CI-2009 IEQc4.4: Low-Emitting Materials—Composite Wood and Agrifiber Products

  • It’s all or nothing

    Like most of the other low-emitting materials credits, this credit is all-or-nothing. 

    Composite products and laminating adhesives can have no added urea-formaldehyde1. Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring VOC found in small amounts in animals and plants but is carcinogenic and an irritant to most people when present in high concentrations, causing headaches, dizziness, mental impairment, and other symptoms. When present in the air at levels above 0.1 ppm, it can cause watery eyes; burning sensations in the eyes, nose, and throat; nausea; coughing; chest tightness; wheezing; skin rashes; and asthmatic and allergic reactions. 2. A known carcinogen with no known safe exposure level. Formaldehyde occurs naturally, but appears in unnaturally high concentra­tions in many buildings because it is an ingredient in binders used in many building materials and furnishings. (UFUrea Formaldehyde (UF), used in some types of plywood, particleboard, MDF, and laminated wood products, is a synthetic resin created by condensing urea with formaldehyde.) resins. This credit applies to the manufacturing of all composite materials and laminating adhesives used on the project (and installed within the weather barrier), in contrast with IEQc4.1 and IEQc4.2 that only apply to site-applied products. For this credit, there is no “VOC budget” option as there is with IEQc4.1 and IEQc4.2.

    UF is an inexpensive binderGlue used in manufacturing wood products, such as medium-density fiberboard (MDF), particleboard, and engineered lumber. Most binders are made with formaldehyde. that is widely used in interior-grade particleboard, MDFMedium-density fiberboard (MDF): Panel product used in cabinets and furniture; generally made from wood fiber glued together with binder; similar to particleboard, but with finer texture, offering more precise finishing. Most MDF is made with formaldehyde-emitting urea-formaldehyde binder., and plywood. If you are looking for products without UF, look for exterior-grade plywood (UF is not used there because it is not moisture-resistant), straw-based agrifiber panels (in which UF doesn't perform well as a binder), pMDI binders, or soy-based binders, all of which are commonly available.

    Different kinds and sources of formaldehyde

    Some woods have naturally occurring formaldehyde, so note that the credit does not address total UF content, but added UF. To be compliant, products simply need to have no added urea-formaldehyde binders and glues. Other types of formaldehyde binders—phenol and melamine—are allowed under this credit, as their formaldehyde content is more tightly bound. 

    Do your research

    Research credit-compliant products, including plywood, MDF, door cores, laminate countertops, and other composite materials before construction begins helps to ensure that the right products are used. Early research helps avoid costly change orders and mistakes that would disqualify you from earning the credit.Composite woodTwo binders appear in most manufactured wood products—urea formaldehyde, which is banned under this credit, and phenol formaldehyde, which is not. Image – BuildingGreen

    While most of the focus in this credit is on composite wood, make sure to check the laminate adhesives used by manufacturers in products such as countertops, doors, flooring and millwork that has adhered edging, laminates, and veneers. (The laminates themselves are not covered by the credit—just the adhesives.)

    Don’t use or choose products that merely claim to be “low-emitting.” You have to find and submit documentation that proves the project met the specific credit requirements.

    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.

    FAQs for IEQc4.4

    Our project is planning to use no composite wood products. Do we automatically earn this credit?

    LEEDuser hasn't seen an official ruling on this, but our expert consensus is no. (And keep in mind that laminating adhesives are part of the credit requirements, too.)

    We have a product that complies with very stringent E1 and E0 European standards for low emissions. Does this product comply with this credit?

    Not necessarily. The requirements for this credit are based on the wood product containing no added urea formaldehyde (NAUF). While a NAUF product may comply with European standards, you can't assume that a product complying with European standards is NAUF—you need to check the binder.

Legend

  • Best Practices
  • Gotcha
  • Action Steps
  • Cost Tip

Design Development

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  • Wheatboard millworkCitiLog offers custom millwork from formaldehyde-free wheatboard. Photo – CitiLogIdentify all areas of your project where composite materials including agrifibers, and laminating adhesives may be used. Look for opportunities to use urea formaldehyde free composite products and laminating adhesives.


  • Avoid added urea formaldehyde in laminating adhesives and any of the following products, defined as composite wood and agrifiber by the LEED Reference Guide:

    • particleboard
    • Bamboo cabinetryNo-added-UF bamboo paneling like this Plyboo from Smith and Fong can contribute to this credit. Photo – Smith and Fong

    • medium-density fiberboard (MDF)
    • plywood
    • wheatboard
    • strawboard
    • panel substrates
    • door cores
    • other composite wood products

  • Remember to double-check the laminating adhesives used in manufactured products such as countertops, doors, flooring and millwork that have adhered edging, laminates, and veneers.


  • Freestanding furniture is exempt from the requirements of this credit. Fixed cabinetry and millwork is not considered ‘freestanding’ and needs to have credit-compliant composite materials and laminating adhesives.


  • Many woods have low levels of naturally occurring formaldehyde, which is one reason the credit stresses that no urea-formaldehyde should be added in the binders and glues. Many products are marketed as “urea formaldehyde free,” but you still need to confirm on the MSDS or cut sheet that UF-free binders were used. If the MSDS shows trace amounts of UF, double check with the manufacturer on whether it is UF added to the binder, or is naturally occurring in the wood.


  • Non-urea formaldehyde binders—such as phenol and melamine—offgas fewer VOCs, because the formaldehyde is more tightly bound, and are not covered under this credit. 


  • Some credit-compliant products may need additional lead time, and components treated for fire-resistance can be hard to find for specific applications. UF is an inexpensive binder that is widely used in interior-grade particleboard, MDF, and plywood. It is not moisture-resistant, so it is not found in exterior-grade plywood, making this a good way to find credit-compliant products. UF also doesn’t bond well with silica-rich fibers like straw, so it isn’t used in many agrifiber panels.


  • Using no-added-urea-formaldehyde products may involve a slight cost premium, because replacement binders are more expensive.

Construction Documents

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  • 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.  


  • Make sure credit requirements are integrated into the construction specifications for all composite materials: including plywood, MDF, millwork substrates, agrifiber composites, laminatating adhesives, door cores and other composite materials.


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


  • Incorporating the credit requirements for wood composites directly in the drawings, as well as in the specifications is a good reminder for the general contractor (GC) and subcontractors. 


  • Incorporate specific product manufacturers in the specs after researching that their products are credit-compliant. It is helpful to distribute a list of acceptable products at the contractor and subcontractor orientation meetings. See the Documentation Toolkit for an example.


  • The credit requirements can also be incorporated in a more comprehensive IAQ management plan (required for IEQc3.1: Construction Indoor Air Quality Plan—During Construction) that requires the use of low-emitting products to control the source of construction pollution. 


  • Achieving this credit may be necessary if your project is also pursuing the air-testing option of IEQc3.2: Construction IAQ Management Plan—Before Occupancy. The use of products that don’t comply with IEQc4.4 may cause your project team to fail the air-quality tests. 


  • The credit requirements apply to composite materials manufactured off-site as well as assembled onsite. This differs from the requirements for IEQc4.1 and IEQc4.2, which only cover products applied onsite.


