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. (UF) 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 building elements and are not included.

    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 GC for filing.

Letter to Contractor for MR and IEQ Credits

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

Low-Emitting Materials Reporting Form

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

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

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

Version 4 forms (newest):

Version 3 forms:

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

Construction Submittal

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

180 Comments

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Gustavo De las Heras Izquierdo Arch. Eng. LEED AP BD+C; O+M Revitaliza Consultores
Oct 30 2014
Guest
242 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 ∙ Sustainability ∙ Construction ∙ Specifications Oct 30 2014 LEEDuser Member 518 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, Revitaliza Consultores Oct 30 2014 Guest 242 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 LEED Manager Vancouver, BC Canada
Sep 18 2014
LEEDuser Member
563 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 ∙ Sustainability ∙ Construction ∙ Specifications Oct 30 2014 LEEDuser Member 518 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
55 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
55 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 VOC limit..

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Jon Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, GREENSQUARE ∙ Sustainability ∙ Construction ∙ Specifications Jun 24 2014 LEEDuser Member 518 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 55 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 ∙ Sustainability ∙ Construction ∙ Specifications Jun 25 2014 LEEDuser Member 518 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 Consultant Green Building and Alternative Energy
Jun 20 2014
LEEDuser Member
1497 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 ∙ Sustainability ∙ Construction ∙ Specifications Jun 21 2014 LEEDuser Member 518 Thumbs Up

FF&E Scope often varies from project to project. It is usually bid, purchased, & budgeted separately from the base building. 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 LEED administration TLC Engineering for Architecture
Jun 17 2014
LEEDuser Member
701 Thumbs Up

Insulation and UF

Would insulation be exempt from the "no added UF" requirement?

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John-David Hutchison, LEED AP BD+C, PMP Sustainability Consultant, CSV Architects Jun 17 2014 LEEDuser Expert 2148 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 LEED administration, TLC Engineering for Architecture Jun 17 2014 LEEDuser Member 701 Thumbs Up

Someone is telling me I am going to lose the IEQc4.4 point becuase the standard type insulation may have added UF 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 2148 Thumbs Up

No, this is not true, the credit specifically addresses UF inc omposite wood and agrifibre products.

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ADRIENN GELESZ LEED AP, ABUD Engineering Ltd. Jun 18 2014 Guest 1226 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 2148 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 LEED administration, TLC Engineering for Architecture Jun 18 2014 LEEDuser Member 701 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
1226 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 2148 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 1226 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 building elements and are not included.

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E H Sustainability Architect Sep 14 2014 LEEDuser Member 3135 Thumbs Up

I would appreciate some clarification on this, too.

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Jon Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, GREENSQUARE ∙ Sustainability ∙ Construction ∙ Specifications Sep 14 2014 LEEDuser Member 518 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 7847 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 ∙ Sustainability ∙ Construction ∙ Specifications Sep 17 2014 LEEDuser Member 518 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 Building 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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Nena Elise
May 19 2014
LEEDuser Member
3558 Thumbs Up

Cork tiles?

We are using a cork and rubber tile flooring in part of our building. Do we need to count that under this credit because cork is an agrfiber?

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John-David Hutchison, LEED AP BD+C, PMP Sustainability Consultant, CSV Architects Jun 17 2014 LEEDuser Expert 2148 Thumbs Up

I would say yes, although it should be covered under EQc4.3 LOW-EMITTING MATERIALS: FLOORING SYSTEMS.

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jack larson
May 13 2014
Guest
55 Thumbs Up

small strips of plywood

Most regular 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. contains/ 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.. My question is - if my wooden doors do not contain added urea formaldehyde, however the small strips of plywood that are needed to install the doors that are placed around the perimeter of the opening (of the door) are in place right now prior to installation, can I qualify for a point under IEQ 4.4. In other words, right now – we have doors that are approved that contain no added urea formaldehyde. These doors have not been installed yet. However if you go to the construction site, there are regular strips of plywood around the opening of the door that are needed to install the wooden doors. They are small minor strips. These plywoods do not show on any approved drawings or construction drawings. They are basically there for the installers to install the subframes, frames, and the doors. In a nutshell, after the doors are installed, these small strips of plywood will not show because they are underneath the frames, and again they are not shown on any drawings. It is something that is basically done on site. Given the above, can we qualify for a point under IEQ 4.4? and my second question is can these small little plywoods underneath the sub frames emit gases. I believe that they won’t be harmful because they are underneath the sub frames. The intent of this credit is to reduce the quantity of indoor contaminants that are odorous.

