NC-v2.2 EQc4.1: Low-Emitting Materials—Adhesives & Sealants

  • No reason not to earn this credit

    IEQc4.1 requirementsIt shouldn’t cost you anything to earn this credit—it will just take a little work (the same is true for the related credit, EQc4.2: Low-Emitting Materials—Paints and Coatings). Your first priority should be to specify only adhesives and sealantsA sealant has adhesive properties and is formulated primarily to fill, seal, or waterproof gaps or joints between 2 surfaces. Sealants include sealant primers and caulks. (SCAQMD Rule 1168. )Sealants are used on wood, fabric, paper, corrugated paperboard, plastic foam and other materials with tiny openings, often microscopic, that may absorb or discharge gas or fluid. that comply with the credit’s VOC limits, and enforce those specifications on the jobsite. Research low-VOC adhesives and sealants before construction begins and provide lists of acceptable materials to contractors to help ensure that the right products are used. 

    Proactive communication on the jobsite

    Making sure that VOC limits are observed demands proactive communication between the designer, contractor, and all subcontractors who do work inside the building. Subcontractors have to be educated about the requirements, and their contracts should require that they document their compliance.

    If you make a mistake, you can still earn the credit

    Unlike some LEED credits where only a certain percentage of the materials have to comply, this credit is all-or-nothing—all adhesives and coatings must comply.

    However, if a non-compliant adhesive or sealant gets used by mistake, or if you need to bend the VOC limits to meet the requirements of a warranty or fire code, you can still earn the credit following the “VOC budget process.” You’ll simply have to do some calculations to show that your extra use of VOCsA volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is a carbon compound that vaporizes (becomes a gas) at normal room temperatures. VOCs contribute to air pollution directly and through atmospheric photochemical reactions (excluding carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, carbonic acid, metallic carbides and carbonates, and ammonium carbonate) to produce secondary air pollutants, principally ozone and peroxyacetyl nitrate. was offset by very low use of VOCs elsewhere. You have to meet the budget for adhesives and sealants separately from paints and coatings (for EQc4.2), though—you’re not allowed to create a combined VOC budget covering multiple EQc4 credits.

    Multiple benefits

    Earning this credit is a key part of a construction indoor-air-quality management plan, and will help you earn another LEED point via the testing path in EQc3.2: Construction Indoor Air Quality Management Plan—Before Occupancy, by reducing the amount of VOCs in the air.

    Using low-VOC adhesives and sealants is not only beneficial to occupants, but can improve air quality and the health of construction workers who are constantly exposed to construction pollution.

    Verify your information

    Don’t allow the use of products that merely claim to be “low VOC.” Everyone specifying and purchasing products must actually find the VOC grams per liter (g/L) information, usually on the product’s technical data sheet or material safety data sheet, and compare that number with VOC limits listed for different uses determined by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) Rule #1168 and Green Seal-36 for aerosol adhesives. Product sheets often provide the maximum g/L (like “<100 g/L”) rather than a specific amount. That’s okay as long as the maximum is under the allowable limit. 

    You generally won’t need to provide product cut sheets with your LEED Online review documents but it is best to keep all product cut sheets on file in case the credit is audited and you are requested to provide back-up proof of credit compliance.

  • FAQ's for IEQc4.1

    Is there a shortcut to the VOC budget method if you have just one product that is used minimally on a project?

    Yes, if you have just one non-compliant product, then you can balance it out with just one really good, low VOC product, as long as all your other products meet the requirement. For example, if you have two gallons of non-compliant adhesive that is 100 g/L over its required threshold, then you can balance it out with enough compliant product where you show you are at least 100g/l under the required threshold, thus balancing the VOC budget.

    How is VOC % less water determined for aerosol adhesives?

    This is usually found on a product cut sheet 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. If you cannot find the information, contact the manufacturer or technical services for the product and they should be able to provide this number for you. The method for dermining this is explained in SCAQMD Method 305-9, Determination of (VOC) In Aerosol Applications.

    Do products applied to the weather barrier need to comply with VOC thresholds?

    GBCI has issued a clarification that the actual barrier does not need to comply with this credit. Any applied products that are "touched by the indoor air" would need to be considered for IEQc4.1, but if they fall outside of this they can be excluded.

    Do grout and caulking need to be included, and if so, what is the application category?

    Yes, grout and caulking need to be included. There is no specific category for them, however. Projects have successfully used ceramic tile adhesive—VOC limit 65g/l—and Architectural Sealant—VOC limit 250 g/l—successfully, the latter being especially appropriate if you are using a product other than ceramic tiles. Since most mortars, grouts, and thinsets are largely cementitious, with inherently low VOC content, they will comply under most categories, anyway. Choose a logical category and explain it in a narrative if necessary.

    How do I determine what application my product falls under?

    SCAQMD Rule 1168 includes definitions of categories that can be helpful in determining where and how your product should be categorized to determine corresponding VOC thresholds.


    What are the adhesives and sealants to be included in the documentation?

    All adhesives and sealants used onsite within the weather barrier need to be included. This should address general construction adhesives, flooring adhesives, fire-stopping sealants, caulking, duct sealants, plumbing adhesives and cove base adhesives.

    Our project didn't use some common adhesive types, and our LEED reviewer asked about this. Are we supposed to justify not using certain adhesives in our documentation?

    No, but it might not hurt. Items commonly included in the credit are general construction adhesives, flooring adhesives, fire-stopping sealants, caulking, duct sealants, plumbing adhesives, and cove base adhesives. If your project doesn't report using one or more of these, your LEED reviewer might ask you to verify your list of documented items, to check that something wasn't inadvertently omitted. In LEEDuser's opinion, a brief narrative noting what you used and verifying that you're conscious of the fact that some common items weren't used might anticipate and answer this type of review comment.

Legend

  • Best Practices
  • Gotcha
  • Action Steps
  • Cost Tip

Schematic Design

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  • There is no reason not to earn this credit, as long as you are willing to take a bit of extra time to specify compliant products, and make sure that only those products are used on the jobsite.

Design Development

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  • construction work applying adhesivesLow-VOC adhesives benefit both the project and construction workers. Photo – ITW TACC Start researching and selecting compliant low-VOC adhesives and sealants needed for the project.


  • First check the allowable VOC levels for each product type you are using – see the summary of VOC limits in the Low-Emitting Material Limits document (see Documentation Toolkit) and then make sure the products specified do not exceed those limits.  


  • Keep VOC requirements in mind when selecting all materials used indoors. Watch out for warranty restrictions that call for use of a manufacturer-specified adhesive or sealant (which may or may not comply). 


  • Finding adhesives and sealants that are compliant with the credit requirements may sometimes take a little extra time, but is rarely a problem.

Construction Documents

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  • Make sure low-emitting requirements have been integrated in construction specifications. Products must be at or below the recommended VOC limits. VOC levels can be found on a product’s MSDS or technical data sheet and are measured in grams per liter (g/L).


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


  • Identifying VOC requirements directly on the drawings as well as in the specs is a good way to remind the contractor and subcontractors of the requirements, but be careful to make sure the information is consistent between the drawings and the specs. 


