhesive or sealant mentions that it has a VOC of for example 50 g/L, and the limit is 100 g/L, is this enough for the product to be LEED-compliant? Or are more specifications necessary about the testing methods of the company? In other words, Is it possible for a company to just state that the VOC-level is lower than the limit, or does it have to pay for it at official testing bureaus (like Eurofins) to be official LEED-compliant.

Since it is becoming more and more popular outside of the USA (I'm from Europe), I'd have to know more about LEED.

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John-David Hutchison, LEED AP BD+C, PMP Sustainability Consultant, CSV Architects Dec 05 2012 LEEDuser Expert 2394 Thumbs Up

In regard to EQc4.1 & EQc4.2, the requirement is to track and document, and if audited, provide the documentation:

"Review product cut sheets, material safety data (MSD) sheets, signed attestations or other official literature from the manufacturer clearly identifying the VOC contents or compliance with referenced standards."

You are providing due diligence to the best of your knowledge that the manufacturer is providing truthful information.

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Michael E. Edmonds-Bauer Edmonds International Jan 18 2013 LEEDuser Member 1909 Thumbs Up

But like Tom mentiones, some manufactures only include information stating that:

"... this product's v.o.c. content is less than 100 g/L."

Will this be sufficient?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jul 26 2014 LEEDuser Moderator

If they state that, I would assume it is 100 g/l.

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Shane Tohara
Oct 26 2012
Guest
189 Thumbs Up

Reactive Penetrating Sealers

On a CI 2009 project we have slab on grade that was initially poured without a water vapor barrier causing moisture issues in the entire sturcture.We would like to polish the concrete and add Reactive Penetrating SealersSealers are coatings applied to either block materials from penetrating into or leaching out of a substrate, to prevent subsequent coatings from being absorbed by the substrate, or to prevent harm to subsequent coatings by materials in the substrate. to prevent further issues and qualify for IEQ 4.1. One of the 3 parts required is classified by the manufacture as meeeting CARBThe California Air Resources Board, part of the state government, is charged with maintaining clean air. This agency is unique at the state level: California was the only state that had such an agency before the passage of the federal Clean Air Act, and was allowed to keep it.--Reactive Penetrating Sealers with less than 350 voc per liter.SCAQMD rule 1113 is not mentioned. If a product meets the CARB standards as a Rreactive Penetrating Sealer, would that mean it also qulifies as a Reactive Penetrating Selaer in SCAQMD 1113 ?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Nov 24 2012 LEEDuser Moderator

Shane, I'm not sure how CARBThe California Air Resources Board, part of the state government, is charged with maintaining clean air. This agency is unique at the state level: California was the only state that had such an agency before the passage of the federal Clean Air Act, and was allowed to keep it. and SCAQMD rules line up. I'd want to check that the VOC content falls under the applicable SCAQMD limit.

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John-David Hutchison, LEED AP BD+C, PMP Sustainability Consultant, CSV Architects Nov 26 2012 LEEDuser Expert 2394 Thumbs Up

May I suggest:

Under Rule 1113; Architectural Coatings:
(60) WATERPROOFING SEALERSSealers are coatings applied to either block materials from penetrating into or leaching out of a substrate, to prevent subsequent coatings from being absorbed by the substrate, or to prevent harm to subsequent coatings by materials in the substrate. are coatings which are formulated for the primary purpose of preventing penetration of porous substrates by water.
(61) WATERPROOFING CONCRETE/MASONRY SEALERS are clear or pigmented sealers that are formulated for sealing concrete and masonry to provide resistance against water, alkalis, acids, ultraviolet light, and staining.

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Shane Tohara Nov 26 2012 Guest 189 Thumbs Up

Thank you for your input. The manufacture classifies this as a penetrating reactive sealer..however SCAQMD 1113 seems to indicate that reactive penetrating sealersSealers are coatings applied to either block materials from penetrating into or leaching out of a substrate, to prevent subsequent coatings from being absorbed by the substrate, or to prevent harm to subsequent coatings by materials in the substrate. can only be used on roadways...If applied indoors can this still be classified at a reactive penetrating sealer?

