Like the similar credit, IEQc4.1: Low-Emitting Materials: Adhesives and Sealants, it shouldn’t cost you anything extra to earn this credit—it will just take some work. Your first priority should be to specify only paints and coatings that comply with the credit’s VOC limits, and enforce those specifications on the jobsite. Research low-VOC paints and coatings before construction begins and provide lists of acceptable materials to contractors to help ensure that the right products are used.
Major manufacturers offer paints and coatings that are just as durable and perform just as well as their higher-VOC counterparts. Performance of low-VOC products has sometimes been an issue in the past, but the market has largely moved beyond this point.
Low-VOC acrylic paint is readily available. While it may be more difficult, it is not impossible to find low-VOC oil-based and high-gloss paints. Darker shades of paints also tend to have higher VOC levels. Rust proofing coatings also tend to have higher VOC content, but several name brand providers have low-VOC alternatives.
Low-VOC paint like this 0-VOC Acrylic from Sherwin-Williams does not have to sacrifice performance or cost. Photo – Sherwin-Williams
Making sure that VOC limits are observed demands proactive communication between the designer, contractor, and all subcontractors who do work inside the building. Subcontractors have to be educated about the requirements, and their contracts should require that they document their compliance.
Unlike some LEED credits where only a certain percentage of the materials have to comply, this credit is all-or-nothing—all paints and coatings must comply. If a non-compliant paint or coating gets used by mistake, or if you need to bend the VOC limits to meet the requirements of a warranty or fire code, you can still earn the credit following the “VOC budget process.” You’ll simply have to do some calculations to show that your extra use of VOCsA volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is a carbon compound that vaporizes (becomes a gas) at normal room temperatures. VOCs contribute to air pollution directly and through atmospheric photochemical reactions (excluding carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, carbonic acid, metallic carbides and carbonates, and ammonium carbonate) to produce secondary air pollutants, principally ozone and peroxyacetyl nitrate. was offset by very low use of VOCs elsewhere. You have to meet the budget for paints and coatings separately from adhesives and sealants (for IEQc4.1), though—you’re not allowed to create a combined VOC budget covering multiple IEQc4 credits.
Earning this credit is a key part of a construction indoor-air-quality management plan, and will help you earn another LEED point via IEQc3.1: Construction Indoor Air Quality Management Plan—During Construction.
Earning this credit can also help teams pass air quality tests needed to earn IEQc3.2: Construction Indoor Air Quality Management Plan—Before Occupancy.
Using low-VOC paints and coatings is not only beneficial to occupants, but can improve air quality and the health of construction workers who are constantly exposed to construction pollution.
Don’t allow the use of products that merely claim to be “low VOC.” Everyone specifying and purchasing products must actually find the products’ VOC content in grams per liter (g/L), which is usually found on the product’s technical data sheet or material safety data sheet, and compare that number with VOC limits listed for different uses determined by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) Rule #1113 and Green Seal GS-11 and GS-03.
Only 20% of product cut sheets selected at random need to be uploaded to LEED Online to document this credit although it is best to keep all product cut sheets on file in case the credit is audited.
Yes. If you have just one non-compliant product, then you can balance it out with just one really good, low-VOC product, as long as all your other products meet the requirement. For example, if you have two gallons of non-compliant paint that is 100 g/L over its required threshold, then you can balance it out with another product you’re using. You would have to be using two gallons that are 100g/L under the required threshold, or four gallons that are 50 g/L under, or 20 gallons that are 10 g/L under, etc.
GBCI has issued a clarification that the actual barrier does not need to comply with this credit. Any applied products that are 'touched by the indoor air' would need to be considered for IEQc4.2, but if they fall outside of this they can be excluded.
Check out the Resources tab for the Green Seal Standard and SCAQMD Rules for more information. These documents can be helpful in determining where and how your product should be categorized to determine corresponding VOC thresholds.
Graphic Arts (Sign) Coating is found in SCAQMD 1113, Table 1 - VOC Limits, with 500 g/l as the current limit.
Projects should comply with the editions in the reference guide or applicable LEED addenda issued before the project's registration date.
Handheld aerosol spray paints are not covered by Green Seal GS-11 or SCAQMD Rule 1113, the relevant standards under this credit. A CIRCredit Interpretation Ruling. Used by design team members experiencing difficulties in the application of a LEED prerequisite or credit to a project. Typically, difficulties arise when specific issues are not directly addressed by LEED information/guide under LEED-NC v2.2 was issued that excluded spray paints from this credit, and there have been no rulings reversing this for LEED 2009 projects, although there is not officially a ruling one way or another that applies to LEED 2009. See LEED InterpretationLEED Interpretations are official answers to technical inquiries about implementing LEED on a project. They help people understand how their projects can meet LEED requirements and provide clarity on existing options. LEED Interpretations are to be used by any project certifying under an applicable rating system. All project teams are required to adhere to all LEED Interpretations posted before their registration date. This also applies to other addenda. Adherence to rulings posted after a project registers is optional, but strongly encouraged. LEED Interpretations are published in a searchable database at usgbc.org. #2486 2/10/2009.
As stated in the credit language, architectural paints and coatings applied to interior walls and ceilings are subject to GS-11.
If a project registered after the 4/14/10 addendum, then primers must use the 50 g/L and 150 g/L VOC limits for flat and non-flat paints, respectively. The only exception would be when it can be demonstrated, based on the purpose of the primer and supporting manufacturer data, that the product meets the definition of specialty primers per SCAQMD Rule 1113.
