Resilient flooring, rubber flooring, and prefinished wood flooring all must be FloorScore or Greenguard Gold certified. Carpeting and carpet cushion need to be CRIColor-rendering index, or CRI, is a scale of 0 to 100, used by manufacturers of fluorescent, metal halide, and other non-incandescent lighting equipment to describe the visual effect of the light on colored surfaces. Natural daylight is assigned a CRI of 100. Green Label Plus or Green Label certified (respectively).
In order to meet the credit requirements, any adhesives or finishes applied to flooring materials also need to meet the applicable requirements of IEQc4.1 and IEQc4.2. Wood, concrete, and other flooring installed raw need not be certified as long as any coatings and finished applied to them meet the requirements of IEQc4.2: Low-Emitting Materials—Paints and Coatings.
While this is a construction-phase credit—and the contractor will need to ensure that VOC-compliant 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. 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.
This is an all-or-nothing credit, but as long as each flooring product meets one of the applicable criteria under either Option 1 or 2, the requirements will be covered.
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 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 Associates Products certified to the Greenguard Gold standard (previously known as Greenguard Children and Schools) meet the California Department of Health Services protocol, but beware: the generic Greenguard standard does not. (See Resources for links to products).
Carpet 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 Associates
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
No. The credit requirements only refer to flooring installed within the project scope.
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.
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.
No. A tile or similar product that is coated after being manufactured must meet the credit requirements for flooring product certification.
Yes, it is odd. All the same, unfinished flooring is exempt, while finished flooring must meet relevant requirements.
International products may comply through the German AgBB/DIBt testing method, which is followed by GUT, EMICODE, and Blue Angel. If using the AgBB/DIBt test results, select the 3, 7, or 14 day time point. You should also check that the test parameters match the California Department of Health Services protocol—if not, USGBC will allow you to multiply the test results by a factor of 0.7 to determine compliance.
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.
Bolyu'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.
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.
Unfinished 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
All flooring must comply with the following as applicable to the project scope:
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.
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.
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.
You may use the LEED v4 version of this credit on v2009 projects. For more information check out this article.
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.
Support on incorporating LEED requirements into specifications.
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.
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.
A global leader in third-party environmental, sustainability and food quality certification, auditing, testing and standards development.
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.
Searchable List of Compliant products.
This is the referenced California standard that sets out the procedures and specific criteria for conducting VOC chamber tests.
A guide to specifying for LEED projects, with samples.
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 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.
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.
Provide this form to contractors or other team members to track flooring materials used on the project, and LEED compliance.
I am hoping someone can direct me as to the best way to fill out the IEQ-4 forms given the situation.
We are in a pre-bid situation filling out the LEED forms, and because it is public bid work we cannot specify any one project due to competitive bidding laws. So at this point we do not know exactly which products are going to be used. We have however specified the products we want and put in the requirements that any product used must comply with the requirements for the IEQ credits.
What is the best way to apply for the credits considering this situation?
The IEQc4 suite are all construction-phase credits which mean that they cannot be submitted for review until after construction is complete and the building is occupied. As such, I'm not sure exactly why you are trying to fill out the IEQc4.3 Form at all at this point. You should really not complete any of this form until specific products are actually purchased for installation. Once construction is complete, you will then have the full comprehensive list of all the products to put in the form. Trying to pre-fill the form with potential options just sounds like more work (especially as you can't get it reviewed/approved now anyway).
While you want to look at the requirements to help evaluate materials, I don't think that filling out the actual IEQc4.3 Form is worthwhile for you at this point. You definitely should be specifying the requirements and evaluating all proposed products against the IEQc4.3 requirements (including making sure you can get the required manufacturer documentation to verify full compliance).
We have project using an epoxy terrazzo poured floor where the VOC's for both components are 0 g/L. I understand that these would be listed in IEQc4.2 under floor coatings. My question is that a LEED reviewer has just recently denied IEQc4.3 on another project because we were under the impression that terrazzo was exempt, but they are saying that the epoxy terrazzo is not entirely mineral-based and that it must comply with the credit. So does that mean that it has to be FloorScore or comply with CA 01350 testing? There doesn't seem to be any clear direction as to whether a poured epoxy floor needs to comply with both IEQc4.2 and 4.3, or should it really just be under IEQc4.2.
