NC-2009 IEQc3.2: Construction IAQ Management Plan—Before Occupancy

  • NC_CI_Schools_IEQc3-2_TypeXJA_FlushOut Diagram
  • It’s about good IAQ for occupancy

    The idea behind this credit is to ensure good indoor air quality (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.) for a project for occupancy. IEQc3.2 can be seen as a belt-and-suspenders credit: even if the IEQc4: Low-Emitting Materials credits are pursued, along with IEQc3.1: Construction IAQ Management—During Construction, IEQc3.2 ensures that the building ends up with the intended result. (Although it’s typical to do so, you don’t have to pursue any of those credits to go after this credit.)

    The credit has a direct impact on occupant health and comfort, and it is often very important to the owner and occupants, that their new, LEED-certified building should smell “green” when they move in.

    Flush out or testing?

    The flush-out of indoor air required under Option 1 is frequently pursued by projects seeking a certain and predictable path.

    Performing testing under Option 2 leaves open the possibility that despite all other efforts, the building could fail the tests, putting the credit in jeopardy.

    You might wonder why, if a building earns the IEQc4 credits and IEQc3.1, there would be any chance of failing IAQ testing. For whatever reason, it happens. This might be due to VOC emissions from materials not covered by IEQc4, or from the undetected use of materials not meeting the spec.

    Another reason for pursuing Option 1 is that the costs of IAQ testing are commonly greater than those of a building flush-out. Testing costs vary depending on the size of the building, the number of samples tested, and the travel and field work the testing agency needs to perform. Large buildings, or buildings with multiple independent HVAC systems, require more testing samples. One test is required for each separate ventilation system within the building, with not less than one sample per 25,000 ft2 of contiguous floor area.

    On the other hand, the energy expenditure for flush-out under Option 1 can be large, and there may not been enough time after installation of finishes but prior to occupancy to conduct the flush-out. The tenant may also prefer the solid results of a test. All of these factors can push a project toward Option 2.

    Two flush-out options

    Under Option 1, you have two paths for performing the flush-out. Path 1 is performed prior to occupancy: provide 14,000 cubic feet of outdoor air per square foot of building space. Relative humidity must be maintained at 60% or below and temperature must be maintained at 60 degrees or above.

    If there isn’t enough time prior to occupancy to follow Path 1, Path 2 allows you to reach the 14,000-cubic-foot threshold in phases. Path 2 requires an initial flush-out of 3,500 cubic feet per square foot, and then a daily flush-out that begins three hours before occupancy and continues until the end of occupancy for the day. During this period, a ventilation rate of 0.3 cfm per square foot must be maintained. This may be higher than the designed ventilation rate, so plan ahead for this. 

    Common pitfalls to avoid

    This credit is typically easy to achieve if you plan ahead and avoid these common pitfalls:

    • Early in the design of the mechanical systems, take into account the requirements for flush-out to ensure that the HVAC system is able to supply the required ventilation rate which is often higher than normal design conditions.  Once the mechanical design is confirmed, the mechanical engineer should provide the contractor with the flush-out duration so that it can be worked into the construction schedule as soon as possible. 
    • If a flush-out is performed during very cold or very humid weather, maintaining minimum temperature and humidity levels may be impossible or require a lot of energy loss. Consider the testing path if these conditions are likely for your project.
    • All permanent finishes have to be installed prior to flush-out. Also, all construction must be completed including punch-lists. Make sure that subcontractors are informed of the credit requirements and that all work is appropriately scheduled so as to not introduce contaminants after the flush-out.
    • If you go for testing (Option 2) and fail, you can opt to do a flush-out and retest prior to occupancy, but your schedule needs to allow for it. Build in some schedule and budget contingency in case retesting is required. 

    Alternative approaches

    In naturally ventilated buildings or other situations where using the HVAC is not possible or desired, alternatives such as temporary supply and exhaust fans placed in the windows are also possible. (Simply opening the windows is not enough, however.) Like natural ventilation in general, this approach works best for relatively dry, moderate climates where the temperature and humidity conditions required by the credit are easy to maintain.

    If using fans, ensure correct placement of fans to provide an even flow of fresher outdoor air across each space, preventing short-circuiting. Check the EPA IAQ Design Tools for Schools Controlling Pollutants and Sources information on exhaust or spot ventilation practices during construction activity (although written for schools, it is applicable to any type of project). (See Section 5: Ventilation Techniques). 

    Consider these questions when approaching this credit

    • Ask your mechanical engineer to run these preliminary calculations:
      • Is the HVAC system capable of performing the ventilation rates required for flush-out?
      • Can indoor temperature and humidity levels be maintained during the flush-out considering the scheduled season of the flush-out?
      • What is the estimated duration of the flush-out under Path 1 and Path 2 and how will this affect the construction schedule?
    • Important conversations that need to occur between the general contractor, building owner and occupants:
      • When do occupants need to move in? Is the date flexible? 
      • Can the schedule allow time for a flush-out after construction completion and prior to occupancy? How much time is available?
      • Will the project pursue a full flush-out (Option 1 – Path 1), or will occupancy occur during the flush-out (Option 1 – Path 2)?
      • How will the basic requirements for having all finishes installed and construction complete be communicated to subcontractors?
    • Things to consider when implementing IAQ testing:
      • Does your building have multiple, separate ventilation systems?
      • How many samples are required? 
      • Is your construction team confident that it can ensure contamination levels below credit limitations at the end of construction?
      • Is there time at the end of the construction schedule to allow for flush-out and retesting if initial test results are above allowable levels for contaminants?
  • How this credit is addressed in different building types

    • A phased flush-out is possible if different sections of the building are completed at different times, which is common in multi-tenant or mixed-use project types.
    • In facilities where air quality is particularly critical, such as healthcare and laboratory buildings, owners may require 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 as part of standard building practice. 
    • Buildings with large numbers of identical rooms with separate ventilation zones—such as hotel rooms or apartment units—have been allowed to perform random sampling as an alternative approach in situations when the delivery of outside air—on an air-change-per-hour basis—and the materials in a ventilation zone are identical. Project teams should confirm with GBCI that this is still applicable in LEED 2009.
  • FAQs for IEQc3.2

    Is it possible to combine Options 1 and 2 for different spaces in the same building?

    This is not officially permitted in LEED. It might make sense in some projects, but teams should get a CIRCredit Interpretation Ruling. Used by design team members experiencing difficulties in the application of a LEED prerequisite or credit to a project. Typically, difficulties arise when specific issues are not directly addressed by LEED information/guide or 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. in order to proceed.

    Is it possible for the flush-out start date to vary by ventilation zone?

    Yes. Areas served by completely separate ventilation systems—where air serving these spaces is not mixed with air serving any other spaces—can be flushed independently, as long as each such area is also isolated completely from all non-flushing areas per SMACNA guidelines.

    Should a parking garage be included in a flush-out, if it is in a basement and not fully open to the outdoors?

    No, parking garage space should not be included in this credit.

    Do the outdoor air minimum quantities have to be met for each individual space, or for the building square footage as a whole?

    Ideally, the flush out will be designed to provide the minimum volume to each individual space, and the LEED Reference Guide indicates that teams must take reasonable measures to ensure there is no obvious short-circuiting of the airflow. However, the requirements only address the "total air volume," so, for LEED credit compliance purposes it is only necessary to quantify the total outside air volume supplied to the entire building.

    Do non-regularly occupied areas such as bathrooms and corridors have to be flushed-out?

    Yes. All occupied gross floor areaGross floor area (based on ASHRAE definition) is the sum of the floor areas of the spaces within the building, including basements, mezzanine and intermediate‐floored tiers, and penthouses wi th headroom height of 7.5 ft (2.2 meters) or greater. Measurements m ust be taken from the exterior 39 faces of exterior walls OR from the centerline of walls separating buildings, OR (for LEED CI certifying spaces) from the centerline of walls separating spaces. Excludes non‐en closed (or non‐enclosable) roofed‐over areas such as exterior covered walkways, porches, terraces or steps, roof overhangs, and similar features. Excludes air shafts, pipe trenches, and chimneys. Excludes floor area dedicated to the parking and circulation of motor vehicles. ( Note that while excluded features may not be part of the gross floor area, and therefore technically not a part of the LEED project building, they may still be required to be a part of the overall LEED project and subject to MPRs, prerequisites, and credits.) (both non-regularly occupied and regularly occupied) must be included.

    For LEED NC addition projects, do existing non-renovated areas need to be flushed-out or tested?

    No, not if the project team is only certifying the addition, per se, as a separate LEED project.  But the addition should be isolated from the existing, unrenovated areas in accordance with the SMACNA 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. Guidelines for Occupied Buildings under Construction.

    Should we install furniture and furnishings before IAQ testing or flushout?

    It's optional. In the past that has been unclear, and in an addendum issued 10/1/12, USGBC clarified that it is optional to install furniture and furnishings before IAQ testing or flushout for IEQc3.2. The word "optionally" has been inserted in the last paragraph of page 466 in the LEED BD&C reference guide, before "including furniture and furnishings."

    For IAQ testing, how many sample points are necessary in non-mechanically ventilated spaces?

    This is left to the discretion of the industrial hygienist or other qualified professional who is performing the testing and employing the EPA Standard.

    Can testing be done over various days?

    Yes, as long as it complies with the EPA standard.

    I'm confused about the 11/1/2011 LEED addendum that removed the "1/25,000 SF or each contiguous area whichever is larger" language from the credit requirement. How do we determine the number of sampling locations for testing?

    According to USGBC, the addendum was intended to give project teams more flexibility in testing locations. The 1/25,000 SF testing rate is still a good rule of thumb and is acceptable. USGBC is trusting that the project's industrial hygienist will have the best understanding of how to accurately test the spaces in the project. Select spaces to be tested so that each occupiable space type is adequately represented. Additional guidance can be found in the pilot prerequisite for performance-based IAQ.

Legend

  • Best Practices
  • Gotcha
  • Action Steps
  • Cost Tip

Pre-Design

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  • Depending on which of the two options you choose for this credit (see Schematic Design), you should start to consider the following two things during predesign:

    • If you pursue a flush-out, you’ll need a mechanical system with the capacity to meet the credit requirements for air volume, humidity and temperature.  If using natural ventilation, you can meet the air volume requirements with temporary fans and HVAC units. 
    • If pursuing the testing option, pursuing all of the IEQc4: Low-Emitting Materials credits, along with IEQc3.1: IAQ Management Plan: During Construction, will significantly increase the likelihood of passing the testing and earning the credit. If not pursuing the testing option, then earning those credits won’t directly help with IEQc3.2, but they will contribute to good IAQ.

