Like the similar credit, IEQc4.1: Low-Emitting Materials: Adhesives and Sealants, it shouldn’t cost you anything extra to earn this credit—it will just take some work. Your first priority should be to specify only paints and coatings that comply with the credit’s VOC limits, and enforce those specifications on the jobsite. Research low-VOC paints and coatings before construction begins and provide lists of acceptable materials to contractors to help ensure that the right products are used.
Major manufacturers offer paints and coatings that are just as durable and perform just as well as their higher-VOC counterparts. Performance of low-VOC products has sometimes been an issue in the past, but the market has largely moved beyond this point.
Low-VOC acrylic paint is readily available. While it may be more difficult, it is not impossible to find low-VOC oil-based and high-gloss paints. Darker shades of paints also tend to have higher VOC levels. Rust proofing coatings also tend to have higher VOC content, but several name brand providers have low-VOC alternatives.
Low-VOC paint like this 0-VOC Acrylic from Sherwin-Williams does not have to sacrifice performance or cost. Photo – Sherwin-Williams
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.
Unlike some LEED credits where only a certain percentage of the materials have to comply, this credit is all-or-nothing—all paints and coatings must comply. If a non-compliant paint or coating 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 paints and coatings separately from adhesives and sealants (for IEQc4.1), though—you’re not allowed to create a combined VOC budget covering multiple IEQc4 credits.
Earning this credit is a key part of a construction indoor-air-quality management plan, and will help you earn another LEED point via IEQc3.1: Construction Indoor Air Quality Management Plan—During Construction.
Earning this credit can also help teams pass air quality tests needed to earn IEQc3.2: Construction Indoor Air Quality Management Plan—Before Occupancy.
Using low-VOC paints and coatings is not only beneficial to occupants, but can improve air quality and the health of construction workers who are constantly exposed to construction pollution.
Don’t allow the use of products that merely claim to be “low VOC.” Everyone specifying and purchasing products must actually find the products’ VOC content in grams per liter (g/L), which is usually found 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 #1113 and Green Seal GS-11 and GS-03.
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.
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 paint that is 100 g/L over its required threshold, then you can balance it out with another product you’re using. You would have to be using two gallons that are 100g/L under the required threshold, or four gallons that are 50 g/L under, or 20 gallons that are 10 g/L under, etc.
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 IEQc4.2, but if they fall outside of this they can be excluded.
Check out the Resources tab for the Green Seal Standard and SCAQMD Rules for more information. These documents can be helpful in determining where and how your product should be categorized to determine corresponding VOC thresholds.
Graphic Arts (Sign) Coating is found in SCAQMD 1113, Table 1 - VOC Limits, with 500 g/l as the current limit.
Projects should comply with the editions in the reference guide or applicable LEED addenda issued before the project's registration date.
Handheld aerosol spray paints are not covered by Green Seal GS-11 or SCAQMD Rule 1113, the relevant standards under this credit. A CIRCredit Interpretation Ruling. Used by design team members experiencing difficulties in the application of a LEED prerequisite or credit to a project. Typically, difficulties arise when specific issues are not directly addressed by LEED information/guide under LEED-NC v2.2 was issued that excluded spray paints from this credit, and there have been no rulings reversing this for LEED 2009 projects, although there is not officially a ruling one way or another that applies to LEED 2009. See LEED InterpretationLEED Interpretations are official answers to technical inquiries about implementing LEED on a project. They help people understand how their projects can meet LEED requirements and provide clarity on existing options. LEED Interpretations are to be used by any project certifying under an applicable rating system. All project teams are required to adhere to all LEED Interpretations posted before their registration date. This also applies to other addenda. Adherence to rulings posted after a project registers is optional, but strongly encouraged. LEED Interpretations are published in a searchable database at usgbc.org. #2486 2/10/2009.
As stated in the credit language, architectural paints and coatings applied to interior walls and ceilings are subject to GS-11.
If a project registered after the 4/14/10 addendum, then primers must use the 50 g/L and 150 g/L VOC limits for flat and non-flat paints, respectively. The only exception would be when it can be demonstrated, based on the purpose of the primer and supporting manufacturer data, that the product meets the definition of specialty primers per SCAQMD Rule 1113.
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.
Select paint colors and sheen levels.
