CS-2009 IEQc4.3: Low-Emitting Materials—Flooring Systems

  • Use either inert or certified flooring

    IEQc4.3

    Resilient flooring, rubber flooring, and prefinished wood flooring all must be FloorScore or Greenguard Children and Schools certified. Wood, concrete, and other flooring installed raw need not be certified as long all coatings and finished applied to them meet the requirements of IEQc4.2: Low-Emitting Materials—Paints and Coatings.

    Key changes to this credit

    This credit represents a significant change from past versions of LEED, which focused on just carpeting. LEED 2009 now mandates low-emitting standards for resilient and hard-surface flooring as well.

    Another big change to this credit took place in the April 2010 LEED addenda from USGBC, in which USGBC responded to complaints that inert flooring materials shouldn't be subject to the testing requirements. Tile, masonry, terrazzo, cut stone, and solid-wood flooring without organic coatings or 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. now qualify for this credit without further testing.

    Both designers and contractors have to understand the rules

    While this is a construction-phase credit—and the contractor will need to ensure that VOC-compliant adhesives, sealants and coatings have been applied to flooring systems—it can be dealt with primarily during the design phase by choosing specific manufacturers and flooring products for the contractor to use. Allocating adequate time for product research, and identifying compliant flooring products before construction begins, helps to ensure that the right products are used. 

    FloorScore lists a few compliant products on its website, but a limited number of manufacturers that have had their products tested by FloorScore. Products certified to the Greenguard for Children and Schools standard are also okay, because that standard meets the California Department of Health Services protocol. Beware: the generic Greenguard standard does not meet this protocol. (See Resources for links to products.)

    Make sure the contractor and subcontractors know what information to look for. Don’t allow them to use products that merely claim to be low-VOC. Find the manufacturer’s data stating that carpets are Green Label Plus, carpet padding is Green Label, and hard-surface flooring is FloorScore or has been tested by an accredited lab and complies with the California Department of Health Services protocol.

    Carpet testing samplesCarpet samples like these are tested in closed chambers for emissions levels. Samples are fit into trays covering their edges, to avoid skewing results. Photo – Berkeley Analytical AssociatesYou’ll have to document flooring adhesives, sealants, paints, and coatings twice—once for IEQc4.1 or IEQc4.2, and again for this credit. Enter the same VOC data for flooring adhesives, sealants, and coatings in the LEED forms for IEQc4.1, IEQc4.2 and IEQc4.3. 

    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 IEQc4.3

    Should track-off mats being used on the project to meet IEQc5 requirements be included in IEQc4.3 credit requirements?

    There is no definitive information from USGBC on this one way or another. It is recommended that project teams do their best to find low-emitting options for IEQc5, and that IEQc4.3 compliance is recommended. However, LEEDuser has heard that project teams have had success not including track-off mats, such as the type with grilles and small strips of carpeting. Also, mats that are removed for cleaning are not permanently installed and thus not subject to credit requirements. Carpet tiles may be used as track-off mats, and are available with the requisite certification.

    If I have no flooring products in my project, can I earn this credit?

    This situation is not definitively addressed by USGBC. However, because the credit requires the use of flooring products that meet specific requirements, it makes sense to assume that flooring must be used.

    How do I handle a polished concrete floor?

    The concrete is not considered under the credit requirements because it is not a flooring product. Any coatings used to finish the concrete would be applicable under IEQc4.1 and IEQc4.2.

    Should mineral-based finish flooring products (without any integral organic-based coatings and sealants) and unfinished/untreated solid wood flooring be documented on the IEQc4.3 LEED Online form, even though they are exempt from certification requirements?

    According to 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. #10267, the project team should mark the form to indicate an Alternative Compliance Path, and include a narrative with a statement that the project is applying the April 14, 2010 addenda, as well as the manufacturer and specific product description of the product claiming the exemption. Manufacturer documentation for each product claiming an exemption is not required.

    On a renovation, should flooring that is previously installed be subject to the credit requirements?

    No. The credit requirements only refer to flooring installed within the project scope.

    One flooring adhesive we are using falls under both IEQc4.1 and IEQc4.3, and is over the VOC limit. We are using the VOC budget method to meet IEQc4.1 requirements, but are we automatically disqualifed from IEQc4.3?

    Technically speaking, the IEQc4.3 credit language would not allow you to earn the credit in this situation. The budget method is not referenced in IEQc4.3. However, there has not been an official ruling on this from USGBC, and a case could be made through a narrative or a LEED Interpretation for earning the credit.

    Are throw rugs subject to the credit requirements?

    While finding low-emitting throw rugs would be a good idea, they would not be considered "permanently installed" and so would not be subject to credit requirements.

    If a ceramic tile receives a top coat after it is manufactured, is it exempt from the credit requirements?

    No. A tile or similar product that is coated after being manufactured must meet the credit requirements for flooring product certification.

    The credit requirements are allowed to exempt unfinished wood flooring from the credit requirements, but wood flooring is almost always finished. This is confusing!

    Yes, it is odd. All the same, unfinished flooring is exempt, while finished flooring must meet relevant requirements.

Legend

  • Best Practices
  • Gotcha
  • Action Steps
  • Cost Tip

Design Development

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  • Consider using low-emitting flooring materials and systems.


  • Review the table shown in the Bird's Eye View, and the credit language, for low-emitting requirements for different flooring materials.  


  • The cost premium for low-emitting flooring varies. Carpet, for example, should not have much of a premium, if any. Many hard-surface flooring materials such as concrete and wood are typically low-emitting themselves, and simply need a low-emitting finish, which is unlikely to have much of a cost premium. With higher-end flooring products, the cost of credit-compliant and non-compliant products should be comparable for all types of flooring. 


  • Durability and performance of flooring materials that are compliant with this credit should not be an issue, compared with conventional materials. 


  • Carpeted officeBolyu's Flair carpet tile contains 85% recycled content backing and matches the company's broadloom product. Photo – Beaulieu CommercialCarpeting all of your regularly occupied spaces will make earning this credit easier, because compliant carpeting is easy to find and should be available without a cost premium. FloorScore-certified hard-surface flooring, on the other hand, is harder to find as there may be limited variety and availability. However, consider durability as part of your design—hard-surface flooring offers better durability than carpet.