Schematic Design

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  • Choosing an option


  • Consider whether Option 1 or Option 2 is a better match for your project. Review the following tips, along with more details on each option below.


  • If you follow the flush-out procedures required under Option 1, you will earn this credit, while if you follow the testing procedures under Option 2, you may earn the credit if your project passes the tests. This lack of certainty under Option 2 leads many project teams to pursue Option 1.


  • If your goal in pursuing this credit is to provide good IAQ at the start of occupancy, IAQ testing is the best way to confirm it, even though it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll earn the credit. (If you initially fail testing, you can do a flush-out and retest, however.) 


  • Many teams consider Option 1, but ultimately choose Option 2 for one of two practical reasons:

    • Scheduling the flush-out is not possible.
    • The building’s HVAC will not be able to maintain the required temperature and humidity levels for the duration of the flush-out. Doing so will also be energy-intensive.

  • Pursuing this credit through Option 2: Air Testing can allow for an earlier move-in date than might be possible when pursuing a building flush-out. IAQ testing can be a quicker process if your project team can ensure that the air contains very little contamination at the time of testing. However, there is always a risk of failing the test, which results in the need to flush-out the building again and retest—or forfeit the credit. 


  • Depending on your climate and the time of year the flush-out will be completed, the energy costs of doing a flush-out could vary significantly. Estimate this early on, to help inform your chosen compliance path.


  • Option 1: Flush-Out


  • Consider the minimum flush-out rate of the building’s ventilation system that will be required for this credit.


  • Consider whether your HVAC system will be able to power a flush-out while maintaining temperature and humidity levels during seasonal extremes in a timely fashion, without major scheduling impacts. A total of 14,000 cubic feet of outside air must be exchanged for every square foot of floor area. The amount of outside air prescribed during a phased flush-out (0.3 CFM) may be several times greater than the normal rate required for a project’s occupancy, based on ASHRAE 62.1-2007, as required by IEQp1: Minimum IAQ Performance


  • Option 2: Air Testing


  • If considering IAQ testing, design the building in a way that maximizes the likelihood of passing the testing. This should include specifying low- and no-VOC materials as part of the IEQc4: Low-Emitting Materials credits, at a minimum.


  • IAQ testing is rigorous and not at all a sure thing, so take steps to increase the probability of passing the testing on the first try. This might include specifying low- and no-VOC products that go beyond those recognized by LEED credits. 

Design Development

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  • Both Options


  • Include the requirements for building flush-out or IAQ testing in the IAQ Management Plan and the project specifications. If you are pursuing both IEQc3.1 and IEQc3.2, then include the requirements for both in a single plan.


  • Option 1: Flush-Out


  • Once the mechanical system is confirmed, establish the required time required for flush-out with the mechanical engineer (which should be a relatively simple calculation) and coordinate the flush-out with the contractor’s construction schedule. 


  • If the mechanical system is not capable of moving the required volume of air in a reasonable amount of time, establish a plan for credit compliance that either includes using temporary fans or IAQ testing.


  • Option 2: Air Testing


  • If planning to pursue Option 2, also plan to pursue IEQc3.1 and all of the IEQc4: Low-Emitting Materials credits to ensure the best chances of passing the IAQ testing on the first try. 

Construction Documents

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  • Both options


  • Include requirements for a flush-out or air quality testing in Division 1 of your construction specifications.


  • Include details for writing an IAQ Management Plan in your specifications with the requirements for complying with IEQc3.2 included in the plan.


  • Require that your contractor submit an IAQ Management Plan early in construction, before interior work has begun. The plan should detail the approach to this credit, as well as IEQc3.1 if both credits are being pursued. Either of these credits can be pursued independently; IEQc3.1 is not a prerequisite for IEQc3.2. However, pursuing the credits in tandem is the most effective way to ensure the best IAQ at the time the building is turned over to the owner. 

Construction

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  • Both options


  • Develop an IAQ management plan detailing your project’s approach to IEQc3.1 (if your project is pursuing it) and this credit.


  • Your project team should clearly define who will be responsible for managing flush-outs and IAQ procedures. 


  • If not completed in pre-construction, your IAQ management plan should be developed by the general contractor and incorporate input from your entire project team, specifically the technical requirements for flush-out identified by the mechanical engineer and any special scheduling required by the building owner or tenants. The plan should be shared with the whole project team, including all subcontractors who will be working with any interior materials and fittings. 


  • The requirements of this credit apply to all spaces within the building envelope. This credit does not differentiate between regularly occupied and non-regularly-occupied spaces. 


  • Jobsite safety meetings or regular subcontractor meetings are a good place to educate your construction team about LEED requirements for IAQ management, as well as other related requirements for construction waste management, low-emitting materials, and other similar issues.


  • The following work must be completed prior to flush-out or testing to ensure that the air quality isn't compromised afterward.

    • All interior finishes must be installed.
    • All punch-list items must be complete. 
    • All cleaning must be finalized.
    • Final testing and balancing of HVAC systems must be complete. Other commissioning tasks can occur during flush-out or testing only if they do not introduce any additional contaminants into the building.
    • Temporary filters and duct coverings used as part of the construction IAQ management plan must be removed.
    • Filters must be replaced with new filtration media, unless the system is configured to filter only outside air. If your project is pursuing IEQc5: Indoor Chemical and Pollutant Source Control, these filters must be MERV 13 or higher.
    • For BD&C projects, it is optional to install furniture and furnishings prior to testing or flush-out. For ID&C projects, movable furnishings must be installed prior to testing or flush-out.

  • Prior to move-in, ensure that the requirements of either Option 1: Flush-Out, or Option 2: Air Testing, have been met. 


  • Check filters after the flush-out is complete. Some or all of the filters may be ready for replacement, although this is not required by the credit.  


  • Option 1: Flush-Out


  • Once a general construction schedule has been established, your project’s mechanical engineer should calculate the estimated time expected for completing a flush-out according to either Path 1 or Path 2, based on climatic conditions for the given time of year. 


  • Ensure that you include time for building flush-out or testing in the construction schedule as early as possible.

    • For Path 1 (continuous flush-out), 14,000 ft3 of air must be moved while not exceeding 60% relative humidity and 60ºF. This may take up to two weeks depending on system capacity.
    • For Path 2, a continuous flush-out of 3,500 ft3 of air must be completed and then a phased flush-out until 14,000 ft3 of air has been moved. This duration varies: 3,500 ft3 may take just a few days, but the remaining phased flush-out may take several weeks.

  • Perform full Flush-out (Path 1) or the first step of a phased flush-out (Path 2) prior to any occupancy.


  • During flush-out, record exact dates, occupancy patterns (if any, per Path 2), outdoor air delivery rates, and internal temperatures and humidity levels. 


  • Per the credit requirements, during flush-out, the rate of outside air should not cause the interior temperature to drop below 60oF, and relative humidity should not exceed 60%.


  • For projects with multiple independent HVAC systems, portions of the building can be flushed out separately, as they are completed, as long as no additional construction work occurs in an area where a flush-out has begun. Completed areas should be isolated from those under construction per SMACNA IAQ guidelines for Occupied Buildings Under Construction, which is the same standard that defines the requirements for IEQc3.1 (see Resources).


  • If you are pursuing a phased flush-out under Option 1, Path 2, ensure that the flush-out continues after move-in until a total of 14,000 ft3 of outside air has been supplied per ft2 of floor area before the HVAC system is switched into its normal operational mode. 


  • During the occupied phase of a flush-out under Option 1, Path 2, a minimum ventilation rate must begin at least three hours before daily occupancy and continue while the space is occupied (through the end of the business day, or other occupancy duration) at a minimum rate of 0.30 cfm per ft2, or the design minimum rate determined in IEQp1, whichever is greater. 


  • Whether you have completed a full or a phased flush-out, record the performed flush-out dates, schedule, humidity levels, temperatures and total air volumes and provide this information in a narrative for credit documentation.   


  • Option 2: Air Testing


  • IAQ testing should be worked into the construction schedule as it will occur close to project close-out, generally when the construction schedule is most critical. Testing will take a least one day, but could take longer depending on the number of tests required. If any tests are failed, flush-out and retesting are required and will have significant scheduling impacts. This could require several additional days. 


  • Testing will take at least one day, but could take longer.


  • Select an IAQ specialist, industrial hygienist, or testing facility to perform the testing.


  • Extra attention must be paid to ensure strict adherence to the requirements for low-emitting materials (IEQc4) and the successful implementation of a construction IAQ management plan (IEQc3.1)—including a thorough cleanup using low-VOC cleaning supplies. (Vacuum cleaners with HEPA filtration can also help remove particulates.) 


  • Perform IAQ testing in accordance with the recommended EPA Compendium of Methods for the Determination of Air Pollutants in Indoor Air. This document defines methodology and procedures for IAQ testing required for credit compliance. (See Resources.)


  • The cost of IAQ testing varies widely depending on the number of tests needed for your project, the availability of local testing firms, and the type of test. Check your options early in order to factor this in, but plan to pay $500-$1,500 per testing location.


  • Other protocols can be followed if they are equally or more stringent and you provide a valid justification. Most projects simply follow EPA’s rules.  


  • IAQ testing requires at least one sample for every 25,000 ft2 in each portion of the building served by a separate ventilation system. Sampling locations should be in areas with the least ventilation and the greatest presumed potential for contaminant source strength.


  • IAQ testing must occur prior to occupancy, but conditions should be as similar as possible to the air that occupants will breathe. Tests should be performed during normal operation of the building’s HVAC system, including normal daily start times. 


  • Samples should be collected in the breathing zone—three to six feet above the floor—during hours when the building will normally be occupied. Record the exact locations in which samples are taken in case follow-up samples are required. 


  • If IAQ test samples exceed any of the maximum concentration levels, the space must be flushed out with an increased rate of outside air, as recommended by the testing agency, and re-sampled to confirm compliance before allowing occupants to move in. 


  • Some projects fail the first round of testing, and have difficulty scheduling or budgeting for the required flush-out and re-testing. Those projects are, unfortunately, forced to give up on this credit.


