NC-2009 IEQc4.4: Low-Emitting Materials—Composite Wood and Agrifiber Products

  • It’s all or nothing

    Like most of the other low-emitting materials credits, this credit is all-or-nothing. 

    Composite products and laminating adhesives can have no added 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. (UFUrea Formaldehyde (UF), used in some types of plywood, particleboard, MDF, and laminated wood products, is a synthetic resin created by condensing urea with formaldehyde.) resins. This credit applies to the manufacturing of all composite materials and laminating adhesives used on the project (and installed within the weather barrier), in contrast with IEQc4.1 and IEQc4.2 that only apply to site-applied products. For this credit, there is no “VOC budget” option as there is with IEQc4.1 and IEQc4.2.

    UF is an inexpensive binderGlue used in manufacturing wood products, such as medium-density fiberboard (MDF), particleboard, and engineered lumber. Most binders are made with formaldehyde. that is widely used in interior-grade particleboard, MDFMedium-density fiberboard (MDF): Panel product used in cabinets and furniture; generally made from wood fiber glued together with binder; similar to particleboard, but with finer texture, offering more precise finishing. Most MDF is made with formaldehyde-emitting urea-formaldehyde binder., and plywood. If you are looking for products without UF, look for exterior-grade plywood (UF is not used there because it is not moisture-resistant), straw-based agrifiber panels (in which UF doesn't perform well as a binder), pMDI binders, or soy-based binders, all of which are commonly available.

    Different kinds and sources of formaldehyde

    Some woods have naturally occurring formaldehyde, so note that the credit does not address total UF content, but added UF. To be compliant, products simply need to have no added urea-formaldehyde binders and glues. Other types of formaldehyde binders—phenol and melamine—are allowed under this credit, as their formaldehyde content is more tightly bound. 

    Do your research

    Research credit-compliant products, including plywood, MDF, door cores, laminate countertops, and other composite materials before construction begins helps to ensure that the right products are used. Early research helps avoid costly change orders and mistakes that would disqualify you from earning the credit.Composite woodTwo binders appear in most manufactured wood products—urea formaldehyde, which is banned under this credit, and phenol formaldehyde, which is not. Image – BuildingGreen

    While most of the focus in this credit is on composite wood, make sure to check the laminate adhesives used by manufacturers in products such as countertops, doors, flooring and millwork that has adhered edging, laminates, and veneers. (The laminates themselves are not covered by the credit—just the adhesives.)

    Don’t use or choose products that merely claim to be “low-emitting.” You have to find and submit documentation that proves the project met the specific credit requirements.

    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 IEQc4.4

    Our project is planning to use no composite wood products. Do we automatically earn this credit?

    LEEDuser hasn't seen an official ruling on this, but our expert consensus is no. (And keep in mind that laminating adhesives are part of the credit requirements, too.)

    We have a product that complies with very stringent E1 and E0 European standards for low emissions. Does this product comply with this credit?

    Not necessarily. The requirements for this credit are based on the wood product containing no added urea formaldehyde (NAUF). While a NAUF product may comply with European standards, you can't assume that a product complying with European standards is NAUF—you need to check the binder.

Legend

  • Best Practices
  • Gotcha
  • Action Steps
  • Cost Tip

Design Development

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  • Wheatboard millworkCitiLog offers custom millwork from formaldehyde-free wheatboard. Photo – CitiLogIdentify all areas of your project where composite materials including agrifibers, and laminating adhesives may be used. Look for opportunities to use urea formaldehyde free composite products and laminating adhesives.


  • Avoid added urea formaldehyde in laminating adhesives and any of the following products, defined as composite wood and agrifiber by the LEED Reference Guide:

    • particleboard
    • Bamboo cabinetryNo-added-UF bamboo paneling like this Plyboo from Smith and Fong can contribute to this credit. Photo – Smith and Fong

    • medium-density fiberboard (MDF)
    • plywood
    • wheatboard
    • strawboard
    • panel substrates
    • door cores
    • other composite wood products

  • Remember to double-check the laminating adhesives used in manufactured products such as countertops, doors, flooring and millwork that have adhered edging, laminates, and veneers.


  • Freestanding furniture is exempt from the requirements of this credit. Fixed cabinetry and millwork is not considered ‘freestanding’ and needs to have credit-compliant composite materials and laminating adhesives.


  • Many woods have low levels of naturally occurring formaldehyde, which is one reason the credit stresses that no urea-formaldehyde should be added in the binders and glues. Many products are marketed as “urea formaldehyde free,” but you still need to confirm on the MSDS or cut sheet that UF-free binders were used. If the MSDS shows trace amounts of UF, double check with the manufacturer on whether it is UF added to the binder, or is naturally occurring in the wood.


  • Non-urea formaldehyde binders—such as phenol and melamine—offgas fewer VOCs, because the formaldehyde is more tightly bound, and are not covered under this credit. 


  • Some credit-compliant products may need additional lead time, and components treated for fire-resistance can be hard to find for specific applications. UF is an inexpensive binder that is widely used in interior-grade particleboard, MDF, and plywood. It is not moisture-resistant, so it is not found in exterior-grade plywood, making this a good way to find credit-compliant products. UF also doesn’t bond well with silica-rich fibers like straw, so it isn’t used in many agrifiber panels.


  • Using no-added-urea-formaldehyde products may involve a slight cost premium, because replacement binders are more expensive.

Construction Documents

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  • Make sure credit requirements are integrated into the construction specifications for all composite materials: including plywood, MDF, millwork substrates, agrifiber composites, laminatating adhesives, door cores and other composite materials.


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


  • Incorporating the credit requirements for wood composites directly in the drawings, as well as in the specifications is a good reminder for the general contractor (GC) and subcontractors. 


  • Incorporate specific product manufacturers in the specs after researching that their products are credit-compliant. It is helpful to distribute a list of acceptable products at the contractor and subcontractor orientation meetings. See the Documentation Toolkit for an example.


  • The credit requirements can also be incorporated in a more comprehensive IAQ management plan (required for IEQc3.1: Construction Indoor Air Quality Plan—During Construction) that requires the use of low-emitting products to control the source of construction pollution. 


  • Achieving this credit may be necessary if your project is also pursuing the air-testing option of IEQc3.2: Construction IAQ Management Plan—Before Occupancy. The use of products that don’t comply with IEQc4.4 may cause your project team to fail the air-quality tests. 


