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

  • Use either inert or certified flooring

    IEQc4.3

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

    Key changes to this credit

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

    Another big change to this credit took place in the April 2010 LEED addenda from USGBC, in which USGBC responded to complaints that inert flooring materials shouldn't be subject to the testing requirements. Tile, masonry, terrazzo, cut stone, and solid-wood flooring without organic coatings or sealantsA sealant has adhesive properties and is formulated primarily to fill, seal, or waterproof gaps or joints between 2 surfaces. Sealants include sealant primers and caulks. (SCAQMD Rule 1168. )Sealants are used on wood, fabric, paper, corrugated paperboard, plastic foam and other materials with tiny openings, often microscopic, that may absorb or discharge gas or fluid. now qualify for this credit without further testing.

    Both designers and contractors have to understand the rules

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

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

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

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

    Only 20% of product cut sheets selected at random need to be uploaded to LEED Online to document this credit although it is best to keep all product cut sheets on file in case the credit is audited.

    FAQs for IEQc4.3

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

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

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

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

    How do I handle a polished concrete floor?

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

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

    According to LEED InterpretationLEED Interpretations are official answers to technical inquiries about implementing LEED on a project. They help people understand how their projects can meet LEED requirements and provide clarity on existing options. LEED Interpretations are to be used by any project certifying under an applicable rating system. All project teams are required to adhere to all LEED Interpretations posted before their registration date. This also applies to other addenda. Adherence to rulings posted after a project registers is optional, but strongly encouraged. LEED Interpretations are published in a searchable database at usgbc.org. #10267, the project team should mark the form to indicate an Alternative Compliance Path, and include a narrative with a statement that the project is applying the April 14, 2010 addenda, as well as the manufacturer and specific product description of the product claiming the exemption. Manufacturer documentation for each product claiming an exemption is not required.

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

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

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

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

    Are throw rugs subject to the credit requirements?

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

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

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

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

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

Legend

  • Best Practices
  • Gotcha
  • Action Steps
  • Cost Tip

Design Development

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  • Consider using low-emitting flooring materials and systems.


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


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


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


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


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


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

Construction Documents

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


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


  • It is best to require subcontractors to supply all LEED-required VOC information on the products they purchase at the time they are submitting products for approval. This way contractors do not wait until the end of construction to supply information, and you have the opportunity to review products for LEED compliance before products are purchased.


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


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


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


  • Achieving this credit can also help achieve IEQc3.2: Construction IAQ Management Plan—Before Occupancy, if your project pursues the air-testing option for this credit. Using low-emitting flooring products improves your odds of passing the air quality tests. 


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


  • Hiring construction teams with LEED experience is helpful, as is reviewing LEED requirements and responsibilities with the contractor during the bidding process. Construction teams without LEED experience can be successful with this credit, but will require more training and a closer eye on quality control to make sure compliant materials are used and that items are documented correctly.  


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

Construction

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  • Preparation Before Construction Begins


  • The general contractor (GC) should be oriented to all LEED-related issues, including IAQ management, low-emitting materials, environmental material tracking tools, construction waste management, and so on. A list of acceptable products for each use type, and the list of VOC limits, should be provided to aid subcontractors in product selection. 


  • The GC should hold orientation meetings with the subcontractors to review the LEED responsibilities related specifically to their trades. This exercise helps to build trust and is crucial for obtaining buy-in from all participants in the process.


  • Coordination and communication among the GC, subcontractors and design team early in the process can minimize scheduling delays and pushback from subcontractors.


  • Give the GC and subcontractors the following tools to help them track materials data for all MR and IEQ credits. (See the Documentation Toolkit for access.)

    • Materials Calculator:  This is a master tracking spreadsheet that the GC can use internally to compile product information received from the subcontractors. The spreadsheet tracks LEED values across multiple LEED MR and IEQ credits.
    • Environmental Materials Reporting Form: This is a material tracking form that helps subcontractors record the environmental values for products they purchase. This can be distributed to each trade subcontractor and submitted to the GC for filing. 
    • Low-Emitting Materials Reporting Form: This is a VOC tracking sheet that helps subcontractors record the low-emitting qualities of the products they purchase and can be distributed to each trade subcontractor and submitted to the GC for filing.
    • Low-Emitting Material Limits: These tables, found with each credit here on LEEDuser, summarize the maximum VOC limits for different types of adhesives, sealants, paints, coatings, composite wood, and flooring products. When subcontractors search for low-emitting products, they should consult these charts.

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


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


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


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


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


  • During Construction


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


  • The GC functions as the overall quality assurance provider for this credit. Responsibilities include conducting weekly reviews of subcontractor product safety data sheets and tracking forms, as well as spot checks in dumpsters to determine which products are actually being used.


  • Assign someone to be responsible for inputting the subcontractors’ tracking forms into the master spreadsheet. A LEED consultant or an administrative assistant in the GC’s office may be the best choice for this role. 


  • Review subcontractor product suggestions ahead of time to avoid the purchase of inappropriate materials and eliminate the need for costly change orders.


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


  • 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.  


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


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


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

Operations & Maintenance

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


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

  • USGBC

    Excerpted from LEED 2009 for New Construction and Major Renovations

    IEQ Credit 4.3: Low-emitting materials - flooring systems

    1 Point

    Intent

    To reduce the quantity of indoor air contaminants that are odorous, irritating and/or harmful to the comfort and well-being of installers and occupants.