  • FloorScore lists a few compliant products on its website, but a limited number of manufacturers that have had their products tested by FloorScore. Products certified under the Greenguard for Children and Schools program are also okay, because that standard meets the California Department of Health Services protocol. Beware: the generic Greenguard standard does not meet this protocol.


  • Resilient flooring, rubber flooring, and prefinished wood flooring all must be FloorScore-certified. Solid wood flooring, ceramic tile, concrete, and other flooring installed without binders or coatings need not be certified, but all coatings and finished applied to them must meet the requirements of IEQc4.2: Low-Emitting Materials—Paints and Coatings.

Construction Documents

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  • Make sure low-emitting flooring requirements have been integrated into the construction specifications.  


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


  • 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.


  • If possible, incorporate in the specifications specific, compliant low-emitting products by product line and manufacturer. 


  • Contracts for contractors and subcontractors should include their responsibility for ensuring that products they supply comply with LEED’s requirements.


  • Low-emitting requirements can also be incorporated in a more comprehensive IAQ management plan (required for IEQc3.1: Construction Indoor Air Quality Plan—During Construction) specifying low-emitting flooring systems to control a source of construction pollution.


  • 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-emitting flooring products improves your odds of passing the air quality tests. 


  • Polished  concreteUnfinished concrete floors in mechanical rooms are not covered by this credit. Floor finishes like this low-VOC siliconate polished concrete finish are covered, however. Photo – ConspecThe credit only applies to flooring products installed inside. You can exclude flooring or decking in exterior spaces. Unfinished flooring, including floors in mechanical, electrical, and elevator service rooms also are not included. 


  • 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.  


  • 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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  • 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. 


  • 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.  


  • 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.

  • When researching low-emitting products, double check that the manufacturer’s printed information is not misleading. A common example is a product cut sheet that states: “This is low-emitting flooring” without providing the product’s certification status and number. You need a copy of the flooring certification to demonstrate the product’s compliance. 


  • You’ll have to document flooring adhesives, sealants, paints, and coatings twice—once for IEQc4.1 or IEQc4.2, and again for this credit.


  • The MSDS for flooring adhesive, sealant, or coating might just list the chemical contents without providing an overall VOC g/L number. If this is the case, you’ll need to contact the manufacturer for a VOC number.  


  • The VOC Budget method described in IEQc4.1: Low Emitting Materials—Adhesives and Sealants and IEQc4.2: Low Emitting Materials—Paints and Coatings is not available for this credit.


  • The GC should be aware of any warranty issues that may exist if alternative adhesives or sealants are used. For example, a carpet company’s warranty may insist that a specific carpet adhesive that doesn’t meet the credit requirements. In this case, you’ll have to choose whether to forgo the credit for the sake of the warranty, to get the manufacturer to approve a low-emitting alternative, or to find an alternative product that complies with this credit.


  • During Construction


  • Throughout construction, the GC collects copies of flooring certifications and VOC data from subcontractors for all flooring adhesives, sealants, and coatings. VOC content is measured in grams per liter (g/l), and VOC levels can be found on each product’s MSDS.  


  • 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.


  • 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 items being tracked for each material across MR and IEQ credits. For example, you may need to ask the carpet manufacturer for regional manufacturing and extraction locations for MRc5, recycled-content information for MRc4, and the CRI Green Label Plus information for this credit—all for one carpet selection. (See the Documentation Toolkit for a sample tracking spreadsheet.)


  • Schedule the installation of absorptive flooring systems so that they are protected from construction air contaminants. This is required if your project is pursuing IEQc3.1: Construction Indoor Air Quality Management Plan—During Construction. For example, carpet tiles installed before walls are painted will absorb VOCs from the paint, and then offgas over a longer period.


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


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

Operations & Maintenance

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  • Keep a list of compliant flooring systems used on the project so that O&M staff can use these products for future renovations.


  • Follow specific maintenance practices for the flooring products used. Follow a green cleaning and maintenance policy that limits products with VOCs and other indoor pollutants.

  • USGBC

    Excerpted from LEED 2009 for Core and Shell Development

    IEQ Credit 4.3: Low-emitting materials - flooring systems

    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

    Option 1

    All flooring must comply with the following as applicable to the project scope:

    • All carpet installed in the building interior must meet one of the following requirements:

      • Meets the testing and product requirements of the Carpet and Rug Institute Green Label Plus1 program.
      • Maximum VOC concentrations are less than or equal to those specified in the California Department of Health Services Standard Practice for the Testing of Volatile Organic Emissions from Various Sources Using Small-Scale Environmental Chambers, including 2004 Addenda, using the office scenario as defined in Table 7.5 within the practice. The additional VOC concentration limits listed in Section 9.1a must also be met.
      • Maximum VOC concentrations meet the California requirements specified above based on the following:
        • California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Standard Method V1.1-2010 using test results obtained at the 14 day time point
        • Projects outside the U.S. may use the German AgBB/DIBt testing method and all testing methods based on AgBB/DIBt method (GUT, EMICODE, Blue Angel) using test results obtained at the 3 day or 7 day or 14 day time point. For caprolactam, if test results obtained at the 3 day or 7 day time point is used, the emission concentration must be less than ½ of the concentration limit specified above because the emission may not have peaked at the measured time points.

          If a European testing method (AgBB/DIBt GUT, EMICODE, Blue Angel) had used parameters for calculating test results different from those specified in the referenced California method, then the European test results for carpets or floorings need to be converted into California air concentrations by multiplication with 0.7.
    • All carpet cushion installed in the building interior must meet the requirements of the Carpet and Rug Institute Green Label program.
    • All carpet adhesive must meet the requirements of IEQ Credit 4.1: 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., which includes a volatile organic compound (VOC) limit of 50 g/L (0.4 lb/gal).
    • All hard surface flooring installed in the building interior must meet one of the following requirements:
      • Meet the requirements of the FloorScore2 standard (current as of the date of this rating system, or more stringent version) as shown with testing by an independent third-party.
      • Demonstrate maximum VOC concentrations less than or equal to those specified in the California Department of Health Services Standard Practice for the Testing of Volatile Organic Emissions from Various Sources Using Small-Scale Environmental Chambers, including 2004 Addenda, using the office scenario as defined in Table 7.5 within the practice.
      • Maximum VOC concentrations meet the California requirements specified above based on the following:
        • California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Standard Method V1.1-2010 using test results obtained at the 14 day time point
        • Projects outside the U.S. may use the German AgBB/DIBt testing method and all testing methods based on AgBB/DIBt method (GUT, EMICODE, Blue Angel) using test results obtained at the 3 day or 7 day or 14 day time point. For caprolactam, if test results obtained at the 3 day or 7 day time point is used, the emission concentration must be less than ½ of the concentration limit specified above because the emission may not have peaked at the measured time points.