  • The credit requirements apply to composite materials manufactured off-site as well as assembled onsite. This differs from the requirements for IEQc4.1 and IEQc4.2, which only cover products applied onsite.


  • 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 urea-formaldehyde-free products, double-check that the manufacturer’s information is not misleading. A common example is a product cut sheet that reads, “This is low-emitting MDF,” without specifically stating that the material has no added urea-formaldehyde. You’ll need a copy of the product cut sheet, MSDS, or a letter from the manufacturer to prove that the product is compliant. 


  • The VOC Budget method described in credits IEQc4.1 and IEQc4.2 is not available for calculating the compliance of composite materials and laminating adhesives for this credit.


  • During Construction


  • Throughout construction, the GC collects copies of product information from subcontractors for all composite materials and laminating adhesives, showing credit compliance.  


  • A LEED consultant or an administrative assistant in the GC’s office may be the best choice for the responsibility of inputting the subcontractors’ tracking forms into the master spreadsheet as they can help cross check product compliance across multiple LEED credits.


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


  • Post signs at the construction site that remind subcontractors to follow LEED requirements for using urea-formaldehyde-free composite materials and laminating adhesives. (Link to Signage UF)


  • To avoid the purchase of inappropriate materials and prevent costly change orders, review subcontractor product submittals ahead of time.


  • Check products for compliance as they are delivered on site. For instance, a urea-formaldehyde-free door may have been approved in shop drawing, but the same exact door may come in two models: with UF, and UF-free. It would be easy for the wrong door to be accidently delivered and then installed on site.


  • Streamline documentation and research by keeping a master spreadsheet of all the items being tracked for each material across MR and IEQ credits. For example, you may need to ask the millwork vendor for regional manufacturing and extraction locations for MRc5, recycled content information for MRc4, and composite-wood information for IEQc4.4—all for one millwork product. (See the Documentation Toolkit for the Materials Calculator.)


  • 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 composite materials so that they are protected from construction air contaminants. This is required if projects are attempting IEQc3.1: Construction Indoor Air Quality Plan—During Construction, but is a good practice in any case. For example, storing or installing composite wood cabinets before wall painting can cause them to absorb the paint’s off gases and contaminate the air over a longer time period.


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


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

Operations & Maintenance

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  • Keep a list of credit-compliant materials used on the project so that O&M staff can purchase these products for future renovations.


  • Develop a purchasing policy that incorporates guidelines on using urea-formaldehyde-free and other low-emitting materials. 

  • USGBC

    Excerpted from LEED 2009 for New Construction and Major Renovations

    IEQ Credit 4.4: Low-emitting materials - composite wood and agrifiber products

    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

    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. and agrifiber productsAgrifiber products are made from agricultural fiber. Examples include particleboard, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), plywood, oriented-strand board (OSB), wheatboard, and strawboard. used on the interior of the building (i.e., inside the weatherproofing system) must contain no added 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. resins. Laminating adhesives used to fabricate on-site and shop-applied composite wood and agrifiber assemblies must not contain added urea-formaldehyde resins.

    Composite wood and agrifiber products are defined as particleboard, medium density fiberboard (MDFMedium-density fiberboard (MDF): Panel product used in cabinets and furniture; generally made from wood fiber glued together with binder; similar to particleboard, but with finer texture, offering more precise finishing. Most MDF is made with formaldehyde-emitting urea-formaldehyde binder.), plywood, wheatboard, strawboard, panel substrates and door cores. Materials considered fixtures, furniture and equipment (FF&E) are not considered base buildingThe base building includes elements such as the structure, envelope, and building-level mechanical systems, such as central HVAC, etc. elements and are not included.

    Credit substitution available

    You may use the LEED v4 version of this credit on v2009 projects. For more information check out this article.

    Potential Technologies & Strategies

    Specify wood and agrifiber productsAgrifiber products are made from agricultural fiber. Examples include particleboard, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), plywood, oriented-strand board (OSB), wheatboard, and strawboard. that contain no added 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. resins. Specify laminating adhesives for field and shop-applied assemblies that contain no added urea-formaldehyde resins. Review product cut sheets, material safety data (MSD) sheets, signed attestations or other official literature from the manufacturer.

Publications

An Update on Formaldehyde - Consumer Product Safety Commission

This informational document is from the Consumer Product Safety Commission. 

Articles

Binders in Manufactured Wood Products: Beyond Formaldehyde

Current and future wood binderGlue used in manufacturing wood products, such as medium-density fiberboard (MDF), particleboard, and engineered lumber. Most binders are made with formaldehyde. chemicals are explored in ths Environmental Building News article.

Organizations

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

Support on incorporating LEED requirements into specifications. 

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 GCA General Contractor (GC) manages, coordinates, and oversees building construction; may perform some construction tasks; and is responsible for hiring and managing subcontractors. 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 VOCA volatile organic compound (VOC) 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. 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 GCA General Contractor (GC) manages, coordinates, and oversees building construction; may perform some construction tasks; and is responsible for hiring and managing subcontractors. for filing. Use it specifically for earning low-emitting materials credits, but in conjunction with documentation for MR credits.

Product Cut Sheets

Look to product cut sheets for information on the 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. content of 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. products. The example here of a door with a composite wood core and a decorative laminate clearly displays information needed for documentation, as well as an instance where more information is needed from the manufacturer.

LEED Online Forms: NC-2009 IEQ

Sample LEED Online forms for all rating systems and versions are available on the USGBC website.

Construction Submittal

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

223 Comments

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Jose Antonio Kovacevic efizity spa
Sep 20 2016
LEEDuser Member
105 Thumbs Up

supplier and products UF

Project Location: Peru

To comply with IEQc4.4 credit in LEED NC
It has been evaluated local furniture suppliers of MDFMedium-density fiberboard (MDF): Panel product used in cabinets and furniture; generally made from wood fiber glued together with binder; similar to particleboard, but with finer texture, offering more precise finishing. Most MDF is made with formaldehyde-emitting urea-formaldehyde binder., used for new buildings and the most regular composite woord and agrifiber for new buildings.
In Peru have found that suppliers import their MDF to produce or manufacture (cut, assemble and/or upholstering) elements in building (also Furniture). In order to ensure compliance, suppliers have give certifications of MDF boards, like 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. or E-1, and those only indicate low values of UF in their composition but not 0% precisely, and reading other comments in this link see those certifications are not necesarly what we need for comply the LEED requirements.