Many "zero-VOC" paints contain colorants with as much as 150 g/L of VOCs. Natura from Benjamin Moore uses zero-VOC colorants. Photo – Benjamin MooreIt’s easier to find low-VOC paints if you choose lighter paint colors. Darker colors tend to use more pigment and binders, where VOCs are concentrated. When compiling VOC numbers for paints, make sure that the numbers you get include pigment, not just the base paint.
Light colors also make spaces brighter, reducing electric lighting needs.
Major manufacturers offer paints and coatings that are just as durable and perform just as well as their higher-VOC counterparts. Poor performance of low-VOC paints and coatings has been an issue in the past, but is no longer a problem for any but the most demanding applications. Interior wall and ceiling paints (in flat and semi-gloss sheens) are readily available. Some specialty coatings such as rust-proofing finishes can be more challenging.
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.
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.
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.
Only paints and coatings installed within the weather barrier need to comply with this credit. If paints and coatings are part of the weather barrier, err on the side of caution and use low VOC paints and coatings.
Using low-emitting paints and coatings should be a no-added-cost measure.
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.
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.)
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.
Using the VOC budget method is usually successful, but can be time-consuming to document.
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 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.)
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.
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.
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.)
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 paints and coatings so that off-gassing 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 paints are put down, because ceiling tiles will absorb the off-gassing of paint 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.
The GC should be aware of any warranty issues that may exist if alternative paints or coatings are used. For example, a flooring company’s warranty may require a specific coating that does not meet the VOC requirements. To keep the warranty valid, use the coating specified and use the VOC budget method to show a weighted average VOC compliance (see below).
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 paints and coatings.)
Keep a list of compliant, low-emitting paints and coatings used on the project so that O&M staff can use these products for future renovations.
Excerpted from LEED 2009 for Commercial Interiors
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.
Paints and coatings used on the interior of the building (i.e., inside of the weatherproofing system and applied onsite) must comply with the following criteria as applicable to the project scope1:
Specify low-VOC paints and coatings in construction documents. Ensure that VOC limits are clearly stated in each section where paints and coatings are addressed. Track the VOC content of all interior paints and coatings during construction.
1. The use of a VOC budget is permissible for compliance with this credit.
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.
SCAQMD is the air pollution control agency for all of Orange County and the urban portions of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, the smoggiest region of the U.S. The organization is committed to protecting the health of residents, while remaining sensitive to businesses.
Support on incorporating LEED requirements into specifications.
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. This document outlines criteria for anti-corrosive paints and can be helpful in defining application type for products.
SCAQMD is the air pollution control agency for all of Orange County and the urban portions of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, the smoggiest region of the U.S. The organization is committed to protecting the health of residents, while remaining sensitive to businesses. This document outlines criteria for clear wood finishes, floor coatings, stains, primers, 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. and shellacs, and can be helpful in defining application type for products.
Guidance and sample language on incorporating VOC limits into Specifications.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Look to product cut sheets for information on the VOC content of paints and coatings. The example here clearly displays information needed for documentation, as well as an instance where more information is needed from the manufacturer.
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.
You can use the VOC budget method to earn this credit by offsetting materials that go over the VOC limit with materials that are under it. The spreadsheet shown here, along with tips in the Getting It Done tab, demonstrates how to perform the budget method. This spreadsheet was completed by Mary Kay, LEED AP BD+C, a LEEDuser reader, and was approved by GBCI on a LEED-NC v2.2 project.
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."
Documentation for this credit is part of the Construction Phase submittal.
Complete documentation for achievement of IEQc4.2 on a LEED-CI 2009 project.
Which standard is acceptable to test the VOC content, EPA -24 Method, ASTMVoluntary standards development organization which creates source technical standards for materials, products, systems, and services d6886 or ISO 11890-2?
As per SCAQMD 1113:
For the purpose of this rule, the following test methods shall be used: (1) VOC Content of Coatings
The VOC content of coatings subject to the provisions of this rule shall be determined by:
(A) U.S. EPA Reference Test Method 24 (Determination of Volatile
Matter Content, Water Content, Density, Volume Solids, and Weight Solids of Surface Coatings, Code of Federal Regulations Title 40, Part 60, Appendix A) with the exempt compounds’ content determined by Method 303 (Determination of Exempt Compounds) in the South Coast Air Quality Management District's (SCAQMD) "Laboratory Methods of Analysis for Enforcement Samples" manual, or
(B) Method 304 [Determination of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) in Various Materials] in the SCAQMD's "Laboratory Methods of Analysis for Enforcement Samples" manual.