First check the allowable VOC levels for each product type you are using – see the summary of VOC limits in the Low-Emitting Material Limits document (see Documentation Toolkit) and then make sure the products specified do not exceed those limits.
Select paint colors and sheen levels.
Many "zero-VOC" paints contain colorants with as much as 150 g/L of VOCs. Natura from Benjamin Moore uses zero-VOC colorants. Photo – Benjamin MooreIt’s easier to find low-VOC paints if you choose lighter paint colors. Darker colors tend to use more pigment and binders, where VOCs are concentrated. When compiling VOC numbers for paints, make sure that the numbers you get include pigment, not just the base paint.
Light colors also make spaces brighter, reducing electric lighting needs.
Major manufacturers offer paints and coatings that are just as durable and perform just as well as their higher-VOC counterparts. Poor performance of low-VOC paints and coatings has been an issue in the past, but is no longer a problem for any but the most demanding applications. Interior wall and ceiling paints (in flat and semi-gloss sheens) are readily available. Some specialty coatings such as rust-proofing finishes can be more challenging.
Make sure low-emitting requirements have been integrated in construction specifications. Products must be at or below the recommended VOC limits. VOC levels can be found on a product’s MSDS or technical data sheet and are measured in grams per liter (g/L).
Guidance on incorporating LEED specifications into construction documents, along with samples, is available from MasterSpec and from the Whole Building Design Guide (see Resources).
Identifying VOC requirements directly on the drawings as well as in the specs is a good way to remind the contractor and subcontractors of the requirements, but be careful to make sure the information is consistent between the drawings and the specs.
It is best to require subcontractors to supply all LEED-required VOC information on the products they purchase at the time they are submitting products for approval. This way contractors do not wait until the end of construction to supply information, and you have the opportunity to review products for LEED compliance before products are purchased.
Specify compliant products by brand name whenever possible. It is best to distribute a list of acceptable products and the VOC limit chart from the LEED rating system at the contractor and subcontractor orientation meetings.
Low-emitting products can be part of a more comprehensive IAQ management plan, as required for IEQc3.1: Construction Indoor Air Quality Plan—During Construction. A comprehensive IAQ plan covers all adhesives, sealants, paint, coatings, composite materials, and overall construction best practices protecting air quality.
Achieving this credit can also help achieve IEQc3.2: Construction IAQ Management Plan—Before Occupancy, if your project pursues the air-testing option for this credit. Using low-VOC products improves your odds of passing the air quality tests.
Only paints and coatings installed within the weather barrier need to comply with this credit. If paints and coatings are part of the weather barrier, err on the side of caution and use low VOC paints and coatings.
Products assembled off-site or factory-finished are exempt from this credit, because it is assumed that VOCs have off gassed before arriving at the site.
Using low-emitting paints and coatings should be a no-added-cost measure.
Some contractors might charge a premium for implementing and documenting this credit but, in general, costs should be minor or nonexistent as more firms start incorporating these as standard best practices.
Hiring construction teams with LEED experience is helpful, as is reviewing LEED requirements and responsibilities with the contractor during the bidding process. Construction teams without LEED experience can be successful with this credit, but will require more training and a closer eye on quality control to make sure compliant materials are used and that items are documented correctly.
Implementing an IAQ plan and use of low-emitting materials demands accountability. It is best if subcontractors are contractually required to implement their parts of the IAQ plan.
The general contractor (GC) should be oriented to all LEED-related issues, including IAQ management, low-emitting materials, environmental material tracking tools, construction waste management, and so on. A list of acceptable products for each use type, and the list of VOC limits, should be provided to aid subcontractors in product selection.
The GC should hold orientation meetings with the subcontractors to review the LEED responsibilities related specifically to their trades. This exercise helps to build trust and is crucial for obtaining buy-in from all participants in the process.
Coordination and communication among the GC, subcontractors and design team early in the process can minimize scheduling delays and pushback from subcontractors.
Give the GC and subcontractors the following tools to help them track materials data for all MR and IEQ credits. (See the Documentation Toolkit for access.)
Research compliant, low-emitting products before construction begins. If product decisions are made after construction begins, with less time to carefully review data sheets, there is a much greater risk of using a non-compliant product.
When researching low-emitting products, double-check that the manufacturer’s information does not use misleading language. A common example is a product cut sheet that uses the term “low-emitting” without providing a specific VOC g/L value. Many cut sheets give a maximum value of, for example, VOC < 100g/L. That’s fine as long as 100 g/L meets the criteria for that product—just enter 100 g/L VOC amount for LEED documentation.
It is common for an MSDS to list the chemical contents of a product without giving an overall VOC g/L number. You’ll need to contact the manufacturer or check cut sheets to get the total VOC number. (See the Documentation Toolkit for a sample cut sheet.)
Obtain VOC levels, in writing, from the manufacturer, for the actual products used on the project—don’t rely on VOC quotes given over the phone.
The VOC value on an MSDS can be unreliable when several different products are listed on one sheet. Get clarification from the manufacturer on the actual VOC content of the product you are using.
The GC should be aware of any warranty issues that may exist if alternative paints or coatings are used. For example, a flooring company’s warranty may require a specific coating that does not meet the VOC requirements. To keep the warranty valid, use the coating specified and use the VOC budget method to show a weighted average VOC compliance (see below).