    Requirements

    Option 1

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

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

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

          If a European testing method (AgBB/DIBt GUT, EMICODE, Blue Angel) had used parameters for calculating test results different from those specified in the referenced California method, then the European test results for carpets or floorings need to be converted into California air concentrations by multiplication with 0.7.
    • All carpet cushion installed in the building interior must meet the requirements of the Carpet and Rug Institute Green Label program.
    • All carpet adhesive must meet the requirements of IEQ Credit 4.1: Adhesives and SealantsA sealant has adhesive properties and is formulated primarily to fill, seal, or waterproof gaps or joints between 2 surfaces. Sealants include sealant primers and caulks. (SCAQMD Rule 1168. )Sealants are used on wood, fabric, paper, corrugated paperboard, plastic foam and other materials with tiny openings, often microscopic, that may absorb or discharge gas or fluid., which includes a volatile organic compound (VOC) limit of 50 g/L (0.4 lb/gal).
    • All hard surface flooring installed in the building interior must meet one of the following requirements:
      • Meet the requirements of the FloorScore2 standard (current as of the date of this rating system, or more stringent version) as shown with testing by an independent third-party.
      • Demonstrate maximum VOC concentrations less than or equal to those specified in the California Department of Health Services Standard Practice for the Testing of Volatile Organic Emissions from Various Sources Using Small-Scale Environmental Chambers, including 2004 Addenda, using the office scenario as defined in Table 7.5 within the practice.
      • Maximum VOC concentrations meet the California requirements specified above based on the following:
        • California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Standard Method V1.1-2010 using test results obtained at the 14 day time point
        • Projects outside the U.S. may use the German AgBB/DIBt testing method and all testing methods based on AgBB/DIBt method (GUT, EMICODE, Blue Angel) using test results obtained at the 3 day or 7 day or 14 day time point. For caprolactam, if test results obtained at the 3 day or 7 day time point is used, the emission concentration must be less than ½ of the concentration limit specified above because the emission may not have peaked at the measured time points.

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

      Mineral based finish flooring products such as tile, masonry, terrazzo, and cut stone without integral organic-based coatings and sealants and unfinished/untreated solid wood flooring qualify for credit without any IAQIndoor air quality: The quality and attributes of indoor air affecting the health and comfort building occupants. IAQ encompasses available fresh air, contaminant levels, acoustics and noise levels, lighting quality, and other factors. testing requirements. However, associated site-applied adhesives, grouts, finishes and sealersSealers are coatings applied to either block materials from penetrating into or leaching out of a substrate, to prevent subsequent coatings from being absorbed by the substrate, or to prevent harm to subsequent coatings by materials in the substrate. must be compliant for a mineral-based or unfinished/untreated solid wood flooring system to qualify for credit.

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

          • ASTMVoluntary standards development organization which creates source technical standards for materials, products, systems, and services D2369
          • EPA method 24
          • ISO 11890 part 1
        • Total volatile organic compounds fraction, based on one of the following, provided that all VOCsA volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is a carbon compound that vaporizes (becomes a gas) at normal room temperatures. VOCs contribute to air pollution directly and through atmospheric photochemical reactions (excluding carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, carbonic acid, metallic carbides and carbonates, and ammonium carbonate) to produce secondary air pollutants, principally ozone and peroxyacetyl nitrate. with a boiling point up to 280°C (536°F) are included, and exempt compounds are subtracted from total volatiles test results and the mass VOC content is calculated consistent with SCAQMD Rule 1113 and Rule 1168.
          • ASTM D6886
          • ISO 11890 part 2

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

        OPTION 2

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

    Potential Technologies & Strategies

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

Organizations

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

Support on incorporating LEED requirements into specifications. 


Floorscore

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


GreenGuard Environmental Institute (GEI)

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


Scientific Certification Systems, Inc.

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

Publications

South Coast Air Quality Management District - Rules and Regulations

AQMD is the air pollution control agency for all of Orange County and the urban portions of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, the smoggiest region of the U.S. We are committed to protecting the health of residents, while remaining sensitive to businesses.


Greenguard Children & Schools

Searchable List of Compliant products.

Technical Guides

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

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


MasterSpec “Specifying LEED Requirements Reference Book and CD ROM

A guide to specifying for LEED projects, with samples.

Materials Calculator

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

Environmental Materials Reporting Form

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

Letter to Contractor for MR and IEQ Credits

Use a letter like this sample to orient the contractor to their responsibilities for all MR and IEQ credits. This letter is an introduction that can be customized for the credits your project is pursuing.

Low-Emitting Materials Reporting Form

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

Jobsite Signs

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

Product Cut Sheets

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

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."

Construction Submittal

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

Flooring Materials Tracking Form

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

291 Comments

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Guillermo Hernandez Espinoza Civil Engineer, LEED Green Associate
Apr 09 2014
LEEDuser Member
149 Thumbs Up

Floor Coatings

Hello.

It is necessary to document the floor coatings in the IEQc4.3?
In this project I'm working at we document already the ones with the FloorScore certificate (besides the floor coatings were document in the IEQc4.2 as coatings).

Thanks in advance.

Post a Reply
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Juliane Muench
Mar 18 2014
LEEDuser Member
568 Thumbs Up

Rubber Wall Base and Carpet Cushion outside US

Hej! Our project is placed outside US and we would like to pursue credit IEQ 4.3. For most of the floor materials AgBB as European alternative is ok to document compliance with this credit. But this possibility does not seem to exist for Carpet Cushion and Rubber Wall Base, where CRIColor-rendering index, or CRI, is a scale of 0 to 100, used by manufacturers of fluorescent, metal halide, and other non-incandescent lighting equipment to describe the visual effect of the light on colored surfaces. Natural daylight is assigned a CRI of 100. Green Label and FloorScore is required. How can be show compliance for these two materials out of US?
Thanks.

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Rebecca Bryant Managing Principle Watershed
Mar 03 2014
LEEDuser Member
37 Thumbs Up

Acetone Based Dye Stains

I read the string of comments on acetone being used as a floor stripper in polished concrete applications. We have a contractor proposing to use Acetone Based Dye stain for an interior concrete floor. The dye is 0 VOC. We have run across the same arguments from the supplier, that acetone is a VOC exempt solvent. Is this true with LEED? It just doesn't feel right. Can you provide any clarifications about the acceptability of acetone as the carrier for a concrete stain product?