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John-David Hutchison, LEED AP BD+C, PMP Sustainability Consultant, CSV Architects May 16 2014 LEEDuser Expert 2148 Thumbs Up

No, in order to meet the requirements, all "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."

To answer your questions, urea-formaldehyde, a know carcinogen, can off gas for quite some time. As well, this credit is also in place to protcet the workers, not only the end users.

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Jon Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, GREENSQUARE ∙ Sustainability ∙ Construction ∙ Specifications May 19 2014 LEEDuser Member 518 Thumbs Up

Jack – NAUF plywood is becoming the norm, so you may be jumping to a faulty conclusion. 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. is much less common in “regular” 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. than it used to be. For example, the APA (Engineered Wood Association, formerly the American Plywood Association) won’t put the APA label on composite panels that contain urea-formaldehyde. APA panels typically use phenol-formaldehyde resins, which are acceptable under EQc4.4.

Just as it would be wrong to assume that all composite wood has no added urea-formaldehyde (NAUF), without evidence, you cannot be sure that the plywood installed on your project contains UF. Find out from the sub that installed the blocking where they purchased the plywood. The vendor may be able to identify the manufacturer. Also look for mill stamps on the plywood. From there, you may be able to obtain manufacturer’s data confirming that the plywood is NAUF.

It’s best to be proactive. If a project is pursuing EAc4.4, the project Specifications should clearly require all wood composites to be NAUF. Specs should also require contractor & vendors to submit product data 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 sheets to the Design/LEED Team for approval before these products are purchased, delivered to the jobsite, or installed.

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Nena Elise
Apr 30 2014
LEEDuser Member
3558 Thumbs Up

What about laminates and veneers?

Above it says "The laminates themselves are not covered by the credit—just the adhesives." Does this mean that you do NOT include any laminate or veneer products under this credit? But do count laminate adhesives?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Apr 30 2014 LEEDuser Moderator

Nena, the adhesives contained in any laminate products must meet the credit requirements. The laminate or veneer itself does not (unless it is a composite product). Does that help?

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Al Shadid
Mar 18 2014
Guest
101 Thumbs Up

IEQ 4.4 and MR 7

Can We have wooden doors that qualify for both IEQ 4.4 and MR 7?

Can you have 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. wooden doors that contain no 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.?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Mar 18 2014 LEEDuser Moderator

Al, yes on both questions. In fact, this is very common.

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Al Shadid
Mar 10 2014
Guest
101 Thumbs Up

IEQ 4.4 - URGENT

All of our adhesives contain no 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., however our wooden doors contain the following:

DOOR TYPE A contains the following: Fir/spruce 91% Resin BinderGlue used in manufacturing wood products, such as medium-density fiberboard (MDF), particleboard, and engineered lumber. Most binders are made with formaldehyde. 8% Paraffin Wax/solids 0,70% silica content 0.3% Formaldehyde emission less than 6.5 mg/100 g board Door type B contains the following: Spruce/fir/recycled timber urea formaldehyde resin paraffin wax/silica formaldehyde emission - EN13986 - E1 Can we earn 1 point under IEQ 4.4 for both types of doors? Please note for door type A, all it states is the formaldehyde emissions so technically we should be able to qualify and earn 1 point under IEQ 4.4, am I right?

DOOR Type B, contains urea formaldehyde resins .....I believe the keyword here is added...........Door B does not specify in the technical data sheet if it has added urea formaldehyde, all it says is it contains "urea formaldehyde resins" can we earn 1 point under IEQ 4.4

my second question is Let's assume that DOOR type A qualifies under IEQ 4.4, however DOOR type B does not.......can we earn 1 point under IEQ 4.4 IEQ 4.4 states " 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. ................" it does not specifically state if ALL Composite wood should contain no added urea formaldehyde like the SCHOOLS system

My third question a) When it comes to uploading the credit, the forms asks if our adhesives contain added urea foemaldhye. It does not make any reference to any type of wood or agrifiber product which I guess is not in line with IEQ 4.4 - or in a way contradicts the dictates of the clause. What does this mean? b) Can someone in very simple terms explain what added urea formaldehyde is and how its different from urea formaldehyde resins? Thank you all

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Mar 10 2014 LEEDuser Moderator

Al, most wood products contain some naturally occuring 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.. That is part of why the credit language specifies no "added" UF in 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 and adhesives.