Nena, I would agree with the reviewer in putting a terrazzo floor under scrutiny. We have been concerned about the epoxy in these floors. My opinion, the terrazzo itself can be confined to just IEQc4.3 and not both credits. If there is a coating on top of it, that would also be IEQc4.2.
Let us know if you got further clarity on this!
Anyone have experience with how to treat coco fiber mats?
Erica—treat as a natural, unfinished product?
We have a situation here, for the scope of finishes company's materials submittals.
the query wither the compliance with Floor score or any stringent third party is applicable or not for Natural Stone?
See above, if the stone is 'raw' then it is compliant because there is nothing off gassing. If you apply a sealer or use an adhesive to install the stone, those materials need to be VOC compliant.
We have ceramic tile flooring on our project and I understand this is exempt from the testing requirements but do you need to list it on the IEQ4.3 form? There's an option for "Flooring: Ceramic" and the Floorscore referenced standard comes up automatically when adding this material. Since the tile is exempt from the testing requirements and we have no documentation indicating it complies with Floorscore I would assume we don't need to include it on the form. Is this correct?
Rachael - While what you wrote makes sense, it is not correct.
According to LI ID #10267 (http://www.usgbc.org/leed-interpretations?keys=10267) exempt products must be shown on IEQc4.3's form. See details on using an Alternative Compliance Path in this LI.
Also, as a guest to LEEDuser, you can't see the FAQ above that is entitled: "Should mineral-based finish flooring products (without any 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 be documented on the IEQc4.3 LEED Online form, even though they are exempt from certification requirements?" but it outlines this LI.
I am working on a LEED NC 2009 project and working to achieve IEQ 4.3 Low-Emitting Materials – Flooring Systems.
We have used a ceramic tile product throughout the project that does not carry a FloorScore certification, but rather a LEED BREEM certification. Has USGBC accepted other rating systems beyond FloorScore to achieve this credit?
Thank you in advance.
Tiles qualify for the credit without testing. Please see the table in the birds eye view.
That is helpful information. Thank you Devani. K
Is Greenguard Gold certification acceptable for carpet cushions? Or is it mandatory that it has to 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.-GLP certified?
In the past, we've used FloorScore-certified Static Dissipative rubber Tiling for Comm rooms. The client is now asking for conductive rubber flooring instead of dissipative. The proposed flooring (Statguard) is not FloorScore certified, and I can't find a conductive rubber tile that is FloorScore-certified. Has anyone had any luck with conductive rubber tile that meets IEQc4.3?
Can somebody please advise if the Greel Label Plus certification is required for a Hand tufted carpet?
If the carpet is permanently installed, there must be some verification that it meets IAQIndoor air quality: The quality and attributes of indoor air affecting the health and comfort building occupants. IAQ encompasses available fresh air, contaminant levels, acoustics and noise levels, lighting quality, and other factors. requirements:
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.
Great thanks so much!
Has anyone seen a floorscore for wood wall base? We have awood wallbase that is manufactured by the millwork contractor. Would we have to ask for special testing of the product to validate this product?
No, special testing is not required, however, you will need to supply VOC content for any stain/paint/laquer used to finish the wall base, as well as adhesive if one is used to attached the wall base to the wall/flooring.
Thank you for this quick response. On other projects, the review team has asked me to systematically provide floorscore certificate for all wallbase. I did not realise that this was not applicable to wood wallbase. Is it stated in the reference guide or another document?
If the stain / paint or laquer is applied off site do we still have to provide/verify the VOC content?
If you purchased pre-manufactured wood wall-base, you would be required to provide Floorscore ( or other proof), but as your team is making it, it is not necessary.
If the stain / paint or laquer is applied off site, it would still be used on site for touch-ups. As well, you should lessen your VOC amounts for the workers applying the materials off site.
I have a project with a large area of Epoxy Flooring, this epoxy contains 0% V.O.C.'s does it count as an inert material; or is testing required?