          If a European testing method (AgBB/DIBt GUT, EMICODE, Blue Angel) had used parameters for calculating test results different from those specified in the referenced California method, then the European test results for carpets or floorings need to be converted into California air concentrations by multiplication with 0.7.

      Mineral based finish flooring products such as tile, masonry, terrazzo, and cut stone without integral organic-based coatings and sealants and unfinished/untreated solid wood flooring qualify for credit without any 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. testing requirements. However, associated site-applied adhesives, grouts, finishes and 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. must be compliant for a mineral-based or unfinished/untreated solid wood flooring system to qualify for credit.

      • Concrete, wood, bamboo and cork floor finishes such as sealer, stain and finish must meet the requirements of South Coast Air Quality Management District SCAQMD) Rule 1113, Architectural Coatings, rules in effect on January 1, 2004.
      • Tile setting adhesives and grout must meet South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) Rule 1168. VOC limits correspond to an effective date of July 1, 2005 and rule amendment date of January 7, 2005.
      • For carpet adhesive, concrete, wood, bamboo and cork floor finishes, and tile setting adhesives, compliance can be demonstrated with test results of:
        • Total volatiles fraction, based on one of the following, provided that water and exempt compounds are subtracted from total volatiles test results and the mass VOC content is calculated consistent with SCAQMD Rule 1113 and Rule 1168:

          • ASTMVoluntary standards development organization which creates source technical standards for materials, products, systems, and services D2369
          • EPA method 24
          • ISO 11890 part 1
        • Total volatile organic compounds fraction, based on one of the following, provided that all 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. with a boiling point up to 280°C (536°F) are included, and exempt compounds are subtracted from total volatiles test results and the mass VOC content is calculated consistent with SCAQMD Rule 1113 and Rule 1168.
          • ASTM D6886
          • ISO 11890 part 2

        1 The Green Label Plus program for carpets and its associated VOC emission criteria in micrograms per square meter per hour, along with information on testing method and sample collection developed by the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) in coordination with California’s Sustainable Building Task Force and the California Department of Public Health , are described in Section 9, Acceptable Emissions Testing for Carpet, DHS Standard Practice CA/DHS/EHLB/R-174, dated 07/15/04.
        2 FloorScore is a voluntary, independent certification program that tests and certifies hard surface flooring and associated products for compliance with criteria adopted in California for indoor air emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) with potential health effects. The program uses a small-scale chamber test protocol and incorporates VOC emissions criteria, developed by the California Department of Public Health.

        OPTION 2

        All flooring elements installed in the building interior must meet the testing and product requirements of the California Department of Health Services Standard Practice for the Testing of Volatile Organic Emissions from Various Sources Using Small-Scale Environmental Chambers, including 2004 Addenda. Mineral-based finish flooring products such as tile, masonry, terrazzo, and cut stone without integral organic based coatings and sealants and unfinished/untreated solid wood flooring qualify for credit without any IAQ testing requirements. However, associated site-applied adhesives, grouts, finishes and sealers must be compliant for a mineral-based or unfinished/untreated solid wood flooring system to qualify for credit.

    Potential Technologies & Strategies

    Clearly specify requirements for product testing and/or certification in the construction documents. Select products that are either certified under the Green Label Plus program or for which testing has been done by qualified independent laboratories in accordance with the appropriate requirements.

    FOOTNOTES

    1. The Green Label Plus program for carpets and its associated VOC emission criteria in micrograms per square meter per hour, along with information on testing method and sample collection developed by the Carpet & Rug Institute (CRI) in coordination with California’s Sustainable Building Task Force and the California Department of Public Health, are described in Section 9, Acceptable Emissions Testing for Carpet, DHS Standard Practice CA/DHS/EHLB/R-174, dated 07/15/04. This document is available at: http://www.dhs.ca.gov/ps/deodc/ehlb/ia/VOCS/Section01350_7_15_2004_FINAL_PLUS_ADDENDUM-2004-01.pdf (also published as Section 01350 Section 9 [dated 2004] by the Collaborative for High Performance Schools [www.chps.net]).

    2. FloorScore is a voluntary, independent certification program that tests and certifies hard surface flooring and associated products for compliance with criteria adopted in California for indoor air emissions of VOCs with potential health effects. The program uses a smallscale chamber test protocol and incorporates VOC emissions criteria, which are widely known as Section 1350, developed by the California Department of Health Services.

Organizations

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

Support on incorporating LEED requirements into specifications. 


Floorscore

The FloorScore program, developed by the Resilient Floor Covering Institute (RFCI) in conjunction with Scientific Certification Systems (SCS), tests and certifies flooring products for compliance with indoor air quality emission requirements adopted in California. 


GreenGuard Environmental Institute (GEI)

The GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI) is an industry-independent, non-profit organization that oversees the GREENGUARD Certification ProgramSM.  As an ANSI Authorized Standards Developer, GEI establishes acceptable indoor air standards for indoor products, environments, and buildings.


Scientific Certification Systems, Inc.

A global leader in third-party environmental, sustainability and food quality certification, auditing, testing and standards development.

Publications

South Coast Air Quality Management District - Rules and Regulations

AQMD 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. We are committed to protecting the health of residents, while remaining sensitive to businesses.


Greenguard Children & Schools

Searchable List of Compliant products.

Technical Guides

Standard Practice For the Testing of Volatile Organic Emissions From Various Sources Using Small-Scale Environmental Chambers

This is the referenced California standard that sets out the procedures and specific criteria for conducting VOC chamber tests.