If you are using a resin or adhesive that contains UF, then you cannot quality for any points under this credit.

If you have done a chemical analyssi and found that your product contains some UF, but it was not added by the manufacturing process, i.e., it was naturally occurring, this is not a problem.

Regarding the credit documentation, I am not sure what you mean, because the LEED Online credit form that I'm looking at asks "Product Contains No Added Urea- Formaldehyde" , True or False? (You can see the credit form in our Documentation Toolkit above.)

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Farah A.
Feb 23 2014
Guest
427 Thumbs Up

Low-Emitting

Are wall-coverings and porcelain tiles covered under Low-Emitting materials credits?

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

Wallcoverings—check LEED for Schools IEQc4.6. Tile—yes.

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Jess Harris Green Permitting Lead City of Seattle
Jan 15 2014
LEEDuser Member
44 Thumbs Up

engineered structural lumber like glullams

This is what I glean from reading comments and other sources. engineered lumber does need to meet this standard because it is considered interior, within the "weather barrier". However, they use exterior grade glues with phenol and not the kind that is prohibited. Can somebody confirm my assumptions?

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Josh Jacobs Technical Information & Public Affairs Manager, UL Environment Jan 16 2014 LEEDuser Expert 5658 Thumbs Up

All 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. materials, which I would say engineered lumber falls under, on the interior of the structure (as stated, within the weather barrier) can not have UF added. If they use other adhesive/glue agents that do not have UF added, but are high emitting, you may be putting the IAQIndoor air quality: The quality and attributes of indoor air affecting the health and comfort building occupants. IAQ encompasses available fresh air, contaminant levels, acoustics and noise levels, lighting quality, and other factors. at risk, and therefore other credits, but it does not impact this specific credit.

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Steve Keppler President, Eastern Region Paladino and Company
Oct 23 2013
Guest
37 Thumbs Up

ULEF Composite Wood

After reading through the threads above, I didnt see a clear cut answer. Can I use ULEF 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. on my LEEDv2009 job for IEQc4.4?

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Hernando Miranda Owner, Soltierra LLC Oct 23 2013 Guest 7847 Thumbs Up

Not unless the ULEF has no added UF.

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Nicole Seekely Intern Architect Cooper Carry
Oct 10 2013
Guest
67 Thumbs Up

Marine Grade Plywood

I've been told there's no marine grade plywood product that I can use on foodservice millwork that complies with this credit. Is this true?

If so, is there a NAUF equivalent or similar product that people are using for millwork that is good for food service areas?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Oct 11 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

Doesn't sound right to me. Since UF is vulnerable to moisture I would have thought that marine-grade plywood would be using PF, 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 MDIMethyl Diisocyanate – non-formaldehyde binder used in some medium-density fiberboard and particleboard products, including straw-based particleboard., etc.

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Hernando Miranda Owner, Soltierra LLC Oct 11 2013 Guest 7847 Thumbs Up

Tristan is correct. Composite woods intended moisture-exposed applications would not use UF,

Wikipedia has a web page for plywood, and the following is stated there.

"Plywood for indoor use generally uses the less expensive 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. glue, which has limited water resistance, while outdoor and marine-grade plywood are designed to withstand rot, and use a water resistant phenol-formaldehyde glue to prevent delamination and to retain strength in high humidity."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plywood

Wiki also has a short primer on marine grade plywood on the above link.

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Linda Davisson Senior Consultant Sustainable Design Consulting
Aug 22 2013
LEEDuser Member
2040 Thumbs Up

GREENGUARD Gold (formerly Children & Schools), CA 01350, CARB II

Since LEED-S projects can use NAUF compliance in place of CA 01350, can a NC or CI project use CA 01350 compliance or GREENGUARD Gold (formerly children & Schools) or 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. II in place of NAUF?