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


  • Specify compliant products by brand name whenever possible. It is best to distribute a list of acceptable products and the VOC limit chart from the LEED rating system at the contractor and subcontractor orientation meetings. 


  • Low-emitting products can be part of a more comprehensive IAQ management plan, as required for EQc3.1: Construction Indoor Air Quality Plan—During Construction. A comprehensive IAQ plan covers all adhesives, sealants, paint, coatings, composite materials, and overall construction best practices protecting air quality.  


  • Achieving this credit can also help achieve EQc3.2: Construction IAQ Management Plan—Before Occupancy, if your project pursues the air-testing option for this credit. Using low-VOC products improves your odds of passing the air quality tests. 


  • Only products installed within the weather barrier need to comply with VOC limits, according to the credit requirements. For adhesives and sealants that are part of the weather barrier, the LEED requirements are ambiguous, so it is best to err on the side of caution and use low-VOC products. Remember that the intention of the credit is to make sure all adhesives and sealants that have the potential to interact with indoor air are compliant. 


  • Products assembled off-site or factory-finished are exempt from this credit, because it is assumed that VOCs have off gassed before arriving at the site.


  • Using low-emitting adhesives and sealants is a no-cost measure.  


  • Some water-based adhesives and sealants that are credit-compliant may not be as strong as non-water-based adhesives and sealants. However, this is usually not a problem, as adhesive and sealants are often stronger than they need to be. 


  • Some contractors might charge a premium for implementing and documenting this credit but, in general, costs should be minor or nonexistent as more firms start incorporating these as standard best practices. 


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


  • Implementing an IAQ plan and use of low-emitting materials demands accountability. It is best if subcontractors are contractually required to implement their parts of the IAQ plan. 

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. 


  • There is some room for interpretation in VOC limits, because the limits are determined by product usage and product type. For example, cove-base adhesives have a VOC limit of 50 g/L, and a multipurpose construction adhesive has a VOC limit of 70 g/L. If you use a multipurpose adhesive on a cove base, it is up to you whether to use either 50 g/L or 70 g/L as your VOC limit. Erring on the side of caution with a lower limit is generally a good idea.


  • When researching low-emitting products, double-check that the manufacturer’s information does not use misleading language. A common example is a product cut sheet that uses the term “low-emitting” without providing a specific VOC g/L value. Many cut sheets give a maximum value of, for example, VOC < 100g/L. That’s fine as long as 100 g/L meets the criteria for that product—just enter 100 g/L VOC amount for LEED documentation.


  • It is common for an MSDS to list the chemical contents of a product without giving an overall VOC g/L number. You’ll need to contact the manufacturer or check cut sheets to get the total VOC number. (See the Documentation Toolkit for a sample cut sheet.)


  • Obtain VOC levels, in writing, from the manufacturer, for the actual products used on the project—don’t rely on VOC quotes given over the phone.


  • The VOC value on an MSDS can be unreliable when several different products are listed on one sheet. Get clarification from the manufacturer on the actual VOC content of the product you are using.


  • The GC should be aware of any warranty issues that may exist if alternative adhesives or sealants are used. For example, a carpet company’s warranty may require a certain adhesive that does not meet the VOC requirements. To keep the warranty valid, use the adhesive or sealant specified in the warranty and use the VOC budget method to show a weighted average VOC compliance, or use carpet from a company that offers a low-VOC option.


  • If noncompliant materials are used onsite accidentally, or due to a warranty or other issue, you can use the VOC budget method. This method compares the total amount of VOCs (in grams per liter) used in the design case to the total amount of VOCs that would have been used if every product exactly met LEED VOC allowances. The calculation must be determined for adhesives and sealants separately from paints and coatings. For example, it won’t necessarily help your case to use low-VOC paints but also some high-VOC sealants. (See the compliance example below for adhesives and sealants.)


  • Using the VOC budget method is usually successful, but can be time-consuming to document.


  • During Construction


  • Throughout construction, the GC should collect material safety data sheets (MSDS) from subcontractors and completed VOC tracking forms for all products used onsite associated with this credit.


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


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


  • Streamline documentation and research by keeping a master spreadsheet of all the items being tracked for each material across MR and EQ credits. For example, you may need to ask the millworker for regional information for MRc5, certified wood information for MRc7, and information about adhesives installed on sight for EQc4.1. If one spreadsheet collects all the data, it can streamline your documentation, associated research, and help with quality control. (See the Materials Calculator in the Documentation Toolkit.)


  • A master spreadsheet helps ease information collection for subcontractors, giving them a road map of exactly what types of information to collect for each product.  


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


  • Post signs at the construction site that reminds subcontractors to follow LEED requirements for low-VOC products. (See Documentation Toolkit for sample signs.) 


  • Schedule the application of adhesives and sealants so that offgassing does not contaminate other absorptive materials. This is required if projects are attempting EQc3.1: Construction Indoor Air Quality Plan—During Construction. For example, do not store or install acoustic ceiling tile before flooring and wall adhesives are put down, because ceiling tiles will absorb the off-gassing of paint and floor adhesives 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 EQc3.2) 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 EQc3.2: 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 submittal template.


  • Keep all product cut sheets until the project has been certified, there is a small chance that you will need to upload these to prove credit compliance after a review.

Operations & Maintenance

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  • Provide the owner with a list of compliant, low-emitting adhesives and sealants used on the project so that O&M staff can use these products for future renovations.

  • USGBC

    Excerpted from LEED for New Construction and Major Renovations Version 2.2

    EQ Credit 4.1: Low-emitting materials - adhesives and sealants

    1 Point

    Intent

    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

    All adhesives and sealantsA sealant has adhesive properties and is formulated primarily to fill, seal, or waterproof gaps or joints between 2 surfaces. Sealants include sealant primers and caulks. (SCAQMD Rule 1168. )Sealants are used on wood, fabric, paper, corrugated paperboard, plastic foam and other materials with tiny openings, often microscopic, that may absorb or discharge gas or fluid. used on the interior of the building (defined as inside of the weatherproofing system and applied on-site) shall comply with the requirements of the following reference standards:

    • Adhesives, sealants and sealant primers: South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) Rule #1168. VOC limits are listed in the table below and correspond to an effective date of July 1, 2005 and rule amendment date of January 7, 2005.



    • Aerosol adhesives: Green Seal Standard for Commercial Adhesives GS-36 requirements in effect on October 19, 2000.





    Potential Technologies & Strategies

    Specify low-VOC materials in construction documents. Ensure that VOC limits are clearly stated in each section of the specifications where adhesives and sealantsA sealant has adhesive properties and is formulated primarily to fill, seal, or waterproof gaps or joints between 2 surfaces. Sealants include sealant primers and caulks. (SCAQMD Rule 1168. )Sealants are used on wood, fabric, paper, corrugated paperboard, plastic foam and other materials with tiny openings, often microscopic, that may absorb or discharge gas or fluid. are addressed. Common products to evaluate include: general construction adhesives, flooring adhesives, fire-stopping sealants, caulking, duct sealants, plumbing adhesives, and cove base adhesives.

Publications

Specifying LEED Requirements from ARCOM MasterSpec

Guidance and sample language on incorporating VOC limits into Specifications.