  • Record information on IAQ testing, including:

    • a description of the IAQ testing process, test dates, and scope; 
    • sampling locations with respect to floor area, size, and ventilation system; 
    • and any corrective measures implemented to achieve credit compliance. 

    Provide all finalized testing reports from your testing agency as documentation of credit compliance, along with a narrative outlining the testing procedure.

Operations & Maintenance

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  • The strategies required by IEQc5: Indoor Chemical Pollutant Source Control are intended to help buildings minimize sources of indoor air contamination during continued building operation. Pursuing IEQc5 can help enhance the effects of building flushout or testing. 


  • Periodic IAQ testing during occupancy is not required, but can be used to help ensure a healthy indoor environment. If pursuing LEED-EBOM certification several credits will help ensure good air quality during occupancy, such as IEQc1.1: Indoor Air Quality Best Management Practices—Indoor Air Quality Management Program. 

  • USGBC

    Excerpted from LEED 2009 for New Construction and Major Renovations

    IEQ Credit 3.2: Construction IAQ management plan - before occupancy

    1 Point

    Intent

    To reduce indoor air quality (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.) problems resulting from construction or renovation to promote the comfort and well-being of construction workers and building occupants.

    Requirements

    Develop an (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.) management plan and implement it after all finishes have been installed and the building has been completely cleaned before occupancy.

    Option 1. Flush-out1
    Path 1

    After construction ends, prior to occupancy and with all interior finishes installed, install new filtration media and perform a building flush-out by supplying a total air volume of 14,000 cubic feet of outdoor air per square foot (4,500 cubic meters of outdoor air per square meter) of floor area while maintaining an internal temperature of at least 60° F (15° C) and relative humidity no higher than 60%.

    OR

    Path 2

    If occupancy is desired prior to completion of the flush-out, the space may be occupied following delivery of a minimum of 3,500 cubic feet of outdoor air per square foot (1,000 cubic meters of outdoor air per square meter) of floor area. Once the space is occupied, it must be ventilated at a minimum rate of 0.30 cubic feet per minute (cfm) per square foot (0.1 cubic meters per minute per square meter) of outside air or the design minimum outside air rate determined in IEQ Prerequisite 1: Minimum Indoor Air Quality Performance, whichever is greater. During each day of the flush-out period, ventilation must begin a minimum of 3 hours prior to occupancy and continue during occupancy. These conditions must be maintained until a total of 14,000 cubic feet per square foot (4,500 cubic meters per square meter) of outside air has been delivered to the space.

    OR

    Option 2. Air testing

    Conduct baseline IAQ testing, after construction ends and prior to occupancy, using testing protocols consistent with the EPA Compendium of Methods for the Determination of Air Pollutants in Indoor Air or as the ISO method listed in the table below. Testing must be done in accordance with one standard; project teams may not mix requirements from the EPA Compendium of Methods with ISO.

    Demonstrate that the contaminant maximum concentrations listed below are not exceeded:

    Contaminant Maximum Concentration EPA Compendium method ISO method
    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. 27 parts per billion IP-6 ISO 16000-3
    Particulates (PM10) 50 micrograms per cubic meter IP-10 ISO 7708
    Total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs) 500 micrograms per cubic meter IP-1 ISO 16000-6
    4-Phenylcyclohexene (4-PCH) * 6.5 micrograms per cubic meter IP-1 ISO 16000-6
    Carbon monoxide (CO) 9 parts per million and no greater than 2 parts per million above outdoor levels IP-3 ISO 4224
    *This test is required only if carpets and fabrics with styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) latex backing are installed as part of the base building systems.



    For each sampling point where the maximum concentration limits are exceeded, conduct an additional flush-out with outside air and retest the noncompliant concentrations. Repeat until all requirements are met. When retesting noncompliant building areas, take samples from the same locations as in the first test, although it is not required.

    Conduct the air sample testing as follows:

    • All measurements must be conducted prior to occupancy, but during normal occupied hours with the building ventilation system started at the normal daily start time and operated at the minimum outside air flow rate for the occupied mode throughout the test.
    • All interior finishes must be installed, including but not limited to millwork, doors, paint, carpet and acoustic tiles. Movable furnishings such as workstations and partitions should be in place for the testing, although it is not required.
    • The number of sampling locations will depend on the size of the building and number of ventilation systems. For each portion of the building served by a separate ventilation system, the number of sampling points must not be less than 1 per 25,000 square feet or for each contiguous floor area, whichever is larger. Include areas with the least ventilation and greatest presumed source strength.
    • Air samples must be collected between 3 and 6 feet from the floor to represent the breathing zoneThe breathing zone is the region within an occupied space between 3 and 6 feet above the floor and more than 2 feet from walls or fixed air-conditioning equipment. (AHSRAE 62.1–2007) of occupants, and over a minimum 4-hour period.

    Potential Technologies & Strategies

    Prior to occupancy, perform a building flush-out or test the air contaminant levels in the building. The flush-out is often used where occupancy is not required immediately upon substantial completion of construction. 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 can minimize schedule impacts but may be more costly. Coordinate with IEQ Credit 3.1: Construction IAQ Management PlanA construction IAQ management plan outlines measures to minimize contamination in a specific project building during construction and describes procedures to flush the building of contaminants prior to occupancy. — During Construction and IEQ Credit 5: Indoor Chemical & Pollutant Source Control to determine the appropriate specifications and schedules for filtration media.

    The intent of this credit is to eliminate IAQ problems that occur as a result of construction. Architectural finishes used in tenant build-outs constitute a significant source of air pollutants and must be addressed to qualify for this credit.

Technical Guides

IEQ Space Matrix - 2nd Edition

This updated version of the spreadsheet categories dozens of specific space types according to how they should be applied under various IEQ credits. This document is essential if you have questions about how various unique space types should be treated. Up to date, 2nd Edition.


IEQ Space Matrix - 1st Ed.

This spreadsheet categories dozens of specific space types according to how they should be applied under various IEQ credits. This document is essential if you have questions about how various unique space types should be treated.  This is the 1st edition.

Publications

SMACNA IAQ Guidelines for Occupied Buildings Under Construction

Project management guidance in maintaining satisfactory 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. of occupied buildings undergoing renovation or construction. 


EPA Compendium of Methods for the Determination of Air Pollutants in Indoor Air

Provides step-by-step sampling and laboratory analysis procedures for the determination of selected pollutants in indoor air. The section of this document that is dedicated to testing methodology and procedures is most relevant for credit.


Indoor Air Pollution Report, July, 2005 California Air Resources Board

Outlines the health effects of indoor air pollution.


State of Washington Program and IAQ Standards

 

This standard was the first state-initiated program to ensure the design of buildings with acceptable 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.

 


Indoor Air Quality: A Facility Manager’s Guide, Construction Technology Centre Atlantic,

This publication is written as a comprehensive review of 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. issues and solutions.


Compendium of Methods for the Determination of Inorganic Compounds in Ambient Air, U.S. EPA

 

These methods have been prepared to provide regional, state and local environmental regulatory agencies and other users with step-by-step sampling and analysis procedures for the determination of selected inorganic pollutants in ambient air.

 

Web Tools

Healthy Building Network

Articles and resources on healthier building materials and issues of toxicity in the building industry. 


EPA IAQ Design Tools for Schools Controlling Pollutants and Sources

Reference for best practices and strategies to implement 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. management in Schools. 


Controlling Pollutants and Sources, IAQ Design for Schools U.S. EPA

This EPA website offers detailed information on exhaust or spot ventilation practices during construction activity. 

Organizations

Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association, Inc. (SMACNA)

SMACNA is an international organization that developed guidelines for maintaining healthful indoor air quality during demolitions, renovations, and construction. The professional trade association publishes the referenced standard as well as Indoor Air Quality: A Systems Approach, a comprehensive document that covers air pollutant sources, control measures, 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. process management, quality control and documentation, interpersonal communication , sample projects, tables, references, resources, and checklists.

Construction IAQ Management Plan

All Options

A construction IAQ management planA construction IAQ management plan outlines measures to minimize contamination in a specific project building during construction and describes procedures to flush the building of contaminants prior to occupancy. like this sample is required for both options of this credit, along with IEQc3.1. This example details a plan meeting both flush-out and testing requirements, leaving it open which one will be used.

Flush-Out Volume

Option 1 - Flush Out

This sample calculation demonstrates how one project figured out how long its flush-out needed to be, and how rental equipment was added to make it possible.

IAQ Testing

Option 2 - Testing

These test results and testing report from a LEED-CI project demonstrate the kind of information that needs to be gathered to document IEQc3.2, Option 2.

Construction Submittal

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

LEED Online Forms: NC-2009 IEQ

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

Version 4 forms (newest):

Version 3 forms:

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

251 Comments

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Michael Schrantz Environmental Analytics
Sep 30 2014
LEEDuser Member

Credit 3.2 option 2

Project Location: United States

To whoever can help me!

I am bidding on a two-story building. The first floor is 33,000 ft.² and the second floor is a little over 18,000 ft.²
Each floor is supplied by outdoor fresh air from two independent units. In addition there is a secure location that has its own outdoor air unit.

Within this building there are multiple fancoil units split system units and chiller systems.

What I am hoping to get answered is the following:

According to lead credit 3.2 option two, I would need to collect five indoor samples to achieve this credit successfully. Two on the upper floor, two on the lower floor, and one in the secured location.

I am just wanting to make sure that I do not need to collect any additional samples for anything I may be missing that relates to obtaining this credit for my customer(other than the outdoor control sample of course).

Anybody who could help answer this question for me as soon as possible would be greatly appreciated as my customers is hoping to get a bid from me by tomorrow.