  • As accountability is key to successfully implementing low VOC materials, contractors and subcontractors should be contractually required to provide LEED submittal product information. 

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.

  • 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.  


  • 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 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.


  • 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. 


  • When researching urea-formaldehyde-free products, double-check that the manufacturer’s information is not misleading. A common example is a product cut sheet that reads, “This is low-emitting MDF,” without specifically stating that the material has no added urea-formaldehyde. You’ll need a copy of the product cut sheet, MSDS, or a letter from the manufacturer to prove that the product is compliant. 


  • The VOC Budget method described in credits IEQc4.1 and IEQc4.2 is not available for calculating the compliance of composite materials and laminating adhesives for this credit.


  • During Construction


  • Throughout construction, the GC collects copies of product information from subcontractors for all composite materials and laminating adhesives, showing credit compliance.  


  • A LEED consultant or an administrative assistant in the GC’s office may be the best choice for the responsibility of inputting the subcontractors’ tracking forms into the master spreadsheet as they can help cross check product compliance across multiple LEED credits.


  • Post signs at the construction site that remind subcontractors to follow LEED requirements for using urea-formaldehyde-free composite materials and laminating adhesives. (Link to Signage UF)


  • To avoid the purchase of inappropriate materials and prevent costly change orders, review subcontractor product submittals ahead of time.


  • Check products for compliance as they are delivered on site. For instance, a urea-formaldehyde-free door may have been approved in shop drawing, but the same exact door may come in two models: with UF, and UF-free. It would be easy for the wrong door to be accidently delivered and then installed on site.


  • 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 millwork vendor for regional manufacturing and extraction locations for MRc5, recycled content information for MRc4, and composite-wood information for IEQc4.4—all for one millwork product. (See the Documentation Toolkit for the Materials Calculator.)


  • Schedule the installation of absorptive composite materials so that they are protected from construction air contaminants. This is required if projects are attempting IEQc3.1: Construction Indoor Air Quality Plan—During Construction, but is a good practice in any case. For example, storing or installing composite wood cabinets before wall painting can cause them to absorb the paint’s off gases and contaminate the air over a longer time period.

Operations & Maintenance

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  • Keep a list of credit-compliant materials used on the project so that O&M staff can purchase these products for future renovations.


  • Develop a purchasing policy that incorporates guidelines on using urea-formaldehyde-free and other low-emitting materials. 

  • USGBC

    Excerpted from LEED 2009 for Commercial Interiors

    IEQ Credit 4.4: Low-emitting materials - composite wood and agrifiber products

    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

    Composite woodComposite wood consists of wood or plant particles or fibers bonded by a synthetic resin or binder. Examples include particleboard, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), plywood, oriented-strand board (OSB), wheatboard, and strawboard. and agrifiber productsAgrifiber products are made from agricultural fiber. Examples include particleboard, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), plywood, oriented-strand board (OSB), wheatboard, and strawboard. used on the interior of the building (i.e., inside the weatherproofing system) must contain no added urea-formaldehyde1. Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring VOC found in small amounts in animals and plants but is carcinogenic and an irritant to most people when present in high concentrations, causing headaches, dizziness, mental impairment, and other symptoms. When present in the air at levels above 0.1 ppm, it can cause watery eyes; burning sensations in the eyes, nose, and throat; nausea; coughing; chest tightness; wheezing; skin rashes; and asthmatic and allergic reactions. 2. A known carcinogen with no known safe exposure level. Formaldehyde occurs naturally, but appears in unnaturally high concentra­tions in many buildings because it is an ingredient in binders used in many building materials and furnishings. resins. Laminating adhesives used to fabricate on-site and shop-applied composite wood and agrifiber assemblies must not contain added urea-formaldehyde resins.

    Composite wood and agrifiber products are defined as particleboard, medium density fiberboard (MDFMedium-density fiberboard (MDF): Panel product used in cabinets and furniture; generally made from wood fiber glued together with binder; similar to particleboard, but with finer texture, offering more precise finishing. Most MDF is made with formaldehyde-emitting urea-formaldehyde binder.), plywood, wheatboard, strawboard, panel substrates and door cores. Materials considered fixtures, furniture and equipment (FF&E) are not considered base buildingThe base building includes elements such as the structure, envelope, and building-level mechanical systems, such as central HVAC, and materials and products installed in the project (e.g., flooring, casework, wall coverings). elements and are not included.

    Products covered by IEQ Credit 4.5, Low-Emitting Materials, System Furniture and Seating are excluded from these requirements.

    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 wood and agrifiber productsAgrifiber products are made from agricultural fiber. Examples include particleboard, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), plywood, oriented-strand board (OSB), wheatboard, and strawboard. that contain no added urea-formaldehyde1. Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring VOC found in small amounts in animals and plants but is carcinogenic and an irritant to most people when present in high concentrations, causing headaches, dizziness, mental impairment, and other symptoms. When present in the air at levels above 0.1 ppm, it can cause watery eyes; burning sensations in the eyes, nose, and throat; nausea; coughing; chest tightness; wheezing; skin rashes; and asthmatic and allergic reactions. 2. A known carcinogen with no known safe exposure level. Formaldehyde occurs naturally, but appears in unnaturally high concentra­tions in many buildings because it is an ingredient in binders used in many building materials and furnishings. resins. Specify laminating adhesives for field and shop applied assemblies, including adhesives and veneers that contain no urea-formaldehyde. Review product cut sheets, material safety data (MSD) sheets, signed attestations or other official literature from the manufacturer.

Publications

An Update on Formaldehyde - Consumer Product Safety Commission

This informational document is from the Consumer Product Safety Commission. 

Articles

Binders in Manufactured Wood Products: Beyond Formaldehyde

Current and future wood binderGlue used in manufacturing wood products, such as medium-density fiberboard (MDF), particleboard, and engineered lumber. Most binders are made with formaldehyde. chemicals are explored in ths Environmental Building News article.

Organizations

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 GCA General Contractor (GC) manages, coordinates, and oversees building construction; may perform some construction tasks; and is responsible for hiring and managing subcontractors. for filing.

Low-Emitting Materials Reporting Form

This is a VOCA volatile organic compound (VOC) 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. 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 GCA General Contractor (GC) manages, coordinates, and oversees building construction; may perform some construction tasks; and is responsible for hiring and managing subcontractors. 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 urea-formaldehyde1. Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring VOC found in small amounts in animals and plants but is carcinogenic and an irritant to most people when present in high concentrations, causing headaches, dizziness, mental impairment, and other symptoms. When present in the air at levels above 0.1 ppm, it can cause watery eyes; burning sensations in the eyes, nose, and throat; nausea; coughing; chest tightness; wheezing; skin rashes; and asthmatic and allergic reactions. 2. A known carcinogen with no known safe exposure level. Formaldehyde occurs naturally, but appears in unnaturally high concentra­tions in many buildings because it is an ingredient in binders used in many building materials and furnishings. content of composite woodComposite wood consists of wood or plant particles or fibers bonded by a synthetic resin or binder. Examples include particleboard, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), plywood, oriented-strand board (OSB), wheatboard, and strawboard. products. The example here of a door with a composite wood core and a decorative laminate clearly displays information needed for documentation, as well as an instance where more information is needed from the manufacturer.