So the consults are as follows:
- Are we comply the requirement of the credit if the project team present a supplier procedure indicating that have not adhered and therefore not contain any added UF resins in the production or manufacture process? since the scope of suppliers is just the production or manufacture, but not the elaboration of boards (wich came from other countries).
- or in the case it is need to support a larger cycle or scope of work can present the certifications E-1 or CARB additional to the supplier procedure?
- what kind of documents will be necesarly to comply the requirements according to the expose above about supplier and import MDF boards to produce products for buildings

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Summer Gorder Owner ecoREAL
Aug 18 2016
LEEDuser Member
810 Thumbs Up

Can CARB’s ATCM 93120 (2008).

Project Location: United States

Can 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. ULEF (Ultra Low Emitting) 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. ceiling tiles that meet ATCM 93120 (2008) comply with IEQ credit 4.4?

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Erica Downs Sustainability & LEED Consultant
Jul 28 2016
LEEDuser Member
2771 Thumbs Up

ULEF documentation and LEED Online form

Project Location: United States

How does one document use of a ULEF melamine in LEED Online? There is only a check box for "Product Contains No Added 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.". If that is checked for a ULEF product, it would be inaccurate, but that is only way for the form to recognize credit achievement. Must we use the Alternative Compliance Path section? Thanks.

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Erica Downs Sustainability & LEED Consultant Aug 23 2016 LEEDuser Member 2771 Thumbs Up

Just following up -- anyone been through this documentation process and have some advice? Thanks!

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deborah lucking associate, fentress architects Sep 26 2016 LEEDuser Member 2612 Thumbs Up

Erica,
Check the box, and upload the ULEF information under alternate compliance. There is 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. that addresses this as an acceptable means of meeting the credit intent. I'll have to dig around for the link to the LI. (Will edit this post to add, once I find it.)

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Jenelle Shapiro Sr. Sustainability Manager Webcor Builders
Jul 21 2016
LEEDuser Member
179 Thumbs Up

Using LEED v4 standards for this credit

Is it possible to use the LEED v4 standards (ULEF of NAF) to apply for the LEED 2009 credit?

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Sophie Brauer Architect MAA Gottlieb Paludan Architects
Jun 21 2016
Guest
21 Thumbs Up

Kitchen

Project Location: Denmark

Hello,
I am having a lot of difficulty finding a (European) kitchen that qualifies for this credit. The suppliers and manufacturers we tend to use here in Denmark all have various sustainability certifications, however they have none of the LEED-recognized labels. Recommendations of high quality kitchens that qualify as low-emitting are most welcome!
Thanks very much.

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Michelle Robinson Schwarting Re:Vision Architecture Jun 21 2016 LEEDuser Member 1447 Thumbs Up

Great question, Sophie! And one I look forward to seeing the other responses to as well. :)

Here in the mid-Atlantic USA, we frequently end up going with custom built cabinets to achieve this credit, since there are not a lot of companies that offer the right kind of wood / adhesive to meet the requirements. There are a few manufacturers in the pacific northwest (Washington State, Oregon, etc.) and there are some manufacturers of lab casework that meet the requirements, but most of the manufacturers, even if they are solid wood cabinets, still use some sort of plywood or particleboard at the very least on the back of the cabinets that's not compliant.

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Sophie Brauer Architect MAA, Gottlieb Paludan Architects Jun 21 2016 Guest 21 Thumbs Up

Thanks for your reply Michelle. What about finishes? Is powder coating a safe bet?

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Jon Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, GREENSQUARE Jun 21 2016 LEEDuser Expert 5204 Thumbs Up

Sophie—As I understand it, the commonly used European E1 and E0 standards promise very low emissions, but they do not guarantee that the labeled product contains no added 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. (NAUF) as required for IEQc4.4. You must explicitly specify “no added urea-formaldehyde.” Many E1 and E0 products may actually be NAUF, but to know for sure, you would need confirmation from the manufacturer of the actual plywood, particleboard, MDFMedium-density fiberboard (MDF): Panel product used in cabinets and furniture; generally made from wood fiber glued together with binder; similar to particleboard, but with finer texture, offering more precise finishing. Most MDF is made with formaldehyde-emitting urea-formaldehyde binder., or other composite panels used to fabricate the cabinets.

To your question about cabinet finishes, shop-applied finishes have no impact on IEQ credits in NC-2009, and finishes applied on-site only affect IEQc4.2, not IEQc4.4.

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Phil Vanderloo President Hiline Builders Inc.
Jun 10 2016
LEEDuser Member
363 Thumbs Up

searching out no voc floor sheathing and mdf

Project Location: United States

I was hoping someone can direct me to a resource, available to Sacramento Ca., for compliant, (no vocA volatile organic compound (VOC) 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. or urea formaldehydeUrea formaldehyde is a combination of urea and formaldehyde used in some glues and adhesives, particularly in composite wood products. At room temperature, ureaformaldehyde emits formaldehyde, a toxic and possibly carcinogenic gas.), 1 1/8" T&G plywood floor sheathing.
Thank You

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jun 12 2016 LEEDuser Moderator

Phil -- help us help you. What's proving difficult in finding what you need? What brands are available to you and what questions do you have regarding their LEED compliance?

This website (LEEDuser) does not typically offer super-specific advice on which brands or products to choose. It's more common here to ask and find advice on how to understand the LEED requirements and how to go about finding what you need. For really specific product guidance, I would recommend the product guides on our sister website, BuildingGreen.