South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) Rule 1168 South Coast Air Quality Management District

Outline of Rule 1168 for adhesive and sealant applications.

Web Tools

USGBC’s LEED Resources page

Includes additional resources and technical information.

Organizations

Green Seal Standard 11 (GS–11)

Green Seal is an independent, nonprofit organization that strives to achieve a healthier and cleaner environment by identifying and promoting products and services that cause less toxic pollution and waste, conserve resources and habitats, and minimize global warming and ozone depletion. GS–36 sets VOC limits for commercial adhesives. 


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 EQ 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.

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.

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.

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 IEQc4 credits, but in conjunction with documentation for for MR credits.

Materials Calculator

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

Environmental Materials Reporting Form

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

Letter to Contractor for MR and IEQ Credits

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

Low-Emitting Materials Reporting Form

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

Jobsite Signs

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

Product Cut Sheets

Look to product cut sheets for information on the VOC content of adhesives and sealantsA sealant has adhesive properties and is formulated primarily to fill, seal, or waterproof gaps or joints between 2 surfaces. Sealants include sealant primers and caulks. (SCAQMD Rule 1168. )Sealants are used on wood, fabric, paper, corrugated paperboard, plastic foam and other materials with tiny openings, often microscopic, that may absorb or discharge gas or fluid.. The example here clearly displays information needed for documentation.

LEED Online Sample Template – EQc4.1

This template is the flattened, public version of the dynamic template for this credit that is used within LEED-Online v2 by registered project teams. This and other public versions of LEED credit templates come from the USGBC website, and are posted on LEEDuser with USGBC's permission. You'll need to fill out the live version of this template on LEED Online to document this credit.

USGBC

Official LEED Online Forms

Construction Submittal

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

144 Comments

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Jaida Holbrook Enivronmental Engineer Skanska Sverige AB
Feb 28 2014
LEEDuser Member
756 Thumbs Up

Resources tab Green-Seal link

Are we supposed to be referencing the standard

GS-11
GREEN SEAL™ STANDARD FOR
PAINTS AND COATINGS
THIRD EDITION
August 17, 2011

in the resource tab versus GS-36, Green Seal Surface for Commercial Adhesives GS-36 requirements in effect on October 19, 2000?

I am unable to find that standard anymore.

thanks.

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

Jaida, it's technically the 2000 version of GS-36 that NC-v2.2 references.

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Michael Johnson Architect Chenevert Architects
Feb 13 2014
LEEDuser Member
886 Thumbs Up

baseline case?

never mind i get it (edited out original).

the baseline case, i assume, is the amount of sealant actually used times allowable limit. and actual is amount used times the actual VOC.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Feb 13 2014 LEEDuser Moderator

Michael, this link should take you right to the Checklist item that explains the budget method (then click on it to expand). Take a look at that and post any follow up questions.

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Michael Johnson Architect, Chenevert Architects Feb 13 2014 LEEDuser Member 886 Thumbs Up

tristin as soon as you posted that i edited my question,i think i get it now. However, the item you link to me doesnt seem like a checklist.. just a bunch of pointers. I do not really see instruction in their of "how to" do baseline case. I guess it's because it should be obvious, ha.

thanks

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Feb 13 2014 LEEDuser Moderator

The entire Checklist tab is the checklist for the credit. The specific item is just one point on that. For a given project their "checklist path" might be different, but we tried to include anything we thought would be key to a project earning each credit.

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Lilian Seow LEED Manager Vancouver, BC Canada
Jan 02 2014
LEEDuser Member
563 Thumbs Up

SPRAYED FOAM INSULATION AND GREENGUARD

Manufacturers for BASF Walltite and Polarfoam 2-components sprayed foam insulation products provide Greenguard certification - Which credit does this Greenguard certification fall under?

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Mara Baum Healthcare Sustainable Design Leader, LEED Fellow, HOK Jan 02 2014 LEEDuser Expert 7903 Thumbs Up

Most insulation products are not captured by this credit, or any other credit in this rating system. (They are only addressed by LEED for Schools, LEED for Healthcare and v4.)

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Karolina Mera
Nov 21 2013
Guest
7 Thumbs Up

Low VOC using Chloroprene/Neoprene

I am very interested in undertanding how using lower viscosity chloroprenes will help to comply with the low VOC limit. (solvent based adhesives) I am a business person trying to understand the technical part of it. Thanks.

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Susan Walter Sr Project Architect, Wilmot/Sanz Nov 25 2013 LEEDuser Expert 15022 Thumbs Up

Karolina,

Look under the Resources tab for links to the referenced standards and contact those groups for the technical pieces and testing methodology. Generally, as an architect we deal with the published results on adhesives and look at how that information complies with LEED.

Susan

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Mohamed Ravuthar, LEED AP, BD+C LEED Engineer Contrack International Inc
Sep 07 2013
Guest
914 Thumbs Up

Aerosol Adhesives

In LEED reference guide has mentioned weight percentage of VOC for Aerosol Adhesives and the LEED template has mentioned the limit of VOC value . My question is we can write the actual VOC value or percentage, but how can we write LEED specified VOC value for Aerosol Adhesives?
If we write something on that ,the USGBC review team will give comments for that.

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John-David Hutchison, LEED AP BD+C, PMP Sustainability Consultant, CSV Architects Nov 05 2013 LEEDuser Expert 2147 Thumbs Up

Great question; the form is confusing - I would enter in the comments box:
Product Manufacturer, Product Name / Model, Product VOC Content (%),GS-36 Allowable VOC Content (%), Source of VOC Content.

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Gustavo Martinez Project Manager GMDC
Apr 22 2013
Guest
40 Thumbs Up

Compliance requirements

Hi everyone,
How detailed does the documentation have to be to show we complied with the requirements of this credit? Do we need to list every single adhesive and sealant used? And do we need to submit any supplemental proof, like receipts of purchase or proof of inspection?
Thanks!

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Apr 22 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

Gustavo, I see you're not yet a LEEDuser member, but may I recommend becoming one? These are some good fundamental questions and you'll get good, thorough guidance along with examples in the LEEDuser premium content above.

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Christopher Ramos Mota LEED AP BD+C, MSc Sustainability Hill International
Apr 02 2013
LEEDuser Member
62 Thumbs Up

VOC levels of as sealant

Hi everyone,

I'm on a project that from the specifications requires that a sealant rich on zinc complies with some ASTMVoluntary standards development organization which creates source technical standards for materials, products, systems, and services standards and to comply with LEED but the contractor found out that with the products sold here in México, is one or another, because there is no product rich on zinc that complies with the levels of VOC's required, or it complies but it does not dissolve on water but on other substance like thinner so the VOC's get higher not complying, what could you recommend so the project do not fail this credit? THNKS

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John-David Hutchison, LEED AP BD+C, PMP Sustainability Consultant, CSV Architects Apr 05 2013 LEEDuser Expert 2147 Thumbs Up

What are you using the product more - sounds like
ZINC-RICH INDUSTRIAL MAINTENANCE PRIMERS are primers formulated to contain a minimum of 65 percent metallic zinc powder (zinc dust) by weight of total solids for application to metal substrates. MAX VOC 340g/l

In my experience this is generally applied off site to the structural steel, but is necessary to be applied on site to cuts, welds, etc. In these cases I have been able to find a protective coating suitable for interior durability that meets the criteria; usually not a zinc rich product which I have found is more important on steel exposed to the elements.