MasterSpec “Specifying LEED Requirements Reference Book and CD ROM

A guide to specifying for LEED projects, with samples.

Materials Calculator

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

Environmental Materials Reporting Form

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

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.

Low-Emitting Materials Reporting Form

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

Jobsite Signs

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

Product Cut Sheets

Look to product cut sheets for information on the certifications and VOC content of flooring and adhesives or coatings associated with flooring. The example here of a tile clearly states that it is FloorScore-certified, but the VOC level for the tile adhesive is not given, and will need to be requested from the manufacturer.

Construction Submittal

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

Flooring Materials Tracking Form

Provide this form to contractors or other team members to track flooring materials used on the project, and LEED compliance.

70 Comments

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Lilian Seow LEED Manager Vancouver, BC Canada
Jun 11 2014
LEEDuser Member
559 Thumbs Up

Manufacturer Declaration

The tile contractor says they can't disclose their floor tile and stone supplier information. So, they are unable to provide a declaration letter from their tile supplier/manufacturer [located in China] to confirm that the tile does not have organic-based coatings or 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.. Can the tile contractor provide a letter to confirm this on behalf of their manufacturer?

Thanks

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

Does the contractor have reliable information from the manufacturer?

I am a bit wary of this. Why can't they provide it directly from the mfr but redact identifying information that they don't want to disclose?

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Meghan Ward Architectural Technologist, Sustainable Design Consultant Aurecon South Africa
May 12 2014
LEEDuser Member
3 Thumbs Up

Self-level Screed Underlayment

Does anyone know if a screed that is applied to concrete slabs prior to installing carpet tiles is considered for this credit and or IEQc4.1/4.2? The screed is a self-levelling smoothing compound used as an underlayment applied onto interior concrete slabs prior to installing carpet tiles as the final floor finish.

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John-David Hutchison, LEED AP BD+C, PMP Sustainability Consultant, CSV Architects May 16 2014 LEEDuser Expert 2112 Thumbs Up

I would say no, as screeds, as well as self-leaving concrete are cementatious materials; neither SCAQMD 1113 or 1168 reference these materials. As well, I have yet to come across any of these products with any VOC content.

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Lauren Sparandara Sustainability Manager, Google May 29 2014 LEEDuser Expert 15752 Thumbs Up

I would agree with John.

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Lilian Seow LEED Manager Vancouver, BC Canada
Apr 09 2014
LEEDuser Member
559 Thumbs Up

IEQ 4.3 - Mineral-based without integral organic based coatings

Can someone explain that statement in another way?
I am trying to explain what that means to tile supplier/manufacturer in China for them to provide a letter.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Apr 10 2014 LEEDuser Moderator

Lilian, let me try—it means rock, stone, ceramic, porcelain, etc., with no coating that would be applied after firing, such as epoxy, polyurethane, etc.

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Gina Dennis CEO Relerience
Feb 27 2014
Guest
26 Thumbs Up

IEQ 4.3 LEED Online Form Drop Down menu for adhesives

We are uploading to LEED Online using a Beta form "v.0.2.3" in the IEQ 4.3 Form. IEQ 4.3 requires us to list the adhesives (from IEQ 4.1) used for the flooring. The drop down menu in the adhesives section for the IEQ 4.3 Form does not include a category for "Multi-Purpose Construction Adhesives", for "Cove Base Adhesives" or for "Plastic Cement Welding." All of those categories exist under the IEQ 4.1 Form, but oddly they don't appear in the adhesives drop-down menu in the IEQ 4.3 Form even though other adhesive categories do appear in the IEQ 4.3 Form. What should we do? "Indoor Carpet Adhesive" and "Carpet Tile Adhesive" are the only adhesive categories listed in the drop down menu in the IEQ 4.3 Form. Should we put it all under "Primer/Sealer/Undercoater"? We're not the project administrator so we cannot upgrade out of the Beta form- and we have a time crunch.

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John-David Hutchison, LEED AP BD+C, PMP Sustainability Consultant, CSV Architects May 16 2014 LEEDuser Expert 2112 Thumbs Up

Mineral based finish flooring products such as tile, masonry, terrazzo, and cut stone without integral organic-based coatings 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. and unfinished/untreated solid wood flooring qualify for credit without any 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. testing requirements. However, associated site-applied adhesives, grouts, finishes and 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. must be compliant for a mineral-based or unfinished/untreated solid wood flooring system to qualify for credit.

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John-David Hutchison, LEED AP BD+C, PMP Sustainability Consultant, CSV Architects May 16 2014 LEEDuser Expert 2112 Thumbs Up

Sorry, I answered the wrong question.

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Catharina B-K LEED AP BD+C
Jan 27 2014
LEEDuser Member
74 Thumbs Up

Ceramic tiles vs FloreScore

Hi

I’m a little bit confusing, please correct me. On my LEED CS v2009 ceramic tiles, stone and resin will be installed part of the CS scope of works. Could the project get IEQ 4.3 credit, if ceramic tiles will not have FloreScore. All 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 adhesives will comply with EQc4.1.

Thanks in advance.
Catharina

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John-David Hutchison, LEED AP BD+C, PMP Sustainability Consultant, CSV Architects May 16 2014 LEEDuser Expert 2112 Thumbs Up

Mineral based finish flooring products such as tile, masonry, terrazzo, and cut stone without integral organic-based coatings 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. and unfinished/untreated solid wood flooring qualify for credit without any 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. testing requirements. However, associated site-applied adhesives, grouts, finishes and 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. must be compliant for a mineral-based or unfinished/untreated solid wood flooring system to qualify for credit.

Could you clarify what the "resin"?

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Habitech Distretto Tecnologico Trentino LEED Services in Europe - Founding Member of GBC Italia Habitech-Distretto Tecnologico Trentino
Nov 21 2013
LEEDuser Member
973 Thumbs Up

Ceramic Tiles only

Hi!
We are working on a LEED CS v2009 where only ceramic tiles (flooring+wall base) will be installed as part of the CS scope of works.
Since tiles are exempt from this credit and no other flooring will be installed (tenants will install their own), could the project get this credit?
Thanks in advance!