Thank you very much in advance.
Mike
Environmental Analytics
5204886639

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David Biggs David R Biggs Construction Sep 30 2014 LEEDuser Member 3 Thumbs Up

You are correct unless one of the 1st floor spaces is over 25,000 SF then you would need an additional test. Don't forget the outside baseline sample. It is always a good idea to spot check other main areas of high usage and low ventilation for reference but not necessarily required. Also if carpet is not 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. certified than you will need added testing for 4-Phenylcyclohexene (4-PCH). Are you performing and getting the actual results on site or are you using sample kits from a distributor? You should check out the LEED ver. 3 2009 Guide for further info.
Dave
Biggs Construction Management & LEED Consulting Services
Farmington, NM
505-330-0359

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Alexis Thompson Project Coordinator Sellen Sustainability
Aug 21 2014
LEEDuser Member
182 Thumbs Up

Multi-Family Residential Options

I've seen a lot of comments and guidance regarding Option 2 for air quality testing in residential applications, however no guidance on Option 1. Is it possible to choose a flush-out and comply with this credit point in a multi-family residential building? If so, is Path 2 for a phased flush-out an option for this project type? If so, then my final question is: when should the daily flush begin/end? Guidance says daily flush-out should "begin three hours before occupancy and continue until the end of occupancy for the day"... how does that apply to a project where occupancy is 24/7? Thank you for your assistance!

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Stella Stella
Aug 08 2014
Guest
67 Thumbs Up

IAQ Flush out-using temporary exhaust systems

Hi,
We are proposing a 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. flush out procedure for our facility which consist of a lot of FCU’s. Due to the FCU’s the flush out procedure is excessively long. Hence our service providers are proposing an alternative, which would be using an exhaust system with air scrubbers. Though the fresh air supply to certain rooms are only 200CFM the capacity of the exhaust system is 4000 cfm. As the fresh air supply is lower than the exhaust system, will this cause any pressure damage to the ACMV system.
Moreover is this method in compliance with the LEED requirement? Appreciate your suggestions.

Also would like to know why is it required to maintain an internal temp of 15deg C during Flush out as most of our ACMV systems are designed to maintain an internal space temperature of 24deg C.

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Donald Green Project Manager Sustainable Design Consulting, LLC
Aug 07 2014
LEEDuser Member
973 Thumbs Up

Split Systems & Re-Testing

Couple Questions as follows:

1. When re-testing does the testing agency need to do a full re-test for all contaminants or only re-test for those specific few items that did not pass?

2. In a small common area of a residential building (2300 SF) there are 4 split systems and they all go to 1 ERU which also handles numerous dorm rooms above the common area. How many tests need to occur in this space?

Thank you,

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David Biggs David R Biggs Construction
Jul 09 2014
LEEDuser Member
3 Thumbs Up

IAQ Option #1

For a building pre-occupancy flush-out what are the requirements for substantiating that the 14,000 cfm of OA was actually completed for the entire square footage. In the past under version 2 the only way that was acceptable to reviewers was showing a trend graph from the controls automation system which requires a flow sensor installed in all air handlers to be read in the automation software. Is this not the case any longer?

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

David, there is no specific documentation requirement such as the graph output you mention. A narrative is what the LEED Online form asks for.

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Pascal Genest-Richard
Jul 04 2014
Guest
2 Thumbs Up

Permanent furniture

We would like to know if it is possible to start the flush out (and maybe even finish it) before all permanent furniture is installed. The furniture is fabricated in a shop outside the site and free of 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..

Thank you.

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

Pascal, this is a complicated question that is answered thoroughly in one of our FAQs above, under LEEDuser's Bird's Eye View guidance.

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Dale Walsh
Jul 02 2014
Guest
196 Thumbs Up

Comment on Value and Purpose of IEQc3.2

As a Certified Industrial Hygienist with 28 years of experience conducting 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. assessments and a Masters Degree in Toxicology/Industrial Hygiene with a thesis on new carpet emissions I want to state my disagreement with the description of the value and purpose of the subject credit at the beginning of this list.

The introduction to this credit above states "IEQc3.2 ensures that the building ends up with the intended result (i.e., good IAQ for occupancy)...The credit has a direct impact on occupant health and comfort..." - In my expert opinion these claims are false.

First of all flush out has little impact on future IAQ as many past studies have shown. Second of all the air testing is simply a snap shot that often evaluates things other than building emissions (e.g., cleaning products used for final cleaning, outdoor air pollutants, etc.). It may be considered a screen to identify whether low emitting materials were properly used but it will NOT "ensure that the building ends up with good indoor air quality for occupancy".

In my experience IAQ complaints from building occupants are and have been seldom related to new building emissions. The biggest indoor pollutant source is humans. These tests are done before occupancy so the effect of humans "polluting" the indoor environment and how the building handles that is not evaluated. LEED does not address maintenance or housekeeping which are many times more influential on IAQ than new building emissions. Prevention of fungal contamination after occupancy is not addressed by LEED (i.e., use building materials that don't support fungal growth in water use areas). Intake of pollutants from sources like sewer vents, combustion sources (oven, boilers, etc.), bathrooms, etc. are not addressed in LEED. I can give numerous other issues that are built into "Green" buildings that contribute to poor IAQ and have a much greater negative impact on IAQ than new building materials off-gassing.

At best, IEQc3.2 either blows out a small amount of VOCsA volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is a carbon compound that vaporizes (becomes a gas) at normal room temperatures. VOCs contribute to air pollution directly and through atmospheric photochemical reactions (excluding carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, carbonic acid, metallic carbides and carbonates, and ammonium carbonate) to produce secondary air pollutants, principally ozone and peroxyacetyl nitrate. and small dust particles or helps evaluate whether the use of low emitting building materials was not totally botched. At worst, it gives the false impression that the new "Green" building will have good IAQ. The smell of "Green" may very well be fungal growth (mold) or the money going down the drain to respond to IAQ problems.

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ian ball Sep 17 2014 Guest 3 Thumbs Up

Dale, I disagree with your reasoning and understanding of the benefits of this credit. I also have years of experience in 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 and started my career in that field. Imagine if you purged a car before it was sold and used by its new owner. That initial VOC smell really lingers when purging is not performed. If the testing and purging are well coordinated, particularly with regard to the installed furnishings, then there is a significant difference in the initial period of IAQ for the occupant. The credit of course does not address long term IAQ. This is addressed in LEED EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating sytems. instead. Using your logic, you could also claim that commissioning is a waste of time since the parameters of operation and operator adjustments will eventually degrade performance over time, thus why do it. However, in best practice commissioning, a systems manual must be supplied that includes how to recommission the building. If I was to fault the IEQc3.2 credit, I would say that it should supply the owner with information on how to maintain IAQ and to conduct IAQ surveys on certain regular basis and provide names of consultants who can assist in performing tests when required.

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Dale Walsh Sep 23 2014 Guest 196 Thumbs Up

Ian,

First of all, thank you for your response. Opposing points of view are always of value because they help point out weaknesses in an argument and can sometimes lead to learning new things. With that being said I would agree that flush out may have a minimal value to improved new building 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.. With that being said are the extra energy (causing increased outdoor air pollution), air filter waste (causing waste of resources and landfill space), schedule delays, etc. worth a debatable minor improvement in IAQ at the beginning of occupancy? I say no.

As I have stated previously, the intent statement for LEED 2009 IEQ Credit 3.2 Credit is "To reduce indoor air quality (IAQ) problems resulting from construction or renovation to promote the comfort and well-being of construction workers and building occupants." In my opinion flush out or air testing do not accomplish this intent and, as such, this intent statement is misleading and incorrect.

First of all, how does flushing out a building or doing air testing "after" construction do anything for construction workers? Secondly, bringing in a little extra outdoor air into a building after it has been ventilated throughout the construction process is not going to do a whole lot to "promote" occupant well-being. In my experience the outdoor air and other non-construction related issues such as cleaning products used before occupancy or occupant associated issues such as dusty furniture from another location or off-gassing from new equipment packing materials are often a problem and cause of air testing failure (per arbitrary LEED requirements).

Your example of comparing purging a car to building flush out is comparing apples to oranges. A car is not constantly ventilated during or after construction as is the case with a building. Of course blowing out a car is going to reduce interior 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. until you stop and then they will just build up again until the car is old enough to stop having significant off-gassing. A building with the proper amount of "clean" outdoor air provided on a constant basis (unlike a car) both during construction use of VOCs (paints, adhesives, etc.) and after construction will take care of removing most of the VOCs. Pushing through a little extra outdoor air before occupancy (flush out) is going to pale in comparison regarding the value to good IAQ of continuous outdoor air intake.

Your commissioning comment is simply off base. The main function of commissioning is to assure that the building systems operate the way they were designed to operate once installed (hopefully the design was good in the first place). Flushing out a building has nothing to do with the proper operations of building systems. I would never argue that building commissioning is a waste of time. In fact it is a very valuable aspect of LEED. It would be nice if it was applied to IAQ related issues more. One of my main arguments has been that many things get designed into a building that cause IAQ problems (sewer vents too close to outdoor air intakes, air handling units hard to access and maintain, supply vents next to return vents causing airflow short circuits, air filters not fitting properly, cellulose [paper] in drywall used in high water use areas such as bathrooms, kitchens, janitors closets, etc. etc. etc.). It would be nice to prevent these issues from being designed and installed in the first place.

Lastly, the comment that long term IAQ is addressed in LEED EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating sytems. is false, in my opinion. I have done numerous presentations on LEED EBOM (2009) and, as such, am very familiar with its contents. LEED EBOM as it applies to IAQ basically has the same requirements as are found in LEED for New Construction with the addition of a bunch of written policies and the use of "Green" cleaning. Sometimes the "Green" stuff is just as or more hazardous than the traditional cleaning products. The idea often put forward is that the chemical is OK because it is "natural". Poison Ivy is natural too. The only truly different aspect of LEED EBOM from LEED for New Construction is IEQ Credit 1.1 which is worth 1 credit and requires the building owner/operator to "Develop and implement on an ongoing basis an IAQ management program based on the EPA Indoor Air Quality Building Education and Assessment Model (I-BEAM)". When I talk to architects that do LEED EBOM they say that Credit IEQ 1.1 is an easy credit because all they have to do is complete an I-BEAM checklist. Perhaps if an I-BEAM program was actually developed and thoroughly implemented by an IAQ Professional and maintained by the building owner/operator it might actually improve IAQ. Apparently that is not how it is implemented if it is implemented at all.

In conclusion, I stick by my previous posts regarding the value of LEED Credit 3.2 (or lack thereof) as it pertains to its claimed intent. There are many other things that could be done to help assure good IAQ in a "Green" building that are not even in the discussion at USGBC or in other related rating systems or codes. USGBC has shown over and over again a lack of interest in hearing from IAQ experts such as Certified Industrial Hygienists with IAQ experience. I know this from personal experience as someone with the knowledge and experience I have presented in previous posts who has been denied participation on the IEQ Technical Advisory Group for LEED on several occasions and has had his comments on new versions of LEED ignored for more than a decade. It is a shame that real science does not prevail with the USGBC and other similar organizations. Our world could be improved tremendously if it did.