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Christopher Ramos Mota LEED AP BD+C, MSc Sustainability, Hill International Apr 11 2013 LEEDuser Member 62 Thumbs Up

Thank you for your answer John, you nail it, the material is going to be used to protect some supports of the electrical ducts, only in case of cuts - so it will not be affected by rust. Te contractor found a coating rich on zinc inorganic based water and 0 VOC's, could this material, for this kinds of jobs work, without compromising the quality?

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LEED Consultant Green Building and Alternative Energy Mar 29 2014 LEEDuser Member 1492 Thumbs Up

Christopher, did you find out what about the use of thinner? the sanitary contractor wants to used it to clean PVC pipes.

Thanks

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Jayme Van Oot
Mar 06 2013
Guest
19 Thumbs Up

Gold Leaf Size

What category would gold leaf size (adhesive) fall under in a historic renovations?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Nov 04 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

Special purpose contact adhesive?

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Erin Norton
Feb 06 2013
Guest
179 Thumbs Up

Firestop Sealant

First of all, I'm a newbie trying to learn so take it easy on me :)
I'm confused as to what guideline VOC limit I should be looking at for a firestop sealant. Can someone guide me as to what category of sealant this falls under? Thanks!

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John-David Hutchison, LEED AP BD+C, PMP Sustainability Consultant, CSV Architects Nov 05 2013 LEEDuser Expert 2147 Thumbs Up

I always use #1168 SealantsA sealant has adhesive properties and is formulated primarily to fill, seal, or waterproof gaps or joints between 2 surfaces. Sealants include sealant primers and caulks. (SCAQMD Rule 1168. )Sealants are used on wood, fabric, paper, corrugated paperboard, plastic foam and other materials with tiny openings, often microscopic, that may absorb or discharge gas or fluid. - Architectural; max 250 g/l.

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Sabrina Rosete
Sep 23 2012
Guest
49 Thumbs Up

Solvent Cement for PVC

What is the required VOC content for solvent cement use for pvc pipes?

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Scott Adams Architectural Standards Specialist, Starbucks Coffee Company Sep 24 2012 Guest 328 Thumbs Up

That would go under the specialty application PVC welding in SCAQMD Rule 1168 with a VOC limit of 510 g/L.

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Sabrina Rosete Oct 03 2012 Guest 49 Thumbs Up

Scott, I have received to many discussions with your collegues about my question and it really confuse me if what is the real answer on this.

We have used fusion weld to joint our pvc pipe, and our contructor use also solvent cement to ensure jointing of the pipes.

Because of this, our LEED consultant are asking for 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 & the VOC content of solvent cement, I want to know if what is the real required VOC for this.

Thanks

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Hernando Miranda Owner, Soltierra LLC Oct 03 2012 Guest 7832 Thumbs Up

Sabrina --

Your LEED consultant should know this. They should know the difference between plastic welding and solvent cements. None. The two are the same.

The consultant should also be more proactive on the project, meaning it is far easier, and wastes less time, to get the MSDS1. Material safety data sheets (MSDS) are detailed, written instructions documenting a method to achieve uniformity of performance. 2. A report that manufacturers of most products are required to make available to installers and purchasers, informing them of product information on chemicals, chemical compounds, and chemical mixtures, the existence of potentially hazardous ingredients, and providing instructions for the safe handling, storage, and disposal of products and product data sheets from the manufacturer's website themselves.

http://www.aqmd.gov/rules/reg/reg11/r1168.pdf

Definition #73 (PDF page 8): SOLVENT WELDING is the softening of the surfaces of two substrates by wetting them with solvents and/or adhesives, and joining them together through a chemical and/or physical reaction(s) to form a fused union.

VOC LIMITS (PDF page 11): Specialty Applications:
PVC Welding = 510 g/L

From a PVC Cement manufacturer's website:

"Regular Bodied Clear PVC Solvent Cement is recommended for solvent welding PVC pipe and fittings..."

http://www.oatey.com/apps/catalog/instance_assets/assets/Submittal_Sheet...

From the document above the VOCsA volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is a carbon compound that vaporizes (becomes a gas) at normal room temperatures. VOCs contribute to air pollution directly and through atmospheric photochemical reactions (excluding carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, carbonic acid, metallic carbides and carbonates, and ammonium carbonate) to produce secondary air pollutants, principally ozone and peroxyacetyl nitrate. happen to be 510 g/L which meets the LEED requirement.

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Scott Adams Architectural Standards Specialist, Starbucks Coffee Company Oct 04 2012 Guest 328 Thumbs Up

This is an important one as it is often overlooked in a project. I have had this credit denied before as no plastic welding compound was listed but plastic piping was shown in the construction 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. photos. Fortunately it was a store in Germany using PEX with press fittings so there was no plastic welding at all.

The VOC limit depends on the type of plastic being welded. PVC is 510 g/L, CPVC is 490 g/L, ABS is 325 g/L, and all other plastics are 250 g/L. Another product that can be easily overlooked is if an adhesive primer is used. The limit for adhesive primer for plastic is 550 g/L.

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Susan Walter Sr Project Architect, Wilmot/Sanz Oct 04 2012 LEEDuser Expert 15022 Thumbs Up

This is why the LEED project administrator must insist on VOC language in the MEP specifications. It also is why the MEP engineers should vet their specifications on their LEED projects and not just rolling out the office standard spec.

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Fernando Rossi Proyect Engineer Aerometalica Corp.
Sep 06 2012
Guest
51 Thumbs Up

Concrete Bonding Agent

What's the VOC limit for a liquid adhesive for bonding concrete, plaster, prtland cement mides to structurally sound substrates. I am not shour in witch category it fall on the SCAQMD vov limits table.

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Hernando Miranda Owner, Soltierra LLC Sep 06 2012 Guest 7832 Thumbs Up

If you are certain a product you are using does fall under the definitions provided by the SCAQMD rule, then claim 250 g/L. That is the default for odd products.

You should try to use a bonding agent with as low a VOC level as reasonable. There are several concrete bonding agents with levels less than 100 g/L available.

I can see the reviewers trying to make a case that a concrete bonding agent is an contact adhesive, or an adhesive bonding primer. Neither of these apply. Contract adhesives apply to adhesives put under subsequent pressure. Bonding primers are preparation for an adhesive applied over the primer.

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Michelle Deschaaf Interior Designer Arkos Design Inc
Aug 30 2012
Guest
101 Thumbs Up

EQ 4.1 NC 2.2 Construction Review

This credit came back during the review process and we discoved one of the products submitted was not even used on the project and the contractors sub had submitted an incorrect product. I now have the correct submittal and classification of the product how do I go about correcting this?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Aug 31 2012 LEEDuser Moderator

Michelle, since it is during review and you can't edit the LEED Online form, you could contact GBCI and explain the situation, providing the new information.

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David Sheridan LEED Specialist, USGBC Aug 31 2012 LEEDuser Member 372 Thumbs Up

Michelle, is the project back in your hands? You say it is, so I assume you can get back to the credit information forms? And has it gone through the preliminary review? If yes to both, you can revise when you resubmit for the final review. If you revise the credit record, include a brief narrative to alert the review team.