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Melissa Merryweather Director Green Consult-Asia
May 02 2016
LEEDuser Member
3170 Thumbs Up

Greenguard

I'm only submitting this request for clarification as a last resort: the contractor says only Greenguard certification is available, but I don't see anything in the thread or the manual commenting that Greenguard is allowable. It seems not since they allow a maximum concentration for formaldehyde1. Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring VOC found in small amounts in animals and plants but is carcinogenic and an irritant to most people when present in high concentrations, causing headaches, dizziness, mental impairment, and other symptoms. When present in the air at levels above 0.1 ppm, it can cause watery eyes; burning sensations in the eyes, nose, and throat; nausea; coughing; chest tightness; wheezing; skin rashes; and asthmatic and allergic reactions. 2. A known carcinogen with no known safe exposure level. Formaldehyde occurs naturally, but appears in unnaturally high concentra­tions in many buildings because it is an ingredient in binders used in many building materials and furnishings. of 61.3, and its not specifically stating NAUF. Anyone care to verify my assumption? thanks so much

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John-David Hutchison, LEED AP BD+C, PMP Sustainability Consultant, CSV Architects May 03 2016 LEEDuser Expert 3548 Thumbs Up

Could you clarify the product you are referring to? In regard to LEED, GreenGuard is referenced for flooring products, where as this credit refers to 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. used in construction - mainly in millwork.

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Melissa Merryweather Director, Green Consult-Asia May 03 2016 LEEDuser Member 3170 Thumbs Up

Thanks! The two product certifications each bear one of the identifiable Greenguard logos. One product is an "HGS laminate" using chipboard and the other is a formica laminate produced by Formica (Asia) Ltd (probably also using chipboard).Besides the 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. (they don't cite urea-formaldehyde, just formaldehyde) they also cite individual VOCs at 1/10th "TLV" (Threshold limit value).

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John-David Hutchison, LEED AP BD+C, PMP Sustainability Consultant, CSV Architects May 03 2016 LEEDuser Expert 3548 Thumbs Up

Is it for flooring or millwork?

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Melissa Merryweather Director, Green Consult-Asia May 03 2016 LEEDuser Member 3170 Thumbs Up

Its for built-in kitchen cabinets. If its not compliant, they'll just use standard stainless steel. I can't see that its going to be compliant, there is nothing saying no added 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. or formaldehyde-free.

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John-David Hutchison, LEED AP BD+C, PMP Sustainability Consultant, CSV Architects May 03 2016 LEEDuser Expert 3548 Thumbs Up

The only suggestion i could make is to contact the manufacturers directly and ask for verification - good luck.

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Melissa Merryweather Director, Green Consult-Asia May 03 2016 LEEDuser Member 3170 Thumbs Up

Thanks!

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Melissa Merryweather Director, Green Consult-Asia Jul 28 2016 LEEDuser Member 3170 Thumbs Up

John-David I have another question that you might have an answer for: my other project has a laminate flooring with some MDFMedium-density fiberboard (MDF): Panel product used in cabinets and furniture; generally made from wood fiber glued together with binder; similar to particleboard, but with finer texture, offering more precise finishing. Most MDF is made with formaldehyde-emitting urea-formaldehyde binder. or chipboard component and the product is certified FloorScore. Is FloorScore automatically no added UFUrea Formaldehyde (UF), used in some types of plywood, particleboard, MDF, and laminated wood products, is a synthetic resin created by condensing urea with formaldehyde.? I can't seem to navigate the FloorScore website-- its set up as a sales site, not as an information portal. Thanks in advance

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Andree Iffrig LEED Coordinator DIRTT Environmental Solutions
Mar 28 2016
LEEDuser Member
8 Thumbs Up

Fiberglass Fiberboard Adhered to NAUF MDF

One of our clients is planning to use a tackable fabric tile composed of NAUF MDFMedium-density fiberboard (MDF): Panel product used in cabinets and furniture; generally made from wood fiber glued together with binder; similar to particleboard, but with finer texture, offering more precise finishing. Most MDF is made with formaldehyde-emitting urea-formaldehyde binder., fiberboard (fiberglass with a urea formaldehdye resin), UF-free adhesive and fabric. The tile is like a sandwich. The fiberglass layer is clearly not wood nor agrifiber. But it does contain urea formaldehydeUrea formaldehyde is a combination of urea and formaldehyde used in some glues and adhesives, particularly in composite wood products. At room temperature, ureaformaldehyde emits formaldehyde, a toxic and possibly carcinogenic gas.. In a case where this layer is glued to the MDF, what is your sense of its ability to meet IEQc4.4? Thanks!

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John-David Hutchison, LEED AP BD+C, PMP Sustainability Consultant, CSV Architects Mar 28 2016 LEEDuser Expert 3548 Thumbs Up

No, I do not believe this would meet the requirements, certainly not the intent of the credit. As the material is manufactured off site and arrives as a single building material material, the material contains UF and would not meet the criteria.

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Andree Iffrig LEED Coordinator, DIRTT Environmental Solutions Mar 28 2016 LEEDuser Member 8 Thumbs Up

Many thanks. My sentiments exactly.

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kobby akuffo
Mar 18 2016
Guest
4 Thumbs Up

LEED CREDITS

Project Location: United States

1. What information must you have to complete the calculations for the LEED EQ Credit Low-Emitting Materials 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. and Agrifiber ProductsAgrifiber products are made from agricultural fiber. Examples include particleboard, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), plywood, oriented-strand board (OSB), wheatboard, and strawboard..

2. Which type of flooring system qualifies for the LEED Credit 4.2 without being tested

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John-David Hutchison, LEED AP BD+C, PMP Sustainability Consultant, CSV Architects Mar 21 2016 LEEDuser Expert 3548 Thumbs Up

1. Documentation to confirm that the construction material contains no 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., usually manufacturer cut sheet and/or 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. Look up to Documentation tool kit for example: http://www.leeduser.com/sites/default/files/credit_docs/Urea%20Form%20Fr...

2. Refer to chart at: http://www.leeduser.com/credit/NC-2009/IEQc4.3

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John Covello LEED AP BD+C, EBOM, LEED and Sustainability Manager Development Management Group
Dec 10 2015
LEEDuser Member
698 Thumbs Up

Floor joists part of interior?

Project Location: Thailand

Hello,

Are floor joists considered part of the building interior? So artificial wood used in the joists cannot have urea formaldehydeUrea formaldehyde is a combination of urea and formaldehyde used in some glues and adhesives, particularly in composite wood products. At room temperature, ureaformaldehyde emits formaldehyde, a toxic and possibly carcinogenic gas.?