If noncompliant materials are used onsite accidentally, or due to a warranty or other issue, you can use the VOC budget method. This method compares the total amount of VOCs (in grams per liter) used in the design case to the total amount of VOCs that would have been used if every product exactly met LEED VOC allowances. The calculation must be determined for adhesives and sealants separately from paints and coatings. For example, it won’t necessarily help your case to use low-VOC paints but also some high-VOC sealants. (See the compliance example below for paints and coatings.)
Using the VOC budget method is usually successful, but can be time-consuming to document.
Throughout construction, the GC should collect material safety data sheets (MSDS) from subcontractors and completed VOC tracking forms for all products used onsite associated with this credit.
Assign someone to be responsible for inputting the subcontractors’ tracking forms into the master spreadsheet. A LEED consultant or an administrative assistant in the GC’s office may be the best choice for this role.
Review subcontractor product suggestions ahead of time to avoid the purchase of inappropriate materials and eliminate the need for costly change orders.
Streamline documentation and research by keeping a master spreadsheet of all the items being tracked for each material across MR and IEQ credits. For example, you may need to ask the millworker for regional information for MRc5, certified wood information for MRc7, and information about coatings installed on-site for IEQc4.1. If one spreadsheet collects all the data, it can streamline your documentation, associated research, and help with quality control. (See the Materials Calculator in the Documentation Toolkit.)
A master spreadsheet helps ease information collection for subcontractors, giving them a road map of exactly what types of information to collect for each product.
The GC functions as the overall quality assurance provider for this credit. Responsibilities include conducting weekly reviews of subcontractor product safety data sheets and tracking forms, as well as spot checks in dumpsters to determine which products are actually being used.
Post signs at the construction site that reminds subcontractors to follow LEED requirements for low-VOC products. (See Documentation Toolkit for sample signs.)
Schedule the application of paints and coatings so that off-gassing does not contaminate other absorptive materials. This is required if projects are attempting IEQc3.1: Construction Indoor Air Quality Plan—During Construction. For example, do not store or install acoustic ceiling tile before flooring and wall paints are put down, because ceiling tiles will absorb the off-gassing of paint and contaminate the air over a longer time period.
It is usually a good idea to do a “mini air flush” (if your project is not attempting IEQc3.2) before occupancy to help remove any lingering VOCs from the construction process. This can be as simple as putting industrial sized fans in the window and pumping in fresh air overnight or running the HVAC exhaust on high for a few days. (See IEQc3.2: Construction Indoor Air Quality Plan—Before Occupancy if the team wants to do a full flush-out for an additional LEED point.)
Transfer all the data collected in the master material tracking spreadsheet to the LEED Online form and upload the product cut sheets.
Keep a list of compliant, low-emitting paints and coatings used on the project so that O&M staff can use these products for future renovations.
Excerpted from LEED 2009 for New Construction and Major Renovations
To reduce the quantity of indoor air contaminants that are odorous, irritating and/or harmful to the comfort and well-being of installers and occupants.
Paints and coatings used on the interior of the building (i.e., inside of the weatherproofing system and applied onsite) must comply with the following criteria as applicable to the project scope1:
Specify low-VOC paints and coatings in construction documents. Ensure that VOC limits are clearly stated in each section of the specifications where paints and coatings are addressed. Track the VOC content of all interior paints and coatings during construction.
Green Seal is an independent, nonprofit organization that strives to achieve a healthier and cleaner environment by identifying and promoting products and services that cause less toxic pollution and waste, conserve resources and habitats, and minimize global warming and ozone depletion. GS–36 sets VOC limits for commercial adhesives.
SCAQMD is the air pollution control agency for all of Orange County and the urban portions of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, the smoggiest region of the U.S. The organization is committed to protecting the health of residents, while remaining sensitive to businesses.
Support on incorporating LEED requirements into specifications.
Green Seal is an independent, nonprofit organization that strives to achieve a healthier and cleaner environment by identifying and promoting products and services that cause less toxic pollution and waste, conserve resources and habitats, and minimize global warming and ozone depletion. This document outlines criteria for anti-corrosive paints and can be helpful in defining application type for products.
SCAQMD is the air pollution control agency for all of Orange County and the urban portions of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, the smoggiest region of the U.S. The organization is committed to protecting the health of residents, while remaining sensitive to businesses. This document outlines criteria for clear wood finishes, floor coatings, stains, primers, sealersSealers are coatings applied to either block materials from penetrating into or leaching out of a substrate, to prevent subsequent coatings from being absorbed by the substrate, or to prevent harm to subsequent coatings by materials in the substrate. and shellacs, and can be helpful in defining application type for products.
Guidance and sample language on incorporating VOC limits into Specifications.
Teams can use this tool to track all materials across various MR and IEQ credits. It helps teams develop a roadmap of what information needs to be tracked for different products. It can also be used early on to create the baseline budget and ensure the products that are being used will apply to the various credit thresholds.
This is a materials tracking form that helps subcontractors record the environmental values of products they purchase. This can be distributed to each trade subcontractor and submitted to the GC for filing.
Use a letter like this sample to orient the contractor to their responsibilities for all MR and IEQ credits. This letter is an introduction that can be customized for the credits your project is pursuing.
This is a VOC tracking sheet that helps subcontractors record the low-emitting qualities of the products they purchase and can be distributed to each trade subcontractor and submitted to the GC for filing. Use it specifically for earning low-emitting materials credits, but in conjunction with documentation for MR credits.