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

Sample LEED Online forms for all rating systems and versions are available on the USGBC website.

Construction Submittal

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

56 Comments

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Brian Salazar President, LEED AP, WELL AP Entegra Development & Investment, LLC
Oct 20 2016
LEEDuser Member
1484 Thumbs Up

Phenol Formaldehyde (PF) Resins OK with v3?

The CI forum seems to have more traffic, so I am reposting here from CS....

Hello - I am working on a project where the subcontractor has requested we approved a product that uses a WBP Phenolic Formaldehyde1. Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring VOC found in small amounts in animals and plants but is carcinogenic and an irritant to most people when present in high concentrations, causing headaches, dizziness, mental impairment, and other symptoms. When present in the air at levels above 0.1 ppm, it can cause watery eyes; burning sensations in the eyes, nose, and throat; nausea; coughing; chest tightness; wheezing; skin rashes; and asthmatic and allergic reactions. 2. A known carcinogen with no known safe exposure level. Formaldehyde occurs naturally, but appears in unnaturally high concentra­tions in many buildings because it is an ingredient in binders used in many building materials and furnishings. binderGlue used in manufacturing wood products, such as medium-density fiberboard (MDF), particleboard, and engineered lumber. Most binders are made with formaldehyde..

I have seen this statement published in 2 different places, but not on a LEED-sanctioned page:
"Alternative adhesive systems that qualify for the NAUF category would include: Phenol FormaldehydePhenol formaldehyde, which off-gasses only at high temperature, is used for exterior products, although many of these products are suitable for interior applications. (PF), Poly vinyl acetate (PVA) and Soy. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) has also adopted the no added urea-formaldehyde terminology under the credit EQ 4.4."

Does this mean that PF resins automatically qualify for IEQc4.4 as an alternative to NAUF, or is the above statement intentionally misleading?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Executive Editor – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jan 18 2017 LEEDuser Moderator

Yes, PF is LEED-compliant.

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Erica Downs Sustainability & LEED Consultant
Aug 23 2016
LEEDuser Member
3269 Thumbs Up

ULEF documentation and LEED Online form

Project Location: United States

Hi all -
I posted this under NC already, but have not received a response, so thought I would try here.

How does one document use of a ULEF melamine in LEED Online? There is only a check box for "Product Contains No Added Urea-Formaldehyde1. Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring VOC found in small amounts in animals and plants but is carcinogenic and an irritant to most people when present in high concentrations, causing headaches, dizziness, mental impairment, and other symptoms. When present in the air at levels above 0.1 ppm, it can cause watery eyes; burning sensations in the eyes, nose, and throat; nausea; coughing; chest tightness; wheezing; skin rashes; and asthmatic and allergic reactions. 2. A known carcinogen with no known safe exposure level. Formaldehyde occurs naturally, but appears in unnaturally high concentra­tions in many buildings because it is an ingredient in binders used in many building materials and furnishings.". If that is checked for a ULEF product, it would be inaccurate, but that is only way for the form to recognize credit achievement. Do we just check it anyway, or must we use the Alternative Compliance Path section? Thanks.

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Kristi Ennis Boulder Associates Architects Aug 23 2016 Guest 103 Thumbs Up

Erica -
I have run into this as well, and chose to mark the box that indicates the use of an alternative compliance path, noted there that there were products used meeting LI #10250 and what they were, and uploaded the backup on those products there.

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Anne-Claire BARBERI Project Manager ARP-Astrance
Mar 22 2016
Guest
82 Thumbs Up

Compliant wood & agrifiber products available in China

Project Location: United Arab Emirates

Hello,

My project is located in the UAE, but I am looking for wood products available in China that would comply with LEED Retail CI v2009 credit requirements?

Can anyone recommend any providers that would sell compliant products? Or any product reference?

Thank your for your help.

Anne-Claire

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William Weaver LEED Fellow, WELL AP JLL
Jun 25 2015
LEEDuser Member
2521 Thumbs Up

ULEF/CARB meeting credit criteria?

Project Location: United States

We just received preliminary review comments on a project and this credit was marked pending as a result of one MDFMedium-density fiberboard (MDF): Panel product used in cabinets and furniture; generally made from wood fiber glued together with binder; similar to particleboard, but with finer texture, offering more precise finishing. Most MDF is made with formaldehyde-emitting urea-formaldehyde binder. product that uses a ULEF resin process. The reviewer is requesting that we "provide documentation from the manufacturer confirming that the material contains no added urea-formaldehyde1. Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring VOC found in small amounts in animals and plants but is carcinogenic and an irritant to most people when present in high concentrations, causing headaches, dizziness, mental impairment, and other symptoms. When present in the air at levels above 0.1 ppm, it can cause watery eyes; burning sensations in the eyes, nose, and throat; nausea; coughing; chest tightness; wheezing; skin rashes; and asthmatic and allergic reactions. 2. A known carcinogen with no known safe exposure level. Formaldehyde occurs naturally, but appears in unnaturally high concentra­tions in many buildings because it is an ingredient in binders used in many building materials and furnishings.." We submitted product information confirming the ULEF resin and that it is also ECC certified, and complies with 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. 93120 for formaldehyde emission limits. It is my understanding from ID# 10250, that products found compliant with CARB 93120 and/or meeting the requirements for ULEF can contribute to IEQc4.4.

Am I misunderstanding ID# 10250? Has there been a more recent interpretation that I am overlooking? Or, is the reviewer in err here?

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Valerie Molinski Sustainability Guru, v2vert Sustainability Jun 25 2015 LEEDuser Member 1743 Thumbs Up

I had a similar issue pop up on a project. I found this blog entry on here at that time and it was very helpful.
http://www.leeduser.com/blogs/new-rules-urea-formaldehyde-ieqc44-uf-nauf...

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William Weaver LEED Fellow, WELL AP, JLL Jun 25 2015 LEEDuser Member 2521 Thumbs Up

Thanks Val.

Boiling that blog and subsequent commentary down to the basics, it appears that 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./ULEF is acceptable for v4, but we must still show no urea-formaldehyde1. Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring VOC found in small amounts in animals and plants but is carcinogenic and an irritant to most people when present in high concentrations, causing headaches, dizziness, mental impairment, and other symptoms. When present in the air at levels above 0.1 ppm, it can cause watery eyes; burning sensations in the eyes, nose, and throat; nausea; coughing; chest tightness; wheezing; skin rashes; and asthmatic and allergic reactions. 2. A known carcinogen with no known safe exposure level. Formaldehyde occurs naturally, but appears in unnaturally high concentra­tions in many buildings because it is an ingredient in binders used in many building materials and furnishings. compliance for v3. The product we used may still be complaint, but the documentation is insufficient for v3.

Okay, but... We are allowed to use v4 templates on v3 projects for other credits. So, why not this one as well?