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Hernando Miranda Owner, Soltierra LLC Aug 22 2013 Guest 7847 Thumbs Up

No, NAUF is still required. That said, a 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. II product is essentially a ban on UF. There are no UF added 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 meed CARB II that I have seen to date.

As a point of information, the reason UF in composite woods is a chemical of concern is that the curing temperatures for bonding are lower than for other types 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., such as phenol. Manufacturers like UF because is costs less to make a a UF composite. A lower curing temperature results in increased off-gassing because the adhesive is not fully cured such that any organics are rendered inert.

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Paul Davis Sr. Marketing Analyst, Columbia Forest Products Sep 17 2013 LEEDuser Member 79 Thumbs Up

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. II is not a ban on UF. There are CARB II ULEF (ultra-low emitting 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.) products available in the market. The ANSI standards for Particleboard (A208.1) and for 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. (A208.2) in fact have harmonized to CARB Phase II emission standards as has the ANSI standard for Hardwood Plywood (HP-1).

Additionally, I believe the assertion that lower curing temperature results in increased offgassing is incorrect. Urea formaldehyde is a simple bond that can hydrolize (molecules unzip in the presence of heat and moisture) unless there is adequate scavenging reserve in the panel to recapture the formaldehyde before it is emitted. In comparison, Phenol formaldehydePhenol formaldehyde, which off-gasses only at high temperature, is used for exterior products, although many of these products are suitable for interior applications. type resins cure at a higher temperature but the chemistry is quite different. The higher heat and different reactants produce a PF cross linked polymer which is not subseptible to hydrolization. The notion that the higher temperature of the PF process "cooks out" formaldehyde that would otherwise emit later is a misnomer, in my opinion.

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Hernando Miranda Owner, Soltierra LLC Sep 17 2013 Guest 7847 Thumbs Up

Paul, you statements are quite different from from what the LEED IEQ TAGLEED Technical Advisory Group (TAG): Subcommittees that consist of industry experts who assist in developing credit interpretations and technical improvements to the LEED system. researched and used as a basis for the original UF ban. I will stick with what I know from an expert group.

If you do make products at your company that meet 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. Phase II that use UF as an added component then that is the first time I have seen such a claim made.

Maybe your company has revised the process of manufacturing to be able to address the recent CARB Phase II requirements. But do realize that the IEQ TAG was aware of UF encapsulation processes that were good enough to let testing be passed, but were not good enough to truly contain UF over a long-term of time.

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Paul Davis Sr. Marketing Analyst, Columbia Forest Products Sep 17 2013 LEEDuser Member 79 Thumbs Up

Here is the list of ULEF/Exempt mills that meet the ATCM: http://www.arb.ca.gov/toxics/compwood/naf_ulef/listofnaf_ulef.htm

Here is an article covering how the composite industry converted its baseline standards to 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. emission levels: http://www.surfaceandpanel.com/articles/tech-spec/ansi-approves-revised-...

I am not debating the value of chemical scavenging methods inside the glue bond or the affects of encapsulation of the core by laminates or other means. In industry the terms encapsulation and scavenging do relate to different place where 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. gas emission control takes place.)

I was simply working to correct this assertion: "That said, a CARB II product is essentially a ban on UF. There are no UF added 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 meed CARB II that I have seen to date.”

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Hernando Miranda Owner, Soltierra LLC Sep 17 2013 Guest 7847 Thumbs Up

"That said, a 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. II product is essentially a ban on UF. There are no UF added 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 meed CARB II that I have seen to date.”

Part I is a claim by CDHS experts. Take it up with them.

Part II is based on "my" experiences when reviewing products specified and purchased for installation on projects. I have yet to see a submitted CARB II compliant product that contained any added UF.

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Hernando Miranda Owner, Soltierra LLC Sep 17 2013 Guest 7847 Thumbs Up

Paul,

By the way, thank you for the information about ULEF products that do meet 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. II requirements. This is good information for product specifiers and submittal reviewers. "Do not accept CARB II compliant 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 unless you have confirmed it contains no added UF of any kind. Also, make sure that laminating adhesives used to make assembles with composite wood cores has no UF content of any kind."

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Paul Davis Sr. Marketing Analyst, Columbia Forest Products Sep 17 2013 LEEDuser Member 79 Thumbs Up

Hi Hernando.
Agreed!

