This credit requires all of your ceiling and wall systems to comply with a high standard for low indoor emissions, which can be difficult.
Insulation, drywall, acoustic ceiling tiles and wall coverings all have to be included. If you cannot find an insulation that meets your needs and passes the testing requirements for low emissions, you cannot earn this credit, even if your drywall and ceiling tiles comply.
If your project is not in California where these requirements are more established, and you experience difficulty finding compliant products locally, you might have to make a trade-off and give up on this credit in favor of others. For example, a project team in Denver might have to decide between locally sourced and manufactured gypsum board and low-emitting gypsum board shipped from out of state.
This is a low-cost credit. Products that meet these standards most likely involve a small premium, but this is expected to decrease as this standard, and LEED for Schools, are more widely used.
Allow adequate time for product research. Researching compliant products before construction begins—and providing a list of acceptable materials—helps ensure that the right products are used. Products that meet California’s Section 01350 criteria also meet the requirements for this LEED credit. Occasionally, you may find a product data sheet that does not mention “Testing of Volatile Organic Emissions from Various Sources Using Small-Scale Environmental Chambers”—but if the cut sheet states that the product meets CA Section 01350 criteria, then it is compliant.
Project teams that successfully earn this credit typically include compliant products in their project specifications and educate contractors about the credit requirements. Documentation of and compliance with the credit requirements should be made a contractual obligation in contract language for contractors and subcontractors. The general contractor needs to understand the standards and credit requirements in order to know how to verify that products are compliant. This information can usually be found on the product data sheet.
Complying with this credit helps project teams that intend to perform air testing for IEQc3.2: Construction Indoor Air Quality Management Plan—Before Occupancy.
Schools have six low-emitting materials credits, but can earn a maximum of four points from them, so choose four to pursue:
Choose the credits that are the easiest for your project to achieve. Typically IEQc4.1 and IEQc4.2 are the easiest. IEQc4.3, IEQc4.4, and IEQc4.5 can be more difficult or expensive to achieve.
Figure out which four of the six IEQc4: Low-Emitting Materials credits are the best fit for your project. Which credits are most appropriate is based mostly on the school’s needs, project team’s experience and building location. Consider whether or not existing furniture will be used, the type of drywall or acoustic ceiling tiles needed to meet IEQp3: Minimum Acoustic Performance, and consider your paint and adhesive needs. You may determine that your ceiling tiles and gypsum board already comply and you just need to find a compliant insulation.
You can only earn four of the six available points, so deciding your project’s LEED focus early in the design phase helps to guide specifying and purchasing the correct products.
This is an all-or-nothing credit addressing ceiling and wall systems: all gypsum board, insulation, acoustic ceiling systems, and wall coverings in the interior of the building. If even one sheet of gypsum board does not comply, you will not earn the credit.
Address this credit early, and verify that design needs can be met by available, compliant products.
Research compliant products.
A product you typically use might not comply with the credit requirements. You might have to commission third-party testing to verify compliance. If this is the case, start the testing process early and check how long it will take to have testing performed. (See Guidelines on Small-Scale Chamber Testing Procedures in the Documentation Toolkit.)
Researching compliant, low-emitting products before construction helps to ensure that you earn this credit. If product decisions are made before the construction stage, there is less risk of using a noncompliant product. Once a project enters the construction phase, there may not be time for proper product review or testing.
When researching low-emitting products, double-check that the manufacturer’s product information is not misleading. A common example is a product cut sheet that states “this is a low emitting product,” without providing information on its testing standards.
Greenguard Children and Schools and Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) Indoor Advantage Gold certified products meet the requirements for this standard. Products that meet the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) and California Section 01350 standards also meet the requirements for this credit. Drywall is under the “General Construction Materials” category in the Greenguard database—products from most major brands are listed.
Check cut sheets to make sure the specific product meets the IEQc4.6 requirements. (See Resources.)
Joint compound used to install drywall is not covered under this credit. Companies that produce certified drywall typically also have certified joint compound to go with it. It’s a good idea to use that low-emitting drywall, even though you don’t have to document it.
Start by determining which products have already been tested and verified to meet the credit requirements by the product manufacturer—and then specify and purchase those particular products. This way you won’t need to have any products tested.
Only ceiling and wall systems (all gypsum board, insulation, acoustic ceiling systems, and wall coverings) installed within the weather barrier need to be compliant with credit standards.
Research the cost of product testing, as well as any premiums for compliant products.