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

Rebecca, the discussion thread below is pretty exhaustive so I'm wondering if you can clarify what you are doubting?

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Neetika Parmar
Jan 19 2014
Guest
14 Thumbs Up

porcelain tiles

Hi, our project is installing porcelain tiles which are certified by eco label, green building council italia and singaporian green building. Will this meet the requirement of IEQc4.3 as it mentions all flooring to be Floorscore certified. Floorings certified by floorscore does not include porcelain tiles so is there any alternative compliance path in such a case ?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jan 19 2014 LEEDuser Moderator

Neetika, mineral-based flooring such as tile is exempty from the Floorscore requirement, under a LEED addendum that was issued a couple years ago. There is more information on this under the FAQs above.

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Courtney Royal, LEED AP BD+C Sr. Sustainability Consultant Taitem Engineering
Jan 06 2014
LEEDuser Member
703 Thumbs Up

Tyroc subflooring?

I have a project which wants to use Tyroc subflooring, has anyone heard or used this product? This product is not a finished flooring product or FloorScore or Greenguard certified. However, the mfg is claiming that as a mineral-based flooring product, it is compliant without any further testing -http://www.tyrocinc.com/environment/. Underlayment, subflooring is part of the flooring system so how can I determine if this product is compliant? Does it need a certain certification?

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Lauren Sparandara Sustainability Manager, Mary Davidge Associates Jan 09 2014 LEEDuser Expert 13067 Thumbs Up

Hi Courtney,

I haven't heard of this product but let me ask around here and try to get back to you.

Thanks,
Lauren

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Lauren Sparandara Sustainability Manager, Mary Davidge Associates Jan 11 2014 LEEDuser Expert 13067 Thumbs Up

Hi Courtney,

I've asked around the office about this.

Our healthy materials team doesn't have any record or information on the product. Lacking the relevant certifications we aren't sure how it would comply and we aren't confident about the product's emission's related claims.

The product appears to be made of recycled tires and plastics which wouldn't comply without testing in the same way that cut stone or solid wood would comply without testing.

LS

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Courtney Royal, LEED AP BD+C Sr. Sustainability Consultant, Taitem Engineering Jan 13 2014 LEEDuser Member 703 Thumbs Up

Thanks so much Lauren for the thorough follow up! I totally agree and that was also my first inclination, but wasn't sure if I was perhaps missing something. Thanks again!

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Lewis Hewton Cundall
Nov 21 2013
LEEDuser Member
277 Thumbs Up

Are stairs considered to be flooring

?

Thanks.

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Lauren Sparandara Sustainability Manager, Mary Davidge Associates Nov 22 2013 LEEDuser Expert 13067 Thumbs Up

Hi Lewis,

Only if the stairs have a flooring product on them.

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Mariah Grife
Oct 31 2013
LEEDuser Member
316 Thumbs Up

Wood Flooring

I am on aproject that is installing some savage wood flooring panels that were removed and saved during demo.

Can I list the unfinished wood as Exempt per the credit language, and then list the VOC content of the wood stain that will be applied to it separately on the LEED Form?

I know this is not technically un-finished wood, but the wood panels that we are receiving to install are unfinished at time of installation, and will be field-finished with a low-VOC stain. And as the wood flooring is salvage material, I have not backup information stating that it meets the testing criteria of the credit.

Is my assumption on documenting this credit correct?

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Michelle Rosenberger Partner, ArchEcology, LLC Oct 31 2013 LEEDuser Member 3826 Thumbs Up

Hi Mariah,
I would assume so. If the wood flooring was in use at least a year prior to your salvage it would have offgassed any VOC issues associated with the initial installation. If it's solid wood, and you list the new stain. You would have to make a narrative explanation in Special Circumstances to support the exclusion. If it's an engineered wood product, however, you might have an issue with EQ4.4.

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Lauren Sparandara Sustainability Manager, Mary Davidge Associates Oct 31 2013 LEEDuser Expert 13067 Thumbs Up

Yes, salvaged wood is excluded from needing to be included. The stain that you mentioned, however, would need to be accounted for.

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Mariah Grife Oct 31 2013 LEEDuser Member 316 Thumbs Up

Thanks! One more question - Would I list my explanation of wood flooring and tile flooring on the project under "Special Circumstances" or "Alternate Path." Above in the "Bird's eye View" it says to list it as an Alternate path, but I am not sure on this.

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Lauren Sparandara Sustainability Manager, Mary Davidge Associates Oct 31 2013 LEEDuser Expert 13067 Thumbs Up

I think either is fine. Often I just leave products like this off my list of products completely but it never hurts to provide a narrative explanation either as an attachment or in the Special Circumstances area.

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Courtney Royal, LEED AP BD+C Sr. Sustainability Consultant Taitem Engineering
Oct 30 2013
LEEDuser Member
703 Thumbs Up

2 questions...

First, on the credit form, even tho flooring such as tile, terrazzo, stone, do not require any IAQIndoor air quality: The quality and attributes of indoor air affecting the health and comfort building occupants. IAQ encompasses available fresh air, contaminant levels, acoustics and noise levels, lighting quality, and other factors. testing, etc., do you still need to enter them on the credit form? I know you have to enter the adhesives and sealantsA sealant has adhesive properties and is formulated primarily to fill, seal, or waterproof gaps or joints between 2 surfaces. Sealants include sealant primers and caulks. (SCAQMD Rule 1168. )Sealants are used on wood, fabric, paper, corrugated paperboard, plastic foam and other materials with tiny openings, often microscopic, that may absorb or discharge gas or fluid., but wondering if it was still necessary to include the flooring for these types. If yes, then how do you do that because when you choose from the drop down, it will automatically enter a "referenced standard."
Next, my project would like to use a Forbo vinyl flooring and the Forbo rep sent me a cutsheet that says, "Compliant with CHPS 01350 requirements for VOC emissions and indoor air quality." And she also sent me the certificate of compliance and that lists a reference standard of Cal CDPH 01350. Now, my question is, I understand CDPH spec 01350 is compliant, but do you think if i submitted the cutsheet as well it would acceptable, even tho it only states CHPS? Thanks in advance!

