Low-Emitting Materials Credits

Green Building Rating Systems

There are a number of green building rating systems that provide credits for building products and furniture with low emissions or low content of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These credits are structured to encourage the selection of products with minimal adverse indoor environmental quality (IEQ) impacts.

USGBC's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards are the most widely known green building rating systems. There are thousands of buildings with LEED certification in the U.S. and throughout the world and many make use of one or more of the available LEED Low-Emitting Materials (LEM) credits. Other widely-adopted systems are operated by the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS), the Green Building Initiative (GBI), and the Green Guide for Healthcare (GGHC).

The first table below lists the LEED IEQ credits for low-emitting materials in the 2009 version of the LEED rating system. Building projects can earn points by using low-emitting products in these categories. An example of a compliant low-emitting product in the Flooring Systems credit is a floor covering with FloorScore® certification. Also listed in the table are the IEQ credit categories contained in the latest CHPS, GBI and GGHC green building rating systems. Products that are compliant with LEED 2009 IEQ credits and with credits in other building rating system may be listed in green product registries.

USGBC’s new LEED v4 is a major technical upgrade. Use of LEED v4 will become mandatory in late 2016 for building projects seeking LEED certification. Significantly, LEED v4 includes product categories representing all of the major interior surfaces in a building and all of the layers comprising these surfaces. The second table below reproduces the thresholds of compliance for the six categories of products under Option 1, Product Category Calculations. Three compliant categories will earn one point for the project, five compliant categories will earn two points and 6 compliant categories will earn three points. Option 2, the Budget Calculation Method allows summing of the compliant percentages across all relevant categories with one to three points awarded depending upon the total percentage of compliant products.

Berkeley Analytical provides VOC emission testing and VOC content testing for all building product and furniture categories included in LEED v4, LEED 2009 and the other building rating systems. Test your low-emitting product, demonstrate compliance, and use the results as part of your marketing strategy. Compliant self-declared claims may be established using BkA’s ClearChem™ program and product registry. Contact us today to get started!

Organization

Rating System

Credit

U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)

LEED 2009 for Commercial Interiors

IEQ Credit 4.3: LEM1 – Flooring Systems

IEQ Credit 4.5: LEM – Systems Furniture & Seating

LEED 2009 for New Construction and Major Renovations

IEQ Credit 4.3: LEM – Flooring Systems

LEED 2009 for Schools

IEQ Credit 4.1: LEM - Adhesives and Sealants.  VOC Content requirements only
IEQ Credit 4.2: LEM - Paints and Coatings.  VOC Content requirements only

IEQ Credit 4.3: LEM – Flooring Systems

IEQ Credit 4.5: LEM – Furniture & Furnishings

IEQ Credit 4.6: LEM – Ceiling & Wall Systems

LEED 2009 for Healthcare

IEQ Credit 4: LEM, Group 2 – Wall & Ceiling Finishes

IEQ Credit 4: LEM, Group 3 – Flooring

Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS)

US CHPS Criteria 2014

Prerequisite EQ 7.0. Paints & Coatings. At least 90%. VOC Content requirements

Prerequisite EQ 7.0. Flooring Systems (resilient flooring & carpet). At least 75%. VOC Emissions evaluation. CDPH Standard Method V1.1

Prerequisite EQ 7.0. Composite Wood. At least 90%. CARB ATCM Phase 2 requirement

EQ 7.1.1. Adhesives & Sealants. At least 90%. VOC Emissions evaluation. CDPH Standard Method V1.1. VOC Content requirements

EQ 7.1.2. Flooring Systems. At least 90%. VOC Emissions evaluation. CDPH Standard Method V1.1

EQ 7.1.3. Composite Wood & Agrifiber Products. At least 90%. Composite wood CARB ATCM NAF or ULEF requirement. Agrifiber NAF requirement
EQ 7.1.4. Furniture & Furnishings. At least 90%. VOC Emissions evaluation. ANSI/BIMF M7.1
EQ 7.1.5. Paints & Coatings. At least 90%. VOC Emissions evaluation. CDPH Standard Method V1.1

EQ 7.1.6. Ceiling & Wall Systems. At least 90%. VOC Emissions evaluation. CDPH Standard Method V1.1

The Green Building Initiative (GBI)

ANSI/GBI 01-2010 Green Building Assessment Protocol

Table 12.2.1-A: Adhesives & Sealants.  VOC Emissions evaluation OR VOC Content requirements

Table 12.2.1-B: Walls (i.e. paint).  VOC Emissions evaluation OR VOC Content requirements

Table 12.2.1-C: Floors & Other Interior Products.  VOC Emissions evaluation

Green Guide for Healthcare (GGHC)

GGHC v2.2 Criteria

EQ Credit 4.1: LEM: Interior Adhesives & Sealants.  VOC Content requirements

EQ Credit 4.2: LEM: Wall & Ceiling Finishes (i.e., Paints & Coatings).  VOC Content requirements OR VOC Emissions evaluation.  CDPH Standard Method V1.1

EQ Credit 4.3: LEM: Flooring Systems.  VOC Emissions evaluation.  CDPH Standard Method V1.1

EQ Credit 4.4: LEM: Composite Wood & Insulation.  No Added Formaldehyde requirement

EQ Credit 4.5: LEM: Furniture & Medical Furnishings.  Chemical use restrictions

1LEM: Low-Emitting Materials

Table showing thresholds of compliance for LEED v4 EQ Credit: Low-Emitting Materials, Option 1

Category Threshold VOC Emissions & content requirements
Interior paints & coatings applied on site At least 90%, by volume, for emissions; 100% for VOC content VOC Emissions Evaluation for paints & coatings applied to walls, floors, and ceilings.  CDPH Standard Method V1.1. VOC content requirements for wet applied products
Interior adhesives & sealants applied on site (including flooring adhesive) At least 90%, by volume, for emissions; 100% for VOC content VOC Emissions Evaluation.  CDPH Standard Method V1.1.  VOC content requirements for wet applied products
Flooring 100% VOC Emissions Evaluation.  CDPH Standard Method V1.1
Composite wood 100% not covered by other categories Composite Wood Evaluation
Ceilings, walls, thermal, and acoustic insulation 100% VOC Emissions Evaluation.  CDPH Standard Method V1.1
Furniture (include in calculations if part of scope of work) At least 90%, by cost Furniture VOC Emissions Evaluation.  ANSI/BIFMA M7.1