Products with VOC content not meeting credit requirements for VOC levels can inadvertently get used on the jobsite. A sign like this sample helps remind subcontractors and construction workers of their responsibilities.
Look to product cut sheets for information on the VOC content of paints and coatings. The example here clearly displays information needed for documentation, as well as an instance where more information is needed from the manufacturer.
You can use the VOC budget method to earn this credit by offsetting materials that go over the VOC limit with materials that are under it. The spreadsheet shown here, along with tips in the Getting It Done tab, demonstrates how to perform the budget method. This spreadsheet was completed by Mary Kay, LEED AP BD+C, a LEEDuser reader, and was approved by GBCI on a LEED-NC v2.2 project.
The following links take you to the public, informational versions of the dynamic LEED Online forms for each 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."
Documentation for this credit is part of the Construction Phase submittal.
Hello, We did a paint VoC test with an independent party for a type of paint that one of our client is using (because the manufacturer didn't have technical documentation to provide us). The result summary looks like below.
Acetone - Not detected (LOD 0.1ppm)
p-Chlorobenzotrifluoride - Not detected (LOD 0.1ppm)
Methyl Acetate - Not detected (LOD 0.1ppm)
t-Butyl Acetate - Not detected (LOD 0.1ppm)
Do you think this qualifies under the requirement for LEED?
Does anyone know what the allowable VOC level for acoustement Plaster is? I am not sure what to categorize this under.
Thanks in advance for any insight
I've read through the list of previous comments, but am still a little confused based on the latest template updates. With that said, we're working on a government building that has 90% of the spaces requiring an epoxy floor and wall finish. The product submitted is a Sherwin Williams Tile-Clad epoxy finish. So my questions are as follows:
1) Is it correct that the epoxy wall coating be classified as a sealer/undercoater?
2) Is it correct that the flooring be listed under IEQc4.2 Coatings and also be classified under sealer/undercoater?
3) Under the MSDS1. Material safety data sheets (MSDS) are detailed, written instructions documenting a method to achieve uniformity of performance.
2. A report that manufacturers of most products are required to make available to installers and purchasers, informing them of product information on chemicals, chemical compounds, and chemical mixtures, the existence of potentially hazardous ingredients, and providing instructions for the safe handling, storage, and disposal of products sheet secton 9 properties. It lists two (2) VOC contents. This first being 210 g/l Less water and federally exempt solvents. The second being 126 g/g Emitted VOC. The 210 g/l won't comply if listed under sealersSealers are coatings applied to either block materials from penetrating into or leaching out of a substrate, to prevent subsequent coatings from being absorbed by the substrate, or to prevent harm to subsequent coatings by materials in the substrate., but the 126 would. Which is the proper VOC to list for compliance?
I thank you in advance for any help/advice you can offer. Have a good day.
I am working on a project that has spec'd some nice Frazee interior paint, but the MSDS1. Material safety data sheets (MSDS) are detailed, written instructions documenting a method to achieve uniformity of performance.
2. A report that manufacturers of most products are required to make available to installers and purchasers, informing them of product information on chemicals, chemical compounds, and chemical mixtures, the existence of potentially hazardous ingredients, and providing instructions for the safe handling, storage, and disposal of products sheets refer to both teh "coating VOC" and the "material VOC" contents. Which is compliant for our purposes?
From the MACLAC Guide to Paint VOC Definitions:
"'Material' VOC is calculated on the entire volume of the coating. It is the ratio of weight of non-exempt solvent VOC to the entire volume
'Coating' V.O.C. is the ratio of weight of nonexempt solvent VOC to the remaining volume (after subtracting the exempt solvents & water). This is the VOC that air quality districts use to determine whether or not a paint is in compliance with the limits set by a rule."
From the BC+C Reference Guide Table 1 IEQc4.2 Applicable VOC Limits:
"VOC Limit (g/L minus water)"
You should compare the "coating VOC" to the Applicable VOC Limits in the Reference Guide.
Thank you, Lindsey that's exactly what I needed to know.
This is correct. The only time 'Material VOC' would apply in SCAQMD Rule 1113 as referenced would be with the Low Solids Coatings category. This category is defined as having less than 1 pound per gallon solids content. The latest CARBThe California Air Resources Board, part of the state government, is charged with maintaining clean air. This agency is unique at the state level: California was the only state that had such an agency before the passage of the federal Clean Air Act, and was allowed to keep it. and SCAQMD inventories and assessments indicate that all of the regulated products are water carried.
One correction to the Reference Guide table for Rule 1113 2004: The Reference Guide erroneously lists the Low Solids category limit in ppbParts per billion. units. The category limit is 120 g/L.
The IEQ TAGLEED Technical Advisory Group (TAG): Subcommittees that consist of industry experts who assist in developing credit interpretations and technical improvements to the LEED system. will attempt to address contradictory and/or confusing interpretations in the near future.
What do I compare esterified pine oil with? It doesn’t fit anywhere. It is a type of oil that normally is used on wood floors that are subject to high traffic. In this case it will be used on wall panels. But VOC is 460 g/l it will probably not comply right? What is the limit for this type of oil?