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Courtney Royal, LEED AP BD+C Sr. Sustainability Consultant, Taitem Engineering Oct 30 2013 LEEDuser Member 703 Thumbs Up

One more question, if you are allowed to use either Option 1 or Option 2 for all flooring, then why does it say above that "Resilient flooring, rubber flooring, and prefinished wood flooring all must be Floor Score-certified." I thought resilient flooring, such as vinyl, can also be compliant via Option 2. Am I missing something? Thanks again!

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Michelle Rosenberger Partner, ArchEcology, LLC Oct 30 2013 LEEDuser Member 3826 Thumbs Up

Yes, you do have to enter exempt products by addendum. Use the Special Circumstances to list them and upload the product data backup there.

Yes, the Forbo will work. Just make sure you put in the Option 2 table. Backup with that reference should be sufficient.

Check both options and put the right things in the right tables.

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Courtney Royal, LEED AP BD+C Sr. Sustainability Consultant, Taitem Engineering Oct 30 2013 LEEDuser Member 703 Thumbs Up

Phew, thanks Michelle. The documentation for this particular credit is really stressing me out!

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Catherine Blakemore Architect, LEED AP BC+D, HOLT Architects Oct 30 2013 LEEDuser Member 1083 Thumbs Up

Courtney -
Think of Option 1 as giving you very specific testing requirements for each type of flooring.

Option 2 is just straight forward CA 01350 for any type of flooring - including stone, tile, masonry, terrazzo, etc. Testing for this standard is done by Greenguard, SCS Global, FloorScore, Berkeley Analytical, 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. and there may be more.

Just double check the different certification levels for each testing agency. For example Greenguard Gold meets the CA 01350 testing standard whereas Greenguard certification does not. The same with SCS Global Indoor Advantage-Gold Certification versus the Indoor Advantage certification.

One note of caution. Download the LEED form and read the fine print. LEED for Healthcare allows you to use both options, but the fine print throws a curve ball in the reporting requirements. In addition, all the adhesives, sealantsA sealant has adhesive properties and is formulated primarily to fill, seal, or waterproof gaps or joints between 2 surfaces. Sealants include sealant primers and caulks. (SCAQMD Rule 1168. )Sealants are used on wood, fabric, paper, corrugated paperboard, plastic foam and other materials with tiny openings, often microscopic, that may absorb or discharge gas or fluid., grouts and mortars have to be taken into consideration as well in the LEED for Healthcare rating system.

Hope this helps.

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Courtney Royal, LEED AP BD+C Sr. Sustainability Consultant, Taitem Engineering Oct 30 2013 LEEDuser Member 703 Thumbs Up

Thanks, Catherine. This project is registered as New Construction and the credit form allows both options to be selected.
Btw, are you with HOLT, as located in Ithaca, NY???

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Catherine Blakemore Architect, LEED AP BC+D, HOLT Architects Oct 30 2013 LEEDuser Member 1083 Thumbs Up

Yes. Small world eh!

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MM K
Oct 21 2013
Guest
904 Thumbs Up

Equivalents in Europe

Hello
Does anyone have experience or insight or whether other international standards can be used instead fo FloorScore?
FloorScore is not widely available in Europe and thus we were wondering if we could show compliance using other standards.
Is there a link where the actual VOC limits for different types of flooring ca be found?

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Lauren Sparandara Sustainability Manager, Mary Davidge Associates Oct 21 2013 LEEDuser Expert 13067 Thumbs Up

Hello,

The credit requirements provide some guidance for projects outside of the US. FloorScore isn't required; you can use the testing requirement instead of FloorScore. "Projects outside the U.S. may use the German AgBB/DIBt testing method and all testing methods based on AgBB/DIBt method (GUT, EMICODE, Blue Angel)"

"All hard surface flooring installed in the building interior must meet one of the following requirements:
Meet the requirements of the FloorScore2 standard (current as of the date of this rating system, or more stringent version) as shown with testing by an independent third-party.
Demonstrate maximum VOC concentrations less than or equal to those specified in the California Department of Health Services Standard Practice for the Testing of Volatile Organic Emissions from Various Sources Using Small-Scale Environmental Chambers, including 2004 Addenda, using the office scenario as defined in Table 7.5 within the practice.
Maximum VOC concentrations meet the California requirements specified above based on the following:
California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Standard Method V1.1-2010 using test results obtained at the 14 day time point

Projects outside the U.S. may use the German AgBB/DIBt testing method and all testing methods based on AgBB/DIBt method (GUT, EMICODE, Blue Angel) using test results obtained at the 3 day or 7 day or 14 day time point. For caprolactam, if test results obtained at the 3 day or 7 day time point is used, the emission concentration must be less than ½ of the concentration limit specified above because the emission may not have peaked at the measured time points.

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

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Carly Ruggieri Senior Sustainability Consultant, Steven Winter Associates, Inc. Dec 19 2013 Guest 891 Thumbs Up

Since projects outside of the US are eligible for using the German AgBB/DIBt testing methods, I'm wondering if this is acceptable for US projects sourcing flooring from outside the US. If my US project purchases wood flooring from Europe that has been tested compliant under Blue Angel, would that be OK?

It would seem odd if a project over the border in Mexico would be fine using European standards because it is "outside the US" but a project a few miles away in CA would not be able to use the same standards. Any thoughts or success stories on using European testing standards for EQc4.3 at a US project? Thanks

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Randy Carter Manager, Global Codes & Approvals, Steelcase Inc. Dec 19 2013 LEEDuser Expert 785 Thumbs Up

It is not acceptable to use the German AgBB/DiBt testing methods for projects located within the U.S.