Determine the products that meet the credit requirements and include them in your construction specifications. Note that all ceiling and wall systems (gypsum board, insulation, acoustic ceiling systems, and wall coverings in the interior of the building) must meet the required standards.
Provide a list of acceptable ceiling and wall system products, and credit requirements to the general contractor and all appropriate subcontractors. Set up an orientation meeting to go over the compliant products and review the challenges of implementing the credit during construction.
It is best to incorporate a specific, compliant product into the specs, or distribute a list of acceptable products at the contractor and subcontractor orientation meetings.
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 LEED standards in the drawings as well as in the specs is a good way to remind the contractor and subcontractors of the requirements.
It is helpful to include the LEED requirements in the general contractor’s (and possibly subcontractor) contract language to help verify compliance with the credit.
Complying with this credit helps project teams achieve the air testing for LEED IEQc3.2: Construction Indoor Air Quality Management Plan—Before Occupancy. On the other hand, if you don’t earn this credit, you may also risk compromising the air quality tests for IEQc3.2.
Confirm that all product submittals meet the credit requirements.
The general contractor should consider requiring subcontractors to revise and resubmit any submittals or shop drawings that do not have proper LEED credit documentation. Include this in contractual language.
The general contractor should hold an orientation meeting to review all LEED-specific issues, including:
Assign a member of the general contractor’s team to be the overall quality assurance provider for this and other LEED credits. Responsibilities include conducting regular (weekly) reviews of subcontractor product data sheets and updating tracking forms.
If no one is assigned to quality assurance for this credit, you could easily fail to achieve the requirements.
Hold a separate meeting with the subcontractors to orient them to responsibilities related specifically to their trades.
It is helpful to give subcontractors the following tools:
The general contractor should collect appropriate product data sheets, and reporting forms for all ceiling and wall system products (gypsum board, insulation, acoustic ceiling systems, and wall coverings in the interior of the building). Verify that each data sheet provides the proper information for LEED documentation. If it does not, request another form of proof from the manufacturer.
As part of the project specifications, request monthly reports from GC, and updates at a monthly LEED meeting. This report can be tied to application for payment—no monthly report, no payment—though this is sometimes hard to enforce.
Track the product manufacturer, and product name or model number for all gypsum board, insulation, acoustical ceiling systems and wall coverings.
Determine if each product is compliant with California Section 01350, and document the source of the compliance or certification program. This information is typically compiled by the GC and collected from the subcontractors for all ceiling and wall system products used throughout construction. Although you won’t need to initially submit all product data sheets (or MSDS) for LEED compliance, the GC should collect and store this documentation in case verification on certain products is requested during the LEED review process.
Some general contractors find it easiest to track the ceiling and wall systems as they are ordered. Every time you order products for ceiling and wall systems, input all the necessary information into the tracking sheet or a spreadsheet. This way, you don’t have to spend time going through order forms during project closeout, prior to the construction submittal.
Typically, the cost premium for this credit is low—if product specifications are made early. On the other hand, if LEED requirements are not bid early in the process, or if you start work on the credit after materials have been ordered, the cost can go up. There can also be an additional soft cost from the contractor for researching and tracking compliant products.
It is helpful to keep a master spreadsheet of all the products being tracked for environmental properties across the MR and IEQ credits. For example, you may need to ask the insulation vendor for low-emitting information for EQc4.6, recycled content information for MRc4, and regional information for MRc5—all for one insulation selection. If all this information is kept in the same spreadsheet, it streamlines the documentation process and associated research. It is also best to have the subcontractors provide monthly reports. (See sample Master Tracking Spreadsheet in the Documentation Toolkit.)
It is helpful to post signs on the construction site that remind subcontractors to follow the LEED requirements for all low-emitting products. These signs should be in any languages that are spoken on the jobsite.
Fill out the LEED Online credit form with a list of products, including:
Keep a record of compliant ceiling and wall system products used in the school for procurement staff use in future purchasing.
Excerpted from LEED 2009 for Schools New Construction and Major Renovations
To reduce the quantity of indoor air contaminants that are odorous, irritating and/or harmful to the comfort and well-being of installers and occupants.
All gypsum board, insulation, acoustical ceiling systems and wall coverings installed in the building interior must meet the testing and product requirements of the California Department ofHealth Services Standard Practice for the Testing of Volatile Organic Emissions from Various Sources Using Small-Scale Environmental Chambers, including 2004 Addenda.