That is a very high VOC content -
First, I would suggest that you look for a more natural pine oil; the one you have seems to have solvents added. There shoul be other options
Otherwise, I would suggest it would be categorized as a Clear Wood Finish under Rule 1113
(10) CLEAR WOOD FINISHES are clear and semi-transparent coatings, including lacquers and varnishes, applied to wood substrates, including floors, decks and porches, to provide a transparent or translucent solid film. Max 350 g/l
or you may attempt to try:
LACQUERS are clear or pigmented wood finishes, including clear lacquer sanding sealersSealers are coatings applied to either block materials from penetrating into or leaching out of a substrate, to prevent subsequent coatings from being absorbed by the substrate, or to prevent harm to subsequent coatings by materials in the substrate., formulated with nitrocellulose or synthetic resins to dry by evaporation without chemical reaction.Max 650 g/l
Yes, I will recommend them to choose something different, definitely. But I think it is hard to categorize the products when they’re not in the list. As you say, the limit could be either 350 and not approved or 650 and approved.
I have a number of items used for concrete - Form Release Compounds and Concrete Surface Retarders, as well as Cable pulling Lubricant used by the electricians on my project. There were categories in LEED v2.2 that I was able to list these under, but we no longer have these options on LEED 2009.
What category should I list these items under?
Surface retarders I would put into concrete curing compounds. Cable pulling lubricant isn't a paint or a coating, IMHO. Form release oil, I would recommend a read through the SCAQMD definition section.
SCAQMD has a line item for Form-Release compounds with a100 g/L limit - but we don't have this option to input in the LEED online worksheet - so I was wondering what I should list this under if the SCAQMD Form-Release compound isn't an option?
I think a lot of teams skip the form release oil as it is a temporary coating. Generally the forms are stripped long before anything is remotely closed in so the product is fully off gassed. If you need to enter it, I would find another product with a 100 g/L limit and use that. Explain what you did in the narrative section and cite the SCAQMD definition section for the compound limit.
I agree with Susan. We don't normally include it. If you feel you must, there is always the Other category.
However, you could use a petroleum based form release agent (federal allowable VOC limit - 450 g/L) or a Bio-Based form release agent (VOC 0 g/L). they work fine, are same cost. just ask and / or spec.
Could someone help me to guess what LEED product type corresponds a "Paint composed of aliphatic polyurethane resins solvent, mineral fillers and pigments"?
Thanks a lot!!
Josep, the relevant classifications in LEED are generally based on function of the product, not chemistry. So what is it being used for?
Dear Tristan, thanks for the comment. This paint is usef for painting a concrete pavement of the underground parking's floor (inside the bluiding).
Thank you again!
It is up to the manufacturer to assign the proper regulatory category for the product. Generally, this type of product could fall under Waterproofing Concrete/Masonry Sealer, Floor Coating, or Industrial Maintenance Coatings. The latter category is for high-performance coatings including those subject to frequent abrasion, mechanical wear or requiring chemical resistance.
Can someone please clarify for me what product type a "latex enamel undercoater and primer sealer" would fall under?
I'm confused as to whether it's considered an "interior flat coating or primer" or a "sealersSealers are coatings applied to either block materials from penetrating into or leaching out of a substrate, to prevent subsequent coatings from being absorbed by the substrate, or to prevent harm to subsequent coatings by materials in the substrate. and undercoaters".
Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Look further down on this page and you will see a long discussion about the difference between primers, sealersSealers are coatings applied to either block materials from penetrating into or leaching out of a substrate, to prevent subsequent coatings from being absorbed by the substrate, or to prevent harm to subsequent coatings by materials in the substrate. and undercoaters.
If your product is a primer, a product that improves adhesion, it falls under the GS-11 flat or non-flat paint limits. If your product is one which prevents bleed thru from the substrate or provides a smooth surface, then it could be considered a sealer or undercoater, respectively, and use SCAQMD 1113.
Your product is obviously trying to cover all the bases. I'd consider the primary attributes it claims and your use in the field against the VOCsA volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is a carbon compound that vaporizes (becomes a gas) at normal room temperatures. VOCs contribute to air pollution directly and through atmospheric photochemical reactions (excluding carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, carbonic acid, metallic carbides and carbonates, and ammonium carbonate) to produce secondary air pollutants, principally ozone and peroxyacetyl nitrate. it contains. You may be able to make a case for either category depending on those things.
Please see my long response to the primer and sealer question in the string you mentioned below. I can't find anything in the 1993 GS-11 edition that indicates primers are part of its scope. Am I missing something?
It appears we're getting an uptick on coatings inquiries as more 2009 system projects come to fruition. I hope to address some of the confusion in conversations with USGBC staff.
No, GS-11 1993 doesn't address primers, though GS-11 2008 and 2011 do. That's our problem. GBCI has changed the primer requirement for LEED 2009 by addendum to require us to use GS-11 for primers rather than SCAQMD 1113.
V4.0 will fix this when we begin to use a newer GS-11 standard. But for right now, we're all in a painful struggle between definitions. If we can make a manufacturer data based claim for sealer or undercoater, we can likely use the Sealer and Undercoater category in Rule 1113. In other words, we need to see the right words and attributes that speak to the differences in those definitions.
If however it's a primer, it needs to meet the GS-11 flat/non-flat limits. I am seeing a whole lot of primers that are flat but exceed 50 g/l, and that's where it all started for me.
In your opinion, a vermiculite gypsum based wet mix spray - proposed to protect concrete and steel structure from fire - should be included in IEQ c4.2 for a project in Italy pursuing LEED 2009 Core and Shell certification?
If yes, under which standard (Green Seal Standard or SCAQMD Rule) should the product be tested?