Unfortunately the test methods and requirements between the U.S. and Europe are not harmonized and in fact are quite different in many ways. In fact, the emissions methods across Europe are not fully harmonized with each other. Between the U.S. and German methods, each has advantages and disadvantages; neither is always more protective to users than the other.

The EQ TAG ultimately approved the compromise position of allowing the accepted European methods in countries outside of the U.S. in an effort to support LEED internationalization. However, this compromise introduced the potential that products compliant with the referenced European methods, but not with the US methods, could be used.

Therefore, to promote standardization and consistent levels of protection for users in LEED projects within the U.S., the European methods are not accepted for U.S. projects.

Any time that more than one method for measuring something is allowed, it can create a situation where users are unsure which method to use (and so they often specify more than one method).

Manufacturers are then forced to measure the factor of interest (emissions in this case) using more than one method in order to satisfy the entire market. This can cause redundant, duplicative, and inefficient costs for everyone involved that would be better spent measuring other issues of concern.

One of the primary reasons we have standards is to promote consistent, best practice ways of measuring the things that are important. Ideally we would have one, harmonized emissions method for the entire globe, but today this does not exist.

While not perfect, the LEED compromise in this case reflects the current state of the art in emissions testing.

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Carly Ruggieri Senior Sustainability Consultant, Steven Winter Associates, Inc. Dec 19 2013 Guest 891 Thumbs Up

Not what I was hoping for, but I better understand the reasoning now. Thanks for the great follow-up.

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Albert Sagrera Architect Societat Organica
Oct 09 2013
LEEDuser Member
538 Thumbs Up

VOC budget process in this credit

Can I use the same "VOC budget process" to justify this credit as in credit 4.2 if I make a misatke or If I have just one product that is used minimally on a project?.
Thanks

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Susan Walter Sr Project Architect, Wilmot/Sanz Oct 09 2013 LEEDuser Expert 12198 Thumbs Up

Yes, you can use the budget method for this credit as well as 4.1.

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Lauren Sparandara Sustainability Manager, Mary Davidge Associates Oct 09 2013 LEEDuser Expert 13067 Thumbs Up

Hmm, the FAQ information noted below has guidance that is a bit different:

___________

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

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

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Brian Wolfe Sustainable Coordinator HKS
Sep 24 2013
LEEDuser Member
67 Thumbs Up

asphalt use within the envelope

I am looking for any information on the use of asphalt paving verses concrete within a building envelope and how the VOC content could effect LEED credits. Since it is not a typical use, there is really no data to help provide direction. Thanks for any guidance offered.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Nov 03 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

Asphalt within a building envelope doesn't sound likely to be low-emitting and likely to comply. But if you want to go for it, I would reference the hard-surface flooring requirements in the credit language above. Seems pretty straightforward.

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Ward Miller Chief Environmental Officer Alpenglow Advisory
Sep 17 2013
LEEDuser Member
441 Thumbs Up

Carpet with GUT certification, what about caprolactam?

We are working on a big box store in Europe striving to achieve this credit, but differences between the standard Green Label Plus and ACP approaches seems to be causing questions related specifically to caprolactum. We have found a supplier of a carpet with GUT certification, which in almost every category seems to be more stringent than 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. requirements; however, we have been unable to determine whether/how much caprolactam may or may not be in the carpet. As this substance is specifically mentioned in the text of the ACP, we are concerned GBCI may reject our selection and prevent us from earning the IEQc4.3 credit. Does anyone have any experience or additional useful knowledge related to this potential issue?

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Susan Walter Sr Project Architect, Wilmot/Sanz Oct 03 2013 LEEDuser Expert 12198 Thumbs Up

Under the potentially useful category, I was looking at IARC categories today and your caprolactam is the only Group 4 chemical/compound listed which means that is it is 'potentially not carcinogenic to humans'. Since IARC is a cancer registry, there is likely no correlation between that and 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.. But I found it interesting when I read your post after reading that this morning. (We're working on a cancer center.)

Wiki says it is a precursor to Nylon 6 which is in a lot of carpets in the US and is a better place to start.

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Seunghyun Cha Engineer, LEED AP HanmiGlobal
Aug 29 2013
LEEDuser Member
76 Thumbs Up

CARB certified product

Dear,
I have a question about IEQc4.3.

Do the CARBThe California Air Resources Board, part of the state government, is charged with maintaining clean air. This agency is unique at the state level: California was the only state that had such an agency before the passage of the federal Clean Air Act, and was allowed to keep it. certified floorings (PHASE 1 & 2) automatically meet the IEQc4.3 requirements?

Actually, the floorscore program was originally designed as an emissions standard for non-wood or resilient floorscoverings. Although wood products can certify against the Floorscore protocol, CARB certification is the primary emissions standard used by the wood flooring industry.

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Josh Jacobs Technical Information & Public Affairs Manager, UL Environment Aug 29 2013 LEEDuser Expert 4524 Thumbs Up

The CARBThe California Air Resources Board, part of the state government, is charged with maintaining clean air. This agency is unique at the state level: California was the only state that had such an agency before the passage of the federal Clean Air Act, and was allowed to keep it. ruling is focused on formaldehyde1. Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring VOC found in small amounts in animals and plants but is carcinogenic and an irritant to most people when present in high concentrations, causing headaches, dizziness, mental impairment, and other symptoms. When present in the air at levels above 0.1 ppm, it can cause watery eyes; burning sensations in the eyes, nose, and throat; nausea; coughing; chest tightness; wheezing; skin rashes; and asthmatic and allergic reactions. 2. A known carcinogen with no known safe exposure level. Formaldehyde occurs naturally, but appears in unnaturally high concentra­tions in many buildings because it is an ingredient in binders used in many building materials and furnishings. emissions from composite woodComposite wood consists of wood or plant particles or fibers bonded by a synthetic resin or binder. Examples include particleboard, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), plywood, oriented-strand board (OSB), wheatboard, and strawboard. - which probably makes up part of the flooring, but this credit focuses on limiting about 35 VOCsA volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is a carbon compound that vaporizes (becomes a gas) at normal room temperatures. VOCs contribute to air pollution directly and through atmospheric photochemical reactions (excluding carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, carbonic acid, metallic carbides and carbonates, and ammonium carbonate) to produce secondary air pollutants, principally ozone and peroxyacetyl nitrate. emitting from the complete flooring product. This is due to the fact that it focuses on compliance with the standard commonly refered to as CA 01350 (which is the basis of FloorScore and makes up part of the requirements of UL GREENGUARD Gold). Having CARB compliant parts of the flooring might help the product meet the CA 01350 limits, but meeting them won't receive this credit alone.