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Kristina Bach Sustainability Specialist, HGA Architects and Engineers Jun 25 2015 LEEDuser Member 2712 Thumbs Up

You could substitute the v4 credit for the v2009 one. HOWEVER - you have to substitute all of the IEQc4 credits to do that. You are not allowed to substitute just one of them. The point thresholds you actually get awarded in v2009 then varies based on how many points you demonstrate in the v4 credit. See specifically the ** footnote: http://www.usgbc.org/articles/use-v4-credits-your-v2009-project/

My guess would be that your other IEQc4 credits didn't have issues and so the reviewer was maybe trying to point you towards the potentially easier fix of just addressing this one credit rather than re-documenting all of the other credits again to the v4 standards?

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Jon Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, GREENSQUARE Jun 26 2015 LEEDuser Expert 7053 Thumbs Up

I have been looking at LEEDv4 Credit Substitutions for Low-Emitting Materials, and the substitution is not as straightforward as one might think, especially once a project reaches the review stage.

While the “Composite Wood Evaluation” may offer more flexibility than IEQc4.4 does in v3, the “Additional VOCA volatile organic compound (VOC) 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. Content Requirements for Wet-Applied Products” uses newer, more stringent SCAQMDSouth Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) is the air pollution control agency that regulates stationary air pollution sources in parts of southern California, including Orange County and most of Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside County. standards than IEQc4.1 & IEQc4.2 did.

Also new to v4 is “General Emissions Evaluation” using emissions-based material test data. Finally, the v4 substitution requires using the “Option 2 Budget Calculation” which involves calculating the area of each layer of paint, coatings, 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., flooring, and insulation in each wall, ceiling, & flooring assembly, plus furniture. This kind of data probably was not gathered as documentation for LEEDv3.

The v4 Credit Substitution might be great for a new v3 that was still in Design or just starting Construction, but, as Kristina notes, backtracking to get all the extra data would be a burden once a project gets further along, let alone complete.

William, you may have better luck just doing as the reviewer suggests. Contact the manufacturer of the ULEF product to clarify whether their product contains any added UF. You might get lucky.

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Jon Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, GREENSQUARE Jun 26 2015 LEEDuser Expert 7053 Thumbs Up

Another observation: I looked again at LI#10250 and at the LEEDuser post that Valerie cites above. USGBC originally ruled on LI#10250 in October 2012. They revised it in April 2013, adding language to clarify that only NAUF composites are acceptable under LEED-2009.

If you registered your project before April 1, 2013, and especially if the MDFMedium-density fiberboard (MDF): Panel product used in cabinets and furniture; generally made from wood fiber glued together with binder; similar to particleboard, but with finer texture, offering more precise finishing. Most MDF is made with formaldehyde-emitting urea-formaldehyde binder. was approved between October 1, 2012 & April 1, 2013, you may be able to justify accepting the product based on the wording of the original ruling.

This tack may be worth a try if you discover that the MDF contains added UF.

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Valerie Molinski Sustainability Guru v2vert Sustainability
Apr 09 2014
LEEDuser Member
1743 Thumbs Up

DIRTT Millwork on a LEED project

Anyone else use this on a project in lieu of tradional millwork fabricated by a local shop?

The reason I ask is because we are in the final stages of trying to specify DIRTT millwork for a project and I asked if the product was available with NAUF substrates. The rep is saying since it is fully encapsulated in Thermafoil, that using traditional MDFMedium-density fiberboard (MDF): Panel product used in cabinets and furniture; generally made from wood fiber glued together with binder; similar to particleboard, but with finer texture, offering more precise finishing. Most MDF is made with formaldehyde-emitting urea-formaldehyde binder. is fine as the substrate will have no opportunity to off gas.

While that may be true, I still have to provide a cut sheet of the substrate material and will not be compliant with this credit. They are saying that they can fabricated with a NAUF substrate with an upcharge, but they feel it is not necessary.

Thoughts? Prior experience? Thanks.

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Susan Walter Specifications Director, Populous Apr 09 2014 LEEDuser Expert 22868 Thumbs Up

We specified DIRTT with NAUF composite woodComposite wood consists of wood or plant particles or fibers bonded by a synthetic resin or binder. Examples include particleboard, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), plywood, oriented-strand board (OSB), wheatboard, and strawboard. recently because it was a LEED proejct. Since they have it that is what we specified. We didn't do much more research and the rep here didn't push back at all. I'd be leery about the claim without testing results that meet LEED.

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Valerie Molinski Sustainability Guru, v2vert Sustainability Apr 09 2014 LEEDuser Member 1743 Thumbs Up

Thank you. My frustration lies in the fact that I made it clear from the outset of the pricing exercise that we would need the substrate to be NAUF, and it was never priced that way because 'it wasn't necessary' since the substrate is encapsulated. Now that we are close to going ahead with the product instead of the traditional millwork, we are looking at a cost change.

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Susan Walter Specifications Director, Populous Apr 09 2014 LEEDuser Expert 22868 Thumbs Up

Ugh, that sounds painful.

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Holly Nichols
Apr 17 2013
Guest
31 Thumbs Up

Skateboard Wall Panels

I am hoping to use a product that uses bamboo end cuts from the waste stream of another manufacturing process as wood wall panels. These end cuts would be mounted to mdfMedium-density fiberboard (MDF): Panel product used in cabinets and furniture; generally made from wood fiber glued together with binder; similar to particleboard, but with finer texture, offering more precise finishing. Most MDF is made with formaldehyde-emitting urea-formaldehyde binder. in larger panels that would be adhered to wall in one piece. I know the MDF must have NAUF, but I'm trying to figure out what to do with the bamboo. Ideally, we would treat the bamboo as building reuse material, and it will not have to abide by this credit. I'm worried that we are going to have to go to the bamboo supplier (through the manufacturer who is giving us their waste) to figure out what the lamination process is.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Executive Editor – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Apr 17 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

Holly, in my opinion you would need to include the bamboo in this credit.

First, should bamboo be considered as "composite woodComposite wood consists of wood or plant particles or fibers bonded by a synthetic resin or binder. Examples include particleboard, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), plywood, oriented-strand board (OSB), wheatboard, and strawboard. or agfiber"? I think it clearly does, although one could narrowly argue that it is neither wood nor agfiber.

Second, is the bamboo here merely being reused or is it is manufactured product, as you ask? I don't think it matters, if you reference the credit language (see above). Both factory-made and onsite fabrications count with the NAUF requirement.

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Adam Targowski Owner ATsec
Oct 19 2012
Guest
2430 Thumbs Up

no composite wood products

What if the tenant was not installing any composite woodComposite wood consists of wood or plant particles or fibers bonded by a synthetic resin or binder. Examples include particleboard, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), plywood, oriented-strand board (OSB), wheatboard, and strawboard. products within his scope of work? Does it mean that he get's this point automaticly or that he is not eligible for that point?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Executive Editor – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Oct 19 2012 LEEDuser Moderator

Adam, this question just came up on another forum, coincidentally. In my opinion, there is no firm guidance on this from USGBC so it's a judgement call, but I don't think you can claim the credit in this manner. The credit was not intended to provide an incentive to avoid this type of product altogether.