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Ralph Bicknese Principal, Hellmuth + Bicknese Architects Dec 11 2015 LEEDuser Member 484 Thumbs Up

Yes, any wood joists inside the building envelope are considered interior. And yes, engineered wood joists (and any other engineered wood on the building interior) may not contain any added urea formaldehydeUrea formaldehyde is a combination of urea and formaldehyde used in some glues and adhesives, particularly in composite wood products. At room temperature, ureaformaldehyde emits formaldehyde, a toxic and possibly carcinogenic gas. to meet this credit.

Wood naturally contains small amounts of formaldehydes. The key for this credit is that the glues used to bond fibers and other components of the engineered wood may not contain added urea formaldehyde.

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Erika Duran Sustainability Consultant Dagher Engineering
Dec 10 2015
LEEDuser Member
1865 Thumbs Up

Composition Information

Dear All,

I received a comment from reviewers that the laminating adhesives were not included in Table IEQc4.4-1. I requested from the contractor further information and he did provide MSDS1. Material safety data sheets (MSDS) are detailed, written instructions documenting a method to achieve uniformity of performance. 2. A report that manufacturers of most products are required to make available to installers and purchasers, informing them of product information on chemicals, chemical compounds, and chemical mixtures, the existence of potentially hazardous ingredients, and providing instructions for the safe handling, storage, and disposal of products sheets for the adhesives. The documentation does not specifically state NAUF, however the Composition/Information on the MSDS sheet does not show any ingredient containing UF. Is this sufficient documentation?Should I push back and obtain a letter with the exact statement?

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John-David Hutchison, LEED AP BD+C, PMP Sustainability Consultant, CSV Architects Mar 28 2016 LEEDuser Expert 3548 Thumbs Up

Yes, there should be a 3rd party verification.

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Ralph Bicknese Principal Hellmuth + Bicknese Architects
Sep 10 2015
LEEDuser Member
484 Thumbs Up

Permanent Exhibit Vs Temporary Exhibit

Hello,

This question is also related to any interior LEED credit. We are designing an exhibition space for a museum. This exhibition space has Temporary and Permanent Exhibitions. Now, is there any time period that distinguish between Temporary and Permanent in the life of a building to achieve LEED credits?

Thank you

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Jon Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, GREENSQUARE Oct 04 2015 LEEDuser Expert 5204 Thumbs Up

Ralph – I presume that you posted this question in the NC IEQc4.4 forum because NC-IEQc4.4 excludes materials considered fixtures, furniture, & equipment (FF&E), as opposed to permanent, base-building elements. You seem to be asking whether this exclusion applies to “non-permanent” exhibit elements.

Similarly, credits MRc3 through MRc7 evaluate sustainable criteria of permanently installed, base-building materials. Only under certain circumstances may projects include temporary materials or furniture specified in CSI Division 12. Does your inquiry extend to MR credits as well?

In any case, no specific “time period” defines “permanent.” How the exhibit scope is being purchase, what it includes, and when the build-out occurs may tell you whether and how to include exhibit elements in various LEED-NC credits.

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Dario Matteini Technical Services Manager LEED MEP BIM Mac Interiors
Jul 24 2015
LEEDuser Member
9 Thumbs Up

NAUF plywood and European E1 plywood

Project Location: Ireland

Hi all,

I think this might have already been clarified somewhere, but I cannot find an official answer. Apologies if I might be ripetitive.

Seemly, it's quite impossible to find NAUF plywood in Ireland and UK. All suppliers and manufacturers seem to follow European E1 Standard for UF emissions. I understand that timber in general can have UF and I have to look for NAUF, but does that mean that I have to totally refuse any E1 plywood or forget about the credit point if suppliers cannot confirm NAUF?

I have already checked the LI 10250...

"E1 yes or no"?

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Dawn Garcia Sustainability Specialist Roseburg Forest Products
Mar 03 2015
LEEDuser Member
23 Thumbs Up

ULEF products contributing to IEQc4.4

In reference to postings dated 10/23/13 by Steve Keppler and Hernando Miranda, the response did not take into consideration 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. #10250 dated 4/1/13 stating that 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. products that meet 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. requirements for ULEF can contribute to IEQc4.4 if the product utilizes a melamine urea formaldehydeUrea formaldehyde is a combination of urea and formaldehyde used in some glues and adhesives, particularly in composite wood products. At room temperature, ureaformaldehyde emits formaldehyde, a toxic and possibly carcinogenic gas. (MUF) resin system. Can you please clarify this change to IEQc4.4?

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Hernando Miranda Owner, Soltierra LLC Mar 03 2015 Guest 11961 Thumbs Up

ULEF does not equal NAF.

Dawn, do you know whether the v4 allowance for MUF is for composite woods only, or whether assemblies that encapsulate composite wood are allowed? Not allowing encapsulation of UF was a major issue when the UF ban was developed by the USGBC. Although product may pass testing, if they are modified by cutting into an assembly (door lites, or demolition) then UF issues can occur.

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Dawn Garcia Sustainability Specialist, Roseburg Forest Products Mar 03 2015 LEEDuser Member 23 Thumbs Up

You are correct that ULEF is not the same as NAF. However, as you can see from 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. 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. emission limit requirements, CARB approved ULEF exempt emission limits are equal to CARB approved NAF emission limits.

NAUF = 0.09 ppmParts per million. maximum (same as CARB Phase 2)
CARB approved ULEF = 0.08 ppm maximum
CARB approved ULEF exempt = 0.06 ppm maximum
CARB approved NAF = 0.06 ppm maximum

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. #10250
http://www.usgbc.org/node/1732513?view=interpretations
does not pertain to v4, it pertains to LEED v2009 and it does not address assemblies. It specifically addresses the raw 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. product. The credit previously only allowed for NAUF resin systems and now allows for CARB approved ULEF made with MUF resin systems. Assemblies should be fabricated using composite wood panels that meet this criteria.

For clarification, LEED v4 – Low-emitting materials –Composite Wood evaluation allows ULEF and NAF products to meet the criteria without a stipulation regarding resin system.

Composite Wood Evaluation. Composite wood, as defined by the California Air Resources Board, Airborne Toxic Measure to Reduce Formaldehyde Emissions from Composite Wood Products Regulation, must be documented to have low formaldehyde emissions that meet the California Air Resources Board ATCM for formaldehyde requirements for ultra-low-emitting formaldehyde (ULEF) resins or no added formaldehyde resins.