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Lawrence Lile Chief Engineer, Lile Engineering LLC Aug 29 2014 LEEDuser Member 1545 Thumbs Up

The answers posted to this question clearly address 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. II, however didn't touch on Ca 01350. Does a product certified to CA 01350 meet the requirements of NAUF for this credit? Or is more info from the supplier required?

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Omar ElRawy Building Engineer, LEED AP BD+C EA Building Consultants
Jul 07 2013
Guest
528 Thumbs Up

Plant Based Binder

Dear all,
I'am using acoustic tiles for the ceiling, which is a "Fibrous glass wool" material with a certain 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, and a supplier's datasheet states that "the baseboard is using a plant based binderGlue used in manufacturing wood products, such as medium-density fiberboard (MDF), particleboard, and engineered lumber. Most binders are made with formaldehyde.".
My question is: Does this plant content categorize the tiles as agrifiber by definition?
I also need to confirm that if the tiles are not agrifiber, does that makes it exempt from all IEQc4 credits, meaning that I don't need to consider a certain VOC content in my product?

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Peggy White White + GreenSpec Jul 07 2013 LEEDuser Member 1909 Thumbs Up

It sounds like your product is fiberglass panels with a plant based adhesive as a binderGlue used in manufacturing wood products, such as medium-density fiberboard (MDF), particleboard, and engineered lumber. Most binders are made with formaldehyde. to hold the fibers together to form the panels. Fiberglass is made from fibers of glass (sand based) arranged in a texture similar to wool - it's not wool based. Therefore, the panels would not be considered an agrifiber composite.

That said, its always preferable to use products comprised of low-VOC, non-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. materials in the interest of maintaining a healthy indoor environment.

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Laurie Winter
Jul 06 2013
LEEDuser Member
129 Thumbs Up

Floor Coating

Has anyone successfully submitted an opaque traffic coating with VOC over 100 g/L for use in a mechanical room or space other than a parkade (i.e. pedestrian traffic) under any version of LEED?

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

Hi Laurie, I'd suggest posting this question to our IEQc4.2 forum.

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John Covello LEED AP BD+C, EBOM, LEED and Sustainability Manager Development Management Group
May 11 2013
LEEDuser Member
396 Thumbs Up

Composite Wood for exterior deck and melamine-urea-formaldehyde

Hello,

We are looking at 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. being manufactured in Singapore for use on exterior decking using melamine-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. as the resin. This sounds like it is valid to do in terms of this credit as this is not for the interior of the building. It would be in Phuket Thailand, which is certainly a hot and humid climate so issues of off gassing could be a concern. Should there be a concern for doing this as well as putting IEQ credit 3.2 in jeopardy when it comes to air testing (if the VOC gasses leak into the villa/home)? Any feedback is appreciated.

John

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. May 12 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

John, as this is outside, it doesn't fall under the requirements of this credit.

It's always a good idea to use low-emitting materials, though, so you could try to get emissions data for the decking material, and if it is low, this may reduce concerns about indoor air quality effects. I would think, though, that the effects would be minimal, particularly if the windows and doors are closed for testing.

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Lance Barron Project Manager Essex Engineering Corporation
Apr 23 2013
LEEDuser Member
17 Thumbs Up

Plastic Laminates

The inclusion of plastic laminates (for countertops, etc.) are included in IEQc4.4 is not clear. However, we got the following comment in a final review for a recent project:

"However, the documentation within MRc4: Recycled Content indicates that Pactrim 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. Trim, Wilsonart Plastic Laminate, and Formica Plastic Laminate products were used in the project, but are not included in the list for this credit.
TECHNICAL ADVICE:
Please revise the form to confirm that all 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., agrifiber, and laminate adhesives used;on the project meet the applicable criteria. Provide additional manufacturers` documentation, as necessary."

We submitted the documents from the two manufacturers, and that took care of it.

Are plastic laminates (such as Formica brand and others) routinely included in IEQc4.4?
Thank you.

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Eric Anderson Technical Customer Service Specialist, GBCI May 06 2013 Guest 1384 Thumbs Up

Plastic laminates by themselves are not included in this credit. Laminating adhesives and the core/substrate that the laminate is attached to are included.