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Marie Kranjack
Oct 11 2012
LEEDuser Member
362 Thumbs Up

Adhesive used in the project to bond laminate to wood substrate

We just had this credit denied in our Design and Construction Final Review. We provided all of the required documentation, but the final comment came back stating that we failed to provide "the adhesive used within the project to bond the laminate to the wood substrate". Review comments below:

DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION PRELIMINARY REVIEW - TECHNICAL ADVICE:
Please provide a revised Credit Form confirming that the laminating adhesives used contain no added urea-formaldehyde1. Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring VOC found in small amounts in animals and plants but is carcinogenic and an irritant to most people when present in high concentrations, causing headaches, dizziness, mental impairment, and other symptoms. When present in the air at levels above 0.1 ppm, it can cause watery eyes; burning sensations in the eyes, nose, and throat; nausea; coughing; chest tightness; wheezing; skin rashes; and asthmatic and allergic reactions. 2. A known carcinogen with no known safe exposure level. Formaldehyde occurs naturally, but appears in unnaturally high concentra­tions in many buildings because it is an ingredient in binders used in many building materials and furnishings., along with manufacturer product data highlighted to verify that this adhesive contains no added urea-formaldehyde resins.
DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION FINAL REVIEW - The LEED Credit Form has been revised and a response narrative and manufacturer documentation for Nevamar laminate and 3Form have been provided to address the issue outlined in the Preliminary Review. However, the adhesive used within the project to bond the laminate to the wood substrate has not been provided as required. The documentation does not demonstrate credit compliance.

The problem with this determination is that the laminate was not bonded with an adhesive to the wood substrate onsite. We provided all of the laminate adhesives used by the manufacturer, but as the top was not bonded by an adhesive to the wood substrate, we had no other adhesive to submit. Additionally, we provided the silicone adhesive used to adhere/seal the solid surface tops, under IEQc4.1, so I am confused as to why we are asked to provide a field applied adhesive under IEQc4.4.

We are still going to achieve the desired level of certification, so we will not be appealing this, but I want to be sure I fully understand the requirements of this credit for future submissions. We would sincerely appreciate any guidance you can provide. Thank You

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Executive Editor – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Oct 16 2012 LEEDuser Moderator

Marie, I don't want to point fingers, as the LEED reviewers have a tough job and get a lot of flak, but this appears to be like reviewer error—not understanding what was going on with the project.

It's fortunate that this apparent error did not affect your certification goals.

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Susan Walter Specifications Director, Populous Oct 16 2012 LEEDuser Expert 22868 Thumbs Up

It looks like the interpretation of laminating assemblies is different. Most people I know would interpret that sentance in the RG as the resins holding the wood pieces together. The reviewer here seems to have added the plastic laminate to the assembly definition. It would be nice if your reviewer had been more clear.

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Marie Kranjack Oct 16 2012 LEEDuser Member 362 Thumbs Up

Thank you Tristan and Susan. I will just be extra clear in my response if I get the same review comments on the next one...

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Joseph Greene Owner/Architect Joseph Architects
Aug 10 2012
Guest
977 Thumbs Up

Laminating Adhesives

Hoping for some collective wisdom. Construction Preliminary Review comments requested specific information on laminating adhesives for products listed in this credit. We located this information for certain products on our list (plywood, flakeboard) but the door manufacturer stated this is not public information.Where to go from here? Am I misunderstanding the reviewer's comment?

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Judy Landwehr Manager, Sustainability and Technical Marketing , Masonite Architectural Aug 10 2012 Guest 1026 Thumbs Up

Manufacturers of assemblies containing composite woodComposite wood consists of wood or plant particles or fibers bonded by a synthetic resin or binder. Examples include particleboard, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), plywood, oriented-strand board (OSB), wheatboard, and strawboard. or agrifiber should be able to provide you with documentation that indicates whether their assembly A product formulated from multiple materials (e.g., concrete) or a product made up of subcomponents (e.g., a workstation).(including all laminating adhesives, binders, etc.) meets the NAUF criteria of the EQ 4.4 credit. Manufacturers may choose to document compliance to this credit in various ways; a letter on company letterhead, a 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 sheet, or a technical sheet specific to that type of door.

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kathryn mann
Jun 07 2012
Guest
38 Thumbs Up

Retail Displays and Fixtures

I am a newbie to this forum and am working on my first LEED accreditted project so please bear with me if I ask a few remedial questions!
Our company produces retail display fixtures primarily in our factory in China. I've found that most of the LEED compliant materials I need for this particular project are distributed overseas which is good news however there may be one or two we may not be able to source.
Does a fixture have to be 100% LEED compliant or can points be awarded for just a portion of the fixture? For instance, if all of our wood used in the program is compliant but the Melamine or edgebanding isn't do we still receive any credits?

Thank you -

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Amber Richane Performance Driven Design Lead, CallisonRTKL Jun 07 2012 LEEDuser Member 309 Thumbs Up

Opening statement above. "Like most of the other low-emitting materials credits, this credit is all-or-nothing."

The fixtures are either 100% compliant or they are not at all.

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Josh Jacobs Technical Information & Public Affairs Manager, UL Environment Jun 07 2012 Guest 6910 Thumbs Up

Kathryn,

While I applaud you wanting to use as many low-emitting materials as possilbe, your fixtures don't need to meet this criteria to get credit in EQ4.4. This is due to the statement in the credit, "Materials considered fixtures, furniture, and equipment (FF&E) are not considered base buildingThe base building includes elements such as the structure, envelope, and building-level mechanical systems, such as central HVAC, and materials and products installed in the project (e.g., flooring, casework, wall coverings). elements and are not included."

Amber is correct though - for the products that you do have to meet the criteria for it is an all or nothing proposition.

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Amber Richane Performance Driven Design Lead, CallisonRTKL Jun 07 2012 LEEDuser Member 309 Thumbs Up

If you are going for IEQc4.5 the fixtures do count though...don't they?

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Josh Jacobs Technical Information & Public Affairs Manager, UL Environment Jun 07 2012 Guest 6910 Thumbs Up

Amber - correct, but that credit focuses on low emissions of VOCs from furnishings where as this credit focuses on no added urea formaldehydeUrea formaldehyde is a combination of urea and formaldehyde used in some glues and adhesives, particularly in composite wood products. At room temperature, ureaformaldehyde emits formaldehyde, a toxic and possibly carcinogenic gas. content in composite woodComposite wood consists of wood or plant particles or fibers bonded by a synthetic resin or binder. Examples include particleboard, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), plywood, oriented-strand board (OSB), wheatboard, and strawboard..

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Amber Richane Performance Driven Design Lead CallisonRTKL
Apr 11 2012
LEEDuser Member
309 Thumbs Up

NAF vs NAUF

Does anyone know if LEED will accept No Added Formaldehyde1. Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring VOC found in small amounts in animals and plants but is carcinogenic and an irritant to most people when present in high concentrations, causing headaches, dizziness, mental impairment, and other symptoms. When present in the air at levels above 0.1 ppm, it can cause watery eyes; burning sensations in the eyes, nose, and throat; nausea; coughing; chest tightness; wheezing; skin rashes; and asthmatic and allergic reactions. 2. A known carcinogen with no known safe exposure level. Formaldehyde occurs naturally, but appears in unnaturally high concentra­tions in many buildings because it is an ingredient in binders used in many building materials and furnishings. (NAF) products for this credit or only No Added Urea FormaldehydeUrea formaldehyde is a combination of urea and formaldehyde used in some glues and adhesives, particularly in composite wood products. At room temperature, ureaformaldehyde emits formaldehyde, a toxic and possibly carcinogenic gas. (NAUF) products? The credit is pretty clear about NAUF but I have several manufacturers purporting NAF as LEED compliant. SCS has the same confusion on their website and certifications.