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Denise Bates Sr Interior Designer Gensler
Feb 26 2015
LEEDuser Member
12 Thumbs Up

IEQ 4.4 - does veneer apply ?

Project Location: United States

The credit language states: particle board, MDFMedium-density fiberboard (MDF): Panel product used in cabinets and furniture; generally made from wood fiber glued together with binder; similar to particleboard, but with finer texture, offering more precise finishing. Most MDF is made with formaldehyde-emitting urea-formaldehyde binder., wheatboard, door cores, and laminating adhesive used for assemblies.

We have a reconstituted teak veneer that will go on wood panels and doors. It sound slike it can be excluded but don't want to assume incorrectly

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Hernando Miranda Owner, Soltierra LLC Feb 26 2015 Guest 11961 Thumbs Up

The original intent was to any wood/agrifiber productsAgrifiber products are made from agricultural fiber. Examples include particleboard, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), plywood, oriented-strand board (OSB), wheatboard, and strawboard. which used adhesives to create a product that was not solid wood. But, the LEED Reference Guide authors decided to specifically exclude OSBOriented-strand board (OSB). Consists of wood or plant particles or fibers bonded by a synthetic resin or binder. Examples include particleboard, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), plywood, wheatboard, oriented-strand board, and strawboard. as a 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., and therefore other products similar to OSB. Evidently, the organizations that represent OSB manufacturers decided that OSB was not a composite wood, and they somehow convinced the Reference Guide authors to agree with them.

Your veneer should be exempt, but the laminating adhesive would not be exempt if the veneer is adhered to a door core that is a "LEED" composite wood.

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Judy Landwehr Manager, Sustainability and Technical Marketing , Masonite Architectural Feb 26 2015 Guest 959 Thumbs Up

Recommend getting clarification directly from the USGBC EQ TAGLEED Technical Advisory Group (TAG): Subcommittees that consist of industry experts who assist in developing credit interpretations and technical improvements to the LEED system. as this would conflict with responses I have received in the past regarding reconstituted veneer.

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Judy Landwehr Manager, Sustainability and Technical Marketing , Masonite Architectural Feb 26 2015 Guest 959 Thumbs Up

Sorry, Should have referred to EQ TAGLEED Technical Advisory Group (TAG): Subcommittees that consist of industry experts who assist in developing credit interpretations and technical improvements to the LEED system.-not MR TAG.

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Hernando Miranda Owner, Soltierra LLC Feb 26 2015 Guest 11961 Thumbs Up

I was the vice-chair of the EQ TAGLEED Technical Advisory Group (TAG): Subcommittees that consist of industry experts who assist in developing credit interpretations and technical improvements to the LEED system. for four years. That said, the LEED rules change constantly. Veneers have been excluded. Laminating adhesives are always included if one side adheres to a "LEED" composite product.

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Michelle Robinson Schwarting Re:Vision Architecture Sep 23 2015 LEEDuser Member 1447 Thumbs Up

Hi Hernando,

Above you wrote "the LEED Reference Guide authors decided to specifically exclude OSBOriented-strand board (OSB). Consists of wood or plant particles or fibers bonded by a synthetic resin or binder. Examples include particleboard, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), plywood, wheatboard, oriented-strand board, and strawboard. as a 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., and therefore other products similar to OSB. Evidently, the organizations that represent OSB manufacturers decided that OSB was not a composite wood, and they somehow convinced the Reference Guide authors to agree with them." Can you clarify this for us? Is OSB not required to meet the requirement for no added 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.? The Ref. Guide for EQc4.4 section "13. Definitions" for "Composite wood" says "...Examples include plywood, particle-board, oriented-strand board (OSB), ..."

Thank you!

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Kai Starn Sustainability Consultant Steven Winter Associates
Nov 14 2014
LEEDuser Member
179 Thumbs Up

Dricon: Fire-Retardant Treatment

Hello all,

I came across a fire treatment product (Dricon: Fire-Retardant Treatment). In the product data it states that "Dricon fire-retardant-treated wood is lumber and plywood impregnated with Dricon fire-retardant chemicals by a pressure process.." I am wondering if this would count towards 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. (being that it is also plywood) or not. Also, the treatment comprises of 70% phosphate (the fire treatment) with 30% boric acid (preservative). I am reviewing this product as a submittal and I would appreciate your suggestions about this product.

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Jon Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, GREENSQUARE Nov 14 2014 LEEDuser Expert 5204 Thumbs Up

You are describing a fire-retardant that may be used either on solid lumber or on 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.. This treatment occurs in a factory before the wood arrives at the jobsite. If your contractors are using fire-retardant-treated composites, they need to submit data confirming that the treated panels contain no 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. resins or laminating adhesives. On the other hand, if they are using this treatment only on lumber, IEQc4.4 does not apply.

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Gustavo De las Heras Izquierdo Arch. Eng. LEED AP BD+C; O+M; CxA: Green Rater in Training Revitaliza Consultores
Oct 30 2014
Guest
1676 Thumbs Up

CARB 93120

Does 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. 93120 certified MDFMedium-density fiberboard (MDF): Panel product used in cabinets and furniture; generally made from wood fiber glued together with binder; similar to particleboard, but with finer texture, offering more precise finishing. Most MDF is made with formaldehyde-emitting urea-formaldehyde binder. comply with the NAUF criteria?

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Jon Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, GREENSQUARE Oct 30 2014 LEEDuser Expert 5204 Thumbs Up

Gustavo—See my response to Lilian below.

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Gustavo De las Heras Izquierdo Arch. Eng. LEED AP BD+C; O+M; CxA: Green Rater in Training, Revitaliza Consultores Oct 30 2014 Guest 1676 Thumbs Up

Thanks Jon,

I'd like to share this link with other project teams:

http://www.decorativesurfaces.org/cpa-green/naf-nauf-ulef.html

All the manufacturers are located either in the States or in Mexico. Is there any chance for other countries?

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Lilian Seow Principal LSDesignworks @ Vancouver, BC Canada
Sep 18 2014
Guest
1086 Thumbs Up

NAUF & CARB Formaldehyde Compliant

Project Location: Canada

LEED 2009 [Canada] - IEQ 4.4- NAUF

Does 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 MDFMedium-density fiberboard (MDF): Panel product used in cabinets and furniture; generally made from wood fiber glued together with binder; similar to particleboard, but with finer texture, offering more precise finishing. Most MDF is made with formaldehyde-emitting urea-formaldehyde binder. comply with the credit NAUF criteria?

http://www.scsglobalservices.com/carb-formaldehyde-compliance

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Jon Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, GREENSQUARE Oct 30 2014 LEEDuser Expert 5204 Thumbs Up

Lilian—As you know, IEQc4.4 requires that all interior 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. products contain no added 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. (NAUF).