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John-David Hutchison, LEED AP BD+C, PMP Sustainability Consultant, CSV Architects Nov 26 2012 LEEDuser Expert 2394 Thumbs Up

Hmmmmmm,

So according to SCAQMD 1113: (I post this for others as you have obviously found this):
REACTIVE PENETRATING SEALERSSealers are coatings applied to either block materials from penetrating into or leaching out of a substrate, to prevent subsequent coatings from being absorbed by the substrate, or to prevent harm to subsequent coatings by materials in the substrate. are clear or pigmented coatings labeled and formulated for application to above-ground concrete and masonry substrates to provide protection from water and waterborne contaminants, including, but not limited to, alkalis, acids, and salts. Reactive Penetrating Sealers must meet the following criteria:
-Used only for reinforced concrete bridge structures for transportation projects within 5 miles of the coast or above 4,000 feet elevation or for restoration and/or preservation projects on registered historical buildings that are under the purview of a restoration architect.
-Penetrate into concrete and masonry substrates and chemically react to form covalent bonds with naturally occurring minerals in the substrate.
-Line the pores of concrete and masonry substrates with a hydrophobic coating, but do not form a surface film.
-Improve water repellency at least 80 percent after application on a concrete or masonry substrate. This performance must be verified on standardized test specimens, in accordance with one or more of the following standards: ASTMVoluntary standards development organization which creates source technical standards for materials, products, systems, and services C67, or ASTM C97, or ASTM C140.
-Not reduce the water vapor transmission rate by more than 2 percent after application on a concrete or masonry substrate. This performance must be verified on standardized test specimens, in accordance with ASTM E96/E96M.
-Meet the performance criteria listed in the National Cooperative Highway Research Report 244 (1981), surface chloride screening applications, for products labeled and formulated for vehicular traffic.

As far as I can find, the LEED Reference guides do not refer to this criteria - therefore I think that point 4 "Improve water repellency... after application on a concrete or masonry substrate"

I would apply this to the WATERPROOFING CONCRETE/MASONRY SEALERS category.

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Gayle Borst President / CEO Stewardship, Inc.
Oct 16 2012
Guest
158 Thumbs Up

OFF Site Application

So without my knowing it, the contractor had laminate applied off site to some cabinets- our LEED Reviewer flagged the fact that we had left out contact adhesive but had included the laminate on our recycled content form...they used a non-compliant product. Isn't the fact that it was not applied on site but rather shop applied valid to exempt this product from being listed for IEQ 4.1?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Nov 23 2012 LEEDuser Moderator

Gayle, that's correct—this credit only covers products applied onsite.

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Andrew Gil Architect, Associate, LEED AP BD+C. USGBC NY Upstate Board of Directors HOLT Architects, P.C.
Aug 23 2012
Guest
1039 Thumbs Up

VOCs of materials Defining the Building Envelope

I've understood the LEED EQc4.1-4.3 requirements, including the reference standards, and have pursued LEED credits for these numerous times over the past 10 years, but have more recently have had projects with nuances that have tugged at the limits of my understanding with regard to the following points (any help much appreciated):

1. Using adhesives and sealantsA sealant has adhesive properties and is formulated primarily to fill, seal, or waterproof gaps or joints between 2 surfaces. Sealants include sealant primers and caulks. (SCAQMD Rule 1168. )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. that ultimately DEFINE the weather barrier. The LEED NC Ref Manual 20009 Ed. has listed, and attributed to SCAQMD 1168 effective 7/1/05, under "Sealants" two products that do not show in the LEEDuser table above; Nonmembrane Roof and Single-Ply Membrane. I finally have a project with membrane roofing on metal decking (no slab)and so must consider the installation products for the membrane roofing as not *outside"* the weather barrier, since these products make the weather barrier; any additional info on this? Should one include seam sealersSealers are coatings applied to either block materials from penetrating into or leaching out of a substrate, to prevent subsequent coatings from being absorbed by the substrate, or to prevent harm to subsequent coatings by materials in the substrate. but not flashing adhesives? Why don't these show in the LEEDuser table above? What about similar adhesives and sealants associated with the installation of the building envelope weather barrier and/or vapor barrier? What category would you use for those products?