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Lauren Sparandara Sustainability Manager, Google Nov 24 2013 LEEDuser Expert 15752 Thumbs Up

In short, the answer is yes. Your tile gets to count as flooring. It's simply the case that the tile just counts automatically. Make sure that any other 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., adhesives, comply with EQc4.1.

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Kathryn West LEED AP BD+C, O+M, Green Globes Professional, Guiding Principles Compliance Professional, Energy Ace Nov 25 2013 Guest 3378 Thumbs Up

I don't think ceramic tiles automatically count? though maybe they should since they are inherently low-emitting.

The form (version 4 form) I'm looking at says ceramic tile has to be FloorScore. Alternatively you can have it tested according to the California Department of Public Health Standard. Thoughts?... based on the form?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Nov 25 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

Kathryn, see the FAQ above about how to document the alternative compliance path for using exempt products like ceramic tiles.

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Kathryn West LEED AP BD+C, O+M, Green Globes Professional, Guiding Principles Compliance Professional, Energy Ace Nov 25 2013 Guest 3378 Thumbs Up

I am saying that ceramic tiles do not appear to be exempt based on the form.

"Product Type Flooring: Ceramic" does not show up as exempt it says it must be FloorScore or California Department of Public Health Service Standard.

"Flooring:Mineral-based" shows up as exempt

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Dec 20 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

Kathryn, I think that is because the form is out of date. That's why our FAQ suggests using the ACP.

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Catharina B-K LEED AP BD+C
Nov 18 2013
LEEDuser Member
74 Thumbs Up

ceramic tiles on wall

Hi
I’m wonder if ceramic tiles on the wall has to meet the FloorScore standard?

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Lauren Sparandara Sustainability Manager, Google Nov 19 2013 LEEDuser Expert 15752 Thumbs Up

Hi Catharina,

Right now the credit is just about flooring and not wall finishes.

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Florinda Garcia
Sep 18 2013
Guest
253 Thumbs Up

cut stone floor

The cut stone floor proposed for the project, will have a pore and non-slip treatment, with this treatment after the instalation in the project, has to comply with floorscore or is exempt and only the products have to meet the EQc4.1 requirements?

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Lauren Sparandara Sustainability Manager, Google Sep 18 2013 LEEDuser Expert 15752 Thumbs Up

Hi Florinda,

I think that this guidance helps to answer your question:

"Mineral based finish flooring products such as tile, masonry, terrazzo, and cut stone without integral organic-based coatings 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. and unfinished/untreated solid wood flooring qualify for credit without any 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. testing requirements. However, associated site-applied adhesives, grouts, finishes and 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. must be compliant for a mineral-based or unfinished/untreated solid wood flooring system to qualify for credit."

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Florinda Garcia
Jul 12 2013
Guest
253 Thumbs Up

raised floor

does the raised floor has to meet the floorscore requirements?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jul 16 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

Florinda, whatever the flooring surface will be—tile, carpet, etc.—needs to meet the credit requirements. A raised flooring structure or underlayment is not subject to the requirements.

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Panupant Phapant SCG Cement - Building Materials Co.,Ltd.
Jun 25 2013
LEEDuser Member
110 Thumbs Up

Rigid Polyvinyl chloride Flooring

I am wondering that if our project use rigid polyvinyl chloride in flooring application. Is it required to get a Floorscore certified?

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Lauren Sparandara Sustainability Manager, Google Jun 25 2013 LEEDuser Expert 15752 Thumbs Up

HI Panupant,

You could also take the route of pursuing Option 2 within the credit requirements.

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Lauren Sparandara Sustainability Manager, Google Jul 09 2013 LEEDuser Expert 15752 Thumbs Up

There are PVC flooring products that are FloorScore certified though. You can search here: http://www.scsglobalservices.com/certified-green-products-database?scsce...

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Laurie Winter
Jun 04 2013
LEEDuser Member
129 Thumbs Up

Tile Crack Prevention Underlay

Do crack-prevention self-adhering underlays under tile fall under the LEED 4.3 scope? Do they need to be FloorScore Certified? Thanks in advance,

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Lauren Sparandara Sustainability Manager, Google Jun 07 2013 LEEDuser Expert 15752 Thumbs Up

Hi Laurie,

I think this product falls through the cracks (pun intended). It's not really a tile and it's not really an adhesive. In talking to my colleagues here it seems that this would not be included in this credit.

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Gabriela Hernández Castillo Architect, LEED AP BD+C SYASA - México
Mar 08 2013
Guest
2540 Thumbs Up

Minimum floor area requirements for EQc4.3?

For C&S project the main floor surface for common areas is specified as natural stone (granite), which I understand is not considered for this credit. The other floor surfaces are those for service areas like Recyclable storage, administrator office, changing rooms, etc. Service areas add a small amount of floor compared with the building size, Is there a minimum floor surface area to be elegible for this credit?

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Lauren Sparandara Sustainability Manager, Google Mar 10 2013 LEEDuser Expert 15752 Thumbs Up

Hi Samuel,

There is not a minimum amount of floor surface area required to comply with the credit.

Lauren

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Helena Larsson Environmental Certifications Engineer Skanska Sweden
Feb 25 2013
LEEDuser Member
167 Thumbs Up

Green guide applicable to thos credit at all?

Hi all
Does anyone know if Green guide is applicable to credit IEQc4.3 at all. I am working with a project based in the UK which is going for a BREEAMBuilding Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method, the first widely used green building rating system, developed in the U.K. in the early 1990s, currently used primarily in the U.K. and in Hong Kong. certification and now looking into LEED as well. This project will use Green Guide for material selection. The question is if this is helpful at all to a possible LEED certification and VOC content when it comes to flooring? Is anypne familiar with Green Guide and knows how VOC is treated within that system?
Thankful for some input!
Helena

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Mar 22 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

Helena, I'm not familiar with Green Guide. Unless it uses testing methods or certifications referenced in the credit language above, I don't think it's applicable here.

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William Wong
Dec 18 2012
Guest
766 Thumbs Up

Raised floor with gypsum panel - exempted from FloorScore?