Epoxy coatings are not inert. In fact, most epoxies require mixing two components, each of which actually may be high in 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 two part react with one another, they catalyze into a polymer, and most or all of the VOCs are consumed. Often, the resulting coating is much lower in VOC than either component, or even zero. Epoxy product data usually lists three VOC level, one for Part A, another for Part B, and one for “A+B”. The last one is usually the lowest and the one on which SCAQMD bases its VOC limit.
A product’s Safety Data Sheet is a good place to start when determining whether the product is an “inherently nonemitting source.” If the ingredients list includes organic-based binders, polymers, resins, or additives, the product is NOT inherently nonemitting. However, if the ingredients list includes only metal- or mineral-based materials (such as Portland cement, plaster of Paris, gypsum, limestone, talc, mica, perlite, silica, or clay), there is a good chance that the product may be inherently nonemitting. Just keep in mind that 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 may not list ALL ingredients. Trace components are sometimes not listed, and manufactures can be cagy about reporting “trade secrets.”
Jon is correct that epoxies emit 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. when they are mixed and the standard practice is to add all the parts together to get a total VOC for the product. However, poured epoxy floors report under IEQc4.2 as a coating and not a flooring system. There are some old conversations in this forum and in the IEQc4.2 forum that would explain the reasons so I won't rehash it now.
SCAQMD, 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 the EU VOC Standards all outline methods of measuring VOC content of multi-component products like epoxies AFTER the parts have catalyzed. For the discussion on the NC-2009 IEQc4.2 page, see http://www.leeduser.com/comment/redirect/52270.
Note that it is not simply a matter of adding A+B. In this case, the sum is often less than the parts.
I have a vinyl baseboard, does it also have to be Floorscore?
Im working on a project and I would like to know if it is sufficient if a hard surface flooring system meets the necessary qualifications under ANSI A138.1 - 2011 Green Squared.
I'm working on a project that is classified as "New Construction" & not a "School Project"
My LEED Reference guide for green building design & construction updated as of June 2010 states the following on page 487 (IEQ 4.3)
"All hard surface flooring must meet the requirements of the FloorScore Standard"
My rubber flooring for the project is in compliance with Green Guard, & not floorscore (which is more stringent than floorscore) however there is absolutely no reference to Green guard under IEQ 4.3 in the LEED reference guide.
IEQ 4.5 on the other hand (School Projects)... states that furniture and seating must be greenguard children and school certified.
My question is
" Will this rubber flooring meet the requirements of IEQ 4.3 given that it's not certified by floorscore standard? ........Please note that when you visit LEED online, and download the form for IEQ 4.3, it says the following
"Combination of Carpet and Rug Institute, South Coast Air
Quality Management District, and FloorScore referenced standards"
It makes no reference to green guard at all. My educated guess this rubber flooring does not meet the reqs of IEQ 4.3, only because it's not certified by floorscore. If it does not, can I challenge this with GBCI since green guard is more stringent than floorscore? Please note that I still have not installed the rubber flooring.
Also please note that this very website states "Resilient flooring, rubber flooring, and prefinished wood flooring all must be FloorScore or Greenguard Children and Schools certified"
Can someone please provide a solid response, and if you think my product meets the reqs of IEQ 4.3, can you please back it up with hard evidence, or tell me which website to go to. Again the LEED reference guide makes no reference to Green guard nor does the LEED Online form, which makes me think that this product won't qualify, and maybe I can challenge it with GBCI.
Have you looked into whether the rubber flooring meets Option 2? There are many resilient flooring choices that use this pathway to meet the credit. You may also want to reach out the manufacturer and ask them how their product meets this credit intent. Or go ask your interior designer who should know why they specified this product for a LEED project without understanding the credit intents and requirements.
For an existing building under major renovation would the reused flooring be exempt from the credit requirements and should only new flooring to be installed comply with the requirements in order to pursue the credit?
What do you mean by reused? It is being taken out and put back into the building or is it staying in place? If it is staying in place, then it counts in MRc1 and not here.