2. Can anyone please confirm my reading of the SCAQMD tables? No one I know can confirm that the standard, Amended Jan 2005, and listing (for example) an " 7/1/05 Effective Date" limit of 550 g/L and a "Current VOC Limit of 650" to mean that, as of Jan 2005, the (then-)current limit is 650 and, as of July 2005, will be decreased to 500. It is very confusing to be reading something in 2012 that refers to "current" limit and then see that it is a higher content than that allowed in July 2005.
3. The above VOC limit numbers are from a SCAMD file that I saved in Feb 2012. I have another copy of the file that I saved in July 2008 and it had another column for even lower allowable content dated Jan 2007, which the more recent file does not have. BOTH of these have on the first page a list of amendment dates that culimnates with Jan 7, 2005 date; how does one know what the most recent date is, and how would anyone verify if the documents have the same appearance?
4. Over the past 10 years, I've seen an explosion of products listing VOC content, but also a total disappearance of any companies recognizing the "less water" requirement; SOME of those at least reference the SCAQMD std but a greater number do not. I have always demanded demonstration of compliance as required by the bid documents, but when the MR's printed product Data describes a g/L VOC limit, I usually only get strange (and hostile) looks from contractors when I ask for confirmation that this is "less water" because the folks that THEY ask at the MFR don't have a clue, and the conversation goes nowhere. Any idea of how prevalent Green Washing is?

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John-David Hutchison, LEED AP BD+C, PMP Sustainability Consultant, CSV Architects Nov 26 2012 LEEDuser Expert 2394 Thumbs Up

1) It depends on what you are using, but I have always followed that the membranes we generally use as a rule are modified bituminous which are applied " before" the membrane as a sealant primer.

Therefore, it is inside the weather/vapour barrier.

Therefore I follow:

(41) MODIFIED BITUMINOUS PRIMER consist of bituminous materials, and a high flash solvent used to prepare a surface by (1) improving the adhesion and (2) absorbing dust from the surface for adhesive, or flashing cement bitumen membrane.

and/ or:

(71) SINGLE-PLY ROOF MEMBRANE ADHESIVE is any adhesive sealant to be used for the installation or repair of single-ply roof membrane. Installation includes, but is not limited to attaching the edge of the membrane to the edge of the roof and applying flashings to vents, pipes, or
ducts that protrude through the membrane.

and/ or

(72) SINGLE-PLY ROOF MEMBRANE SEALANT is any sealant to be used
for the installation or repair of single-ply roof membrane to the edge of the roof and applying flashings to vents, pipes, or ducts that protrude through the membrane.

2) If you do not have already, I highly recommend downloading the full Rules 1113 & 1168 from: http://www.aqmd.gov/

It makes everything much clearer.

4) (you have no 3) When in doubt, I generally email or call the manufacturer myself. If they want to sell in California, they'll have the info and they need to have "a VOC content in excess of 250 g/L less water and less exempt compounds"

I have found if they don't have the info - they don't comply.

I know it's a lot of work, but I would recommend that like every architectural product in the spec, it needs to be approved before it's used.

I hope this helps.

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Sandra Silla
Jun 18 2012
Guest
809 Thumbs Up

Firestopping sealant

We are reviewing a submittal for a firestopping product with a two part application. Part 1 is trowel-applied and Part 2 is sprayed on. What category does this fall under in IEQ 4.1? Architectural Sealant 250 g/l or aerosol adhesiveAerosol adhesive is an aerosol product in which the spray mechanism is permanently housed in a nonrefillable can. Designed for hand-held application, these products do not need ancillary hoses or spray equipment. Aerosol adhesives include special-purpose spray adhesives, mist spray adhesives, and web spray adhesives. (SCAQMD Rule 1168)?