This kind of fire retardant coating (quite similar to a spray applied plaster) appears to me quite different from any intumescent painting.
Anybody know the answer to this? I would also like to know how a fire proof type coating would be categorized.
I would suggest that more information would be required - MSDS1. Material safety data sheets (MSDS) are detailed, written instructions documenting a method to achieve uniformity of performance.
2. A report that manufacturers of most products are required to make available to installers and purchasers, informing them of product information on chemicals, chemical compounds, and chemical mixtures, the existence of potentially hazardous ingredients, and providing instructions for the safe handling, storage, and disposal of products, brand name. I would suggest speaking to the supplier/manufacturer....
From my experience, the add/delete row on the template only works on the last row. Any magic for changing/deleting other rows without having to re enter the entire form?
No. It only deletes the last row. My recommendation would be to revise the row you want to delete to something like 'information removed' and rig the inputs so the form will close. Then explain what you did and why you did it in the comments section. The GBCI is aware that the forms are difficult
I have seen that this topic has been discussed quite a bit previously, however I haven't seen any consensus on the subject. We are currently working on a project in Sweden that uses EU ratings, which come in the form of % rather than g/l. In the v4 Beta version the USGBC state that these values are sufficient. But I know that v4 is not yet accepted, nor does it mean that I could use a v4 rating on a v3 building, however I was hoping you might know if any others have been able to use such ratings to achieve their credits and/or if there is a credit interpretation stating such (I have searched, but to no avail).
Anyways, your help is greatly appreciated.
Timothy: Before I begin, I need to stress that this is not an official response from USGBC. These are my opinions and observations.
With relation to coatings and sealantsA sealant has adhesive properties and is formulated primarily to fill, seal, or waterproof gaps or joints between 2 surfaces. Sealants include sealant primers and caulks. (SCAQMD Rule 1168. )Sealants are used on wood, fabric, paper, corrugated paperboard, plastic foam and other materials with tiny openings, often microscopic, that may absorb or discharge gas or fluid. for EU LEED 2009/V3 projects, I think it fair to say that LEED is a work in progress. Unfortunately, there is no uniform approach country to country in the regulatory scheme or emerging emissions testing protocols. The Decorative Paint Directive of 2004 is the general template for regulation of coatings, but each country adopts and modifies the regulation as it sees fit. The Directive is available in the language of your choice at http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:32004L0042:E...
In drafting LEED V4, the EQ TAGLEED Technical Advisory Group (TAG): Subcommittees that consist of industry experts who assist in developing credit interpretations and technical improvements to the LEED system. attempted to introduce the Directive as a floor with emissions testing required to attain the credit. As there is no uniform emission testing scheme in the EU, a reasonable approach has been assigned. The EU test methodology scheme will evolve as we move towards emission testing being required to attain a CE Mark.
As a more direct answer to your question, the Directive expresses VOC limits in g/L for regulated products. Perhaps Sweden changed the limits on adoption or perhaps the manufacturer is not listing the content in the prescribed manner. I suggest requesting the manufacturer to provide a conversion.
The TAG has discussed approaches to better meshing LEED 2009 for international projects. I will certainly mention this topic to staff. I hope other project team members will share their experiences here as well.
What does "less of water" mean?
We have powder adhesive material for ceramic tiles. We sent it to the lab to determine the VOC content. Is the result we got from the lab considered less water as long as the tested sample was powder?
For determining the volume by liter of the same material for VOC Budget Calculation, 30 kg of the powder + 6 liter of water gives 19.4 liter of the product in liquid shape. does the volume I will use in the calculation equal 13.4 liter (19.4 - 6) to be less water? or I should use the whole volume, 19.4 liter?
I appreciate you clear my confusion.
Abdulrahman, "less of water" is defined in Rule 1168—see Resources above.
Basically means that the weight of water doesn't count in the calculations.
Is there a category for paint diluent? The one my client is using, turpentine, has 705g/L VOC.
If there is none for it, can I categorize it as "Other", and do you have any example in any project where this was approved?
If a diluent is required for application of the product as specified on the label or other marketing literature, in the U.S. regulatory system it would count towards to VOC regulatory limit for the defined product category.
I assume you are working on LEED 2009 credit criteria. The South Coast Air Quality Management District requires labeling the VOC content as supplied and as thinned on every Rule 1113 product sold in the District. The limit is based on the product as thinned. From my perspective, the diluent cannot be considered to be a separate material and it is not a coating or sealant.
It is possible for a product that is not otherwise compliant to be sold legally in the Los Angeles basin due to regulatory exemptions. However, LEED credit is based on compliance with the limits. The 2004 version of Rule 1113 exempted all containers 1-quart or less in capacity and had an averaging program that allowed some otherwise non-compliant products to be sold. On January 1, 2004 there were a handful of Rule 1113 categories with limits above 600 g/L.
We have a waterborne acrylic enamel that is used in two applications in our project. When applied to steel joists, conduit, etc. I understand that it would be classified as an anticorrosive / anti-rust paint, with a VOC limit of 250 g/L.
It has also been proposed to be used on a concrete ceiling surface. If used in this application, it would seem to have a VOC limit of 150 g/L.
Am I understanding this correctly?
As it has a VOC of 180 g/L, it would seem to meet the requirements for one application but not the other.
Nereyda, I think you are understanding it correctly.
The requirements for different applications vary based on the standard practices and technical requirements of those areas. What the VOC requirements are telling you here is that you can find products that do better for application to the concrete, but that this may be a decent product in the context of anti-corrosive paints.