Any thoughts greatly appreciated.
-A

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Executive Editor – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Apr 13 2012 LEEDuser Moderator

Amber, NAF is broader than NAUF. It excludes phenol and melamine formaldehyde1. Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring VOC found in small amounts in animals and plants but is carcinogenic and an irritant to most people when present in high concentrations, causing headaches, dizziness, mental impairment, and other symptoms. When present in the air at levels above 0.1 ppm, it can cause watery eyes; burning sensations in the eyes, nose, and throat; nausea; coughing; chest tightness; wheezing; skin rashes; and asthmatic and allergic reactions. 2. A known carcinogen with no known safe exposure level. Formaldehyde occurs naturally, but appears in unnaturally high concentra­tions in many buildings because it is an ingredient in binders used in many building materials and furnishings. as well as urea. So it is acceptable for this credit. NAF usually means that it's MDIMethyl Diisocyanate – non-formaldehyde binder used in some medium-density fiberboard and particleboard products, including straw-based particleboard..

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Susan Di Giulio Project Manager Zinner Consultants
Mar 12 2012
LEEDuser Member
2179 Thumbs Up

Any change on accepting CARB phase II ?

I have been having an ongoing back and forth with a bamboo plywood and flooring distributor about a few products that they import form China. These products meet 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. phase II requirements but are not labeled NAUF.

The distributor contends that LEED will in fact start accepting CARB phase II for IEQc4.4 this year. I have not found any documentation to back this up. Has anyone heard of this?

Also, several clients have presented LEED - related Division 1 specifications that require a statement indicating adhesives and binders used for each product. Does anybody know why that would be needed? My inclination is to advise them to strike it, eliminating extra work and cost from the GCA General Contractor (GC) manages, coordinates, and oversees building construction; may perform some construction tasks; and is responsible for hiring and managing subcontractors. . Thoughts?

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Jorge López de Obeso Architect / Environmental adviser, EA Energia y Arquitectura Sep 04 2012 LEEDuser Member 1109 Thumbs Up

Hi Susan,

Do you by chance managed to comply with the 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. II feature for this credit?

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Jennifer Berthelot-Jelovic Director of Sustainability Shangri-La Construction
Jan 27 2012
Guest
733 Thumbs Up

Division 12 included

I don't have my LEED Reference Guide with me. I am working on a Lab. There is millwork included in Division 12 for the Casework. Since Division 12 doesn't fall in Recycled Content and Regional Materials, is it necessary to include it here in the Low-emitting credits? Since GBCIThe Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) manages Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building certification and professional accreditation processes. It was established in 2008 with support from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). cross-references credits, I want to make sure everything is accurate and that I have included everything necessary without including things I don't need that may cause confusion. Thanks!

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Susan Di Giulio Project Manager, Zinner Consultants Mar 12 2012 LEEDuser Member 2179 Thumbs Up

I would definitely include it as it is within the building waterproofing envelope. Similarly, although HVAC equipment is outside of the MR credits, verify that the duct adhesives comply with IEQc4.1.
Any contrary thoughts out there?

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Sheela I
Jan 24 2012
Guest
1172 Thumbs Up

Plastic Laminates

Do we have to list Plastic laminate products (like Wilsonart) for this credit?

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Adele Bluck
May 04 2011
Guest
630 Thumbs Up

FFE and UF

I am working on a project where we are trying to get this credit and one sentence on the credit requirements is causing us a bit of trouble. The ref guide states that "materials considered fixtures, furniture and equipment (FF&E) are not considered base buildingThe base building includes elements such as the structure, envelope, and building-level mechanical systems, such as central HVAC, and materials and products installed in the project (e.g., flooring, casework, wall coverings). elements and are not included", i.e. the no-UFUrea Formaldehyde (UF), used in some types of plywood, particleboard, MDF, and laminated wood products, is a synthetic resin created by condensing urea with formaldehyde. requirement doesn't apply. On our project, most of the composite woodComposite wood consists of wood or plant particles or fibers bonded by a synthetic resin or binder. Examples include particleboard, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), plywood, oriented-strand board (OSB), wheatboard, and strawboard. is used for casework, desks, cupboards, etc, which are assembled by a specialist contractor on site. All of these items are technically furniture, so according to the statement above, the no-UF requirement does not apply. Is this correct? It seems a bit odd to me that a very large part of the interior fit-out would simply not be relevant to this credit. Also, if we don't have any other composite wood in the project, does that mean we are not eligible for this credit or would we need to include FFE after all?

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Josh Jacobs Technical Information & Public Affairs Manager, UL Environment May 04 2011 Guest 6910 Thumbs Up

Eszter,

In your comment you say "most" - to me that means that you have some composite woodComposite wood consists of wood or plant particles or fibers bonded by a synthetic resin or binder. Examples include particleboard, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), plywood, oriented-strand board (OSB), wheatboard, and strawboard. in the project that is being used in the base buildingThe base building includes elements such as the structure, envelope, and building-level mechanical systems, such as central HVAC, and materials and products installed in the project (e.g., flooring, casework, wall coverings).. If that is correct, then that composite wood that is being used in the base building would need to comply with the credit and not have any added UFUrea Formaldehyde (UF), used in some types of plywood, particleboard, MDF, and laminated wood products, is a synthetic resin created by condensing urea with formaldehyde.. This would get you the point.

Now if you truly want to provide a healthy indoor environment for those that are going to occupy your project following completion, I would suggest that you try and source this type of composite wood for all uses - whether you get the points or not. Also, if the furniture and fixtures that are being built on-site are going in prior to occupancy, using no added UF boards would also help a little if you were going after the IAQIndoor air quality: The quality and attributes of indoor air affecting the health and comfort building occupants. IAQ encompasses available fresh air, contaminant levels, acoustics and noise levels, lighting quality, and other factors. Building Clearance credit (EQc3.2).

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Parker Williams Green Building Consultant Green Credential ™
Jan 26 2011
Guest
231 Thumbs Up

EPP particle board

The local lumberyard has particle board with this stamp on it: EPPEnvironmentall preferable products (EPP) are those identified as having a lesser or reduced effect on health and the environment when compared with competing products that serve the same purpose.-CPA 3-08.
Here is a bit about it, on PDF: http://www.pbmdf.com/CPA30/files/ccLibraryFiles/Filename/000000001428/EP...