Ian, if you have some peer reviewed, science-based studies on the value of building flush out as it relates to measureable improvement in indoor air quality in a new building I would be very interested in having those references. The following reference suggests a lack of value for flush out: Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene Volume 11, Issue 6, 1996 Effects of Ventilation Flushout on Indoor Air Quality in a Newly Constructed Office Building. Also, the 2012 International Green Construction Code has eliminated building flush out as a way of assuring good IAQ.

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Kelly Bruvik
Jun 30 2014
Guest

direct reading instruments

Can direct reading instruments be used to measure 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. and PM10? Another user asked specifically about the GrayWolf 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. equipment and I was also wondering if it can be used for EQc3.2.

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Dale Walsh Jul 02 2014 Guest 196 Thumbs Up

LEED 2009 for New Construction states “Conduct baseline 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 after construction ends and prior to occupancy using testing protocols consistent with the EPA Compendium of Methods for the Determination of Air Pollutants in Indoor Air (aka IP methods) and as additionally detailed in the LEED Reference Guide for Green Building Design and Construction, 2009 Edition”. The EPA IP methods were published in 1990 and have not been updated since. Indoor air quality professionals typically do not use them and there are few if any labs that perform these analyses. However, the above statement says “consistent with”. There are other EPA methods referred to as TO methods for outdoor air, ASTMVoluntary standards development organization which creates source technical standards for materials, products, systems, and services methods, and OSHA and NIOSH methods for occupational exposure monitoring. Many of these methods, which are what IAQ professionals typically use, may be considered “consistent with” the IP methods.

There are twenty IP methods with two for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCsA volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is a carbon compound that vaporizes (becomes a gas) at normal room temperatures. VOCs contribute to air pollution directly and through atmospheric photochemical reactions (excluding carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, carbonic acid, metallic carbides and carbonates, and ammonium carbonate) to produce secondary air pollutants, principally ozone and peroxyacetyl nitrate.), three for 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., three for carbon monoxide, and two for respirable particulates (none for PM10). It should be noted that respirable particles are very different from PM10 which is an outdoor air parameter. Respirable particles are for human exposure assessments.

The two IP VOC methods are both laboratory methods with one collecting the samples in an evacuated stainless steel canister and the other collecting the sample on solid adsorbent tubes. There are no IP methods for direct reading of VOCs.

The three IP formaldehyde methods include two lab methods and one direct reading method. The instrument for the direct reading of formaldehyde is no longer manufactured and its technology is not in common use.

The three IP carbon monoxide methods are direct reading.

The two IP respirable particulate methods include a lab method and a direct reading method. The IP direct reading method is expensive and not commonly used for IAQ evaluations. More modern particulate monitors use laser technology for counting particles and an algorithm to convert the count into a mass per volume. Currently available direct reading aerosol monitors (mass per volume units) are typically calibrated to Arizona road dust. Unless that is what you are measuring you should calibrate the instruments to the particulate types you are measuring. This is done by collecting the lab version of the IP method and adjusting the direct reading instrument to the result for the particle size fraction you measured. The equivalent lab method for respirable particulates is the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) method 0600. There are methods for PM10 but they are designed for a 24 or more hour collection time which is what PM10 is based on. A method that will overestimate PM10 and therefore, if passed, could be considered an alternative is NIOSH method 0500 for total particulates. NIOSH 0500 is a very cost effective means of measuring nuisance dust after construction completion.

In conclusion, based on the previous information, the use of a direct reading instrument for VOC sampling would NOT be “consistent with” the IP methods and therefore NOT comply with LEED 2009 requirements. Using a direct reading instrument for PM10 measurement may be considered “consistent with” IP methods provided the instruments are calibrated properly. This ignores the fact that LEED requires the measurement of an inappropriate parameter (PM10) using methods not designed for this parameter. I personally use a modified EPA TO-17 method (similar to IP-1B) for VOCs and NIOSH 0500 for PM10. LEED v.4 is more specific in the methods to be used though many of them are still not those commonly used by IAQ professionals and, in some cases, are measuring inappropriate parameters.

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Omar ElRawy Building Engineer, LEED AP BD+C EA Building Consultants
Jun 26 2014
Guest
527 Thumbs Up

Concerning Carpet

Dear all,
We have a project where we intend to pursue Option 1 Path 1, We will install furniture after completing the flush-out, but the architect is concerned about the carpet installation, and wants to postpone carpet installation after flush-out as well so that it doesn't become a sink for pollutants.
My question is that: is carpet considered as "Interior Finish", in that case it must be installed before flush out? or can I consider it with furnishing, knowing that it has terrazzo tiles beneath it?

Another question is that: can I flush with new (F-7) filters that have been used during TAB, knowing that these filters were not used during construction?

Thanks

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Haytham Mohamed Abdel Rahman Project Architect & LEED AP BD+C, ID+C, O+M, Homes, ND, Architects Crang & Boak Inc Jul 03 2014 LEEDuser Member 12 Thumbs Up

We encounter the same issue, since the project is hotel and the handing over will be faces without furniture. We selected the phased flush out option ( early occupancy phased flush out) the commencement day of the second phase will be after install all furniture and furnishings. However we will submit an inquiry to GBCI to check the validation of such strategy.

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jorge torres coto Building Systems Commissioning Engineer Empirical Engineering, LLC
Jun 13 2014
LEEDuser Member
383 Thumbs Up

Expansion project FLUSH OUT

We have a project that is an expansion to an existing facility. It is NOT an addition. Though the majority of the existing facility was unrenovated, with the exception of one ventilation system that was tied into the renovation portion. The existing portion was isolated and documented in IEQc3.1.
Do we have to flush out all of the existing unrenovated portion, since the GBCI reviewer is requesting we also document this?
We only flushed out the expansion (new AHUs) and the areas that are communicated with the expansion.
Thank You

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Jalal Avades President AGR Consulting, LLC
Jun 10 2014
LEEDuser Member
226 Thumbs Up

New Filters Before Occupancy

IEQ-C3.2 and IEQ-C5 requires that new sets of filters need to be installed prior to Occupancy.
If the project is pursuing both credits do we need to change the filters prior to the Flush out (IEQ-C3.2) and after completing that we need to change the filters for IEQ-C5 and before you bring the people in?

I feel that the project need to have new filters before occupancy.

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Susan Walter Sr Project Architect, Wilmot/Sanz Jun 11 2014 LEEDuser Expert 14843 Thumbs Up

The MERVMinimum efficiency reporting value. rating for IEQc3.1 (which I'm assuming your project is also earning) and this credit is 8. The minimum MERV rating for IEQc5 is 13. Because they aren't the same, they get changed before occupancy. This credit does require a change in filtration media before a flush and I believe most teams use MERV 8 filters. You could do more if you wanted.

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Donald Green Project Manager Sustainable Design Consulting, LLC
May 22 2014
LEEDuser Member
973 Thumbs Up

Testing for Residential

I have read the threads for this credit as well as any LI that I could find to determine the amount of testing locations required. There is however a conflict of information as follows - a thread on LEED User states that the number is 10% of the first 100 units and then 5% thereafter, however I have found an LI #5028 which notes that it is to be 1 out of every 7 units to be tested.

Which is correct?

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Donald Green Project Manager, Sustainable Design Consulting, LLC Aug 07 2014 LEEDuser Member 973 Thumbs Up

We are going to follow the LI on this one unless anyone knows why we shouldn't?

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Nikhilesh Srinivasan
May 20 2014
LEEDuser Member
3 Thumbs Up

Floor Area for Flush Out

I'm looking for some help with the area to be used for a flush out calculation. The gross project area included in PI-Form 3 includes electric/janitor closets, core toilets, mechanical room and emergency stairs. From other comments, it seems like I need to include the closets & toilets in the flush out.

The mechanical room is a dedicated mechanical floor on which my client is adding some fans.

There is no air being supplied for the emergency stairs and mechanical room, by my client since these are base building areas. The closets & toilets are being exhausted only, but there are transfer air louvers.

Should I include the emergency stairs and mechanical room in the flush out calculation?

Thanks.

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Anderson Benite
May 19 2014
LEEDuser Member
987 Thumbs Up

Performing testing under Option 2 - number of samples

For performing testing under Option 2 (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), for a singular space above 25,000 sf served by several similar AHU1.Air-handling units (AHUs) are mechanical indirect heating, ventilating, or air-conditioning systems in which the air is treated or handled by equipment located outside the rooms served, usually at a central location, and conveyed to and from the rooms by a fan and a system of distributing ducts. (NEEB, 1997 edition) 2.A type of heating and/or cooling distribution equipment that channels warm or cool air to different parts of a building. This process of channeling the conditioned air often involves drawing air over heating or cooling coils and forcing it from a central location through ducts or air-handling units. Air-handling units are hidden in the walls or ceilings, where they use steam or hot water to heat, or chilled water to cool the air inside the ductwork. systems, could it be acceptable using the “1/25,000 SF or each contiguous area whichever is larger" method to quantify number of samples?

Or should we consider one sample for each AHU system?

Thanks,
Anderson

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Thomas Nichols LEED AP (O+M), 4 Elements Group May 19 2014 LEEDuser Member 334 Thumbs Up

Anderson,
Our experience with Option 2, 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, is you must default to testing the total # of AHU1.Air-handling units (AHUs) are mechanical indirect heating, ventilating, or air-conditioning systems in which the air is treated or handled by equipment located outside the rooms served, usually at a central location, and conveyed to and from the rooms by a fan and a system of distributing ducts. (NEEB, 1997 edition) 2.A type of heating and/or cooling distribution equipment that channels warm or cool air to different parts of a building. This process of channeling the conditioned air often involves drawing air over heating or cooling coils and forcing it from a central location through ducts or air-handling units. Air-handling units are hidden in the walls or ceilings, where they use steam or hot water to heat, or chilled water to cool the air inside the ductwork. zones, assuming they all provide supply air to separate zones.

Otherwise you would have a hard time explaining how you tested all supply air zones byusing the 25,000 sf criteria.

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Anderson Benite May 20 2014 LEEDuser Member 987 Thumbs Up

Thank you very much for your fast response, Mr. Nichols.