Schools projects may choose from IEQ Credits 4.1-4.6 for a maximum of 4 points.
Clearly specify requirements for product testing and/or certification in the construction documents. Some programs that offer verification of the cited standard for Options 1-4 and 6 are Indoor Advantage Gold, GREENGUARD Children & Schools, the Resilient Floor Covering Institute’s FloorScore program, the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Green Label Plus program, and the Collaborative for High Performance Schools product list. Indoor Advantage Gold offers verification of the BIFMA standard cited in Option C of the Furniture Option.
Support on incorporating LEED requirements into specifications.
The testing practice establishes the procedures for product sample collection, emissions testing, indoor concentration modeling, and documentation requirements associated with the analyzing the emissions 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. from various sources using small-scale environmental chambers. In addition, the testing practice lists target chemicals and their maximum allowable concentrations.
CHPS has provided a Low-Emitting Materials Table that gives an overview of products that meet the CA section 01350, GREENGUARD Children &Schools certification and Indoor Advantage Gold by SCS.
This website provides a list of building materials that have been approved for CA section 01350.
This website provides a list of products that have been approved for CA section 01350.
ARCOM publishes MasterSpec which provides specification language for LEED credits. However, the language has not yet been updated for LEED for Schools or LEED 2009 but could be a good starting point.
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.
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.
Provide a tracking sheet like this to subcontractors to record the low-emitting qualities of the ceiling and wall systems they purchase.
These sample cut sheet with annotations show different ways of gathering documentation of low-emitting ceiling and wall systems that meets the requirements of this credit.
Teams can use this tool to track all materials across applicable 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.
The following links take you to the public, informational versions of the dynamic LEED Online forms for each Schools-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."
For one of our projects, the supplier for the sound diffusing ceiling panels claims that he does not have to comply with LEED requirements because his panels are hung from cables, can be moved or removed, and are considered furniture by the Fire Authorities (not a permanent fixture). Does anyone know if the supplier is correct, or if the panels need to comply with LEED requirements? Thank you.
Happy almost 4th of July!
While the local AHJ may deem them to not be permanent fixtures, I believe that the LEED credit is pretty clear on this as "acoustical ceiling systems" must meet the criteria. It says nothing about if they are permanent or a fixture - simply that if they are there and you are going after the credit, then they need to meet the criteria.
Have a great rest of the holiday week.
Are you talking about lay-in acoustical ceiling tiles, or suspended sound deadening panels like you would see in an auditorium or gymnasium?
If they are lay-in panels or a suspended grid system, I believe you would have to go with the credit language. If they are individually suspended, sound-deadening panels I think your supplier may have a valid point on this one.
Just my take on it.
I am working on a retail project (like the schools rating system, the retail rating system also has this 'Ceiling and Wall Systems' credit option) that will have ceramic tiles installed on walls in restrooms and other areas. I am interpreting that the tiles would be considered wall coverings and therefore would be included under this credit.
My question is whether the tiles would need to be tested and shown to be compliant with CA Section 01350. By the letter of this credit I believe they would be. However, the 'Flooring Systems' option of this credit specifically exempts mineral-based flooring materials such as ceramic tiles, stone, etc. from demonstration of compliance (as long as they do not have organic coatings applied to them), presumably because it is known that these products emit no organic pollutants. The 'Ceiling and Wall Systems' option does not indicate such an exemption.
If ceramic tiles applied to a floor surface are allowed an exemption from a certification or testing-demonstrated compliance with 01350, I cannot think of a reason that ceramic tiles applied to a wall surface should not also be exempted.
A few ceramic tile products are Greenguard Children & Schools certified, but not many (and importantly, not the ones specified by the project I am involved with).
Does anyone have experience with this issue?
As you mentioned there are some tiles out there that show compliance to this testing already. You are also correct that these products are inherently non-emitting (if nothing is added after the production). With all of that said I believe that the USGBC ruling for flooring would cover the wall and ceiling tile if you choose to utilize it.
The LEED v4 (LEED 2012) draft requirements for low-emitting interiors expand the list of inherently non-emitting materials to address walls, ceilings, and furniture in addition to flooring. This has been consistently part of all four public comment versions and has been available as a pilot credit. This history provides a precedent for you to cite when using ceramic tiles for your project, without supporting test results or certification.