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Francis Porter
Apr 09 2013
Guest
351 Thumbs Up

Fire Door Cores

A supplier is claiming that it is not possible to have a fire door core without 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.. Has anybody got experiance with compliance regarding this product?

All feedback welcome. Many thanks.

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Judy Landwehr Product Compliance & Training Manager, Masonite Architectural Apr 09 2013 Guest 745 Thumbs Up

The availability of NAUF wood doors will vary by manufacturer. In general, fire doors are still readily available as NAUF. There are still component manufacturers producing door components, including door cores, as NAUF. This may not be the case with every core option, but wood based particleboard, staved lumber core, structural composite lumber core and other fire resistant door cores utilized in higher fire ratings are still available as NAUF from various manufacturers. Other 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. door components such as door crossbands, the vertical and horizontal edges etc. are also still available as NAUF, allowing most manufacturers to continue to offer a true NAUF door in most cases.

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Judy Landwehr Product Compliance & Training Manager Masonite Architectural
Apr 01 2013
Guest
745 Thumbs Up

LEED Interpretation Rulings-When can they be followed?

Which of the below statements applies to 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. Ruling. The below statements appear to conflict with each other. My question is brought up with the clarification on LI 10250 posted today.

On the USGBC LEED Technical Update just received by e-mail, the following is noted:
“Project teams are required to adhere to rating system addenda and LEED Interpretations based on LEED registration date. It is strongly recommended that project teams follow reference guide addenda.”

Under the Applicability tab of the LI 10250 updated today, the following is noted by the one green check mark:
“Project teams and reviewers may refer to the ruling for projects using this rating system, if reasonable and appropriate.”

In this case, is compliance to the EQ4.4 credit based on the project registration date or can the updated ruling be followed if considered reasonable and appropriate per the second statement?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Apr 01 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

Judy, in my view this 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. is confusing, and this statement you points out only adds to the confusion. (Click here for our full analysis of LI #10250.)

I think the way it is checked off on the matrix is a fucntion of the fact that it is an adminstrative ruling that was intended for the formaldehyde policy as  whole, and not initially judged for a specific rating system. That being said, the language is remarkably pliable. I think USGBC wants you to do your best to comply with it based on project registration date.

I am curious what you make of the ruling, and how it affects your work?

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Judy Landwehr Product Compliance & Training Manager, Masonite Architectural Apr 03 2013 Guest 745 Thumbs Up

As a product manufacturer, the ruling and updates have been a challenge as each one required additional clarifications. The 4/1/13 update did bring clarity to the ruling, as both 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. with urea added as a scavenger and melamine formaldehyde with urea added as a scavenger are now acceptable (in addition to the NAUF), as long as they meet the testing requirements of 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. NAF or CARB ULEF. While this did clarify what resins are acceptable, a major question still exists.
When can this ruling be followed? If it is truly to be based on the registration date of the project, then which of the LI 10250 dates are to be followed; October 2012, January 2013 or April 2013? If not the registration date, what is used for the basis in deciding when this updated ruling is applicable? Clarity is needed from the USGBC.
Distributors of products sign contractual agreements requiring them to furnish products per the specification unless the deviations are specifically signed off on as acceptable by the architect. Regardless of the updated ruling, NAUF may still be required for the project if noted in the specification. As a manufacturer of assemblies utilizing 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., we continue to manufacture NAUF products for this reason. The supply chain including vendors of components to the manufacturers, product distributors, end-users and architects may/may not be aware of the LI 10250 update. Not having the specifics on when the ruling can be followed is making things even more challenging.
Across the composite wood industry, millions of dollars have been spent to comply with CARB and LEED requirements. This is not an easy balance, but it is good to have more resin options. The uncertainty that has existed for six months since this ruling first was issued, and that still exists now, has dramatically disrupted business, caused orders to be delayed or cancelled, and created uncertainty as to what will or will not qualify for the credit on any given project.
How does this affect our business? On any given project it can stop it in its tracks.

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Kevin Flynn President, AIA, LEED FELLOW (LEED AP BD&C), EcoDEEP Apr 03 2013 LEEDuser Member 209 Thumbs Up

Judy -
This is great feedback and very interesting to see thoughts from someone in the industry.

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