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Becky French
Aug 07 2013
Guest
12 Thumbs Up

Unfinished Engineered Hardwood

Hello,

It's stated in IEQc4.3 that unfinished/untreated solid hardwood automatically qualifies for this credit. Could the same be said for unfinished engineered hardwood? This would be a engineered product that meets the requirements of 4.4 (composite). It would be finished on site with a finish/stain meeting the requirements of 4.2
Thanks!

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Aug 07 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

Becky, the 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. that established the language you're referring to specifically refers to "solid" untreated wood flooring. I do not think this would apply to a composite product, even meeting IEQc4.4 requirements.

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Hernando Miranda Owner, Soltierra LLC Aug 07 2013 Guest 5846 Thumbs Up

Engineered hardwoods generally do not use urea-formaldehyde1. Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring VOC found in small amounts in animals and plants but is carcinogenic and an irritant to most people when present in high concentrations, causing headaches, dizziness, mental impairment, and other symptoms. When present in the air at levels above 0.1 ppm, it can cause watery eyes; burning sensations in the eyes, nose, and throat; nausea; coughing; chest tightness; wheezing; skin rashes; and asthmatic and allergic reactions. 2. A known carcinogen with no known safe exposure level. Formaldehyde occurs naturally, but appears in unnaturally high concentra­tions in many buildings because it is an ingredient in binders used in many building materials and furnishings. binders/adhesives, which is what usually causes issues with compliance for EQc4.4.

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Michelle Rosenberger Partner, ArchEcology, LLC Aug 07 2013 LEEDuser Member 3826 Thumbs Up

Hi Becky,
I agree with Tristan. I've had this situation with an engineered wood flooring product. It is subject to the FloorScore requirement.

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Catherine Blakemore Architect, LEED AP BC+D HOLT Architects
Aug 05 2013
LEEDuser Member
1083 Thumbs Up

EPA Test Method 24 and SCAQMD 1113

If a product is testing using US EPA Method 24 (ASTMVoluntary standards development organization which creates source technical standards for materials, products, systems, and services D 2369, the Standard Test Method for Volatile Content of Coatings) is that an acceptable testing equivalent to SCAQMD 1113.

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Peggy White White + GreenSpec Aug 05 2013 LEEDuser Member 1339 Thumbs Up

Yes.

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Catherine Blakemore Architect, LEED AP BC+D HOLT Architects
Jul 29 2013
LEEDuser Member
1083 Thumbs Up

Industrial Maintenance Coatings

Under what category would an industrial maintenance coating get listed if it is used on the interior of the building?

In LEED for Healthcare, there is no industrial maintenance option in Table IEQc4-6.

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John-David Hutchison, LEED AP BD+C, PMP Sustainability Consultant, CSV Architects Jul 29 2013 LEEDuser Expert 1214 Thumbs Up

I would utilize the OTHER category.

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Catherine Blakemore Architect, LEED AP BC+D, HOLT Architects Jul 29 2013 LEEDuser Member 1083 Thumbs Up

I have 2 product systems.
1) Concrete waterproofing/sealer system
2) Pourable Resilient Urethane floor system

Both are tested as an industrial maintenance coating according to SCAQMD.

There is an option for "Flooring: Hard Surface Other," which requires compliance with FloorScore. Neither product has FloorScore or GreenGuard Gold certification. So what are my options.

SCAQMD 1113 lists Industrial maintenance coatings and waterproofing concrete/masonry 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 LEED tables for interior coatings do not give that option.... suggestions?

The VOC content of all the components is super low and meets the VOC limits. What are the options in terms of

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Michelle Rosenberger Partner, ArchEcology, LLC Jul 29 2013 LEEDuser Member 3826 Thumbs Up

Hi Catherine,
Always frustrating when entry is more of an issue than compliance. These sound like floor coatings to me, which is supposed to mean they are represented in both EQ4.2 and EQ4.3. So in EQ4.2 I would use the floor coating category.

In EQ4.3, things are not so neat. For some reason, the adhesive/sealant side is neatly distinguished and crosses well with EQ4.1. But the coatings get commingled with the hard surfaces, and the two tables for compliance have very different options depending on whether you are in the FloorScore 4.3-1 or CA 4.3-2 table. The latter has a ton of more appropriate options but they all still reference the flooring standard not the VOC standard you are actually meeting.

Since you have to enter them in one of the tables and they don't meet either of the reference standards used for these, I'd put them in the 4.3-2 table, use floor coatings again and explain in Special Circumstances. The standard you are actually meeting in these cases is the SCAQMD standard represented in EQ4.2 and not the FloorScore/CA 1350 standards referenced in these tables.

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Catherine Blakemore Architect, LEED AP BC+D, HOLT Architects Jul 29 2013 LEEDuser Member 1083 Thumbs Up

I could list both products as floor coatings, although if you read the definition of floor coatings, it specifically excludes industrial maintenance coatings.

I know I can use the VOC budget for the adhesive, sealantsA sealant has adhesive properties and is formulated primarily to fill, seal, or waterproof gaps or joints between 2 surfaces. Sealants include sealant primers and caulks. (SCAQMD Rule 1168. )Sealants are used on wood, fabric, paper, corrugated paperboard, plastic foam and other materials with tiny openings, often microscopic, that may absorb or discharge gas or fluid. and primers, but as I understand the credit requirements, all flooring has to meet the credit requirements in order to achieve a point for Group 3 - Flooring.