You can see the 4th public comment version at this link:
The low-emitting interiors credit starts on page 62, the key language is on page 64 and states in part:
Inherently nonemitting sources. Products that are inherently nonemitting sources 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. (stone, ceramic, powder-coated metals, plated or anodized metal, glass, concrete, clay brick, and unfinished or untreated solid wood flooring) are considered fully compliant without any VOC emissions testing if they do not include integral organic-based surface coatings, binders, or sealantsA sealant has adhesive properties and is formulated primarily to fill, seal, or waterproof gaps or joints between 2 surfaces. Sealants include sealant primers and caulks. (SCAQMD Rule 1168. )Sealants are used on wood, fabric, paper, corrugated paperboard, plastic foam and other materials with tiny openings, often microscopic, that may absorb or discharge gas or fluid..
If a gypsum board wall material has been certified under Greenguard GGPS.001, does this mean that it has achieved the testing and product requirements established in IEQ Credit 4.6?
If products meet the GREENGUARD Children & Schools criteria they show compliance to the requirements of the credit. If a product only had the GREENGUARD certification then it wouldn't show compliance. The Children & Schools is the important denotation.
Is cement backer board for tile work required for EQc4.6 compliance? It is technically not gypsum board which is what the credit requires. Thanks!
It is a part of the wall system, but you are correct that it isn't listed in the required products - therefore I think that you could get away with not having it be low-emitting.
We have received GBCI review comments that said it was to be included in the credit. However's it's not mentioned in the reference guide as a ceiling or wall component, neither is tile.
Thanks, all. I submitted this question to GBCI and according to the response, it must be included:
"The LEED Green Building Design and Construction 2009 guide discusses that the credit applies to "all gypsum board, insulation, acoustical ceiling systems and wall coverings installed in the building interior". Even though cement backer board would not by considered gypsum board, we believe it would still be considered an interior wall covering of sorts. Therefore we recommend you include it in your submission for IEQc4.6."
This is good news for the health of indoor occupants.
Has anyone had any luck submitting materials that are "self-declared" compliant from the manufacturer? We have a contractor who wants to use the Armstrong Clean Room Healthzone Ultima #1935 ceiling tiles in a LEED for Schools project. However, the Ultima #1935 has not actually been tested for compliance with CA 01350. The testing report on the CHPS databse is for the Ultima #1912 tile, but has a cover letter from Armstrong that states the Healthzone Ultima is a related product, and that it can be deduced that it would also meet the CA 01350 requirments, if it were to be tested. I don't think this will be sufficient, but thought I would check here to see if anyone else has tried this approach.
I'm sorry to answer this way, but it is actually up to you. The CA 01350 that is referenced in LEED 2009 does not address this situation. The best direction that I can give you is that the current CA 01350 v1.1 (please note this is not what is referenced in LEED 2009) has a section that governs this exact situation:
8.3 Breadth of Claim
8.3.1 A claim that extends beyond the individual product that is tested shall only be made if there is clear evidence justifying that tested items are representative of this product or related products. Such evidence shall be documented and the documentation shall be made available to interested parties upon request (see Section 8.7 and 8.8).
This would tell me that if you are abiding by CA 01350 v1.1 (again please note this is not what is referenced in LEED 2009) that you can ask the manufacturer or certification organization to verify/show you how they came to 'group' products as similar.
Thank you for the quick response, Josh. This actually leads into another question - whether projects are allowed to use CA 01350 v1.1 instead of CA 01350 with 2004 addenda. Since v1.1 supercedes the 2004 version, manufacturers are currently testing their products to the v1.1 standard, not the 2004 version, so these days it is not really possible to demonstrate compliance with the older version of the standard. I sent an email to USGBC this week to get some clarification on this; I'll try to post the response here once I get an answer.
While I can't say that I have seen anything official - I do know some LEED reviewers that have accepted reports garnered from the new test methodology for the EQ c4.0 credits.
We're all still struggling with this credit in our office and trying to determine whether or not we stand a change of getting this point, or if we should abandon it. In doing this, we are anticipating what products that we haven't yet reviewed might end up standing in the way of this credit down the road. Would wall padding in a gymnasium, tack boards, marker boards and acoustic panels all be included in this credit? I'm sorry if this question is redundant, but we're trying to sift through information from many different sources and a lot of it is redundant or vague. Thanks for your help.