Are there any LEED credits for exterior paint/coatings?
We are building a retail center (shell) & we have an exterior high performance exterior coating. We are told the VOC's are too high on this product. I was under the impression that it was interior (inside the buildings waterproofing membrane) only. Please advise. Thanks.
Michael, that's correct—referencing the first line of the credit language (see above), the credit only applies to coatings within the weatherproofing system.
Is there another simple definition or way to know whether the paint is flat or non-flat? All technical datasheets I collected from paint suppliers has no information about specular gloss to help in categorizing the paint.
I'm not aware of any shortcut to categorizing a flat or nonflat coating absent the manufacturer's declaration. In the U.S., Canada and the EU countries that have adopted the Decopaint Directive, all manufacturers are subject to a stringent regulatory system and would make specific marketing claims for categorization purposes.
You could try going to back to the manufacturers and ask them to work off of the Rule 1113 or GS-11 definitions and limits. LEED is meant to be an incentive system to encourage everyone involved to reduce the impacts of materials. Ideally, they will respond to a perceived market advantage.
Is this project in North America?
I generally look at the product data under Finish where they define the coating in terms of degrees on a meter.
A flat paint will register less than 15 on an 85-degree meter, or less than 5 on a 60-degree meter. If it registers greater than either of those, it's a non-flat.
A comparable definition is somewher in the glossary of the LEED reference manual.
Does Paint or sealant certified by eco label (based on ISO 14024) can contribute weight into this credit?
No, certifications are not relevant—only VOC content.
As i understand correctly, there is also a written g/L of VOC on the certification, can i use the VOC content and input to the LEED template?
Yes, that would work.
taking over a project that was set up already in LEED. in the spreadsheet there are two extra rows for items not in the project (lacqeur, and floor coating). I cannot delete them! if i click on the row i want to delete and then press "delete row" it just deletes the bottom most row (which I need).
suggestions!?!? fyi its v2 form and says "BETA"
This is a problem in many LEED forms, you can only delete the bottom row. Without starting over with an upgraded form or deleting information you want to keep, you can just delete entries within the row. This will leave you with blank rows in the table, but the form should still calculate the credit correctly.
However . . . sometimes the bottom of the form will still say "N" for not complete, even if all the information is there, because the tables frequently don't like empty cells. I have added a note for the reviewer stating that even though the form indicates "N", the form is complete and calculating correctly. . . This seems to be acceptable to reviewers.
You will lose any data you have in those forms, but if possible, contact GBCI to request an upgrade of the forms you are working on. Some forms are now in v5, if that gives you any perspective.
Due to the overload of work in the factory of doors we contracted with for our project, the doors will not be ready and supplied on time. To avoid delay, the supplier made a temporary room onsite for painting the doors. The room is outside the building and all doors will not be installed before getting dried and cured completely. Is the paint in that case considered applied onsite and must meet the requirements of the credit?
I would say that they have to meet the credit requirements if the coatings are applied within the LEED project boundary, because that is the best definition we have of "onsite," per the credit requirements.
Keep in mind that part of the credit intent is to protect installers as well as occupants. Ventilation controls for coating application are generally better in a factory than onsite, so it makes sense to use low-VOC coatings here for everyone's well being.
Yes you are right. But the installers will install the doors when it has been completely dried and cured as if they received it from the factory. In addition, the credit category is concerned with the Indoor Environmental Quality, no? And the painting workshop constructed onsite is outdoor so it will not affect the Indoor Air Quality nor the installers. Does it make sense?
I think you have a case, but I still come down on including it because it's onsite (see credit language), part of the intent of the credit is to protect workers (see credit language intent), it's not in a factory environment where emissions are controlled, and low-VOC coatings are a good option anyway, and common.
This is in reference to Green Seal GS-11 section 4.4 and 4.5. I am working on a project that is looking to use Dryfall Paint. the Flat paints meet the <50g/L VOC limit but only in black and white. We are looking for a greyish color but any color would go above the <50 limit. Are we allowed to go up to <100 g/L with the color added? I don't see an option on LEEDOnline for that. Is that off limits or can I just include the manufacturer's data minus the color added?
Are you refering to GS-11 THIRD EDITION August 17, 2011?
USGBC and LEED 2009 continue to refer to Green Seal Standard GS-11, Paints, 1st Edition, May 20, 1993.
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..
The calculation of VOC shall exclude water and tinting color added at the point of sale.
Coating Type VOC weight in grams/liter of product minus water
Hope this helps - good luck!
Thank you for the quick reply. This surely helps. This is just the clarification that I needed.
What is the VOC limit for a Terrazzo Sealer? I'm a bit confused about which category it falls under (Sealer, Floor Coating, or other). Owner would prefer a high sheen product but wants to comply with LEED requirements. Any guidance would be appreciated.
100 g/L is the IEQ 4.2 threshold. Many available products but the question is what performs best for the specific application. Acrylic, Epoxy, Urethane..... I'd get the facilities manager and applicator to give some guidance.
Thank you Bruce for the information. One more question: the contractor wants to see specific documentation with the VOC requirement. Are you referencing the "Primers, SealersSealers are coatings applied to either block materials from penetrating into or leaching out of a substrate, to prevent subsequent coatings from being absorbed by the substrate, or to prevent harm to subsequent coatings by materials in the substrate., and Undercoaters" 100 g/L requirement in the SCAQMD Rule 1113 chart? I want to make sure the documentation I send over is accurate. Thank you very much for the assistance.