We are specifying an FSCIndependent, third-party verification that forest products are produced and sold based on a set of criteria for forest management and chain-of-custody controls developed by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an international nonprofit organization. FSC criteria for certifying forests around the world address forest management, legal issues, indigenous rights, labor rights, multiple benefits, and environmental impacts.-certified woodWood from a source that has been determined, through a certification process, to meet stated ecological and other criteria. There are numerous forest certification programs in general use based on several standards, but only the Forest Stewardship Council's standards, which include requirements that the wood be tracked through its chain-of-custody, can be used to qualify wood for a point in the LEED Rating System. floor that has a white pigmented wax finish. The supplier has never been asked for emissions testing for this product, so it would be a special request to get it. Before we do this, would it be permissible to essentially use the on-site compliance path: unfinished wood flooring plus a VOC-compliant finish product, in place of emissions testing?
We have a project with some floor areas designed to be ceramic and quarry tiles.
Can someone advise if the two above need to meet floorscore standrads.
your comments are appreciated
See the above discussion about 'Key changes to this credit' regarding mineral based materials.
Has anyone encountered a product that is new on the market and therefore is still in the process of becoming FloorScore Certified? Other products from the company are FloorScore Certified, but we have no documentation for this particular product as of yet. Is there any way this product can still count or not?
Can you ask the manufacturer for proof that the product is going through fourscore certification process and request estimated time for certification?
We asked if they had some other way to verify that their product met the requirements and they said they did not...however, I think it would be worthwhile to ask them for proof that it is currently undergoing the floor score certification process.
Thanks for the suggestion. We'll try that.
You can always pursue Option 2 as well where you engage in testing.
Unfortunately, I don't think that the USGBC will accept documentation that suggests that the product is going through the process of FloorScore certification.
We have stainless steel stair nosing with anti-slip PVC strips on our stairs. I do not find any descriptions mentioning stair nosing, but have a feeling that it would need to be FloorScore certified.
Does anyone have any ideas?
Any comments are appreciated!
Depending on your application, this could be a grey area. My inclination would be to include them here. Remember that you can use Option 2.
Sorry for the late reply. Thank you so much for your advice!
I agree that applications like this can be a grey area. In principle, it is a good idea to consider all flooring products that could off-gas in your space.
I have received a response to my inquiry from GBCI.
"Those strips are not listed in the credit requirements and I don't find any addenda that mention them, so, no, they do not need to be considered."
I have a number of products that meet floorscore, but one that meets California Section 01350 but doesn't mention floorscore. Can I mix and match option 1 and 2?
Yes, just check both radio buttons and put things in the right tables.
Yup, as Michelle said, you can definitely pursue both.
Would a testing result from Air Quality Sciences (from 2012) showing that product meets Greenguard Children & Schools criteria be accepted in lieu of Floorscore for a wall base? The manufacturer is Surteco/Doellken however no further certification information is available nor is it listed in the UL Sustainable Product Guide. Thank you!
Agnes - great idea to always check on ul.com/spg for products certified to the UL GREENGUARD Gold certification. Their are currently 8 products certified under the Doellken/Surteco brand on the SPG: http://productguide.ulenvironment.com/SearchResults.aspx?BrandID=854
If it is not one of those that you are talking about, look to the other Doellken or Surteco branded products (on the left hand side of the SPG you can search by manufacturer). If the product isn't on the website then the product hasn't been confirmed to meet the UL GREENGUARD Gold certification which is compliant with this credit (and used to be called GREENGUARD Children & Schools).
Josh - thank you for your reply!
I saw these products before however the proposed product is a wall base, not listed in the Product Guide. Are these "edgebanding" products actually "wall base"? Or maybe they certified materials used to produce f.in "wall base"?
Secondly, since with other credits testing according to CA01350 (and it looks like that's what they did here) is acceptable in lieu of actual certification, I was wondering if this would be the case here, since the manufacturer is posting those results on their websites: http://www.doellken.pl/index.php?id=4117&L=6
I tried contacting everyone listed on these documents, Greenguard and Doellken but no lack in confirming compliance. Please advise. Thank you!