(C) Exempt Perfluorocarbons The following classes of compounds:
cyclic, branched, or linear, completely fluorinated alkanes cyclic, branched, or linear, completely fluorinated ethers
with no unsaturations cyclic, branched, or linear, completely fluorinated tertiary
amines with no unsaturations sulfur-containing perfluorocarbons with no unsaturations
and with sulfur bonds only to carbon and fluorine will be analyzed as exempt compounds for compliance with subdivision (c), only when manufacturers specify which individual compounds are used in the coating formulations. In addition, the manufacturers must identify the U.S. EPA, CARB, and SCAQMD approved test methods, which can be used to quantify the amount of each exempt compound.
Has anyone had experience using electrostatic paint for on-site application, that complies with LEED VOC limits? Should this paint be considered a spray paint or a paint for metal surfaces?
Is it a spray paint projected using an aerosol or pressure(such as a pump)
The datasheet or manufacuturer advertisement sometimes say that the product is "slovent-free".
As paints generally have to solved to be liquid, I guess "solvent-free" in this context means that the solvent is water. Am I right?
Marco, it sounds like solvent-free means waterborne. I wouldn't assume that it is 0 VOC, however.
I agree; never assume.
I'm having trouble classifying the product polyurethane foam.
I understand that this product is an 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), but I not sure.
Still on the same subject, about the ieq c4.1 template in version 2.2 is requested that VOC value in g / l. Dont understand why, once the limit defined by GS-36 is given in % . In version 3.0 the option aerosol adhesive does not appear in aerosol adhesives. How should I proceed?
What is the use of the polyurethane foam? If it a expanding foam it would generally be submitted as EQc4.1 as an Architectural Sealant:
RULE 1168 - ADHESIVE AND SEALANT
(14) ARCHITECTURAL APPLICATION is the use of an adhesive, sealant, or adhesive or sealant primer on stationary structures, including mobile homes, and their appurtenances. Appurtenances to an architectural structure include, but are not limited to: hand railings, cabinets, bathroom and kitchen fixtures, fences, rain gutters and downspouts, and windows.
(15) ARCHITECTURAL SEALANT OR SEALANT PRIMER is any sealant or sealant primer applied to stationary structures, including mobile homes, and their appurtenances. Appurtenances to an architectural structure include, but are not limited to: hand railings, cabinets, bathroom and kitchen fixtures, fences, rain gutters and downspouts, and windows.
Has anyone had any experience about VOC limits for intumescent paints for EQc4.2 (i.e. paints for fire-proofing steel)? We have these paints on the project, but cannot decide how to classify them or whether they are subject to LEED VOC limits at all.
Adele, they are defnitely subject to LEED requirements.
I want to appologize if the answer on my question is to obvious but I currently have a language problem:
1. Here "flat" is meant in terms of brilliance / glossy?
2. Where is the limit/border between flat and non-flat paints. Typically there are different levels of brillance. So how do you distinguish if it is flat or non-flat?
Flat means no gloss. Flat = Matte.
Thanks for the answer. The last queston is how to treat "semiflat" colors (e.g. "silk gloss", "satin gloss")?
There are some footnotes after the appendix of GS-11 regarding the "specular gloss level at 60i" that is determined by ASTMVoluntary standards development organization which creates source technical standards for materials, products, systems, and services-D523-89 Standard Test Method for Specular Gloss.
Flat paints register less than 5, non-flats are greater than 5. You may need to dig into the product literature or contact the manufacturer to find out the specular gloss level of your paint, but that should define the theshold between non-flat and flat if the name is unclear.
My project is going for LEED CI 2009 ,, i can't find the VOC limit for vinyl laminated gypsym ceiling tiles ,, any idea what is the maximum limit ??
Ceiling systems are not included in the CI low emitting credits. This is only available in LEED NC Schools. If the vinyl is being adhered to the tiles on site for some reason than the adhesive would need to comply with that credit. Though I doubt very much this is the case.
If your ceilings do comply with the CA Dept of Health VOC standard listed in the BDC Reference Guide for IEQc4.6 you could potentially apply for a CI innovation credit for the ceiling systems on your project.
How is a factory applied steel finish addressed in this credit?
The credit language address all sorts of primers and paints, including anti-corrosive paints, but does not address anti-corrosive primers, which would seem to be the category a factory applied steel finish falls into in our case.