Does anyone having project that uses raised floor with gypsum panel as flooring system ? Can I suggest that gypsum is exempted from FloorScore certificate as they are primarily mineral-based like ceramic tiles and concrete and its production process undergoes high temperature treatment ?

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Josh Jacobs Technical Information & Public Affairs Manager, UL Environment Dec 18 2012 LEEDuser Expert 5638 Thumbs Up

William,

There are many gypsum products around that pass the requirements of meeting the low-emitting standard CA 01350. You can find some of them on sites like GREEENGUARD and SCS or manufacturers will actually have test reports that show they comply.

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Lauren Sparandara Sustainability Manager, Google Jan 02 2013 LEEDuser Expert 15752 Thumbs Up

Hi William,

Is the gypsum your finish flooring system? If so, I've never heard of that before. Is there something over the gypsum or is it part of the mechanical system somehow? Just wanted to get some clarity. It's only finish flooring systems that would be included.

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Anderson Benite
Sep 10 2012
LEEDuser Member
987 Thumbs Up

Polypropylene raised floor - does it need floorscore?

Hi,
My project is an office building and they want to leave to the tenants a polypropylene raised floor. As it is located, each tenant will be free to choose a finish floor.
Does the polypropylene raised floor need to have a Floorscore certification, since it doesn´t have any sealant and it is an inert plastic?
Thank you.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Sep 10 2012 LEEDuser Moderator

Yes, it would need to be tested. The exemption described in the credit language (see above) is for "mineral-based" flooring such as tile or cut stone.

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Josh Jacobs Technical Information & Public Affairs Manager, UL Environment Sep 10 2012 LEEDuser Expert 5638 Thumbs Up

Anderson - just as a qualification, the product does not need to be FloorScore certified. That is one of the pathways that a product can take to show compliance. The product needs to show compliance with the CA 01350 Test Methodology and Requirements. There are other certification programs that are in the marketplace that help show this compliance, so you do have options.

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Cindy Davis Associate Principal, Callison Architecture Sep 13 2012 LEEDuser Member 227 Thumbs Up

I too have a data center project with raised floors in the server rooms. The product being specified is a Tate ConCore systems with lightweight concrete filled steel pan access panels and galvanized steel pedestals. The finish on top is a plastic laminate to be selected separately. Would like your advice.

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

Cindy, you do need to show compliance with CA 01350. As Josh indicated, there are several pathways to do this.

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Anderson Benite Nov 26 2013 LEEDuser Member 987 Thumbs Up

Hi,
We still have further questions on this topic.
The raised floor is not the final finish.
Still, must present a Floorscore certificate?

Thank you.

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Gabriela Hernández Castillo Architect, LEED AP BD+C SYASA - México
Jul 05 2012
Guest
2540 Thumbs Up

Finishing materials will be specified by future tenant

In our project ownership will provide flooring finishings on commun area, but the leasable area will remain only as concrete so future tenant will install its own flooring.

Do we need to include the floorscore certified floor in the leasing agreement? I think this can create a market barrier for our client since floorscore flooring is really hard to find in central america.

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Susann Geithner Global Sustainability Manager, Predictive Service Jul 05 2012 LEEDuser Member 11772 Thumbs Up

No you don't have to require the tenant area to comply. Just make sure you check the PI form 5 (owner vs. tenant control) correctly. So owner controls flooring in common areas, tenant in lease area.

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Alessio Zampaglione Architects StudioAZA
Apr 04 2012
Guest
717 Thumbs Up

Which flooring system in project scope must be compliant?

Hi everyone,

I’m working on an office building project registered under LEED C&S2009 in which there are different flooring systems:
. ceramic tiles in warehouses, restrooms and changing rooms;
. natural stone flooring (travertine) in the reception;
. unfinished paving system in office spaces. (office final flooring is not in project scope.)
Which of this flooring systems must be compliant with credit requirements? I read on LEED User Bird’s Eye views that ‘it’s easier to achieve this credit if all your regularly occupied spacesRegularly occupied spaces are areas where one or more individuals normally spend time (more than one hour per person per day on average) seated or standing as they work, study, or perform other focused activities inside a building. are carpeted…..’: does it mean that only regularly occupied space flooring system must be compliance with credit prescriptions?

Thank you in advance,

Alessio

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Lauren Sparandara Sustainability Manager, Google Apr 04 2012 LEEDuser Expert 15752 Thumbs Up

Hi Alessio,

All products installed within the weatherproofing membrane need to comply with the LEED 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. requirements regardless as to if they are in regularly occcupied spaces or not. Please see the Credit Language for further details.

Best,
Lauren

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Alessio Zampaglione Architects, StudioAZA Apr 05 2012 Guest 717 Thumbs Up

Hi Lauren,
about the April 2010 LEED ADDENDA from USGBC in which "USGBC responded to complaints that inert flooring materials shouldn't be subject to the testing requirements. Tile, masonry, terrazzo, cut stone, and solid-wood flooring without organic coatings or 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. now qualify for this credit without further testing"
is not clear to me if Porcelain Stoneware flooring (consisting of a very fine body made of prized clays with the addition of feldspars, quartzes and kaolins, obtained by pressing of the atomized body and then sintered) is considered one of the inert flooring material that I don't have to list in my template or is considered as ceramic tile?

Thank you in advance,
Alessio

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Lauren Sparandara Sustainability Manager, Google Apr 05 2012 LEEDuser Expert 15752 Thumbs Up

Hi Alessio,

Please check out this past thread: http://www.leeduser.com/credit/NC-2009/IEQc4.3?page=1#comment-8416

Please let me know if you still have any questions. Good luck!
Lauren

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Mathilda Jonsson Environmental Certification Engineer (LEED AP BD+C) Skanska
Mar 28 2012
LEEDuser Member
900 Thumbs Up

Other low emission certifications

Hi all!
My projects is located in Sweden and therefore many of the flooring products is manufracted here. All of the flooring system are low emission tested and have shown really good results, though tey haven't necessary been tested accrding to Floor Score or Green Label Plus. Have anyone experience of how I can comply with the requirements of IEQc4.3 if I can't show Floor Score or Green Label Plus certificates for all flooring systems but I can show other test reports? The manufractures doesn't see the point of do additional tests because of the costs.
Many thanks in advance!