We are specifying a wood floor with HDF core, it is Greenguard certified. Does Greenguard certified meet the requirements of this credit? Is Greenguard Gold equivalent to Greenguard Children & Schools?
From above criteria:
"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.)"
The definition for
"hard surface flooring - includes vinyl, linoleum, laminate flooring, wood flooring, rubber flooring, wall base, and associated sundries." (LEED Reference Guide, pg.492)
This suggests that all wall base product types; rubber, vinyl, wood, tile, etc. that is a wall base should follow Floorscore requirements. But when you are in the LO form the Table L-5, the product type drop down menu only gives you option for 'rubber wall base'. The drop down menu does not give you the option to specify other wall base types. Does this mean that 'rubber wall base' is the only wall base type to be considered for this requirement?
Clarification on the hard surface flooring definition would be great.
thanks so much.
Jaida, I think the form is wrong here. I would select the rubber wall base type and enter the type of product that you actually have.
I am working on a project in Canada that came back with first review commenting on the VOC content of the tile used. We have two types of tile, both are porcelain, one a full body and the other glazed. I am now working through the documentation again and have questions. One is do I use the Option Two path when using tile as there is no option in the drop down menu for exempt products. The other is the glazed tile is actually a wall tile, not floor tile so is it not included in credit 4.3 and only 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. included in credit 4.?
Diana, this is a frequent question, and we have answered it in the FAQ above under the LEEDuser Bird's Eye View guidance.
Tristan - I don't see an FAQ above related to Diana's question about wall tile. What are your thoughts on that part of her post? I think it should read: "The other is the glazed tile is actually a wall tile, not floor tile so is it not included in credit 4.3 and only 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. included in credit 4.1?" (Added .1.)
I have a custom shaped (curved) marble flooring, the marble is mineral based, but the supplier will be cutting the marble shapes at his factory, and will be adhering curved parts to each other, to supply square panels on-site.
the on-site panels will be sealed using 30 g/L voc epoxy, which is compliant with SCAQMD, but what about the flooring itself, should I force the supplier to use the same epoxy that I'am using on-site, or he must use mineral based (organic free) adhesive to guarantee supplying me with "mineral based flooring"?
Omar, I don't know if I totally understand your question but the supplier should use a compliant epoxy product.
Tristan, thanks for your reply. I'am asking about the adhesive that the supplier will be using in his factory. Should it be 100% mineral based so that I can report that I'am using mineral based flooring, or it must only comply with the SCAQMD requirements knowing that It is applied off-site?
Does anyone know if a screed that is applied to concrete slabs prior to installing carpet tiles is considered for this credit and or IEQc4.1/4.2? The screed is a self-levelling smoothing compound used as an underlayment applied onto interior concrete slabs prior to installing carpet tiles as the final floor finish
I would say no, as screeds, as well as self-leaving concrete are cementatious materials; neither SCAQMD 1113 or 1168 reference these materials. As well, I have yet to come across any of these products with any VOC content.
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.
Yes, they should be reported in both categories.
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?
Juliane, I don't know what's behind that. I would suggest contacting GBCI to see if that's an oversight and if you could use AgBB, or if it's intentional.
I think that the carpet cushion needs to comply with the 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 program REQUIREMENTS and not necessarily be certified by them.
Same for the hardfloors - respect the same levels as the Fllorscore standard
or the Califormia Dept of health Services levels
According to the Global ACPs(january 2 2014)it is posible to use EU testing for hardfloor surfaces ( but not for carpet cushion) to prove compliance with the California Dept of Health Services Standard Practice for Testing of VOC.
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?
Rebecca, the discussion thread below is pretty exhaustive so I'm wondering if you can clarify what you are doubting?
IEQc4.3 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.
If adhesive and sealants are used on low-emitting flooring systems, they have to also meet the IEQc4.1 VOC requirements.
If paints and coatings are used on low-emitting flooring systems, they have to also meet the IEQc4.2 VOC requirements.
Composite flooring products such as bamboo, or hardwood veneer with composite backing must have no added urea-formaldehyde to earn this credit.
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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