Traditionally this low-emitting product credit gets lots of questions so please do not feel as if you are the only ones. The specific things that you have to make sure meet the CA 01350 requirements are Insulation, drywall, acoustic ceiling tiles and wall coverings these all must be included. I know of other projects that have included the other products that you mentioned - mainly because they were focusing on good indoor air quality, but also to ensure that they were covered.
If you have the 4 main products pass, then you should be awarded the point. The other products can potentially impact the indoor air quality so you may want to look around for some low-emitting options for them as well, but it shouldn't impact getting the point.
We are looking over LEED data for flat veneered wood ceiling panels, and we're unsure if it needs to meet both 4.4 and 4.6, or if meeing IEQc4.4 is enough to ensure that it's compliant with 4.6. Are these both checking the same thing? The product that we're looking at is compliant with 4.4, and we're not sure if we can stop the search there. Any thoughts would be appreciated, thanks
The short answer is no - meeting IEQc 4.4 does not show qualification for IEQc 4.6.
The reasoning is a little more complicated. IEQc 4.4 looks at the amount of 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. being emitted from composite woodComposite wood consists of wood or plant particles or fibers bonded by a synthetic resin or binder. Examples include particleboard, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), plywood, oriented-strand board (OSB), wheatboard, and strawboard. and tries to minimize it. IEQ c 4.6 looks at the amount of 35 individual chemicals (including formaldehyde) being emitted from ceiling and wall systems and tries to minimize those 35 individual chemicals. Additionally, the testing required by the two credits is different.
So again, I would say that qualifying for IEQ c4.4 might help the overall intent of having a low amount of volatile organic compounds in the indoor environment, but it will not show compliance with IEQ c4.6.
I have a similar question - are decorative wood ceiling panels that go BELOW the ACT required for EQc4.6 compliance? I am also having trouble finding compliant wood panels.
While insulation, drywall, acoustic ceiling tiles and wall coverings are the main products called out and looked at for being low-emitting in this credit, I could see a leed reviewer requiring decorative wood panels pass this criteria to get the credit. You may want to look at the individual programs that certify to the CA 01350 criteria for compliant products - www.greenguard.org and www.scscertified.com are the most prominent in North America currently. If they don't have any, you can always ask the manufacturer if they have proven compliance to the CA 01350 test on their own without 3rd party certification, but simply through a test lab report.
Does this credit apply to mineral wool firestopping? I'm looking through a submittal for firestopping and trying to determine if the products in front of me will jeapordize this credit or not. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
EQc4.6 officially reads that 'all gypsum board, insulation, acoustical ceiling systems and wall coverings' installed in the building need to meet CA 01350 emission requirements. I could see due to how I have seen it sold/talked about that mineral wool firestopping might be looked at as insulation. Obviously for the sake of the indoor air quality it would be good if it was a low-emitting product, but I could see the case being made that it isn't called out and therefore doesn't need to be.
Often the finishes in an elevator cab are inert materials/non-emitting such as metal panels for walls and plastic unit lighting for ceilings. In the case of plastic laminate panels, the materials would be subject to EQc4.4. Other than an actual ‘wallcovering’ such as Xorel or similar durable wallcoverings, are elevator cab walls and ceiling subject to EQc4.6 criteria?
Linda - I can say that I have never heard the interior of elevators asked about before, but here is my reading of the situation.
EQc4.6 officially reads that 'all gypsum board, insulation, acoustical ceiling systems and wall coverings' installed in the building need to meet CA 01350 emission requirements. So if you have none of those in your elevator cabs, then I do not believe that they have to comply.
Now the thing that I would make sure of is that if you are going after EQc4.3 (flooring), is that the flooring in the elevator meets CA 01350 requirements. I can see the elevator flooring being included in EQc4.3 requirements.
For a LEED for Schools, 2007 project we have provided for the LEED construction documentation reviewers a list of ceiling and wall system components used on the project with the coordinating documentation of Greenguard for Children and schools certificates, a website screenshot or manufacturer documentation listing the product as a CHPS low-emitting material located in the database, or documenation of 3rd party testing of the material to meet the California Department of Health Services Standard Practice for The Testing Of Volatile Organic Emissions From Various Sources Using Small-Scale Environmetnal Chambers, including 2004 Addenda. However, acceptable documentation for this credit as outlined in the LEED for Schools Reference Guide is confirmation that the components comply with the testing and product requirements of the CA Dept of Health Services Standard Practice for the Testing of Volatile Organic Emissions from Various Sources Using Small-Scale Environmental Chambers, including 2004 Addenda.