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Lauren Sparandara Sustainability Manager, Google Mar 28 2012 LEEDuser Expert 15752 Thumbs Up

Hi Mathilda,

Unfortunately, the only two options for achieving the credit are through the certifications noted or through testing. Often projects pursue testing if they cannot find the products they are using under the traditional certification route.

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Lauren Sparandara Sustainability Manager, Google Mar 28 2012 LEEDuser Expert 15752 Thumbs Up

As a reminder, tile and stone flooring or solid wood flooring don't need to comply through testing or certification...

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Mathilda Jonsson Environmental Certification Engineer (LEED AP BD+C), Skanska Mar 28 2012 LEEDuser Member 900 Thumbs Up

Hi Lauren
So the project often tests the products if they achive FS or GLP? A third party I guess? I recall I've read somewhere that it must be the manufracture that takes initiative for testing the product. Maybe it was the LEED 2012 draft when I think of it. Ok, I realize that even if I got som test reports it doesn't seams like I can achive this one. That's to bad.

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Lauren Sparandara Sustainability Manager, Google Mar 28 2012 LEEDuser Expert 15752 Thumbs Up

Hi Mathilda,

You test to see if the products meet the CA Department of Health Services Standard..(as noted below from the credit language) and not FloorScore or CRIColor-rendering index, or CRI, is a scale of 0 to 100, used by manufacturers of fluorescent, metal halide, and other non-incandescent lighting equipment to describe the visual effect of the light on colored surfaces. Natural daylight is assigned a CRI of 100. Green Label. Usually the project team pays for the manufacturer to test for this compliance. Outside agencies would need to do this testing as you've noted to prove compliance.

"All flooring elements installed in the building interior must meet the testing and product requirements of the California Department of Health Services Standard Practice for the Testing of Volatile Organic Emissions from Various Sources Using Small-Scale Environmental Chambers, including 2004 Addenda. Mineral-based finish flooring products such as tile, masonry, terrazzo, and cut stone without integral organic-based coatings 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. and unfinished/untreated solid wood flooring qualify for credit without any 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. testing requirements. However, associated site-applied adhesives, grouts, finishes and 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. must be compliant for a mineral-based or unfinished/untreated solid wood flooring system to qualify for credit."

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Eleni Thomidou Bilfinger Baugesellschaft mbH
Mar 27 2012
Guest
177 Thumbs Up

Carpets and PI Form 5

Hi!
In our project there are no carpets in our scope but there might be in the buildouts for tenants spaces. In PI Form5 (for the precertification) the Owner wanted to have a least control of the Buildouts and we have marked Owner and Lease Agreement. This means the Buildouts (including Flooring) will be handled in the lease agreements and the tenants cannot chose whatever materials they want.
After reading carefully all comments in this Forum and ofcourse the Reference Guide and Templates, in order to achieve this Credit, should there be a statement from the Owner that the Carpets will fulfill the requirements of IEQ C4.3 because this will be fixed in the lease agreement?
What kind of documentation is necessary? A draft of lease agreement? Just a written statement from the Owner?
Generally since we absolutely do not know if there are any carpets coming in the buildouts in the future, maybe leave it totally out of the Certification?
This Credit is in my opinion rather easy to achieve for hard surface flooring and natural stones but this carpet issue is bothering me.
The Owner wants to know as soon as possible because it will be an important criterium to include carpets or forget them for the buildouts.
Thank you very much in advance!

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Lauren Sparandara Sustainability Manager, Google Mar 27 2012 LEEDuser Expert 15752 Thumbs Up

Eleni,

For your submission's completeness you will need to include an actually legally binding lease agreement and not just a written statement from the owner. This document usually outlines that when and if the project includes carpet it must be CRIColor-rendering index, or CRI, is a scale of 0 to 100, used by manufacturers of fluorescent, metal halide, and other non-incandescent lighting equipment to describe the visual effect of the light on colored surfaces. Natural daylight is assigned a CRI of 100. Green Label Plus, and if, the project has hard surface flooring it must be Floor Score Certified. This should be done for all applicable flooring materials that fall within this credit.

Usually I find that these leases are written in such a way as to allow for some degree of flexibility on the part of the tenant but I'm sure you know better than I do about what the owner in this case is requiring. If the owner is requiring specific models of products make sure those products are in compliance so that the tenant can meet the build-out requirements with your owner's product choices.

Please note that LEED does not require you to have carpet in your project to get this credit. In the older LEED versions this was a requirement for EQc4.3, but not for LEED 2009. This credit in LEED 2009 is simply saying that if your project has any of the products noted within the credit requirements (or above within LEEDuser's official Credit Language tab) then those products need meet the credit's requirements for indoor air quality. However, if you don't know for sure that the carpet will not be included (as it sounds here), then it would be best for you to require the tenant to meet CRI Green Label Plus just in case carpet does get installed.

I have found that there isn't really a price premium for CRI Green Label Plus carpet and there are a wide range of products available that would probably suit your and your client's needs.

Let me know if I helped answer your question. Good luck.

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Eleni Thomidou Bilfinger Baugesellschaft mbH Mar 28 2012 Guest 177 Thumbs Up

Hi Lauren!
Thank you very much for your answers! For me it is clear now. The owner will get this information and he has to decide what will be. We will attempt the credit accordingly.
There is also an ACP for this Credit since November 2011 (last update of Core and Shell 2009) and we are thinking of using it. We are still in the step of searching the market for appropriate materials. (The project is in Slovakia).
Generally in my opinion almost all flooring products produced in EU or for EU have very good certifications but the main problem is in the testing protocoles which are different than in USA.
In any case thank you and keep up your good job!

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Caroline Ma
Feb 26 2012
Guest
291 Thumbs Up

Natural Stone Flooring need FloorScore Certificate?

Do we need to find the natural stone flooring e.g. marble, granite with FloorScore Certificate? Or we can simply use natural stone flooring without any certificate to score for this credit?