In my specific project, the area of ​​the space described above is around 82,000 sf (single zone without partition walls)being served for 20 AHU1.Air-handling units (AHUs) are mechanical indirect heating, ventilating, or air-conditioning systems in which the air is treated or handled by equipment located outside the rooms served, usually at a central location, and conveyed to and from the rooms by a fan and a system of distributing ducts. (NEEB, 1997 edition) 2.A type of heating and/or cooling distribution equipment that channels warm or cool air to different parts of a building. This process of channeling the conditioned air often involves drawing air over heating or cooling coils and forcing it from a central location through ducts or air-handling units. Air-handling units are hidden in the walls or ceilings, where they use steam or hot water to heat, or chilled water to cool the air inside the ductwork. systems.

Do you think I need to take 20 samples in this space?

Thanks again

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Thomas Nichols LEED AP (O+M), 4 Elements Group May 20 2014 LEEDuser Member 334 Thumbs Up

yes, It seems excessive to test 20 areas. Do each of the 20 AHU1.Air-handling units (AHUs) are mechanical indirect heating, ventilating, or air-conditioning systems in which the air is treated or handled by equipment located outside the rooms served, usually at a central location, and conveyed to and from the rooms by a fan and a system of distributing ducts. (NEEB, 1997 edition) 2.A type of heating and/or cooling distribution equipment that channels warm or cool air to different parts of a building. This process of channeling the conditioned air often involves drawing air over heating or cooling coils and forcing it from a central location through ducts or air-handling units. Air-handling units are hidden in the walls or ceilings, where they use steam or hot water to heat, or chilled water to cool the air inside the ductwork. supply air to 20 individual zones?
A CIRCredit Interpretation Ruling. Used by design team members experiencing difficulties in the application of a LEED prerequisite or credit to a project. Typically, difficulties arise when specific issues are not directly addressed by LEED information/guide is always an option. I believe you will need to be able to make a case that you are testing the entire space using the default (contiguous floor, 25,000sf, individual supply air unit/zone) as your guide to determine the total # of areas.

Sorry I can't be more helpful without knowing the specifics of your mechanical system.

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Zach Hoffman Commissioning Agent/IAQ Technician MBO, Inc.
May 16 2014
Guest
88 Thumbs Up

IBC Occupancy Classification & Testing Requirements

I am wondering if IBC Group S-1 Occupancy zones are required to be tested per IEQc3.2.
On this project (vehicle maintenance facility), the specific zones within the S-1 classification are maintenance bays, holding bays, lube rooms, battery rooms, compressor rooms, mechanical rooms, electrical rooms, telecom rooms, and storage which are mostly ventilated with supply fans, exhaust fans and a split system fan coil or two.
Typically when selecting sampling zones I do not consider mechanical, electrical, telecom, and storage rooms as 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..
I figure lube rooms, battery rooms and compressor rooms are not regularly occupied but what about the maintenance/holding bay's?
I would think testing is not required in those spaces either (since when occupied those spaces will be rife with all sorts of contaminants anyway), yet there will still be persons working there (most likely wearing appropriate PPE).
It would also be awesome for LEED clarify the testing requirements further, possibly base them off IBC or a similar entities occupancy classifications?
Anyone have thoughts, comments or experience on any of the above?
Thanks,
Zach

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Dale Walsh May 16 2014 Guest 196 Thumbs Up

Zach,
Remember that 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. testing before occupancy has little to do with future indoor air quality (i.e., future chemical exposures of maintenance staff in bays). It is mainly a crude snapshot check of whether low emitting building materials were properly used in the building. Often times it doesn't even accomplish that goal due to last minute use of cleaners, touch up painting, proximity to vehicle traffic, early move-in, etc. causing excessive non-building related chemicals to be present during sampling.

I have tested maintenance bays in the past due to their large square footage (i.e., over 20,000 sq ft) and/or being separately ventilated. As you know LEED doesn't base number and locations of samples on code occupancy types but rather whether a space is occupied at all, separately ventilated and of a limited size. The International Green Construction Code does exempt some types of occupancies from air testing, bet then again that is code. I would warn that if you do sample the bays make sure none of the maintenance chemicals/substances have been moved in yet and that a "low VOC" epoxy-type coating hasn't been applied to the floor recently. I have seen "low VOC" coatings being considered "low VOC" because the VOC in it is not on an EPA list.

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Esteban Martinez LEED Consultant Green Loop
Apr 29 2014
LEEDuser Member
207 Thumbs Up

Flush Out Path 1 Only During Daytime

We are currently pursuing this credit using the flush out option Path 1. We are capable of maintaining the temperature in at least 60°F and RH no higher than 60% since the ventilation systems are turned on only during the day (from 7am to 5pm). However, outside night temperatures can drop to 40°F. Our strategy is to flush out the building only during daytime when outside air complies with the 60/60 requirement. Temperature and RH readings will be made during the same period of the Flush Out
It is possible that during the night inside temperature drops below 60F; do you think that non-compliance with 60/60 requirements at night (when we are not flushing out) would compromise credit compliance?

Thanks in advance

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Christopher Strunk P.E.
Apr 29 2014
LEEDuser Member
13 Thumbs Up

IEQc3.2 Option 2: Air Testing

Currently doing a LEED v.2009 project and are looking to pursue IEQc3.2, Option 2. We got a question from the air quality tester asking about the specific requirements for testing. The testing specification which was prepared requests that the tester "perform airborne mold and mildew sampling to identify species present within simultaneous indoor and outdoor reading."

Question 1: Other than mold spores that exist at PM10 or less, does LEED require any other tests to specifically detect mold?

Question 2: If yes to Question 1, does LEED require specific 'species' of mold to be identified in the test or can a simplified spore trap test be conducted to use as an indicator that mold spores are present?

Thanks so much, in advance, for everyone's time.

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Thomas Nichols LEED AP (O+M), 4 Elements Group Apr 29 2014 LEEDuser Member 334 Thumbs Up

LEED EQ 3.2 options 2 does not require airborne mold sampling. Carbon Monoxide, PM10, TVOCThe sum or total of all volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released from a product or measured in a space under certain defined conditions., 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 4-PCH are the only required tests. Indoor sampling only, outdoor comparison samples are not required.

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Christopher Strunk P.E. Apr 29 2014 LEEDuser Member 13 Thumbs Up

Thanks so much, Thomas. That was my understanding of the credit language, as well.

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Catalina Caballero Sustainability Coordinator JALRW Eng. Group Inc.
Apr 17 2014
LEEDuser Member
2621 Thumbs Up

Do all units have to run at 100% OA for this credit?

We have 4 A/C Units providing air conditioning to a building, two of them are 100% OA units and two of them are providing the total air supply cfm (OA + recirulated air) is 7000 cfm and 8600 respectively, including 1100 cfm of OA in each. I was wondering the guide does NOT specifically says that for the flush the equipment needs to provide 100% OA, but instead 14000 cf/sf. even if through the process you are recirculating air. Is this assumption correct? The project is located in Florida, if the equipment provides OA 100% 24hr/day it may humidify the drywall indoors and cause a problem.

Thanks

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Allison Beer McKenzie Architect, Director of Sustainability, SHP Leading Design Apr 17 2014 LEEDuser Expert 6242 Thumbs Up

Victor- the required volume of air (14,000 cubic feet) has to all be "outside air". This does not mean that the system has to deliver 100% OA, but rather, that if the system is delivering a mix of OA and recirculated, you can only count the OA portion toward the total volume.

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Catalina Caballero Sustainability Coordinator, JALRW Eng. Group Inc. Apr 18 2014 LEEDuser Member 2621 Thumbs Up

Great, if that is the case we can definitely provide that volume in about 40 days, system running as originally intended. Is there any reference in regards to that I can forward to our engineers for clarification? There is a believe out there that the equipment have to run 100% OA to be considered "flush out". Any reference? Do we need to maintain the min ventilation per sf of 0.3 cfm of option 2?

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Allison Beer McKenzie Architect, Director of Sustainability, SHP Leading Design Apr 18 2014 LEEDuser Expert 6242 Thumbs Up

LEED NC 2.2 used to refer to "100% Outside Air", so that could be where the percepion is coming from. The equivalent credit in LEED 2009 does not refer to a need for 100% outside air anywhere, it just gives a total volume of outside air. It also doesn't specifically say it doesn't have to be 100% OA, though, so I know it's not exactly what you're looking for. We have done flush outs that do not use 100% OA several times and we have not had problems on review.

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Catalina Caballero Sustainability Coordinator, JALRW Eng. Group Inc. Apr 21 2014 LEEDuser Member 2621 Thumbs Up

Thanks for your reply Allison, really helpful

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Regina Ng
Apr 03 2014
LEEDuser Member
1046 Thumbs Up

Meeting the 0.3cfm/sqft

Hi

Want to check if the space comprises of office areas served by AHU1.Air-handling units (AHUs) are mechanical indirect heating, ventilating, or air-conditioning systems in which the air is treated or handled by equipment located outside the rooms served, usually at a central location, and conveyed to and from the rooms by a fan and a system of distributing ducts. (NEEB, 1997 edition) 2.A type of heating and/or cooling distribution equipment that channels warm or cool air to different parts of a building. This process of channeling the conditioned air often involves drawing air over heating or cooling coils and forcing it from a central location through ducts or air-handling units. Air-handling units are hidden in the walls or ceilings, where they use steam or hot water to heat, or chilled water to cool the air inside the ductwork. and FCU, but the FCU areas cannot meet the requirement of 0.3cfm/sqft during occupancy. However, this is a 24 hour operating building, where the fresh air can be supplied at maximum all the time but at only 0.15cfm/sqft). Is it possible to do the flushing for a longer time to meet the 14000cf/sqft during occupancy at the lower rate?

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MT A Moriyama & Teshima Architects
Mar 13 2014
LEEDuser Member
128 Thumbs Up

Definition of 'occupancy'

We are planning to pursue this credit and would like to better understand if occupancy is tied to 'substantial completion' occupancy or is occupancy understood as a more high level idea - when the building is being used for its intended purpose?
Substantial completion from the City's perspective is when the building is determined as being able to be occupied for its intended use. The owner wishes to start moving in the furnishings & furniture & setting up in the two months following substantial - during which time some staff may be working (it's a library). What is considered the time of occupancy: substantial / any one working in the space / the space being used for its intended purpose?