Todd, 1113 identifies Floor Coatings as those applied to, among other things, concrete floors which terrazzo certainly is. Primers, sealer and undercoaters are defined more for their ability to promote adhesion to the substrate. Clearly, this is one of those areas where interpretations may be different. However, the USGBC has accepted the Floor Coating definition for terrazzo sealersSealers are coatings applied to either block materials from penetrating into or leaching out of a substrate, to prevent subsequent coatings from being absorbed by the substrate, or to prevent harm to subsequent coatings by materials in the substrate. on several projects I've done. Good luck!
Tood, I incorrectly asumed you're inquiring about cement terrazzo. Even if it epoxy terrazzo the floor coating reference would be correct but not sure why an epoxy terrazzo would need a sealer applied.
All of our epoxy terrazzo submittals come in with a required sealer. Since sealersSealers are coatings applied to either block materials from penetrating into or leaching out of a substrate, to prevent subsequent coatings from being absorbed by the substrate, or to prevent harm to subsequent coatings by materials in the substrate. are 200 g/L, we've allowed them up to that limit. All other portions of the terrazzo need to be below 100 g/L. I think of it like top shield for linoleum.
I'm confused about primers. Though addenda changes to the requirements have placed primers in the GS-11 standard category with interior/exterior paints, they also exist in SCAQMD Rule 1113 in multiple categories. The only difference that I can infer about when to use which category is primers used on walls and ceilings vs. primers used on " interior elements".
What I am seeing most often is primers that are by definition flat but exceed 50 g/l. The primer definitions in SCAQMD don't preclude a primer that is being used on a wall, don't distinguish between flat and non-flat, and offer a higher g/l limit. Why wouldn't we use Primer/Sealer/Undercoater?
There are also Primer/Sealer products that are flats and exceed the 50 g/l limit but do comply with the SCAQMD sealer limit.
If there are no substrate specific distinctions, like floor vs. wall or metal vs wall, how do we know which primer category we are able to use?
From a specification point of view, you always marry your primer to your substrate and then to the finish item. So you should be able to understand what the substrate is. Are you documenting the work of the contractor or are you vetting product for specifications?
I'm documenting the work of the contractor. When the primer is being applied to steel doors for example (and is a flat that exceeds 50 g/l), I am inferring I can use the SCAQMD limit because it's not being used on a wall or ceiling.
However, I also have a masonry wall primer that is also a flat and doesn't meet the 50 g/l limit. So is it no good because it's being used on a wall and doesn't meet the flat limit? Or can I somehow still resort to the SCAQMD primer because the substrate is masonry and not drywall?
For anyone interested in the answer on Primers from the USGBC:
"A primer is an architectural coating, therefore it must apply GS-11. It is not an undercoater because it is not used to create a smooth surface (see definitions of primer and undercoater in Rule 1113). Specialty primers and floor coatings may still use Rule 1113 as applicable. But the table from the 4/14/10 addenda calls primers to use GS-11 (using the flat, non-flat classifications).
If a project registered after the 4/14/10 addenda, then primers must use the 50/150 g/L VOC limits. The only exception to using this flat/non-flat classification would be when it can be demonstrated that the product meets the definition of specialty primers as per Rule 1113.
Bottomline, projects must always use the flat/non-flat classification for primers and meet GS-11; and only under special circumstances based on the purpose of the primer and supporting manufacturer data which confirms this – they may be classified as specialty primers and use the SCAQMD rule 1113."
Michelle, what is the source of this quote from USGBC? It's very helpful guidance on primers! I have been asked to clarify this recently and I would just point to this quote.
Hi Tristan, I'm not surprised based on the difficulties we're having. The quote is from an email from a reviewer. We asked the question at Greenbuild and subsequenty were encouraged to have an email exchange.with one of our reviewers who provided the clarification. A VOC issue is basically impossible to recover from if you don't find out until review time that the product won't fly, so we spent some extra effort trying to understand the requirement correctly. Please note that it is my belief many manufacturers do not view the requirements in this way and many seem to be using the Undercoater and Sealer category of SCAQMD for their primers. I have seen Sherwin Williams and BASF products that say in writing they comply with LEED 2009 that actually don't unless they are using that category.
Thanks for sharing your insights about the need for clarity in the requirements for IEQc4.2. The reviewer guidance that Michelle posted above is correct. To make this guidance more readily available, we are working with our experts to create an administrative LI. In the meantime, the best source for viewing all of the Addenda and LIs assciated with this (or any) credit is the LI Database (https://old.usgbc.org/Login.aspx?REFERRER=/leedinterpretations/LILanding...).
Please also note that the most convenient place to find the applicable VOC limits for common types of primers, paints and coatings is the table added to the reference guide by the 4/14/2010 Addenda (https://www.usgbc.org/ShowFile.aspx?DocumentID=8608).
IEQc4.2 helps projects comply with source control methods mentioned in the SMACNA guide for IAQ plans.
Be very strict in using low-emitting products to avoid failing the air quality test, if pursuing that option.
The planning and tracking processes are the same for both of these credits.
To earn IEQc4.3, coatings used for flooring systems must comply with the IEQc4.2 VOC limits.
Do you know which LEED credits have the most LEED Interpretations and addenda, and which have none? The Missing Manual does. Check here first to see where you need to update yourself, and share the link with your team.
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