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Lauren Sparandara Sustainability Manager, Google Feb 27 2012 LEEDuser Expert 15752 Thumbs Up

Hi Caroline,

You don't need to include these products per the aforementioned note:
"Another big change to this credit took place in the April 2010 LEED addenda from USGBC, in which USGBC responded to complaints that inert flooring materials shouldn't be subject to the testing requirements. Tile, masonry, terrazzo, cut stone, and solid-wood flooring without organic coatings or 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. now qualify for this credit without further testing."

You simply do not need to list these products in your Template.

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Mathilda Jonsson Environmental Certification Engineer (LEED AP BD+C) Skanska
Nov 29 2011
LEEDuser Member
900 Thumbs Up

What to include?

Hi
I'm confused about which floors and carpets should be included for this credit. The developer of the project is renting out all spaces to tenants (hotel and offices). This rating system is not suppose to include tenant outfits right? So how do I decide when all spaces are for tenants? For the office spaces I can imagine that I should include the flooring, since they are the same for all offices (exept for some where the floors is left undone). But for the hotel part I'm not sure. Does anybody have any suggestions? Many thanks

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Nov 29 2011 LEEDuser Moderator

Mathilda, on this kind of question I always check C&S Appendix 4 in the LEED Reference Guide.

For IEQc4, it indicates that you need not include tenant spaceTenant space is the area within the LEED project boundary. For more information on what can and must be in the LEED project boundary see the Minimum Program Requirements (MPRs) and LEED 2009 MPR Supplemental Guidance. Note: tenant space is the same as project space. in your CS submission, but that you may do so for EP.

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Lauren Sparandara Sustainability Manager, Google Dec 16 2011 LEEDuser Expert 15752 Thumbs Up

Hi Mathilda,

I agree with Tristan. I would just include the floors and carpets that are included within the developer's scope of work. As Tristan noted, there is an opportunity for Exemplary PerformanceIn LEED, certain credits have established thresholds beyond basic credit achievement. Meeting these thresholds can earn additional points through Innovation in Design (ID) or Innovation in Operations (IO) points. As a general rule of thumb, ID credits for exemplary performance are awarded for doubling the credit requirements and/or achieving the next incremental percentage threshold. However, this rule varies on a case by case basis, so check the credit requirements. if you require the tenants to comply with the EQc4 suite of credits through a binding lease agreement.

Good luck.
Lauren

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Caroline Ma Feb 23 2012 Guest 291 Thumbs Up

How about the back of house area, such as plant room area, and some not normally occupied sapce? Are those space need to be control?

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Natalie Ng
Mar 29 2011
Guest
93 Thumbs Up

non-finished flooring for C&S

the project is an office building development, the project proponent would like to leave the feasiblity of installing carpet to the tenants thus the floor will be concrete finish with raised floor when it's handed over to the tenants. Is that eligible to obtain point under this credit? If not, how would it need to do in order to get the point? Is it feasible to bind the use of low VOC carpets in the lease condition?

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David Posada Sustainability Manager, SS TAG member, GBD Architects Mar 29 2011 LEEDuser Expert 17798 Thumbs Up

If there are carpets in other parts of the building, such as the hallways or lobby, you can use those areas to meet the Green Label Plus carpet requirements. If the floors are concrete that have been sealed, that coating would need to meet the South Coast 1113 and would help meet the credit. Those strategies would make this credit very feasible.

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Lauren Sparandara Sustainability Manager, Google Mar 29 2011 LEEDuser Expert 15752 Thumbs Up

I agree with David. As long as the flooring that you do have control over, before the tenants arrive, is meeting the requirements then you'll be in good shape to meet the credit. The LEED-CSv2.0 system used to allow you to get an Exemplary PerformanceIn LEED, certain credits have established thresholds beyond basic credit achievement. Meeting these thresholds can earn additional points through Innovation in Design (ID) or Innovation in Operations (IO) points. As a general rule of thumb, ID credits for exemplary performance are awarded for doubling the credit requirements and/or achieving the next incremental percentage threshold. However, this rule varies on a case by case basis, so check the credit requirements. ID point by requiring your tenants to comply with all EQc4 points. I no longer see this listed as an option under LEED 2009.

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Susann Geithner Global Sustainability Manager, Predictive Service Mar 30 2011 LEEDuser Member 11772 Thumbs Up

Natalie, in the PI forms for a LEED CS project you determine, which areas of the building the owner has control of or not. So you might have control of the flooring in the lobby, elevators, hallways but not in the tenant spaceTenant space is the area within the LEED project boundary. For more information on what can and must be in the LEED project boundary see the Minimum Program Requirements (MPRs) and LEED 2009 MPR Supplemental Guidance. Note: tenant space is the same as project space.. Just make sure you check mark this accordingly. We actually applied for that credit on one of our project. The owner only determined the public part of the building. So you just have to proof compliance with the public part. No need for a lease agreement, only if you really have no areas, which the owner would determine.

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Luis Miguel Diazgranados Green Factory Sep 07 2011 LEEDuser Member 1195 Thumbs Up

Susann, which PI form is the one you are talking about? Where does one have to determine which areas are in control of the original building owner?

Thanks!

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Susann Geithner Global Sustainability Manager, Predictive Service Sep 07 2011 LEEDuser Member 11772 Thumbs Up

PIF 5 Building system control
This lists the systems and also finishes and who has control of what in which area of the building (i.e. main lobby, secondary lobby, build-out, HVAC, Electric, ...). You can select owner, tenant or lease agreement as responsible for determining each.

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Ryan McEvoy Owner, Gaia Development Feb 17 2012 LEEDuser Member 191 Thumbs Up

does anyone know if this credit is feasible on an industrial warehouse space where there are no hallways etc with carpeting or anything else. the only flooring "system" being installed pre-tenant improvement is sealed concrete floor throughout the entire building - and then the tenant will also be required to meet the LEED standards....

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Lauren Sparandara Sustainability Manager, Google Feb 17 2012 LEEDuser Expert 15752 Thumbs Up

Hi Ryan,

I think it would be possible so long as the finish you have in your scope is properly addressed through this credit. For instance, make sure that your sealed concrete meets the SCAQMD requirements.

If you upload your lease requirements that mandate that the tenant complies, that will also help satisfy the requirements.

However, as a LEED-CS project you technically only need to include what is in your scope.

Lauren

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