Under "Potential Technologies and Strategies" in the LEED for Schools, 2007 manual they state "Clearly specify requirements for product testing and/or certification in the construction documents. Some programs that offer verification of the cited standard for Options 1–4 and 6 are Indoor Advantage™ Gold, GREENGUARD™ Children & SchoolsSM, the Resilient Floor Covering Institute’s FloorScore™ program, the
Carpet and Rug Institute’s Green Label Plus™ program and the Collaborative for High Performance Schools product list."
The construction review team has requested. proof of compliance that the components comply with the testing and product requirements of the CA Dept of Health Services Standard Practice for the Testing of Volatile Organic Emissions from Various Sources Using Small-Scale Environmental Chambers, including 2004 Addenda.
We are not understanding as a project team why providing the documentation of Greenguard for Children and schools certificates, a website screenshot or manufacturer documentation listing the product as a CHPS low-emitting material located in the database, or documenation of 3rd party testing of the material to meet the CA Department of Health Services Standard Practice for The Testing Of Volatile Organic Emissions From Various Sources Using Small-Scale Environmetnal Chambers, including 2004 Addenda is not acceptable documentation.
I am thinking that maybe providing the testing standards for GREENGUARD for Children and Schools and CHPS low-emitting database that show that the products must be tested to meet the 01350 standard. Do you think that would be sufficient?
It sounds to me like the review team is off track in rejecting what you submitted. I'd suggest getting back to them with that info from the manual and pushing them to explain what's missing. Also, try to move the conversation up the chain from your initial reviewer to a more senior person if you can...
Alison - if you are looking to take that tact with them here are a couple of links that may help:
GREENGUARD C&S Standard: http://www.greenguard.org/Libraries/GG_Documents/GGPS_002_GREENGUARDChil... (this shows that the California CRELs, which are what is covered in CA 01350, are one part of the criteria which has to be passed).
California Dept of Public Health Indoor Air Quality Program page which lists what certification programs to look at for qualifying products: http://www.cal-iaq.org/vocs/voc-links
Thanks for your help! We have several other comments on other credits where it does seem like the reviewer does not even understand the standards and is not reviewing the requirements before they request additional information.
Unfortunately a more common occurence then I think we would all like. It is an incredible amount of information to retain, but walking through it with you before ruling would certainly be a better policy.
The criteria states specific materials to be addressed by this credit - gypsum board, insulation, acoustical ceiling systems and wallcovering, but LEED User seems to imply "ALL ceiling & wall components" need to comply. Our team is struggling to identify which is correct. For instance, if we have ceiling systems that are not acoustic, such as metal or wood, would they need to comply? Also, acoustic wall components--are not really wallcoverings--should they be included? Or, what defines "acoustical ceiling system" as it not defined in the reference guide? Has anyone successfully documented this credit that can give some feedback? Thanks All!
Linda - many people actually ask about what makes up a ceiling and wall component, so your team is having a normal reaction. In your example - unfinished metal (one that does not have a coating of any kind on it) would be exempt as it does not emit any 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.. If someone is looking for justification of that, then you can point them to the new proposed Low-Emitting Materials Pilot Credit. If the wood is 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. (OSBOriented-strand board (OSB). Consists of wood or plant particles or fibers bonded by a synthetic resin or binder. Examples include particleboard, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), plywood, wheatboard, oriented-strand board, and strawboard., particle board, etc) piece then it would fall under EQc4.4, not EQc4.6.
What I have seen most teams that get this do is ensure that their gypsum board (ceiling and/or wall), insulation (ceiling and/or wall), acoustical ceiling tiles (if that is what you are using), and wallcoverings (fabric, wallpaper, other) show compliance to the CA 01350 requirements (see above comment for link to it). Now if you are not using acoustical ceiling tiles and you are using something else - such as some formed wood - then that would need to show compliance as well as it is a piece of the ceiling that is exposed to the occupants.
In your reply you mentioned that unfinished metals without a coating of any kind would be exempt from this credit. What about ceiling accessories and grids that are factory finished? We're having trouble finding any information about how those elements fit into this credit. Has anybody else run into this confusion? Thanks!
When I was talking about metal being exempt it would be due to the new Pilot Credit 21 and its reference to unfinished metal being exempt from emission criteria.
What I have seen most often needed for garnering this credit is the actual ceiling tiles, but I can certainly understand if a LEED reviewer reads the credit as looking for the complete system to have emission clearance testing.