Tristan, if the project team can use the customary submission process, it will save them and us time.

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Brian Dougherty
Jul 25 2012
Guest
39 Thumbs Up

Documentation

I am a student helping on a NC project and I am looking for documentation to earn IEQ 4.1 credit. The problem is that the water based polyurethane floor sealer is unknown. Is there anywhere I can find documentation saying that all water based polyurethane sealersSealers are coatings applied to either block materials from penetrating into or leaching out of a substrate, to prevent subsequent coatings from being absorbed by the substrate, or to prevent harm to subsequent coatings by materials in the substrate. are below the 275 g/L VOC limit?

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Scott Adams Architectural Standards Specialist, Starbucks Coffee Company Jul 25 2012 Guest 328 Thumbs Up

I do not know of any and if there was you would probably have to do a CIRCredit Interpretation Ruling. Used by design team members experiencing difficulties in the application of a LEED prerequisite or credit to a project. Typically, difficulties arise when specific issues are not directly addressed by LEED information/guide to get it approved. It may be easy to find compliant products, at least in the US, but the Low Emitting Material credits can prove difficult from the document standpoint. It is critical that the GC submits products for approval before they are used. If a product turns out to be non-compliant then it cannot be undone, although 4.1 and 4.2 could be recovered with the VOC budget calculation. There is also the difficulty you are facing where the GC or sub may have just used whatever was sitting in the back of his or her truck then no one can track down what it was.

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Susan Walter Sr Project Architect, Wilmot/Sanz Jul 25 2012 LEEDuser Expert 15022 Thumbs Up

If you can not find that information, you may be able to document the credit via the budget method described on this forum. You would likely have to use the highest VOC containing sealer on the market and then offset all of those VOCsA volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is a carbon compound that vaporizes (becomes a gas) at normal room temperatures. VOCs contribute to air pollution directly and through atmospheric photochemical reactions (excluding carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, carbonic acid, metallic carbides and carbonates, and ammonium carbonate) to produce secondary air pollutants, principally ozone and peroxyacetyl nitrate..

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Scott Adams Architectural Standards Specialist, Starbucks Coffee Company Sep 24 2012 Guest 328 Thumbs Up

I should point out here that you have this product under the wrong credit. EQ4.1 is specifically joint sealantsA sealant has adhesive properties and is formulated primarily to fill, seal, or waterproof gaps or joints between 2 surfaces. Sealants include sealant primers and caulks. (SCAQMD Rule 1168. )Sealants are used on wood, fabric, paper, corrugated paperboard, plastic foam and other materials with tiny openings, often microscopic, that may absorb or discharge gas or fluid.. A floor sealer is actually a coating. This should greatly help the VOC budget calc as you are now comparing to the likely much larger volumes of paint used rather than adhesives. As for the VOC content, I would say that you would have to use an absolute worst case scenerio of 100% VOC content. As most sealersSealers are coatings applied to either block materials from penetrating into or leaching out of a substrate, to prevent subsequent coatings from being absorbed by the substrate, or to prevent harm to subsequent coatings by materials in the substrate. have a density of 1 to 1.2 g/cm3 that would convert to 1000 to 1200 g/L.

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Hernando Miranda Owner, Soltierra LLC Sep 24 2012 Guest 7832 Thumbs Up

Scott is correct. SEALERSSealers are coatings applied to either block materials from penetrating into or leaching out of a substrate, to prevent subsequent coatings from being absorbed by the substrate, or to prevent harm to subsequent coatings by materials in the substrate. are NOT SealantsA sealant has adhesive properties and is formulated primarily to fill, seal, or waterproof gaps or joints between 2 surfaces. Sealants include sealant primers and caulks. (SCAQMD Rule 1168. )Sealants are used on wood, fabric, paper, corrugated paperboard, plastic foam and other materials with tiny openings, often microscopic, that may absorb or discharge gas or fluid..

Let me tell you why people are confused about this.

About 10 years ago, when I was the vice-chair of the USGBC IEQ Technical Advisory Group (TAGLEED Technical Advisory Group (TAG): Subcommittees that consist of industry experts who assist in developing credit interpretations and technical improvements to the LEED system.), I failed to correct this problem. The LEED Reviewers, who were also the Reference Guide Authors, decided that sealers were sealants and need to meet the requirements of EAc4.1. At the time, EQc4.2 only had requirements for Green Seal paints. No other coating types were addressed by EQc4.2.

One would think that the IEQ TAG could fix this problem, but guess what happened. The TAG proposed the correction to the USGBC. The USGBC asked the reviewers if the TAG was correct. The reviewers said absolutely not. Sealers were Sealants.

Sealers remained classified as Sealants by people who had no clue what either product actual was. The fault was entirely the reviewer's, who in the eyes of the USGBC could do no wrong, and who knew more about everything to do with LEED and the reference standards than anyone else could possibly know.

It took many years, but eventually, sealers were properly classified as coatings. There was no official announcement made. Just a quit adjustment to correct the long-time reviewer error.

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Dwayne Fuhlhage Sustainability and Environment Director, PROSOCO, Inc. Sep 24 2012 LEEDuser Member 1709 Thumbs Up

Scott and Hernando are correct: this appears to be a sealer coating that lives in a different credit.

Getting back to your original question, I'm not sure there is any way around the need to have documented the actual coating used on the project. While many water carried polyurethane coatings would be under the appropriate category limit, there is no guarantee that an unknown product would be. Susan's suggestion has potential as does Scott's. Fortunately, this is not a prerequisite.

As for the appropriate coating category, there are several SCAQMD Rule 1113 categories that could apply based on the manufacturer's marketing claims.

With regards to the current 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., I am the resident subject matter expert for coatings and sealantsA sealant has adhesive properties and is formulated primarily to fill, seal, or waterproof gaps or joints between 2 surfaces. Sealants include sealant primers and caulks. (SCAQMD Rule 1168. )Sealants are used on wood, fabric, paper, corrugated paperboard, plastic foam and other materials with tiny openings, often microscopic, that may absorb or discharge gas or fluid.. As far as I am aware, this is the first time a manufacturer that actually has to understand and comply with legal and regulatory standards has been in the TAG. We are working hard to coordinate policy, credit language and submission requirements. The fifth comment period for LEED V4 opens next week and specific suggestions from practitioners will help with the final product. We'll keep chipping away at coordinating prior versions as well.

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Hernando Miranda Owner, Soltierra LLC Sep 24 2012 Guest 7832 Thumbs Up

Dwayne, I suggest you try to get the USGBC to add definitions to the Reference Guide from SCAQMD 1113 & 1168. We tried this when I was on 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. and failed to get the USGBC and Reference Guide authors to agree do that.

Definitions are useful. The resistance to include them made absolutely no sense.