The structure in our building is exposed and will be finished with a paint that is also anti-corrosive. Does the factory applied red steel primer qualify as an anti-corrosive paint or does it have to be considered a primer merely due to the fact we are applying another finish over it? It seems like the latter choice would unfairly punish us (since primer requirements are more stringent than anti-corrosive paint requirements) for applying another finish since the factory finish is the final finish in the majority of buildings, and could therefore be considered a paint in those cases.
Steven, this credit only covers finishes that are applied onsite.
Thank you for the answer.
The Version 2.2 Reference Guide defined an Indoor Paint or Coating as "a product applied on-site inside of the building's weatherproofing system." However, the term "on-site" was removed from the 2009 Version definition, which is why I questioned the requirements.
Is this true for version 2009 as well?
Onsite application is clearly specified in the LEED 2009 credit language (see above).
Are primers classified an non-flat paints in all circumstances? This is confusing because LEED CI 2009 specifies the VOC level for Flat Coating or Primer as 50 g/l and Non-flat Coating or Primer as 150 g/l. Any help would be appreciated!
I would assume that most primers are flats, though they don't have to be, so you'd need to check your specific primer to know for sure.
Millwork sub would like to use Becker Acroma Ultra Hide Primer (ND52003G) for a project in WDC. The VOC for this item is 629 g/l, can they use this item & do i need to include this product under IEQc4.2?
See the table above under Architectural Coatings. It doesn't sound like this product would meet the requirement.
I am working on LEED CS for high-rise building.
I have questions about the location that needs to apply Low-VOC paints and coatings. As I understand, the paints and coatings used on the interior of the building must be Low-VOC content.
How does LEED defy "interior of the building"? The interior side of the open-air area such as car parking or building entry with canopy would be considered as interior or exterior of the building? I also don't completely understand what they mean "inside of the weatherproofing system".
"inside of the weatherproofing system" means inside of the air barrier or other barrier system which encloses the building envelope. I do not think it includes open areas such as parking and building entry where there are not 4 walls enclosing those spaces.
I have two products that were used on our project. A primer and paint. The cut sheets from Manufacturer state the VOC Content is:
Excluding Exempt: 275g/l and the Including Exempt is 103 g/l. Which information do I use when entering the VOC Content into the Scorecard?
The requirements state that you must meet the applicable VOC content limits established in Green Seal Standard GS-11, Paints, 1st Edition, May 20, 1993. Under section 4.1.1 VOC's of this standard it states, "The calculation of VOC shall exclude water and tinting color added at the point of sale. In sectioni 2.2 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.) it refers to the compounds being defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 40 CFR, 51.1000(s), (s) (1). My suggestion would be to call the paint manufacturer to see what VOCs have not been included in the Exempt number they gave you. Manufacturer's typically have a technical representative who is well versed in LEED and happy to help you.
One of our CI project will be using the blinds with Graphic prints. My question is if the ink needs to comply with any of IEQ requirements? Any guidance would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Grace - Obviously it would be great for all paint utilized on the interior of a building was low-emitting, but for LEED credit they only worry about site-applied coatings. If the blinds are painted off-site and delivered, then the paint does not have to apply.
Our project building is under the construction and the entire building will be leased by us.
Although interior design and construction will be carried out by us, there might be some portion painted or coated by the basebuilding constructor as part of basebuilding.
Do we need to consider the VOC limits of these basebuilding materials?
It depends on where the LEED project boundary is drawn. I'm assuming your project is the interior construction of the office spaces, but you don't rent or have control over some other part of the building such as the lobby, or common areas. These may be built by the building owner under a different construction contract. Any paints or adhesives that are inside the LEED boundary of your project have to meet VOC limits, but if there are paints used outside of the LEED boundary that are not part of your project you could probably exclude them.
In our project we are specifying paints with low VOC's. The GS-11 standard gives the determination of VOC's through ASTMVoluntary standards development organization which creates source technical standards for materials, products, systems, and services D6886. The paint that I have found has documented VOC's determined through ASTM D3960. Is there an equivalence? Can we specify that paint?
GS-11 standards refers to ASTMVoluntary standards development organization which creates source technical standards for materials, products, systems, and services D6886 only in its new version, but credit language refers to GS-11 1993 version - and at that time GS-11 referred to EPA method 24, which is equivalent to ASTM methods D2369 and D3960. ASTM D6886 is better, but not within specifications of this credit.