Josh, thanks for the information in this credit area.
Regarding your comment above that "If the wood is 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. (OSBOriented-strand board (OSB). Consists of wood or plant particles or fibers bonded by a synthetic resin or binder. Examples include particleboard, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), plywood, wheatboard, oriented-strand board, and strawboard., particle board, etc) piece then it would fall under EQc4.4, not EQc4.6" -- has this been an actual decision taken by reviewers of projects in which you have been involved?
I am wondering because although this makes sense to me, it seems to be contradicted by a counter-example -- flooring 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 reference guide indicates that flooring adhesives and sealants are to be included in both the 'flooring systems' option and the 'adhesives & sealants' option of the Low-emitting Materials credit.
This example suggests that just because a product is included in one option of the Low-emitting Materials credit, this does not necessarily mean that it can be excluded from others that would otherwise be applicable.
I am working on a retail project whose design includes fire-rated plywood as a protective wainscoting along a stocking room wall, and also as a wall component located inside the waterproof barrier in other areas. I am trying to determine whether these are to be included in the 'Wall and Ceiling Systems' option, partly because we are having difficulty identifying compliant products
I agree that the flooring credit (4.3) is written in a confusing way. I have seen buildings that have had it done both ways - adhesives included in 4.3 and 4.1 or just included in 4.1.
So here is how I would see the criteria breaking down for your retail project. The wainscoting is part of the wall system and therefore all parts of it (including the plywood) would need to meet 4.6, but the part that is simply part of the building structure (water barrier) that would need to meet 4.4. The reason that I would say this is due to exposure to the indoor occupants - the wainscoting is in direct contact with the indoor environment, I'm guessing that the waterproofing barrier is not. I hope that helps you understand a little more the intention of the credit.
Thank you for your reply, Josh.
One more clarification -- the plywood being used as a wall component (not the plywood used as a wainscoting) -- is not acting as the weather barrier -- it is inside the waterproof membrane. As such, would this plywood be included in the 'Wall & Ceiling Systems' option?
By the letter of the credit option, the plywood is not one of the named items covered by the credit -- "gypsum board, insulation, acoustical ceiling system or wall coverings." However, in terms of the credit intent, as an interior material this plywood would likely 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..
You are correct - it isn't counted per the letter of the credit, but I could see a reviewer saying that since this is part of the wall it needs to meet this criteria. Now if the plywood is part of the base building, then it would probably fall under credit EQ4.4 and not 4.6.
I've read the STANDARD PRACTICE FOR THE TESTING OF VOLATILE ORGANIC EMISSIONS FROM VARIOUS SOURCES USING SMALL-SCALE ENVIRONMENTAL CHAMBERS
and for the life of me do not see the VOC threshholds stated for gypsum ceiling assemblies. Can anyone provide that?
Unfortunately, the standard does not have a specific VOC level. This credit is not like the other low-emitting credits (IEQc4.1-4.4) where you can pick up a can of paint and easily see if it's compliant or not. You will need to do some research to find existing products that have already passed the testing standards. All of the following certifications are compliant for this credit: CA section 01350, GREENGUARD Children &Schools certification and Indoor Advantage Gold by SCS. Check out the LEED User Resources page for this credit to find links to these sources.
The STANDARD PRACTICE FOR THE TESTING OF VOLATILE ORGANIC EMISSIONS FROM VARIOUS SOURCES USING SMALL-SCALE ENVIRONMENTAL CHAMBERS (or CA 01350 as it can be called sometimes) has limits on breathable chemicals. Some of the other low-emission credits are actually based on VOC content. While looking for GREENGUARD Children & Schools or SCS Indoor Advantage Gold can be helpful, products can also prove compliance to this credit with a test lab report showing that the emission of 35 specific chemicals are below the limits.
Those limits are shown on page 37 here: http://www.cal-iaq.org/vocpublications?download=18%3Avoc_standard_method
I am running into the same type of question on the gypsum roof cover board that is directly under the waterproofing membrane but over the rigid insulation and roof deck. IEQ 4.6 addresses materials that might emit contaminates installed in the building interior of a school, However, It seems unlikely a thin layer of gypsum board essentually barricaded from the interior by rigid insulation, a wood or metal roof deck, and the ceiling system would have any impact on indoor air quality- just because it is under the waterproofing membrane.