You posted a link to SCSglobal’s 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. ATCM 93120 webpage. That page provides a link to a brochure that describes that regulation’s requirement. As noted in the brochure, 93120 sets very low limits on formaldehyde emissions, and it prescribes testing to evaluate compliance. However, CARB ATCM 93120 does not explicitly ban urea-formaldehyde as required by IEQc4.4. That said, products with added urea-formaldehyde might have difficulty meeting 93120’s stringent emissions limits.

Seek clarification from the CARB-certified product’s manufacturer, and look for products marked NAUF or NAF (No Added Formaldehyde).

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jack larson
Jun 29 2014
Guest
156 Thumbs Up

NAF (GLUE) LETTER

I have a letter from the manufacturer stating that the laminating adhesive that will be used in the fabrication of the doors contains no added 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.. (NAF). Do I need to write back to him stating that the glue needs to be NAUF, or is NAF adequate? ( the door cores are fine, they contain NAUF)

I believe that as long as formaldehyde is not being emitted in the room, the letter should suffice.

thoughts?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jun 29 2014 LEEDuser Moderator

Jack, since NAF is a more general statement than NAUF (i.e., NAF assumes NAUF), you're fine. 

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jack larson
Jun 24 2014
Guest
156 Thumbs Up

DOOR Core

My door core consists of the following:

Gypsum, organic fibers, fiber glass and inert binders.

Does my door core classify as 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.? Given the definition of IEQ 4.4, it does....

I would imagine laminating adhesives can only be used offsite, It can not be used onsite....Can someone please confirm this ..unlike IEQ 4.1 and 4.2, where the products must be used onsite and meet and a certain VOCA volatile organic compound (VOC) 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. limit..

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Jon Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, GREENSQUARE Jun 24 2014 LEEDuser Expert 5204 Thumbs Up

If the “organic fibers” are wood or agrifiber, your door must contain no added 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. (NAUF) to achieve IEQc4.4. Laminating adhesives must also be NAUF, regardless of whether they are applied on-site or in the shop.

IEQc4.4 requires the following:
“Composite wood and agrifiber productsAgrifiber products are made from agricultural fiber. Examples include particleboard, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), plywood, oriented-strand board (OSB), wheatboard, and strawboard. used on the interior of the building (i.e., inside the weatherproofing system) must contain no added urea-formaldehyde resins. Laminating adhesives used to fabricate on-site and shop-applied composite wood and agrifiber assemblies must not contain added urea-formaldehyde resins.”

Refer to the LEED-NC Rating System for credit language and the LEED-2009-BD+C Reference Guide for detailed explanation of requirements.

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jack larson Jun 24 2014 Guest 156 Thumbs Up

what if the organic fibres are not made of wood or agrifiber. Would it still qualify provided that it's NAUF? 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. and agrifiber are defined as particleboard, plywood, wheatboard, strawboard and door cores. Door cores are included.

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Jon Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, GREENSQUARE Jun 25 2014 LEEDuser Expert 5204 Thumbs Up

The “organic fibers” are probably plant-based. If so, they qualify as wood or agrifiber.
See the LEED-2009-BD+C Reference Guide for the definition of “agrifiber”.
Door cores are only included under IEQc4.4 if the cores contain wood or abrifiber. Cores made exclusively of non-organic materials, such as minerals &/or fiberglass do not fall under IEQc4.4.

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LEED Pro Consultant Bioconstruccion & Energia Alternativa
Jun 20 2014
LEEDuser Member
2509 Thumbs Up

Fixtures, furniture and equipment

Hi,
Would kitchen cabinets be considered as FF&E?

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Jon Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, GREENSQUARE Jun 21 2014 LEEDuser Expert 5204 Thumbs Up

FF&E Scope often varies from project to project. It is usually bid, purchased, & budgeted separately from the base buildingThe base building includes elements such as the structure, envelope, and building-level mechanical systems, such as central HVAC, etc.. This usually occurs for accounting purposes because FF&E are often valued, taxed, & depreciated differently from real estate (the base building). Typically, FF&E are movable furnitureMovable furniture and partitions are those that can be moved to provide access to the view by the user without the need for tools or assistance from special trades and facilities management., fixtures, or other equipment that have no permanent connection to the structure of a building or utilities.
Therefore, permanent, built-in kitchen cabinets are not usually FF&E, but freestanding, IKEA-type, movable units might qualify. Commercial kitchen equipment is almost always purchased as FF&E.
The question should be, “How are kitchen cabinets being purchased on your specific project?”
If your cabinets have been bid with fixed, base-building elements, they probably cannot count as FF&E, and IEQc4.4 applies to them.
If they have been procured separately, along with movable furniture and equipment, they probably qualify as FF&E. However, by selecting and specifying NAUF units, you can protect indoor air quality even if the items cannot contribute to IEQc4.4.

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Sheryl Swartzle Sustainability Specialist TLC Engineering for Architecture
Jun 17 2014
LEEDuser Member
1085 Thumbs Up

Insulation and UF

Would insulation be exempt from the "no added UFUrea Formaldehyde (UF), used in some types of plywood, particleboard, MDF, and laminated wood products, is a synthetic resin created by condensing urea with formaldehyde." requirement?

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John-David Hutchison, LEED AP BD+C, PMP Sustainability Consultant, CSV Architects Jun 17 2014 LEEDuser Expert 3548 Thumbs Up

Standard insulations such as fibreglass, mineral fibre or blown in. Curious as why you ask; have found a alternative insulation material that would be manufactured using 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. and agrifibre products?

Saying that, if you are using a SIP panel, for example, nad your SIP panel is on the inboard side of the weatherproofing system and applied on-site, the wood glues in the manufacturing of the SIP panels would not be exempt.