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Dwayne Fuhlhage Sustainability and Environment Director, PROSOCO, Inc. Sep 24 2012 LEEDuser Member 1709 Thumbs Up

The regulatory definitions are absolutely necessary for context with the regulatory categories names and limits. Unfortunately, the definition lists are many pages long. LEED V4 incorporates the regulatory standards by reference. Hopefully, any discussions on appropriate categories will default to the source definitions. I have gone back to the original CARBThe California Air Resources Board, part of the state government, is charged with maintaining clean air. This agency is unique at the state level: California was the only state that had such an agency before the passage of the federal Clean Air Act, and was allowed to keep it. and SCAQMD regulatory rulemaking Staff Reports as necessary to verify intent when categories appear to overlap. Also, the CARB 2007 SCM eliminates and combines some VOC categories from the prior version and is inconsistent with Rule 1113. Rule 1113 is still the rule of the land for the Los Angeles basin and is included for that reason.

The practitioners need to gang up on Tristan and request that copies of the source regulations and/or regulatory definitions be included LEEDUser credit reference areas.

Granted, the regulatory system is complex. However, it carries the rule of law with potential civil and criminal penalties applicable to manufacturers, retailers and specifiers. I find it disconcerting that a number of coating and sealant manufacturers providing products to the LEED market are not clearly declaring the basis of credit conformance for their products. That should be a requirement from project teams and a means to sift out potential bad actors or pick better partners. GBCI has its faults, but the reviewer shouldn't have to deal with mystery product submissions.

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Hernando Miranda Owner, Soltierra LLC Sep 24 2012 Guest 7832 Thumbs Up

I disagree that the definitions are too long. I have included them in specifications from more than 10 years: the appropriate ones, not everything. In a CSI formatted document:

SCAQMD Rule 1113 = just over 2 pages.

SCAQMD Rule 1168 = just over 1-1/2 pages.

The GBCI reviewers do not get detailed VOC product submissions. On my more than 100 projects that level of detail has never been requested.

I have been told, by the GBCI management, that my LEED template submittals for EQc4 are at the best level they have seen. Why? Because I provide enough information within the little comment boxes in the LEED forms to substantiate the claims made. VOC levels and limits are both listed, as is the product type, as well as, the data source.

I also make sure the Contractor scopes are identify so the reviewers know all the construction bases, appropriate for the work, are covered.

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Dwayne Fuhlhage Sustainability and Environment Director, PROSOCO, Inc. Oct 02 2012 LEEDuser Member 1709 Thumbs Up

You have a good point. I have not tried to condense the regulatory definitions into CSI format. Publishing the definitions as a companion to the Table of Standards would help provide clarity for project teams. Beyond LEED credit conformance, their specifications are subject to the same regulatory scrutiny as product manufacturers, distributors and retailers.

Be sure to provide your comments on this topic in the LEED V4 fifth comment period. USGBC and GBCI need to hear from practitioners.

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Hernando Miranda Owner, Soltierra LLC Oct 02 2012 Guest 7832 Thumbs Up

What is actually required, but CSI and the adhesives industry have never thought of, is having a stand-alone specification section, most likely in Division 07, for adhesives that is similar to the the section for sealantsA sealant has adhesive properties and is formulated primarily to fill, seal, or waterproof gaps or joints between 2 surfaces. Sealants include sealant primers and caulks. (SCAQMD Rule 1168. )Sealants are used on wood, fabric, paper, corrugated paperboard, plastic foam and other materials with tiny openings, often microscopic, that may absorb or discharge gas or fluid. (typically 079000 or 07900).

At least, the architectural adhesive products could all be located in one section rather than in each separate section, as is done now.

MEP engineers are almost always required to to write their own set of specifications, so some of their VOC products would likely be excluded from a common division 07 adhesives section. Still, the MEP team could refer back to that section for definitions, as is often done with the division 07 sealants section.

Although not required for the LEED credit civil engineers and landscaping architects, who often write their own specifications sections, like MEP engineers do, would also refer back to a stand-alone adhesives specification section.

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Scott Adams Architectural Standards Specialist, Starbucks Coffee Company Oct 04 2012 Guest 328 Thumbs Up

I have actually had to put together a glossary of terms for international markets (the French word laque is a generic term for any enamel coating, it took a painfully long time to get that sorted). When you consider the large number of terms that are not applicable to a LEED project, computer diskette manufacturing adhesives comes to mind, the glossary was not all that long, only about a page and a half.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Oct 04 2012 LEEDuser Moderator

Scott, I'm intrigued by this glossary. I wonder if you'd consider sharing it on our website? Please contact me.

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David Weimann Regional Sales Director Americas SCHOTT Glass
Jul 09 2012
Guest
239 Thumbs Up

Clarification on Piping within this Credit

Dear Group,
I would like to hear additional comments on chemical waste piping systems used in buildings - especially laboratories (industrial, commercial, university, school) as they relate to this category. Typical materials used are PP, PVC, PVDF, glass and high silica iron. Besides the obvious advantages of glass over plastic piping already discussed here: http://www.leeduser.com/credit/pilot-credits/pc2 and here: http://www.leeduser.com/credit/Pilot-Credits/PC54, I am wondering how piping systems can contribute to this credit. Glass piping systems (with mechanical joint couplings made from stainless steel, buna-N rubber and PTFE) have been UL-E certified as a low emitting material meeting CA 1350.

I agree with Samantha's statement below that "all materials that emit contaminants that have the potential to enter the indoor air will be considered as indoor sources of contaminants...[including] all materials inside of wall cavities, ceiling cavities, floor cavities, or horizontal or vertical chases. To me this includes piping and the potential for VOC contamination exists during installation (solvent welding of plastics) and occupation (off-gassing of plastic pipe, esp when hot liquids are introduced).

The problem I currently face is that UL is telling me, and I quote: "Per the new LEED requirements put forth (pilot credits) your product can no longer contribute to this credit because it has now been deemed to not emit VOCsA volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is a carbon compound that vaporizes (becomes a gas) at normal room temperatures. VOCs contribute to air pollution directly and through atmospheric photochemical reactions (excluding carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, carbonic acid, metallic carbides and carbonates, and ammonium carbonate) to produce secondary air pollutants, principally ozone and peroxyacetyl nitrate. per its inherent qualities." While the glass is certainly inherently non-emitting, I fail to understand how we cannot contribute any longer? Shouldn't glass piping be listed as a preferable material because it IS inherently non-VOC emitting. Would an entirely new pilot credit focusing on piping make sense?
Curious to hear the team's thoughts.
Thank you,
David

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Mara Baum Healthcare Sustainable Design Leader, LEED Fellow, HOK Jul 25 2012 LEEDuser Expert 7903 Thumbs Up

This credit is only for adhesives and sealantsA sealant has adhesive properties and is formulated primarily to fill, seal, or waterproof gaps or joints between 2 surfaces. Sealants include sealant primers and caulks. (SCAQMD Rule 1168. )Sealants are used on wood, fabric, paper, corrugated paperboard, plastic foam and other materials with tiny openings, often microscopic, that may absorb or discharge gas or fluid.. Adhesives and sealants used on the glass would contribute, but the glass itself is not.

If you're talking about the pilot credit, you may want to post to that forum instead. However, identifying appropriate alternatives to hazardous substances is one of the ways to meet these credits; using glass in lieu of plastic would be a good thing.

Pilot credits are not product-specific, so a pipe focused PC would be unlikely.