I agree with your assessment Barry. If it is outside the roof deck I would say that it wouldn't have an effect on the indoor air quality, but I believe USGBC looks at it as if it is inside the 'weatherproofing barrier'. Therefore, they may be looking at the water proofing membrane as that barrier.
Hello - I hope this is the correct place to post this question:
Does LEED for Schools IEQ Credit 4.6, Low-Emitting Materials - Ceiling
and Wall Systems, include ROOFING insulation? The way I read the
Credit, it doesn't, but my architect seems to think it does.
Thanks in advance....
The people who focus on material contributions to 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. are pretty adamant that anything inside the weather barrier communicates directly with indoor air (through gaps in the roof deck, for example), so I suspect that their intention WAS to include roofing insulation. If you put the insulation on top of the membrane, then it would clearly be outside the weather barrier.
But I can certainly see how this could be a gray area, and would love to hear from others with experience or informed opinions...
Yes, Nadav this is exactly how I see it. Insulation is generally inside the weather barrier and therefore would need to be included in this credit. For our projects, insulation is usually the sticking point of this credit but there are products out there.
Thanks so much for your responses. Yes, roofing insulation is inside the weather barrier and I certainly support pushing the bar up as much as we can and as fast as we can, but roofing insulation is not part of the interior "ceiling system". Consideration needs to be given to insulation mounted on a metal deck as well (What percentage 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. would migrate through?), or on a plywood deck (what about the VOCs in the plywood?).
I checked the CIRs and nobody has posed this question yet. I hoping that someone with the definitive answer will respond to this post.
Whatever the outcome, the reference guide should clarify this issue in the future.
The issue here seems to be that "ceiling" means something very different than "roofing," and USGBC was not sensitive to that in writing this credit.
However, USGBC is very consistent with these credits that all materials within the weatherproofing barrier are covered, so unless the insulation is outside of that barrier, it must be considered part of the "ceiling system" and comply with the credit.
Also, the credit language is more clear than the name of the credit. The language itself says "All gypsum board, insulation, acoustical ceiling systems and wall coverings installed in the building interior..." are covered. So again, interior means within the weather barrier.
Plywood is covered under IEQc4.4, so hopefully teams would pursue that as well. The point about metal is fair but for better or worse, LEED tends to avoid going into such detail as to prescribe different requirements depending on the roofing deck used.
Has anyone had any luck identifying isocyanurate roofing insulation that meets the credit requirements? In certain areas of our project, there is no roofing membrane, and the isocyanurate is fastened directly to the steel deck. I am researching the available products on the market, but would love to hear if anyone else has found anything.
I tend to think of "interior systems" whatever is on the interior side of the air barrier, NOT the weather barrier. For instance in a roof, you have the membrane (weather barrier) on the exterior, then you have your rigid insulation and below this, you typically install an air barrier above a board resting on the metal deck. There is no way 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. from insulation will pass through the air barrier (unless installed defectively). Therefore I would consider the rigid insulation NOT to be on the interior, therefore out of the scope for this credit. Same reasoning applies to rigid insulation in exterior cavity walls on the exterior side or air/vapor barrier. Sheathing, on the other hand, would have to be listed.
Does anybody have reasons to agree/disagree with this?
Does this credit apply to Acoustic Baffles and Banners? These are flexible fiberglass panels covered in either vinyl or canvas fabric, and in many cases, are needed to achieve EQ Prerequisite 1, Minimum IA Performance and/or EQ Credit 9, Enhanced Acoustical Performance. Our project team has been able to identify mineral fiber acoustical canopies that meet the EQc4.6 requirements, but have not been able to identify anyd 3rd party certified flexible, fabric encapsulated, acoustic baffles or banners.
The IEQc4.6 credit language seems to anticipate your question, stating that "acoustical ceiling systems and wall coverings" must comply. What you describe seem to be "acoustical ceiling systems." What do you think—is this not an accurate or fair description?
Yes, Tristan, I believe you are correct. Just wanted to confirm, since there is a limited availability of these products on the market. Our design team is currently researching the Certainteed Ecophon Hygiene Baffles (which appear to meet the requirements for EQc4.6), to see if they can be purchased in the dimensions that are needed for our project.
Since there are a limited number of products that meet this credit's standards, project teams can arrange to have products tested by labs.
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If you’re planning to IEQc3.2 through IAQ testing, it is a good idea to pursue all of the IEQc4 credits.
Along with IAQ, consider acoustics in choosing which wall and ceiling systems.
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