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Sheryl Swartzle Sustainability Specialist, TLC Engineering for Architecture Jun 17 2014 LEEDuser Member 1085 Thumbs Up

Someone is telling me I am going to lose the IEQc4.4 point becuase the standard type insulation may have added UFUrea Formaldehyde (UF), used in some types of plywood, particleboard, MDF, and laminated wood products, is a synthetic resin created by condensing urea with formaldehyde. but I cannot find anything that states insulation would be subject to the no added UF rule. Hence the reason for my question on LEEDuser.

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John-David Hutchison, LEED AP BD+C, PMP Sustainability Consultant, CSV Architects Jun 17 2014 LEEDuser Expert 3548 Thumbs Up

No, this is not true, the credit specifically addresses UFUrea Formaldehyde (UF), used in some types of plywood, particleboard, MDF, and laminated wood products, is a synthetic resin created by condensing urea with formaldehyde. inc omposite wood and agrifibre products.

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ADRIENN GELESZ LEED AP, ABUD Engineering Ltd. Jun 18 2014 Guest 1869 Thumbs Up

If it is wood based, e.g wood wool, and in the interior, I would assume it is part of the credit.

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John-David Hutchison, LEED AP BD+C, PMP Sustainability Consultant, CSV Architects Jun 18 2014 LEEDuser Expert 3548 Thumbs Up

Correct, but now I am the one with the question - are you using a construction product made of wood wool? What is it?

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Sheryl Swartzle Sustainability Specialist, TLC Engineering for Architecture Jun 18 2014 LEEDuser Member 1085 Thumbs Up

Product is not wood based. It is a glass mineral wool blanket insulation.

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ADRIENN GELESZ LEED AP ABUD Engineering Ltd.
Jun 17 2014
Guest
1869 Thumbs Up

FF&E

Hi,
If I include FF&E in the MR calculations, is this also necessary for this credit?
Thanks,
Adrienn

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John-David Hutchison, LEED AP BD+C, PMP Sustainability Consultant, CSV Architects Jun 17 2014 LEEDuser Expert 3548 Thumbs Up

Yes, any 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. and agrifibre products used in the manufacturing of FF&E for the interior of the building are to be reported under this credit.

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ADRIENN GELESZ LEED AP, ABUD Engineering Ltd. Jun 17 2014 Guest 1869 Thumbs Up

Are you sure? Credit language says: 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. and agrifiber productsAgrifiber products are made from agricultural fiber. Examples include particleboard, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), plywood, oriented-strand board (OSB), wheatboard, and strawboard. are defined as particleboard, medium density fiberboard (MDFMedium-density fiberboard (MDF): Panel product used in cabinets and furniture; generally made from wood fiber glued together with binder; similar to particleboard, but with finer texture, offering more precise finishing. Most MDF is made with formaldehyde-emitting urea-formaldehyde binder.), plywood, wheatboard, strawboard, panel substrates and door cores. Materials considered fixtures, furniture and equipment (FF&E) are not considered base buildingThe base building includes elements such as the structure, envelope, and building-level mechanical systems, such as central HVAC, etc. elements and are not included.

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E H Sustainability Architect Sep 14 2014 Guest 4039 Thumbs Up

I would appreciate some clarification on this, too.

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Jon Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, GREENSQUARE Sep 14 2014 LEEDuser Expert 5204 Thumbs Up

LEED-NC & -CS explicitly exclude FF&E from the IEQc4.4 NAUF requirement. LEED-CI & Schools address furniture separately in an extra IEQc4.5 credit.

An ancient LEEDv2.0 CIRCredit Interpretation Ruling. Used by design team members experiencing difficulties in the application of a LEED prerequisite or credit to a project. Typically, difficulties arise when specific issues are not directly addressed by LEED information/guide issued in 2003 (LI# 6077) ruled that, even if a project includes furniture in MR calculations, it need not address FF&E in IEQc4.4. Unless this ruling conflicts with more recent credit language or interpretations, it should still be valid.

However, casework that is constructed for the project and permanently installed by the general construction contractor is considered as a part of the building rather than the FF&E for the project, and should be included IEQc4.4. See LI# 10294 for the distinction:
http://www.usgbc.org/leed-interpretations?keys=10294

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Hernando Miranda Owner, Soltierra LLC Sep 15 2014 Guest 11961 Thumbs Up

Jon's reference is correct. I have worked on more than 100 LEED projects and some architects try hiding built-in furniture in CSI Divison 12.

One of these architects has over 100 LEED APs, and several LEED Fellows on staff. They insisted that Div 12 was exempt, and that laboratory casework was required to be in Div 12 even if it was bolted to the floor, and hard-plumbed with sinks, and also gas piping. Therefore, it was exempt from LEED requirements.

That architectural firm was of course wrong. So, be aware that a firm having a large number of LEED APs, and some LEED Fellows, is no guarantee that the firm knows what is actually required to do a LEED project the correct way.

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Jon Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, GREENSQUARE Sep 17 2014 LEEDuser Expert 5204 Thumbs Up

Even though IEQc4.4 does not apply to FF&E, it may be prudent to specify NAUF and low-emitting furniture, as contaminants in these items could adversely affect IAQIndoor air quality: The quality and attributes of indoor air affecting the health and comfort building occupants. IAQ encompasses available fresh air, contaminant levels, acoustics and noise levels, lighting quality, and other factors. for IEQc3 and post-occupancy.

Also, as Hernando points out, the distinction between permanently installed fixtures and moveable FF&E can be murky. Building Scope versus FF&E Scope can vary from project to project. Procurement strategies can also change, so items originally tagged as “Building” may ultimately be purchased as FF&E (and vice versa). Schedules sometimes force the move-in of FF&E before flush-out. Therefore, John-David’s tactic of requiring NAUF for FF&E may be the wisest, even if doing so is not required by IEQc4.4.

Finally, CSI never intended MasterFormat sections to distinguish between Base BuildingThe base building includes elements such as the structure, envelope, and building-level mechanical systems, such as central HVAC, etc. and FF&E. As noted in LI# 10294, Division 12 includes numerous items that may qualify as “permanent” & “unmovable” (built-in casework & countertops, permanent entry systems installed for IEQc5, fixed-seating, etc.). Some clearly nonpermanent items are in Sections 03-10. Owners and project teams should agree upon Base Building and FF&E scopes during Design and CD phases and base LEED Credit requirements upon project-specific expectations, not upon Spec Section numbers.

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