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David Weimann Regional Sales Director Americas, SCHOTT Glass Jul 25 2012 Guest 239 Thumbs Up

Mara, what we are addressing with our system is the joining method for piping system. Allow me to quote from an expert: "“…Low Emitting Materials (LEED EQ Credit 4.1)
The intent of this credit is to reduce the quantity of indoor air contaminants within a
facility. Plumbing systems typically include piping systems that require field fabrication
and/or joining. A sustainable plumbing design will specify the installation of systems
that minimize or eliminate the need for traditional construction methods such as
welding, brazing, soldering, gluing, etc. Each of these traditional methods results in the
off-gassing of odorous and potentially irritating Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCsA volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is a carbon compound that vaporizes (becomes a gas) at normal room temperatures. VOCs contribute to air pollution directly and through atmospheric photochemical reactions (excluding carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, carbonic acid, metallic carbides and carbonates, and ammonium carbonate) to produce secondary air pollutants, principally ozone and peroxyacetyl nitrate.).
A sustainable plumbing engineer will evaluate the feasibility of using alternative
methods of joining materials, such as mechanical joints (Pro-Press, Victaulic, etc.).
These should be included in the project specifications in an effort to assist the
contractors in correctly bidding the project…“
- Paul L. Ham, P.E., LEED® AP
Source: Plumbing Engineer, Issue 7/05 (http://www.pmengineer.com/Articles/Feature_Article/2005/06/30/Sustainabl...)

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Mara Baum Healthcare Sustainable Design Leader, LEED Fellow, HOK Jul 26 2012 LEEDuser Expert 7903 Thumbs Up

David, if your pipe requires an adhesive or sealant, then that product would definitely need to meet the requirements of this credit.

There is a credit in LEED for Healthcare that addresses a few other aspects of pipes, MRc4.2 PBT Source Reduction - Lead, CadmiumA naturally-occurring element and source of pigments that were once a staple in paints, but now is largely phased out in architectural coatings except for certain specialty products. High exposure to cadmium can cause a variety of health problems, including kidney damage. and Copper. It includes some of the items you mention beyond adhesives and sealantsA sealant has adhesive properties and is formulated primarily to fill, seal, or waterproof gaps or joints between 2 surfaces. Sealants include sealant primers and caulks. (SCAQMD Rule 1168. )Sealants are used on wood, fabric, paper, corrugated paperboard, plastic foam and other materials with tiny openings, often microscopic, that may absorb or discharge gas or fluid.. This credit can be used to get an ID point in other rating systems.

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David Weimann Regional Sales Director Americas, SCHOTT Glass Jul 26 2012 Guest 239 Thumbs Up

Absolutely correct, Mara ! In fact, Green Guide for Health Care recognizes borosilicate glass piping as an environmentally preferable purchasingA United States federal-wide program (Executive Order 13101) that encourages and assists Executive agencies in the purchasing of Environmentally Preferable Products and services. option when specifying lab and hospital piping systems, see page 298 here: http://www.gghc.org/documents/Version2.2/GGHC-v2-2-Ops-08Rev.pdf

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Regina Ng
Jun 11 2012
LEEDuser Member
1047 Thumbs Up

VOC budget calculation for adhesive free installation

If my carpet is using the Tractionback which is a adhesive free installation, yet I need to do a VOC budget calculation, what should I put for the volume used? Should I still calculate the volume required for carpet adhesive but then my VOC content is 0.

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Mara Baum Healthcare Sustainable Design Leader, LEED Fellow, HOK Jul 25 2012 LEEDuser Expert 7903 Thumbs Up

You don't need to include that product in this credit. You may want to include a note indicating that there is no carpet adhesive, as the reviewers will probably look for one. The same comment applies if you're also pursuing ECc4.3.

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Hernando Miranda Owner, Soltierra LLC Jul 25 2012 Guest 7832 Thumbs Up

If you have carpet the reviewers will look for a carpet adhesive.

I enter carpet adhesives in the form and list the carpet as self-stick adhesive or better factory installed self-stick adhesive. You can also describe the situation in the alternative compliance option text entry section of the form.

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Regina Ng
Apr 04 2012
LEEDuser Member
1047 Thumbs Up

Can calculations of VOC content based on MSDS be used?

If the VOC content was not tested using the reference method, but calculated instead based on the data from the MSDS1. Material safety data sheets (MSDS) are detailed, written instructions documenting a method to achieve uniformity of performance. 2. A report that manufacturers of most products are required to make available to installers and purchasers, informing them of product information on chemicals, chemical compounds, and chemical mixtures, the existence of potentially hazardous ingredients, and providing instructions for the safe handling, storage, and disposal of products, is that acceptable to USGBC?

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Samantha Harrell LEED Project Reviewer certificate holder Apr 04 2012 Guest 2614 Thumbs Up

Hi Regina,

Is the product's VOC content not listed in the MSDS1. Material safety data sheets (MSDS) are detailed, written instructions documenting a method to achieve uniformity of performance. 2. A report that manufacturers of most products are required to make available to installers and purchasers, informing them of product information on chemicals, chemical compounds, and chemical mixtures, the existence of potentially hazardous ingredients, and providing instructions for the safe handling, storage, and disposal of products? 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. 1862 outlines the two options to demonstrate credit compliance: 1. Verify the VOC content of the products used with the product manufacturers, per the credit requirements. 2. If the project team wishes to use rate of emission, please reference the testing and product requirements of the California Department of Health Services Standard Practice for The Testing Of Volatile Organic Emissions From Various Sources Using Small-Scale Environmental Chambers, including 2004 Addenda.

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Scott Adams Architectural Standards Specialist, Starbucks Coffee Company Jun 13 2012 Guest 328 Thumbs Up

On some international projects I have been able to show maximum VOC content based on what is NOT on the MSDS1. Material safety data sheets (MSDS) are detailed, written instructions documenting a method to achieve uniformity of performance. 2. A report that manufacturers of most products are required to make available to installers and purchasers, informing them of product information on chemicals, chemical compounds, and chemical mixtures, the existence of potentially hazardous ingredients, and providing instructions for the safe handling, storage, and disposal of products sheet. The MSDS sheet had to list the labeling standard it conforms to and I had to submit excerpts from that standard that lists out the maximum content thresholds that would require various types of hazardous substances to be listed on the MSDS sheet. I also created a list of all of the Cal/EPA listed VOCsA volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is a carbon compound that vaporizes (becomes a gas) at normal room temperatures. VOCs contribute to air pollution directly and through atmospheric photochemical reactions (excluding carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, carbonic acid, metallic carbides and carbonates, and ammonium carbonate) to produce secondary air pollutants, principally ozone and peroxyacetyl nitrate. with the hazard code assigned to that substance. That was to show that all VOCs would fall under the 1% concentration by weight threshold and over half would fall under the .1% by weight threshold. By using a products density to convert 1% concentration to g/L I could show the maximum possible VOC content if no individual VOCs were listed on the MSDS. Most of my projects are in Europe so I analyzed EC Directive 1999/45 and EC Directive 1272/2008 labeling regulations as well as the UN Globally Harmonized System of Classification. It was a huge amount of work but I had enough products with no VOC content information to make it worth it.