In it it says:
Unfinished Particleboard. Formaldehyde1. Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring VOC found in small amounts in animals and plants but is carcinogenic and an irritant to most people when present in high concentrations, causing headaches, dizziness, mental impairment, and other symptoms. When present in the air at levels above 0.1 ppm, it can cause watery eyes; burning sensations in the eyes, nose, and throat; nausea; coughing; chest tightness; wheezing; skin rashes; and asthmatic and allergic reactions. 2. A known carcinogen with no known safe exposure level. Formaldehyde occurs naturally, but appears in unnaturally high concentra­tions in many buildings because it is an ingredient in binders used in many building materials and furnishings. emissions from unfinished particleboard must be less than or equal to 0.18 ppmParts per million. using the Large Chamber Test Method (ASTMVoluntary standards development organization which creates source technical standards for materials, products, systems, and services E1333). Particleboard products will be evaluated at the typical loading rate for particleboard of 0.13 ft2/ft3. Particleboard that uses a bonding system other than Urea FormaldehydeUrea formaldehyde is a combination of urea and formaldehyde used in some glues and adhesives, particularly in composite wood products. At room temperature, ureaformaldehyde emits formaldehyde, a toxic and possibly carcinogenic gas., may qualify for “Exempted” status under section 6.3 of the EPP Grademark Manual. One exception to this requirement is for Grade LD of ANSI A208.1-1999 (Door Core) products. Grade LD is allowed a loading ratio of 0.04 ft2/ft3 as per section 3.4 of ANSI A208.1-1999.

I'm thinking this doesn't qualify, it just has limits for the UFUrea Formaldehyde (UF), used in some types of plywood, particleboard, MDF, and laminated wood products, is a synthetic resin created by condensing urea with formaldehyde.,..anyone have anymore info on this?

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Josh Jacobs Technical Information & Public Affairs Manager, UL Environment Jan 26 2011 Guest 6910 Thumbs Up

Because the requirement for the credit states that there is no added urea-formaldehyde1. Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring VOC found in small amounts in animals and plants but is carcinogenic and an irritant to most people when present in high concentrations, causing headaches, dizziness, mental impairment, and other symptoms. When present in the air at levels above 0.1 ppm, it can cause watery eyes; burning sensations in the eyes, nose, and throat; nausea; coughing; chest tightness; wheezing; skin rashes; and asthmatic and allergic reactions. 2. A known carcinogen with no known safe exposure level. Formaldehyde occurs naturally, but appears in unnaturally high concentra­tions in many buildings because it is an ingredient in binders used in many building materials and furnishings., the emission of formaldehyde from the particleboard doesn't really matter. The problem with the stamp is that the way that I read the standard, it does not preclude products from having added urea-formaldehyde. Therefore I do not believe that the stamp would help qualify the product for this credit - now if the supplier or manufacturer of the particleboard has a letter stating that none was added, that is normally enough for proof of compliance.

Thankfully in the proposed update to EQc4 they focus on actual product emissions - even in particle board - not just product content.

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Adele Bluck
Nov 18 2010
Guest
630 Thumbs Up

European Compliance Issues

Has anybody had any experience working with european product information provided on formaldehyde1. Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring VOC found in small amounts in animals and plants but is carcinogenic and an irritant to most people when present in high concentrations, causing headaches, dizziness, mental impairment, and other symptoms. When present in the air at levels above 0.1 ppm, it can cause watery eyes; burning sensations in the eyes, nose, and throat; nausea; coughing; chest tightness; wheezing; skin rashes; and asthmatic and allergic reactions. 2. A known carcinogen with no known safe exposure level. Formaldehyde occurs naturally, but appears in unnaturally high concentra­tions in many buildings because it is an ingredient in binders used in many building materials and furnishings.? I have been provided with some test results that show 0.1mg/m2 of formaldehyde of a wood based material, which complies well within the limits of the 'German Prohibition for Chemical Products' - of <3.5mg/m2. I was hoping this would compare favourably to a particular US equivalent regulation.

Would a 0.1mg/m2 formaldehyde be sufficient for LEED certification with this documentation?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Executive Editor – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Nov 29 2010 LEEDuser Moderator

The LEED requirement is for "no added urea formaldehydeUrea formaldehyde is a combination of urea and formaldehyde used in some glues and adhesives, particularly in composite wood products. At room temperature, ureaformaldehyde emits formaldehyde, a toxic and possibly carcinogenic gas.." Since there is naturally occuring formaldehyde in wood, even compliant wood may easily have a low level like the German threshold. However, for LEED purposes they are not equivalent. You need products that have no added UFUrea Formaldehyde (UF), used in some types of plywood, particleboard, MDF, and laminated wood products, is a synthetic resin created by condensing urea with formaldehyde..

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Jan Stensland Founding Principal Inside Matters
Oct 29 2010
Guest
120 Thumbs Up

Documentation from manufacturers for EQ 4.4

My understanding is that the credit requires documentation that a product does not contain any added formaldehyde1. Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring VOC found in small amounts in animals and plants but is carcinogenic and an irritant to most people when present in high concentrations, causing headaches, dizziness, mental impairment, and other symptoms. When present in the air at levels above 0.1 ppm, it can cause watery eyes; burning sensations in the eyes, nose, and throat; nausea; coughing; chest tightness; wheezing; skin rashes; and asthmatic and allergic reactions. 2. A known carcinogen with no known safe exposure level. Formaldehyde occurs naturally, but appears in unnaturally high concentra­tions in many buildings because it is an ingredient in binders used in many building materials and furnishings. and that the team highlights the portion of the document that substantiates the claim (this is directly out of the reference guide). Therefore, just a statement that it doesn't contain any added urea formaldehydeUrea formaldehyde is a combination of urea and formaldehyde used in some glues and adhesives, particularly in composite wood products. At room temperature, ureaformaldehyde emits formaldehyde, a toxic and possibly carcinogenic gas. from the manufacturer wouldn't be enough, would it? What if it was a Chinese manufacturer? Given the problems with wallboard, dog food, infant formula, and pharmaceuticals, some of my clients wouldn't be comfortable accepting a letter from a company in China or some other countries that have less stringent regulations on products. Please advise as to what is acceptable documentation.

If a product has documentation from 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. to meet California's formaldehyde-free resin regulation (or very low formaldehyde for products sold in CA but not eligible for this credit), is that accepted as documentation for the credit?

Thanks!

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Executive Editor – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Oct 29 2010 LEEDuser Moderator

Yes, a cut sheet or manufacturer letter acting as  self-declaration is sufficient for credit documentation.

As farFloor-area ratio is the density of nonresidential land use, exclusive of parking, measured as the total nonresidential building floor area divided by the total buildable land area available for nonresidential structures. For example, on a site with 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) of buildable land area, an FAR of 1.0 would be 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) of building floor area. On the same site, an FAR of 1.5 would be 15,000 square feet (1395 square meters), an FAR of 2.0 would be 20,000 square feet (1860 square meters), and an FAR of 0.5 would be 5,000 square feet (465 square meters). as LEED is concerned, that's sufficient for manufacturers from any location. I can understand the desire for better assurance, in which case third-party testing or certification of manufacturing processes could be requested.

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Vivian Wan
Jul 23 2010
Guest
417 Thumbs Up

E1 E0 wood

do you know whether E1 and E0 wood applies to IEQc4.4? Thanks

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Executive Editor – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jul 23 2010 LEEDuser Moderator

My understandings is that E1 and E0 are European emissions standards.