The waterproofing product is a significant cost increase to the Owner, if it doesn't meet the LEED requirements there is no point in the Owner paying extra money for the product.

I just need to be sure...and right now I do not know how GBCI will respond.

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Michelle Rosenberger Partner, ArchEcology, LLC Jul 29 2013 LEEDuser Member 3826 Thumbs Up

When you say VOC budget, I'm thinking you mean using the VOC limits as your standard. A VOC budget is a heinous exercise of tracking every ounce of product so that you can accommodate something you need to use that is too high to meet the VOC limit. Sort of a cap and trade scenario.

I completely understand wanting to be confident about what is going to be approved when you are giving guidance to your client. Boy do I. However, please note that the EQ4.3 requirement for the coating products is SCAQMD not FloorScore or CA1350. In other words, it's the same animal as EQ4.2 (just included in two different places). Your issue appears to be simply with filling out the EQ4.3 form, not with compliance. Credit forms can be wrong and can malfunction. That's why they are updated frequently.

If you are uncomfortable using floor coatings as the category because of the industrial maintenance exclusion, then you'll have to find a better fit. You are obviously using the definitions in the standard. The specific language in your product data is the key to the category. So it's hard to advise further without knowing what you are looking at. Your waterproofing sealer should not be a problem. Perhaps the other can be defined as a sealer also?

We have had epic problems with primers that don't fit the categories or the limits, so I do sympathize. If you are still uncomfortable, you could try a Feedback request asking them why no IM Coatings option in the form. Perhaps it was simply missed.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jul 29 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

Michelle, I haven't understood the VOC budget method to be such a pain. You can only track the quantity of product you need to offset. Our FAQ on IEQc4.2 discusses this. Have you had a different experience?

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Hernando Miranda Owner, Soltierra LLC Jul 29 2013 Guest 5846 Thumbs Up

The VOC budget was never approved by the USGBC IEQ Technical Advisory Committee. It was added by the Reference Guide authors, evidently to cover themselves for LEED VOC specs that less than complete. Incomplete specs allow consultants who don't know how to clean-up project specifications properly to continue earning VOC points.

VOC budget is a huge pain. It is nothing more than a gaming of the credit. Quantities used is a wild guess by subcontractors. Asking for quantities of products used is simply not unreliable.

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Catherine Blakemore Architect, LEED AP BC+D, HOLT Architects Jul 29 2013 LEEDuser Member 1083 Thumbs Up

Tristan,

My is project is a LEED for Healthcare project. That standards are more strigent. I posted here because the Healthcare forum lags a bit and I needed a response sooner, rather than later.

Can you confirm John-David's response to my posting above?

Would industrial maintenance coatings be listed under floor coating or other floor coatings or in the case of the waterproofing type product as a sealer, waterproofing, concrete/masonry?

Do do products that have been tested in accordance with ASTMVoluntary standards development organization which creates source technical standards for materials, products, systems, and services D-2369, Method E meet LEED HC-Group 3-Flooring requirements?

As I understand it this is the non-California testing equivalent, correct?

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Michelle Rosenberger Partner, ArchEcology, LLC Jul 29 2013 LEEDuser Member 3826 Thumbs Up

Hi Tristan,
Are you really monitoring all of these concurrent streams in such a timely fashion or do you have some kind of trigger for words like "heinous"? Sorry couldn't resist.

If you can in fact still just track one "good" product in the impacted category to offset the "not so good" product in 2009 as you could in the previous rating systems, then I amend my statement to be just unpleasant rather than heinous. I have to admit we have been under the impression with the new LEED 2009 forms that you had to track the whole impacted category.

I stick with unpleasant however not because the entry is difficult but because the onsite information is. If the product is caught early, it can most usually be substituted and the issue goes away. If it's caught on-site as was my last situation, the materials may already have been applied and tracking of usage is not feasible. I also feel less confident about this tracking data when I receive it because I can't apply any QC sensibility about how much volume of what kind of material is reasonable for a specific project. It becomes a numbers game.

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Hernando Miranda Owner, Soltierra LLC Jul 29 2013 Guest 5846 Thumbs Up

"I also feel less confident about this tracking data when I receive it because I can't apply any QC sensibility about how much volume of what kind of material is reasonable for a specific project. It becomes a numbers game."

This is exactly the reason 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. was against allowing the VOC budget game. We removed it for LEED v2, and it was reinserted at the insistence of the Reference Guide authors. Not the "consensus" volunteer TAG, but a private consultant paid by the USGBC to write the Reference Guide. There was absolutely no consensus on the VOC budget game.

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Donald Green Project Manager Sustainable Design Consulting, LLC
Jul 12 2013
LEEDuser Member
336 Thumbs Up

UL Certificate of Conformity

We have a product that has a Foorscore symbol on their cutsheet, however when we requesed the certificate number and dates we were sent a UL Certificate of Conformity (haven't seen this before).

The UL testing references NSF/ANSI 332-2011, Sustainability Assessment for Resilient Floor Coverings as the standard, however when reading this standard we can only see California 1350 referenced but cannot tell if the standad actually meets the testing requirements of 01350.

Anyone have any experience with this new player to the 3rd party certification game?

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Josh Jacobs Technical Information & Public Affairs Manager, UL Environment Jul 12 2013 LEEDuser Expert 4524 Thumbs Up

Donald - for transparency sake let me say that I am the Technical Information and Public Affairs Manager for UL Environment's division. The certificate of conformity does show compliance with this credits criteria and here is how.

The credit requires that the product shows compliance to a California test methodology that is refered to as CA 01350. This can be done in numerous ways - FloorScore, UL GREENGUARD Gold (previously Children & Schools), CRI Green Label Plus, or test report from product emission lab. As you have noted, the certificate of conformity was for NSF 332, which is a multi-attribute sustainability standard for resilient flooring. Within this standard there is a prerequisite that the product passes CA 01350 requirements simply to be certified to it. So by showing that the product is certified to NSF 332, you are also showing that it is certified to CA 01350.