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Scott Brady Principal ENB Architects
Mar 30 2012
LEEDuser Member
44 Thumbs Up

Substrate Specific Applications

In Table 1:SCAQMD VOC Limits there is a listing of substrate specific applications with 5 different product types listed. What is the intent of this section? For wood, is the intent that an adhesive with a maximum VOC-content of 30 g/L must be used to adhere a product to a wood substrate as opposed to a multipurpose general adhesive with a maximum VOC-content of 70 g/L? Please clarify what the intent is.

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Samantha Harrell LEED Project Reviewer certificate holder Mar 30 2012 Guest 2614 Thumbs Up

Hi Scott,

For adhesives, adhesive bonding primers, or any other primer not regulated by the Architectural and Specialty tables and applied to the substrates in the Substrate Specific table, those Substrate Specific limits apply. If an adhesive is used to bond dissimilar substrates together the adhesive with the highest VOC content shall be allowed (Rule 1168).

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Jaida Holbrook Enivronmental Engineer Skanska Sverige AB
Mar 29 2012
LEEDuser Member
756 Thumbs Up

Spray insulation

Would spray insulation need to be considered for VOC's?

The product is composed of boron salt, PVA (polivinyl alchohol) and glass fiber.

Ideas on product type? Would this be considered IEQc4.1 or 4.2?

Thanks so much. This products seems like a grey area.

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Samantha Harrell LEED Project Reviewer certificate holder Mar 29 2012 Guest 2614 Thumbs Up

Hi Jaida,

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. 5955 indicates that insulation must be considered: "Essentially, if a product is inside the exterior moisture protection it is a controlled product (it must comply with the credit requirement). To elaborate: all materials that emit contaminants that have the potential to enter the indoor air will be considered as indoor sources of contaminants. Materials which have the potential to communicate their emissions to the indoor air include all indoor surfaces in contact with the indoor air including flooring; walls; ceilings; interior furnishings; suspended ceiling systems and the materials above those suspended ceilings; all ventilation system components in communication with the ventilation supply or return air; and all materials inside of wall cavities, ceiling cavities, floor cavities, or horizontal or vertical chases. As an example these materials include the caulking materials for windows, and insulation in ceilings or walls. Examples of materials that have little or no potential for communicating with the indoor air are those siding and roofing materials that are on the exterior side of the waterproofing membrane."

Because this LI has not been considered or approved for 2.2 projects, I recommend contacting GBCI to determine if your insulation must meet the credit requirements before selecting your product.

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Mara Baum Healthcare Sustainable Design Leader, LEED Fellow, HOK Mar 29 2012 LEEDuser Expert 7903 Thumbs Up

Jaida, spray insulation definitely qualifies because it's inside the weatherproofing barrier. Most insulation isn't directly addressed by LEED NC, but plastic foam is identified under IEQc4.1 with a limit of 50 g/L -- I think of them as acting as a sealant between the insulation and the rest of the wall cavity. I don't generally use these products myself, but I know that there are several that have advertised as green and or use water as blowing agents. You should check Pharos or Greenspec if you have subscriptions.

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Laurie Winter May 23 2013 LEEDuser Member 129 Thumbs Up

There are two insulation products I would like clarification on: 1) Walltite Eco - Their literature indicates it is not covered by 4.1 or 4.2.but I've heard it should be. Is it to be included for VOC's or not, and if so, under which specific emissions category? 2) AF90, which is the fiber used in conjunction with TC-417 spray applied fiberglass insulation system. I know TC-417 is to be included since it is the adhesive, but is the fibre also covered by VOC's? It's not a liquid. But if so, under which specific category of the emissions table?

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Erika Duran Sustainability Consultant Dagher Engineering
Mar 27 2012
LEEDuser Member
1001 Thumbs Up

VOC Budget Form

I was wondering if in the VOC Budget we had to include all of our sealantsA sealant has adhesive properties and is formulated primarily to fill, seal, or waterproof gaps or joints between 2 surfaces. Sealants include sealant primers and caulks. (SCAQMD Rule 1168. )Sealants are used on wood, fabric, paper, corrugated paperboard, plastic foam and other materials with tiny openings, often microscopic, that may absorb or discharge gas or fluid. that we used on the project or just enough to demonstrate that we have offset the "bad" adhesive or sealant. The GC has provided enough information to allow us to offset but there are still a few sealants that we used that were under the VOC threshhold but we don't have exact quantities for.

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Mara Baum Healthcare Sustainable Design Leader, LEED Fellow, HOK Mar 27 2012 LEEDuser Expert 7903 Thumbs Up

That's fine - you don't need them all, just enough to offset the bad ones. For a short time GBCI required all quantities (yikes!) but thankfully backed off from that.

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Troy Glasner President E3 Eco Group Inc.
Feb 09 2012
Guest
101 Thumbs Up

Spray Adhesive Category

We are working on a project that wants to use a Spray Adhesive product that states it is low VOC and can contribute to EQ 4.1 - but the VOC limit is higher than anything in the LEED NC guidelines. Can anyone tell me what the category is for a Spray Adhesive for bonding carpets, fabrics, etc. The VOC limit - less water and exempt compounds is 491 g/l. Thanks.

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Seema Pandya Senior Sustainability Manager, YR&G sustainability Feb 21 2012 LEEDuser Expert 2563 Thumbs Up

Is your spray adhesive an aerosol adhesiveAerosol adhesive is an aerosol product in which the spray mechanism is permanently housed in a nonrefillable can. Designed for hand-held application, these products do not need ancillary hoses or spray equipment. Aerosol adhesives include special-purpose spray adhesives, mist spray adhesives, and web spray adhesives. (SCAQMD Rule 1168)? If so, you would not be using g/l as your baseline VOC format. Aerosol spray adhesive limits are set by Green Seal-36 and are recorded as a percentage of VOC by weight. If your spray adhesive is considered a "special purpose" adhesive because it is specifically for carpet, it would still need to be less than 70% VOC by weight. Even if this is not an aerosol adhesive, 491 g/l seems excessively high for carpets and fabrics considering the SCAQMD guide gives a 50 g/l limit for adhering carpet pads.

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Chloe Bendistis Sustainability Project Manager, The Sheward Partnership, LLC May 08 2012 Guest 194 Thumbs Up

I recently stumbled upon a strange requirement for aerosol adhesives in the IEQ c4.1 credit form v2009 that is NOT listed in the addenda. The template states, "In the case of aerosol adhesives, the project team must provide a conversion of both the product VOC content and the corresponding allowable VOC limit from percent by weight (excluding water) to grams per liter (excluding water) based upon the density of the product." Visit http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/ap/sbap/Guide-VOCCalcs%203-08.pdf for assistance.

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Peggy Brock Jun 12 2012 Guest 43 Thumbs Up

This requirement in the NC 2009 credit form appears to problematic and is being researched by LEED. The conversion being requested in the form is different fromwhat the RG indicates.

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Suzanne Allerton Architect W2A Design Group
Jan 25 2012
Guest
991 Thumbs Up

Carpet Seam Sealer

What is the acceptable VOC limit for Carpet Seam Sealer?
Not adhesive, but sealer for broadloom. Thanks!

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