Schools-EBOM-v4 EQp2: Environmental tobacco smoke control

  • Prohibit smoking indoors

    Nudge people to use designated smoking areas by providing amenities like seating, protection from weather, and cigarette receptacles. | Photo – Cory DoctorowNudge people to use designated smoking areas by providing amenities like seating, protection from weather, and cigarette receptacles. Photo – Cory DoctorowEnvironmental tobacco smoke (ETSEnvironmental tobacco smoke (ETS), or secondhand smoke, consists of airborne particles emitted from the burning end of cigarettes, pipes, and cigars, and is exhaled by smokers. These particles contain about 4,000 compounds, up to 50 of which are known to cause cancer.) is a well-documented human health hazard. The only way to eliminate the threat of ETS is to completely prohibit smoking indoors, which is why LEED v4 gives no way around the requirement to ban indoor smoking. This is a departure from LEED 2009, which permitted designated interior smoking rooms.

    Residential projects remain an exception to the interior no-smoking rule. See below for specific considerations for residential projects.

    Smoking outdoors is allowed, with certain parameters

    Smoking must be prohibited within 25 feet of building entries, outdoor air intakes, and operable windows. If you want to create a designated smoking area it must be located at least 25 feet away from building openings.

    Additionally, if a portion of the site is used for business purposes–courtyards or a cafe with sidewalk seating, for example–this area must also be 100% smoke-free. Smoking must be prohibited in this type of area regardless of whether it’s inside or outside the property line.

    Make sure your signage is compliant

    No smoking signage must be placed within 10 feet of every building entrance. The only entrances exempt from this requirement are alarmed emergency exits.

    The LEED Reference Guide doesn’t mandate any particular language for signage, but it does provide some suggestions: “Smoking is allowed in designated smoking areas only” or “No smoking allowed within 25 feet.”

    Residential projects can allow smoking indoors

    Smoking can be permitted in residential projects in specific units. However, additional work will be required to confirm that smoke isn’t moving from smoking units to non-smoking areas of the building. See the LEED Reference Guide for specific information on the requirements for this situation.

    Different signage requirements for schools

    If you’re working on a LEED for Schools project you’ll need to ensure that smoking is prohibited on entire site. Signage detailing this policy must be posted at the property line, rather than near the building entrances.

    Readiness Review Questions

    • Does the building currently contain any designated smoking rooms? If yes, can the entire building interior be transitioned to non-smoking?
    • Where is smoking allowed outside the building? Can any of these areas be transitioned to non-smoking areas?
    • Has the building designated any outdoor areas for smoking, either formally in employee manuals or site plans, or informally by providing cigarette butt receptacles, seating, or similar amenities? Are any of these areas within 25 feet of doors, air intakes, or operable windows? If so, can they be moved at a reasonable expense? 

    • Are designated outdoor smoking areas sufficiently sheltered from the elements to ensure that occupants use them, instead of migrating to covered entrances or other locations closer to the building? 

    • How is the smoking policy communicated to building users and occupants? Are existing communication strategies effective? Does posted signage meet the prerequisite requirements? If not, what is the cost and timeline associated with installing appropriate signage?
    • If your project is a multifamily residential building, what are the anticipated costs associated with required leakage testing?
    • In a multifamily residential building, are all units properly compartmentalized to prevent smoke from leaking into adjacent spaces? If not, can deficiencies be remedied at a reasonable cost?

    FAQs for EQp2

    Municipal law requires that our building be completely smoke-free inside. It also bans smoking next to the building, but it’s not as stringent as the 25 foot LEED requirement. Do we have to make another policy that bans smoking within 25 feet?

    Yes. If local regulations are not as strict as LEED you must create a policy that complies with LEED standards (and communicate this policy to building users) to achieve this prerequisite. Exterior signage that communicates the policy is required so that all occupants, visitors, and passersby are made aware of the exterior smoking policy.

    We want to designate a smoking area less than 25 feet from an emergency exit. Is this okay since that door is rarely (if ever) used?

    This is acceptable as long as the emergency exit has an alarm. Emergency exits without alarms qualify as building openings and must have signage. 

    What if I have a zero lot line property and no control over the sidewalk?

    Smoking still needs to be prohibited in areas used for business purposes as well as public sidewalks that are within 25 feet of the building. If existing code explicitly prohibits you from extending your no-smoking zone, you should still be able to earn the prerequisite if you provide a copy of the code restriction.

    What about vaping and e-cigarettes?

    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 10388 confirms that electronic cigarettes are considered a form of smoking. It also updated the definition of smoke to include “smoke produced from the combustion of cannabis and controlled substances and the vapors produced by electronic smoking devices." 

    What about residential balconies?

    The LEED Reference Guide states that prohibiting smoking on residential balconies is a recommended strategy for protecting non-smoking units and balconies. But, it doesn’t explicitly say that smoking must be prohibited. If you do allow smoking on balconies attached to smoking units, ensure that you’re able to achieve and demonstrate proper air sealing using the strategies in the LEED Reference Guide.

  • EQ Prerequisite 2: Environmental tobacco smoke control




    Prohibit smoking on site.

    Signage must be posted at the property line indicating the no-smoking policy.




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Aug 22 2017
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