Thank you!
Emmanuelle

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David Hubka Director - Operations, Transwestern Sustainability Services Mar 19 2014 LEEDuser Expert 988 Thumbs Up

The Supplemental Guidance to the Minimum Program Requirements defines typical physical occupancy as "the state in which normal building operations are underway and the building is in use by the average number of FTEFull-time equivalent (FTE) represents a regular building occupant who spends 8 hours a day (40 hours a week) in the project building. Part-time or overtime occupants have FTE values based on their hours per day divided by 8 (or hours per week divided by 40). Transient Occupants can be reported as either daily totals or as part of the FTE. Residential occupancy should be estimated based on the number and size of units. Core and Shell projects should refer to the default occupancy table in the Reference Guide appendix. All occupant assumptions must be consistent across all credits in all categories. occupants for which it was designed". The case you described appears that the building will not initially be considered "typical physical occupancy".

However, I interpret the credit to require a flush-out or air testing prior to occupancy of the first person. Afterall, how many buildings are 100% occupied (or considered typical physical occupancy) the very date occupancy is declared by the authority having jursidiction?

I believe it would be very difficult to provide a narrative to the LEED reviewer explaining how staff occupied the building before the completion of the required flush-out or air testing.

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Sandi Carney
Mar 07 2014
Guest
6 Thumbs Up

Option 2 fails TVOC - will Retest Pass?

I was the responsible party who ran the baseline 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 event a a newly constructed 6,000 SF teaching facility. The TVOCThe sum or total of all volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released from a product or measured in a space under certain defined conditions. results came back yesterday and were 4,900 ug/m3. This is ten times the allowable maximum for the LEED credit. The next step is a flush out and re-test, right? I was asked what the likelihood of passing with below 500 ug/m3 TVOC is after completing the flush out. Do you have experience that would lend way to an answer?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Mar 07 2014 LEEDuser Moderator

Sandi, I personally couldn't say. It sounds pretty high—like you have some source within the building that could continue to offgas and cause problems. If I were you I would do some detective work and try to see if there is a source within the building for starters.

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Dale Walsh Mar 07 2014 Guest 196 Thumbs Up

Sandi,
What method did you use for the TVOCThe sum or total of all volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released from a product or measured in a space under certain defined conditions. analysis? Did you ask your lab if they can tell you the specific 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. that make up your TVOC result? If you can find out about the constituents of the TVOCs it can give a clue as to the source or cause of the high levels. For example, pentane can be from exterior styrofoam insulation, petroleum hydrocarbons can be from roof mastics or vehicle exhaust or fuels being entrained into the building, chlorinated hydrocarbons could be from leaking air conditioning coolant or freon used as a propellant for touch up painting, limonene could be associated with citrus based cleaning products, etc.

If you can get the main individual VOCs that were detected I'd be happy to look at them and give you an idea as to what may causing the high TVOC reading. This could help you more efficiently remove the source and pass on the re-test.

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Sandi Carney Mar 10 2014 Guest 6 Thumbs Up

Thank you Tristan and Dale. The construction had completed the week before the testing including the placement of a tile floor and a composite (paint chip/resin) lab floor. Potentially these products are still off-gassing. I am not in my office today so I do not have the report in front of me, but I do remember the top three VOCsA volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is a carbon compound that vaporizes (becomes a gas) at normal room temperatures. VOCs contribute to air pollution directly and through atmospheric photochemical reactions (excluding carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, carbonic acid, metallic carbides and carbonates, and ammonium carbonate) to produce secondary air pollutants, principally ozone and peroxyacetyl nitrate.. In order from highest to lowest - ethanol, acetone and pentane. I appreciate the feedback.

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Zach Hoffman Commissioning Agent/IAQ Technician, MBO, Inc. Mar 10 2014 Guest 88 Thumbs Up

Hello Sandi,

It sounds like your culprit may be hand sanitizer. I've had a similar experience in the past with a project that yeilded results with extremely high VOC concentrations. Further investigations pinned down the main offenders to ethanol, isopropyl alcohol, and acetone. Ethanol and isopropyl alcohol are the main ingredients in hand sanatizer and sure enough, there was a "Costco-sized" jug of the stuff in the testing area. I hope that helps, good luck.

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Sandi Carney Mar 11 2014 Guest 6 Thumbs Up

Thanks Zach. We are currently investigating the products that were used to clean the facility the day before. Against advisement- perhaps some sanitizing and disinfectants were used to clean the floors. This could be right in line with your suggestion of hand sanitizer.

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Dale Walsh Mar 12 2014 Guest 196 Thumbs Up

In addition to hand sanitizer ethanol can be found in a variety of other products such as cleaners (Window cleaners), personal care products, perfume, etc. It is ubiquitous in the indoor air. Another indicator of cleaning product use is limonene which is the citrus in citrus-based cleaners. Was there any limonene detected?

Acetone is a very common solvent and can be found in paints, degreasers, adhesives, and even nail polish remover. Pentane is a “Green” blowing agent (replacing Freons) for Styrofoam and other insulation. Its boiling point is near 100 F, and it may off-gas when exposed to the radiant heat of the sun on the exterior of the building. Styrofoam packing peanuts can be another source. If the exterior insulation is Styrofoam, then a potential solution would be to make sure the building is positively pressurized.

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Maggie Pipek
Mar 03 2014
Guest
15 Thumbs Up

Pre-occupancy Cleaning

If you are not pursuing a green cleaningGreen cleaning is the use of cleaning products and practices that have lower environmental impacts and more positive indoor air quality impacts than conventional products and practices. credit, is there anywhere in the credits (IEQc3.1/IEQc3.2 Construction IAQ Management PlanA construction IAQ management plan outlines measures to minimize contamination in a specific project building during construction and describes procedures to flush the building of contaminants prior to occupancy. or elsewhere) that dictate requirements for post-construction/pre-occupancy cleaning? This is just basic cleaning as part of the turnover of the project - I am looking for guidance on actual cleaning product restrictions and policies.

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Dale Walsh Mar 03 2014 Guest 196 Thumbs Up

As far as I know there are no specific product restrictions; however, Chapter 3 of the SMACNA 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. Guide (required as part of EQ Credit 3.1) has some good general guidance. Other parts of the SMACNA guide address housekeeping and cleaning to a limited extent with an emphasis on HVAC cleanliness. The place to address this issue would be a good quality IAQ Management Plan.

If you are going to do air testing (EQ Credit 3.2) watch out for the cleaning chemicals used. I had furniture polish cause one project to fail the Total VOC maximum. Also, a chemical that is commonly advertised as "natural" or "citrus" is limonene which is derived from oranges. No matter how it is advertised it is still a VOC and can cause the air testing to fail. Pinene (Pine-Sol) and other terpenes are also naturally derived, but that doesn't mean they are safe. Remember - poison ivy is "natural". HEPA vacuums, mirco-fiber cloths and mild, unscented soap and water are the best cleaners, in my opinion. The best chemical to use for cleaning is elbow grease.

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Kelly Searle LEED Green Associate, Sustainable Innovation Specialist Clark Builders
Mar 03 2014
LEEDuser Member
17 Thumbs Up

IAQ Testing

I am working on a major renovation project - 11 story office building. Due to the time constraints/cost of flushing we have decided to try for testing.

Facts are:
- Nov 26th, 2014 date for total substantial completion (building turnover)
- floors will be completed From June 26th until Nov 17th (each floor completed every week or so)
- Heating is by hot water coils in vavVariable Air Volume (VAV) is an HVAC conservation feature that supplies varying quantities of conditioned (heated or cooled) air to different parts of a building according to the heating and cooling needs of those specific areas. boxes, cooling by chilled beams, ventilation by two large roof-top units for the entire building (through the vav boxes)
- every floor's ventilation can be closed off - both return and supply air
- it is not phased occupancy - but size of building and owners requiements means that some floors will be completed ahead of others
- the building will not be turned over until after Nov 26th - no owner suppyed materials will be brought in
- basement and floors 2 through 11 will be occupied fully by the government
- main floor will have some tenent spaces to be determined

Questions are:
#1 - can we phase 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. testing as the floors become available?
#2 - will we have to wait until the entire building is completed before testing?
#3 - on the main floor, there are a few tenent spaces - will they need to be tested?

Thanks in advance!

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Dale Walsh Mar 03 2014 Guest 196 Thumbs Up

Per my experience doing more than a dozen LEED air testing projects over the last several years I would say the answer to question 1 is YES. Question 2's answer is NO. Question 3's answer is YES. As far as the number of samples needed see my Comment dated March 3 below.

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Farah A.
Feb 23 2014
Guest
417 Thumbs Up

Air Sampling

If a building is 25,000 sq feet, does that mean only one air sample needs to be taken? Or is it more dependant upon the number of HVAC systems/building area?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Feb 24 2014 LEEDuser Moderator

Farah, this is a tricky question. The last FAQ under the Bird's Eye View section covers this in detail. I would recommend reviewing that guidance.

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Farah A. Mar 02 2014 Guest 417 Thumbs Up

What about a 65,000 sq foot space with only one ventilation system?

I guess I'm asking if the number of systems takes precedence or whether the square feet does. My assumption is that three sampling points are needed- one for every 25,000 feet. Since this exceeds 50,000 by 15 feet, I assume a third sampling point is needed. Is this assumption correct?

Thanks for clearing any confusion!

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Dale Walsh Mar 03 2014 Guest 196 Thumbs Up

One part of the LEED 2009 Reference Guide states "For each portion of the building served by a separate ventilation system, the number of sampling points must not be less than 1 per 25,000 square feet or for each contiguous floor area, whichever is larger." Another part states "Take at least one sample per 25,000 square feet in each portion of the building served by a separate ventilation system." LEED 2009 states "The number of sampling locations will depend on the size of the building and number of ventilation systems. The number of sampling locations must include the entire building and all representative situations. Include areas with the least ventilation and greatest presumed source strength."