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John-David Hutchison, LEED AP BD+C, PMP Sustainability Consultant, CSV Architects Nov 26 2012 LEEDuser Expert 2394 Thumbs Up

Have you found an answer?

If, not, what is the product being used for? It seems like a caulk followed by a protective finish - but is it a coating or a sealant?

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Lee Chin
May 01 2012
Guest
143 Thumbs Up

OATEY CLEAR PRIMER

Do you know if the product is compliant with SCAQMD. On the MSDS1. Material safety data sheets (MSDS) are detailed, written instructions documenting a method to achieve uniformity of performance. 2. A report that manufacturers of most products are required to make available to installers and purchasers, informing them of product information on chemicals, chemical compounds, and chemical mixtures, the existence of potentially hazardous ingredients, and providing instructions for the safe handling, storage, and disposal of products, it states VOC Level:600 g/l per SCAQMD Test Method 316A.
I thought the VOC allow was 510 or 550. thx

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Emily Catacchio Sustainability Specialist, Wight and Company May 08 2012 Guest 8020 Thumbs Up

Lee,

Under the Bird's Eye View above there is a table of compliant VOCsA volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is 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. for each product category. I'm not sure where the one in question falls, it depends if it is Architectural Non-Porous of Porous. Can you offer some more information?

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Colleen Ice Project Manager, LEED AP, NCIDQ ADC
Oct 06 2011
Guest
122 Thumbs Up

Indoor Carpet Adhesives

Just curious I am working on IEQ 4.1 and IEQ 4.3. Both give you the option to add indoor carpet adhesives. Do I put them under both categories or just 4.3?
Right now I have duplicate information.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Dec 17 2011 LEEDuser Moderator

Colleen, carpet adhesives should be entered under both credits, if you are attempting both of them.

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Michael Smithing Director - Green Building Advisory Colliers International
Aug 22 2011
LEEDuser Member
2507 Thumbs Up

EMICODE - EC1 / EC1Plus

Does anyone have experience with products tested and licensed under the German EMICODE VOC rating system?

EC1 specifieds a maximum of 1000 micrograms/m3 (1 gram/liter) emission after three days. As far as I can determine, the test methodologies are somewhat different.

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Josh Jacobs Technical Information & Public Affairs Manager, UL Environment Aug 22 2011 LEEDuser Expert 5764 Thumbs Up

Michael - EMICODE is a product emission test method/standard. Due to this it does not directly tie to the criteria that the LEED rating system has traditionally looked at - content minimization.

So you are correct, they are different.

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Reinhard Oppl Director VOC Testing, Eurofins Product Testing A/S Aug 22 2011 Guest 2071 Thumbs Up

EMICODE licensed products must have less than 0.5% solvents. But solvents are defined differently than VOCsA volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is 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.. In most cases EMICODE EC1 products will fulfil the 50 mg/kg limit for e.g. Indoor Carpet adhesives, but there is no 100% guarantee that they always will do so.

LEED for schools requires California CDPH Section 01350 VOC emissions compliance – it has been shown that this is always the case with EMICODE EC1 or EC1 PLUS licensed products. And draft LEED 2012 foresees compliance with AgBB VOC emissions as alternative pathway outside NA – this will be more than fulfilled by EMICODE EC1 PLUS licensed products - but we are not yet in 2012.

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Michael Smithing Director - Green Building Advisory, Colliers International Aug 22 2011 LEEDuser Member 2507 Thumbs Up

Reinhard - Thanks for your help. I read your "it has been shown" before asking the question - it seems like EMICODE is "almost good enough."

Since the testing methodologies appear to differ, it seems the only way to demonstrate LEED compliance is to send the contractor back to look for products which have been tested in the "right" way.