Hopefull this will be improved in LEED 2012.
ASTMVoluntary standards development organization which creates source technical standards for materials, products, systems, and services D6886 was developed due to ASTM D3960 having poor precision when dealing with voc content determination low VOC content waterborne coatings. If the manufacturer of your choosen paint can show that they are below the GS-11 voc content limits, then I would submit that documentation, but know that the D6886 was developed due to some inaccuracies with D3960 - so I would guess that it would not be seen as equivalent.
You could also show compliance by this paint if it has passed the requirements of the CA 01350 product emission test. This is how paints & coatings are ask to show compliance with EQc4.2 within LEED for Schools projects. Due to this, if a paint shows compliance through actual low-emissions it would qualify in other LEED Rating Systems.
We have a dry erase paint on the finish schedule. It contains 220 g/L of VOC's. This does not comply with flat or non-flat paint VOC requirements but I'm wondering if it can be considered a different type of coating? Such as an industrial maintenance coating? Or a faux-finish coating? Does anyone have experience using this kind of material?
How about "graphic arts coating"? We discussed this on the Schools forum for this credit.
Thanks Tristan. Sounds like I can classify as that and if needed, can create a VOC budget if that classification is not accepted.
Have you had any feedback from GBCI regarding classifying Dry Erase Paint as a graphic arts coating? I'm in the same boat you are on a school project. It is Green Guard Certified but doesn't meet the GS-11 VOC requirement of non-flat paint. Xie xie.
LEED compliant dry erase coating: http://www.eezecleandryerase.com/.
IEQc4.1-4.2 mainly focuses on VOC content of interior materials, whereas GreenGuard Standards are based on Dynamic Environmental Chambers. GreenGuard measures the emission rather than content of materials and products. So, how does GreenGuard Certified Products Qualify for LEED IEQc4.1-4.2 ?
There are certainly GreenGuard-certified products that qualify for IEQc4, but to earn the credit you have to be able to document VOC content, not emissions. So you need that content number, which GreenGuard does not provide.
Due to CA 01350 being the compliance path in schools, we have seen projects that submit the GREENGUARD Children & Schools certification (and laboratory test reports proving compliance) for their paints & coatings and 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. and they receive credit in EQ4.1 & EQc4.2. So products that prove that they are low-emitting by showing compliance to CA 01350 can be utilized as a way to garner credit.
CA 01350 EMICODE goes for testing of emissions from applied paints, coatings, 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. into indoor air and gives results as emission factor (µg/m2h) or as air concentration in a model room (µg/m3).
US VOC limits for such products go for testing of VOC content in a can of non-used liquid product and gives results as g/l.
There is no correlation between both - except if there is absolutely zero VOC content, then nothing can be emitted.
But no VOC emissions after 14 days do not tell you anything about initial VOC content in the can. I agree that VOC content in the can is no measure of product quality with respect to indoor environmental quality, but present credit laguage is written in such a manner.
Hopefully this issue will be overcome with LEED 2012.
With respect to CA 01350 compliance for a water repellent ceramic tile floor coating, the product does not comply with the water repellent g/l limit, but is SCS Indoor Advantage Gold certified.
According to the SCS literature, that certification complies with the CA 01350 requirement. So will this product comply with the CA Health requirement by virtue of the SCS certification even if the g/l content does not comply with SCAQMD 1113?
SCS Indoor Advantage Gold does show compliance to the CA 01350 requirements of minimizing 35 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.. So this product would comply with the CA 01350 requirement.
My office had a bunch of file cabinets repainted. A industrial coating was used. I have the VOC content of the coating used but I can't find the allowable limit. Is there somewhere I can look for this? Do i even have to report this?
Are you doing this as part of a LEED-CI certification? Were the cabinets refinished onsite or off-site?
I'll have to think about this a bit more, but those questions are key.
yes this would be apart of LEEd-CI certification. The file cabinets were refurbished and repainted offsite and then moved into our new building location.
Since the coatings were applied off-site they are not subject to the IEQc4.2 credit requirements. They might be subject to the IEQc4.5 requirements, which cover furniture, depending on whether they think they qualify as "systems furnitureSystems furniture includes panel-based workstations comprising modular interconnecting panels, hang-on components, and drawer and filing components or a free-standing grouping of furniture items designed to work in concert.." I would recommend reviewing the requirements for that credit, if you're pursuing it.