I know that it is a couple of dots to be connected, but it is a legitimate connection, of which CA 01350 is the basis. I hope this makes sense for you and your team. Congratulations by the way, you are now taking the next step in sustainability by using a sustainable multi-attribute flooring opiton.

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Peggy White White + GreenSpec Jul 12 2013 LEEDuser Member 1339 Thumbs Up

@Donald - to clarify - the NSF/ANSI Standard is not a 3rd party verification - it is a standard develop by the resilient flooring industry.

For more clarification on FloorScore: http://www.rfci.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=80&Item...

Scientific Certification Systems Global Services (SCS)is a 3rd party verification provider who verifies FloorScore compliance.

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Donald Green Project Manager, Sustainable Design Consulting, LLC Jul 12 2013 LEEDuser Member 336 Thumbs Up

Thanks Josh for such a quick and thorough response!

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Josh Jacobs Technical Information & Public Affairs Manager, UL Environment Jul 12 2013 LEEDuser Expert 4524 Thumbs Up

Peggy - as a voting member of that committee I have to correct you in the sense that it is an NSF ANSI standard, not an RFCI standard. RFCI members are voting members, but there are people outside of that industry that are voting members as well. Anyone is allowed to propose changes to the standard that the committee has to review and vote on.

Like almost all reputable sustainable standards it looks to 3rd party organizations to verify products to it. The certification Donald has talked about (to NSF 332) is a 3rd party verification of compliance with the standard by Underwriters Laboratories.

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Peggy White White + GreenSpec Jul 12 2013 LEEDuser Member 1339 Thumbs Up

Well, color me confused - you're saying that you are a member of the committee who developed the NSF/ANSI standard AND you are a 3rd party certifier? Could you please identify the members of the committee who developed the NSF/ANSI standard?

Thanks!

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Josh Jacobs Technical Information & Public Affairs Manager, UL Environment Jul 12 2013 LEEDuser Expert 4524 Thumbs Up

The committee listing is available here: http://standards.nsf.org/apps/org/workgroup/flooring_jc/members/roster.php

Some ANSI standards (as this one was) are voted on by consensus committees which are made up of members that are split in to stakeholder groups. This NSF standard breaks those groups down in to Public Health/Regulatory, Users, General Interest, and Industry. To meet ANSI requirements none of these groups can be in a dominant position (by # of voters) on the committee.

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Florinda Garcia
Jul 12 2013
Guest
113 Thumbs Up

Raised flooring

does the raised floor must meet the floorscore requirements?

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Mariah Grife
Jun 26 2013
LEEDuser Member
316 Thumbs Up

Rubber Base

Does Rubber Base need to meet FloorScore certification, or is it exempt from this credit as it is not a "flooring" system itself?

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Michelle Rosenberger Partner, ArchEcology, LLC Jun 26 2013 LEEDuser Member 3826 Thumbs Up

Hi Mariah,
Yes, it needs to comply.

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Lauren Sparandara Sustainability Manager, Mary Davidge Associates Jul 09 2013 LEEDuser Expert 13067 Thumbs Up

Hi Mariah,

There are a lot of FloorScore options from Armstrong, Burke Industries, Roppe, etc. http://www.scsglobalservices.com/certified-green-products-database?scsce...

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Josh Jacobs Technical Information & Public Affairs Manager, UL Environment Jul 10 2013 LEEDuser Expert 4524 Thumbs Up

Mariah,

Additionally, it is a bit of a misnomer that it has to be FloorScore certified. FloorScore certification ensures that the product meets the requirements of CA 01350. Meeting CA 01350 is a pathway for compliance to this criteria and UL GREENGUARD Gold certification shows compliance to CA 01350 as well. So you have many options for compliance.

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Benj Herrera LEED AP BD+C
Jun 20 2013
Guest
553 Thumbs Up

Slate Porcelain Tiles

Where do I classify the above tiles in the LEED online flooring materials listing ?
Is it under Flooring: ceramic? These tiles are manufactured from Italy.
Is the Company product data which shows that the tiles are ECo Label Certified/ISO 14001/GBC Italy certified and LEED compliant sufficient to document the certification?

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John-David Hutchison, LEED AP BD+C, PMP Sustainability Consultant, CSV Architects Jun 20 2013 LEEDuser Expert 1214 Thumbs Up

Yes, they could be included under ceramic tile: but also note the following from the The LEED 2009 Rating System:

Mineral-based finish flooring products such as tile, masonry, terrazzo, and cut stone without integral organic-based coatings and sealantsA sealant has adhesive properties and is formulated primarily to fill, seal, or waterproof gaps or joints between 2 surfaces. Sealants include sealant primers and caulks. (SCAQMD Rule 1168. )Sealants are used on wood, fabric, paper, corrugated paperboard, plastic foam and other materials with tiny openings, often microscopic, that may absorb or discharge gas or fluid. and unfinished/untreated solid wood flooring qualify for credit without any IAQIndoor air quality: The quality and attributes of indoor air affecting the health and comfort building occupants. IAQ encompasses available fresh air, contaminant levels, acoustics and noise levels, lighting quality, and other factors. testing requirements. However, associated site-applied adhesives, grouts, finishes and sealersSealers are coatings applied to either block materials from penetrating into or leaching out of a substrate, to prevent subsequent coatings from being absorbed by the substrate, or to prevent harm to subsequent coatings by materials in the substrate. must be compliant for a mineral-based or unfinished/untreated solid wood flooring system to qualify for credit.

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Benj Herrera LEED AP BD+C Jun 20 2013 Guest 553 Thumbs Up

Is it better to just classify this porcelain slate tiles under mineral based flooring instead of ceramic tiles since there is no FLOOR SCORE certification and considered EXEMPT?
Pls. advise. Thanks..

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