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Reinhard Oppl Director VOC Testing, Eurofins Product Testing A/S Aug 22 2011 Guest 2071 Thumbs Up

Correct, but ... EMICODE in most cases is rather "better, but just different" ... another alternative (or supplement) could be to register for use of Pilot Credit 21 and show compliance with AgBB specification by using EMICODE EC1 PLUS licensed products. This can give additional points for fulfilling the draft LEED 2012 criteria on low-emitting products, see www.eurofins.com/leed-2012, and http://www.usgbc.org/ShowFile.aspx?DocumentID=8196.

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Michael Smithing Director - Green Building Advisory, Colliers International May 14 2014 LEEDuser Member 2507 Thumbs Up

We've revisited this topic based on a recent review comment. The v4 credits are not on the list of credits which can be used in v2009, however I found LI#1862 from 2007 which states (for a South Korean project) that it is acceptable to use the California CDPH Section 01350 values. We'll see in a month or so whether it works!

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Jessica Aubert LEED AP Hefferlin and Kronenberg Architects
May 23 2011
Guest
175 Thumbs Up

Window Film Adhesive

We are working on a CI project which is bounded on three sides by a glass atrium space. The side of the glass facing the atrium (and not within the project space) will have a film applied to it to give the tenant's the privacy they require. The film is part of the project scope and is within the building envelope, but is not within the project space. I am having a difficult time getting a VOC content for the film adhesive from the manufacturer. Is this even necessary?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Dec 17 2011 LEEDuser Moderator

Jessica, since the adhesive will be used within the project building, and within the project scope, I think it counts according to the credit language—even if it is not in the project space.

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Michele Helou Principal, Sage Design & Consulting Mar 25 2012 LEEDuser Member 851 Thumbs Up

I have the same application - a window film applied inside the weather barrier to existing windows. How would this window film adhesive be classified - multipurpose construction? contact adhesive? special purpose contact adhesive?

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Linda Davisson Senior Consultant Sustainable Design Consulting
Jan 04 2011
LEEDuser Member
2114 Thumbs Up

Ceramic Tile Adhesive

Can someone clarify what LEED considers a ceramic tile adhesive? Latex Portland cement mortar? Epoxy grout? In my expericne both are typically low-emitting products, so I am unclear what we should be including in the documentation. Thanks.

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Reinhard Oppl Director VOC Testing, Eurofins Product Testing A/S Jan 05 2011 Guest 2071 Thumbs Up

Ceramic tiles adhesives are listed with limit value 50 g/l. Cements and mortars, if used for similar purpose, I would handle with same limit value.

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Linda Davisson Senior Consultant, Sustainable Design Consulting Jan 05 2011 LEEDuser Member 2114 Thumbs Up

Thanks Reinhard. I understand the VOC limit, but what I am asking about is what in the tile assembly / installation is considered tile adhesive? is it that the latex mortar and epoxy grout need to comply? or it is some other component? thanks for your assistance.

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Josh Jacobs Technical Information & Public Affairs Manager, UL Environment Jan 05 2011 LEEDuser Expert 5764 Thumbs Up

All adhesives and sealantsA sealant has adhesive properties and is formulated primarily to fill, seal, or waterproof gaps or joints between 2 surfaces. Sealants include sealant primers and caulks. (SCAQMD Rule 1168. )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. that are utilized inside the weather barrier must comply so I would ensure that anything that is utilized to adhere the tile to the surface be low voc. In our past experience this has included grout and mortar.

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Reinhard Oppl Director VOC Testing, Eurofins Product Testing A/S Jan 05 2011 Guest 2071 Thumbs Up

Thank you Josh, I could not have said it better.

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Petr Lhoták Sustainability Consultant, Skanska Czech Republic Feb 13 2012 Guest 1822 Thumbs Up

In form for IEQc4.3 there is a category listed "mortar/grout" and its limit is 250 g/L. It has been noted somewhere in the forums but I cannot recall where I saw it.
Petr

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