My office is seeking LEED certification for CI v2. We used a wall covering manufactured by Maharam. When seeking low emissions test results, the tech team at maharam stated:
“Both Whisk and Luminous are vinyls and are known to emit VOC's.
We do not have VOC information for the patterns listed as we have not tested.”
Has anyone ever run into anything like this? What should be my next plan of action? Can we get the wall covering tested? Does this eliminate us from IEQc4.2?
A wallcovering is not considered a paint or coating and so is not covered under IEQc4.2 or under any LEED-CI credit, for that matter. (Except indirectly, if you go with the air testing route for IEQc3.2.)
In LEED for Schools wallcoverings are covered under IEQc4.6.
Can someone studying for their Green Associate exam start accumulating their CE hours before they become a Green Associate?
No, hours are counted when they take place, and you can't retroactively report hours. The only exception here would be if you are doing something CE-worthy that doesn't have a firm reporting date, such as supporting documentation of a LEED credit, which could theoretically be reported when you do the work, when the project applies, when the credit is awarded, etc.
By the way, you may be interestd in our webinars on cracking the LEED CMP code, and on studying for the LEED GA exam. Oh, and we have a page of LEED GA test prep resources, as well.
We have a project that has Marshfield Door Systems with a "Enviroclad UV" factory applied finish.
Marshfield on their website states this is a low voc finish system. When I asked for details of the voc
content the response was that LEED requirement is only for field applied finishes. I don't agree with this logic.
Anyone have experience with factory applied finishes on doors, or on any other materials for that matter.
I would think this would still have to be within prescribed voc limits.
Leo the credit language for IEQc4.2 stipulates that only products "inside the weatherproofing system and applied on-site" are covered. A factory-applied finish doesn't fall under the credit. It is assumed that it will off-gas at the factory, not in the building.
For non-flat paint, is it 150? 100? 50? GS-11-1993 or 2008? Current Limit or Effective Date?
You might get any these answers when referring to the Rating System or Reference guide credit requirements, the hyperlink to the GS-11 standard, or the Table 1 in the reference guide. While looking into a VOC question for a CI project, I noticed there's an interesting and useful discussion of which table or value to use for non-flat paints over on the NC EQc4.2 credit forum.
Short summary is:
Use GS-11 1993.
Hyperlink in the Reference Guides that links to the 2008 version instead of the 1993 version of GS-11 may be an error, but we're not sure.
An addendum strikes out the sentence in the Reference Guide "Tables 1 and 2 summarize Green Seal Standard GS-11" since that is actually the table from SQAQMD Rule 1113, not GS-11, as many have thought.
If you are using that table for looking up SCAQMD limits for clear finishes, etc. only use the most stringent limit listed in the first four columns, effective Jan 1 2004, not the values listed for the effective dates after then.
See the comments under NC IEQc4.2 for the whole discussion....
I am trying to find a contractor marking paint that meets the LEED requirements for paints and coatings for use in a LEED-CI project OR an alternative to using marking paints. Aerosols are not explicitly covered by GS-11 or SCAQMD Rule #1113. I know that there are specific aerosol % weight for adhesives, but I can't find any for paints. Any guidance on this?
Try GS-3 standard
Unfortunately GS-3 no longer exists - it has been included with GS-11. Plus it's not an anti-corrsive paint per se, but a marking paint for use on concrete.
We just recently had this issue on a project and found a CIRCredit Interpretation Ruling. Used by design team members experiencing difficulties in the application of a LEED prerequisite or credit to a project. Typically, difficulties arise when specific issues are not directly addressed by LEED information/guide (not for LEED 2009 – Ruling 2/10/09) that said “spray paints” are not addressed in either standard and can therefore be excluded from this credit. I think it is unfortunate that spray paints aren’t addressed as they generally have a high VOC %. The CIR goes on to say that the EPA has a new standard for aerosol coatings (EPA 40 CFR Parts 51 and 59) but that this is not required to be followed for LEED.
IEQc4.2 helps projects comply with source control methods mentioned in the SMACNA guide for IAQ plans.
Be very strict in using low-emitting products to avoid failing the air quality test, if pursuing that option.
The planning and tracking processes are the same for both of these credits.
To earn IEQc4.3, coatings used for flooring systems must comply with the IEQc4.2 VOC limits.
Do you know which LEED credits have the most LEED Interpretations and addenda, and which have none? The Missing Manual does. Check here first to see where you need to update yourself, and share the link with your team.
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