Clear as mud, right? The approach I have taken starts with the number of contiguous floors in the building. Each floor is going to get at least one sample. Then I find out the square footage (sf) of each floor. If <25K sf then one sample set on the floor. If >25K and <50K, then two sample sets per floor and so on in 25K increments. Then I find out how many ventilation units serve each floor. I define a ventilation unit as an outdoor intake air location. VAVVariable Air Volume (VAV) is an HVAC conservation feature that supplies varying quantities of conditioned (heated or cooled) air to different parts of a building according to the heating and cooling needs of those specific areas. boxes are not counted. If two ventilation units serve a <25K sf floor then two sample sets are collected on that floor. If multiple floors are served by one ventilation unit then the square footage takes precedence. For example, a ten story building with the top eight stories having a square footage of 20K sf each, the second story having a square footage of 40K sf and the first story (ground floor) being 80K sf would have fourteen (14) sample sets collected. This assumes no more than one ventilation unit per each of the top 8 floors, no more than two units for the 2nd floor and no more than 4 for the ground floor. If the ground floor had 5 separate ventilation units (i.e., outdoor air intake locations), then the total sample sets would be fifteen (15) (one for each of the top 8 floors, 2 on the 2nd floor, and 5 for the 1st floor).

I hope this helps.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Mar 04 2014 LEEDuser Moderator

Farah, again I recommend reviewing the guidance above to understand how USGBC will review documentation for this credit.

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Dale Walsh Mar 04 2014 Guest 196 Thumbs Up

Tristan,

I clicked on the Birds Eye View and I didn't see any FAQs. When I clicked it didn't seem to do anything. How can I review the guidance you are speaking of above? Thank you.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Mar 04 2014 LEEDuser Moderator

Dale, it looks like you are not a LEEDuser member. You will need to sign up in order to see that guidance. Our basic membership costs $9.95/month, and you should also see an offer for a free trial at the top of this page.

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Thomas Nichols LEED AP (O+M), 4 Elements Group Mar 05 2014 LEEDuser Member 334 Thumbs Up

Farah,
If you have 65,000 sf and on ventilation zone for the entire 65 this would require 3 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. test areas. This assumes all 65 is on one floor.

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Juliane Muench
Feb 13 2014
LEEDuser Member
684 Thumbs Up

Definition contiguous floor area

Hi! I was wondering how to interpret the term "contiguous floor area" in IEQ CREDIT 3.2 Option 2 Air Testing. The LEED requirements state that "For each portion of the building served by a separate ventilation system, the number of sampling points must not be less than 1 per 25,000 square feet or for each contiguous floor area, whichever is larger"
Does contiguous floor area mean a sample per room, or per floor (which means that several rooms can be clustered for under sampling point)?
Thanks.

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Thomas Nichols LEED AP (O+M), 4 Elements Group Feb 13 2014 LEEDuser Member 334 Thumbs Up

Hi Juliane,
Continuous floor means sample per floor, not room. Several rooms can be in one sampling point if the rooms are being supplied by the same ventilation zone.
Also, one sampling point can not cover more than one floor. For example, 10,000 sf that consists of 2 floors = 2 sampling points even if they are all one ventilation zone.
Also, you can not have one floor >25000 sf even if it is one ventilation zone and only have one sample point. (25001 = 2 sampling points).
I hope this helps.
If you describe your situation I can possible provide insight into the # of required zones.

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Juliane Muench Feb 13 2014 LEEDuser Member 684 Thumbs Up

Hi Thomas,
Our building is kind of really complex with a lot of ventilation units on each floor. I understand, that each area belonging to a different ventilation aggregate (ventilation zone) has to have their own sample point and if one ventilation area goes over more than one floor there has to be more than one sample point. Furthermore if the area that is served by one unit on one floor is more than 25.000 sf, it needs more than one sample point. I was just wondering, if there are rooms with different kinds of floor materials in one area (under one ventilation unit, on one floor and area is less than 25.000 sf), does that still require one sample or several ones?
Thanks.

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Thomas Nichols LEED AP (O+M), 4 Elements Group Feb 13 2014 LEEDuser Member 334 Thumbs Up

Different material specifications such as flooring would not require additional sampling points. If all flooring has off gassed enough to pass the testing requirements you all set.

Material specifications become a factor in 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. sampling when you have multi unit residential or educational buildings where each room has its own individual ventilation unit. In that situation you would default to HERS protocol of 1 in 7 like rooms must be tested.

I hope this helps.

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Juliane Muench Feb 13 2014 LEEDuser Member 684 Thumbs Up

Helps a lot, thanks!! Our building is an office building. Is there any requirement with regard to when the sampling has to be done, f.ex. 2 weeks after the corresponding areas are finished? Could not find anything on writing about that.. if there is no requirement the sampling could be done when the materials are off gassed as you said, but before occupation.

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Thomas Nichols LEED AP (O+M), 4 Elements Group Feb 13 2014 LEEDuser Member 334 Thumbs Up

Sampling can take place when punch list is complete, no painting, cutting or installing left to be completed. The HVAC system balancing must be completed and HVAC Filters must be changed prior to testing. The building must be set to occupied mode on BAS and at minimum outside air setting during testing Depending on version of LEED furniture installation is either optional or required. (CI is required).
Correct, before occupation.

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Donald Green Project Manager Sustainable Design Consulting, LLC
Feb 03 2014
LEEDuser Member
973 Thumbs Up

IAQ Testing - Maximum Concentrations

Can anyone tell me where the Maximum Concentrations listed in the reference guide came from? Who established them, is there a document or website that can be visited?

Thank you,

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Dale Walsh Feb 17 2014 Guest 196 Thumbs Up

Donald,
If you have read some of my posts in the past you would know I have been discussing the inappropriateness of the contaminants in Credit 3.2 Option 2 and their maximum levels for quite a while. I have been commenting on LEED for a decade in this regard and have been ignored along with my peers who are experts in indoor air quality (professional or certified industrial hygienists).

Some history on this explains some of the problems. In the mid-1980s I was doing my Master’s Thesis on new carpet odor (4-phenylcyclohexene [4-PC] – note its presence in LEED). After my work was done and my thesis was published (mid-1986) the EPA Headquarters building in Washington D.C. was experiencing indoor air quality problems (1988), which had been ongoing but worsened due to a renovation project. After some initial testing, which didn’t reveal significant problems, the union for federal employees found my research and presented it to management. Suddenly 4-PC, as a byproduct of the latex backing manufacturing process for carpets, was the smoking gun. In my opinion, it played a minor role because there were many problems with ventilation and other renovation activities that likely outweighed the new carpet issue. However, one of EPA management’s decisions in response to this episode was to require the hiring of an “indoor air quality (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.) oriented” architect (whatever that meant in the late 1980s). This architect was to draft a “major IAQ component” to be included in “technical facility requirements” for the future construction of EPA headquarters buildings. If you wish to read a summary of this event EPA document EPA/400/1-89/001B titled “Report to Congress on Indoor Air Quality Volume 1: Federal Programs Addressing Indoor Air Quality” has a 3 page summary starting on page 23.

On with the story – I believe the document that was developed by the “IAQ oriented” architect resulted is a document called “EPA Protocol for Environmental Requirements, Baseline IAQ and Materials, for the Research Triangle Park Campus, Section 01445”. I believe this was developed in the early 1990s. It had a variety of requirements for air testing including testing at 16 locations over three consecutive days. It included testing for carbon monoxide, 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., total volatile organic compounds, total particulates and 4-PC (sound familiar?). However the allowable levels were somewhat different than the currently are in LEED. For example, formaldehyde was 20 micrograms per cubic meter (ug/M3) above outside air concentrations compared to 27 ppmParts per million. (different units) in LEED 2009, TVOCs were 200 ug/M3 above outdoor air compared to 500 ug/M3 in LEED 2009, and particulates were 20 ug/M3 compared to 50 ug/M3. In addition to these parameters, the 01445 document required sampling for carbon dioxide in an empty building, which is useless, and sampling for microbial materials and EPA primary air pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxides, lead, and ozone. This document still exists with some minor changes. For example, carbon dioxide monitoring is no longer required and there are not as many samples required. The document is now called “Testing for Indoor Air Quality Section 01 81 09” dated December 2007. It is referenced in Green Globes as the means to do IAQ testing and I have seen it incorporated into federal building project specifications. It basically costs about ten times to do that sampling compared to LEED 2009 sampling.

In my opinion, the “IAQ oriented” architect was not the most appropriate professional to develop this document and likely did not get the input of professionals who investigate IAQ problems for a living (i.e., professional or certified industrial hygienists). The parameters identified in the EPA specification are not health based and in many ways where pulled out of a hat.

You may ask what does this have to do with LEED 2009 EQ Credit 3.2 Option 2. Well guess what document was specified in LEED version 2.0 for baseline IAQ testing. That’s right – good old 01445. I can just see the creators of LEED contemplating what they should adopt for IAQ testing. Voila – there it is, a specification (architects know specifications) created by the “Environmental” Protection Agency - perfect. As we went through LEED versions 2.1 and 2.2 and then 2009 the requirements morphed a little bit with a new source being referenced as the State of Washington’s IAQ standard which no longer exists. I commented each time a new version was up for adoption but I was ignored each time including LEED version 4.

You may infer from my tone that I am a bit bitter about the whole thing and you are correct. As you can see in a small way my Master’s Thesis research led to where we are now with LEED IAQ testing. If you look at the IAQ testing parameters in LEED version 4 you will see that 4-PC has finally been removed. However, most of the other questionable parameters remain with the addition of the California target chemicals which come from a document for product emissions and not IAQ. Also note that the EPA IP Compendium Methods are still recommended. IAQ professionals don’t use those methods and most labs won’t analyze per those methods. It would be nice if the people at USGBC would listen to the experts. The American Industrial Hygiene Association is currently working on recommendations for testing and other approaches to help assure good IAQ in a Green building. I hope this long winded explanation answers your question.

Dale Walsh, MS, CIH, LEED-AP BD+C

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Donald Green Project Manager, Sustainable Design Consulting, LLC Mar 04 2014 LEEDuser Member 973 Thumbs Up

Thanks Dale, your response helps a great deal.

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Youyou Xiong May 05 2014 Guest 2 Thumbs Up

Hi Dale, do you know where 27 ppbParts per billion. of maximum allowable concentration came from? In LEED v4, maximum allowable concentrations from target chemicals were half of their chronic reference exposure levels except 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.. Why is formaldehyde a exception? Thank you.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. May 05 2014 LEEDuser Moderator

Dale (or anyone) if you post a reply to the v4 question, please do it over on the v4 forum. Thanks!

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Oct 20 2014
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