IEQc4.4 does not use any emissions standards. It relies on one simple criterion—no added urea formaldehydeUrea formaldehyde is a combination of urea and formaldehyde used in some glues and adhesives, particularly in composite wood products. At room temperature, ureaformaldehyde emits formaldehyde, a toxic and possibly carcinogenic gas. (NAUF).

I would guess that a lot of E0 and maybe E1 products would comply with IEQc4.4, but I would not rely on these standards to qualify products. The manufacturers must meet a spec of NAUF.

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Michelle Cottrell President Design Management Services
Jul 19 2010
LEEDuser Member
1076 Thumbs Up

Delamination problems?

Has anyone had delamination issues (or any other performance related issues) with composite woodComposite wood consists of wood or plant particles or fibers bonded by a synthetic resin or binder. Examples include particleboard, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), plywood, oriented-strand board (OSB), wheatboard, and strawboard. and agrifiber productsAgrifiber products are made from agricultural fiber. Examples include particleboard, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), plywood, oriented-strand board (OSB), wheatboard, and strawboard. with no added urea-formaldehyde1. Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring VOC found in small amounts in animals and plants but is carcinogenic and an irritant to most people when present in high concentrations, causing headaches, dizziness, mental impairment, and other symptoms. When present in the air at levels above 0.1 ppm, it can cause watery eyes; burning sensations in the eyes, nose, and throat; nausea; coughing; chest tightness; wheezing; skin rashes; and asthmatic and allergic reactions. 2. A known carcinogen with no known safe exposure level. Formaldehyde occurs naturally, but appears in unnaturally high concentra­tions in many buildings because it is an ingredient in binders used in many building materials and furnishings.?

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Brent Ehrlich Products and materials specialist, BuildingGreen Jul 19 2010 LEEDuser Expert 425 Thumbs Up

Hi Michelle. There shouldn't be any delamination problems based on the binders. Phenol is as strong as UFUrea Formaldehyde (UF), used in some types of plywood, particleboard, MDF, and laminated wood products, is a synthetic resin created by condensing urea with formaldehyde. and is moisture resistant, hence it's use in exterior sheathing. I spoke with Environ Biocomposites, makers of most wheatcore in the U.S. They use an MDIMethyl Diisocyanate – non-formaldehyde binder used in some medium-density fiberboard and particleboard products, including straw-based particleboard. resin with no formaldehyde1. Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring VOC found in small amounts in animals and plants but is carcinogenic and an irritant to most people when present in high concentrations, causing headaches, dizziness, mental impairment, and other symptoms. When present in the air at levels above 0.1 ppm, it can cause watery eyes; burning sensations in the eyes, nose, and throat; nausea; coughing; chest tightness; wheezing; skin rashes; and asthmatic and allergic reactions. 2. A known carcinogen with no known safe exposure level. Formaldehyde occurs naturally, but appears in unnaturally high concentra­tions in many buildings because it is an ingredient in binders used in many building materials and furnishings. (they recommend a polyurethane adhesive for laminates). Lynden Doors uses these cores with either PVA or cassein laminate adhesives and has found no difference in adhesion between composites. Like all composite woods, avoid moisture and NAF and NAUF products should be just as good, or better, than UF, and without the formaldehyde emissions.

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Maory Sciubba Managing Member, Knowledge Resource, LLC Jul 26 2010 LEEDuser Member 267 Thumbs Up

As a LEED consultant for Woodworkers, I have heard from a couple of my clients that MEDEX seems to be the best core for preventing the delamination problems.

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Andreas M. Roessler Senior Sustainability Consultant, LEED ® AP ID+C Turner&Townsend Germany
Mar 03 2010
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298 Thumbs Up

Wooden raised floor

Hi, do you know whether a raised wooden floor applies to IEQc4.4?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Executive Editor – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Mar 03 2010 LEEDuser Moderator

If it's a wood-composite material, then yes, it would be subject to both IEQc4.3 and IEQc4.4 (assuming you want to earn both credits—they have quite different requirements relative to wood floor).

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Mary Davidge Principal Mary Davidge Associates
Feb 16 2010
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669 Thumbs Up

formaldehyde in interiors

Thanks for your input Tristan and Nadav,
I hope that LEED 2012 will incorporate at least the more comprehensive requirements in LEED for Schools. It helps to have more leverage in this issue and in shifting the market.

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Mary Davidge Principal Mary Davidge Associates
Feb 13 2010
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669 Thumbs Up

added urea formaldehyde

As this credit applies only to composite woodComposite wood consists of wood or plant particles or fibers bonded by a synthetic resin or binder. Examples include particleboard, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), plywood, oriented-strand board (OSB), wheatboard, and strawboard., agrifber and adhesives, is there agreement that materials such as ceiling tiles, the actual laminate (as opposed to the adhesive used to apply the laminate) and insulation are not required to meet this requirement. This seems odd to me as they often contain added urea formaldehydeUrea formaldehyde is a combination of urea and formaldehyde used in some glues and adhesives, particularly in composite wood products. At room temperature, ureaformaldehyde emits formaldehyde, a toxic and possibly carcinogenic gas. as well.

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Nadav Malin USGBC LEED Faculty, President, BuildingGreen, Inc. Feb 14 2010 LEEDuser Moderator

Hi Mary,

You're correct. As long as the ceiling tiles are not made from wood fiber or agrifibers, this credit does not apply to them. I agree that there are lots of other potential sources of formaldehyde1. Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring VOC found in small amounts in animals and plants but is carcinogenic and an irritant to most people when present in high concentrations, causing headaches, dizziness, mental impairment, and other symptoms. When present in the air at levels above 0.1 ppm, it can cause watery eyes; burning sensations in the eyes, nose, and throat; nausea; coughing; chest tightness; wheezing; skin rashes; and asthmatic and allergic reactions. 2. A known carcinogen with no known safe exposure level. Formaldehyde occurs naturally, but appears in unnaturally high concentra­tions in many buildings because it is an ingredient in binders used in many building materials and furnishings. emissions in buildings that are not covered by this credit. LEED has, so farFloor-area ratio is the density of nonresidential land use, exclusive of parking, measured as the total nonresidential building floor area divided by the total buildable land area available for nonresidential structures. For example, on a site with 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) of buildable land area, an FAR of 1.0 would be 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) of building floor area. On the same site, an FAR of 1.5 would be 15,000 square feet (1395 square meters), an FAR of 2.0 would be 20,000 square feet (1860 square meters), and an FAR of 0.5 would be 5,000 square feet (465 square meters)., chosen to try to affect only the primary offenders--hence its focus on urea-formaldehyde, while allowing phenol formaldehydePhenol formaldehyde, which off-gasses only at high temperature, is used for exterior products, although many of these products are suitable for interior applications. and other formaldehyde-based resins, even in composite woodComposite wood consists of wood or plant particles or fibers bonded by a synthetic resin or binder. Examples include particleboard, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), plywood, oriented-strand board (OSB), wheatboard, and strawboard. products.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Executive Editor – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Feb 15 2010 LEEDuser Moderator

In terms of ceiling tiles, insulation and wall systems, you may want to check out IEQc4.6 and how teams are going about achieving that. Seems like some of the materials you're concerned about are covered there. (It's just a Schools credit, though.)

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