Green Building Credits and Certification for Low Emitting Products

Put Results to Work, Reap the Benefits

Architectural projects seeking green building certification will want to use low-emitting interior products. You have invested substantially in developing your products so they meet rigorous standards for indoor environmental quality. You have tested products with Berkeley Analytical (BkA) to secure independent verification that they meet specific standards. Now it’s it time to put your test results to work in the marketplace and deliver your message to architects, specifiers, contractors, and consumers.

Making Your Product Claim

The first step is creating a credible product claim—either self-declared (i.e., first party) or certified (i.e., third party). View our tutorial presentation on How to Establish Low VOC-Impact Claims for Products. Here you’ll learn the basics of product sample selection for both first- or third-party claims that will facilitate the grouping of products under one claim. For a self-declared claim, you’ll learn how to combine your manufacturer’s statement of conformity (see CPSC example) with BkA’s 'Compliance Tested' certificate into a document you can take confidently into the marketplace to demonstrate compliance with VOC emission standards. If you seek third-party confirmation, you’ll learn the basic requirements for certification bodies and what to look for and expect when selecting a certifier.

Promoting Your Product Claim

There are various ways to promote your product claim to projects seeking green building certification or other recognition. One way is to list your product and claim in one or more of the many on-line green product registries. These registries are where architects, specifiers, and contractors go to find products that are compliant with credits in green building certification systems and with green building codes, and possibly to download the product claims and certificates they need for documentation.

The costs for manufacturers to participate in registries can be substantial. And the choice can be difficult because the registries that accept low VOC-impact product claims vary significantly in quality, numbers of registered products and claims, cost structures, etc. Plus, it’s not clear which of these will emerge as the dominant players. View our comparison of seven product registries that accept products with low-VOC impact claims. This high level overview is a starting point for your own investigation of available online marketing resources.

Seizing Opportunities with Green Building Codes

Having a proper claim is particularly important with respect to green building codes. California’s CALGreen, implemented January 2011, is the nation’s first statewide green construction code. It imposes mandatory code (i.e., legal) requirements related to VOC content or VOC emissions for paints and coatings, adhesives and sealants, composite woods, and carpet and resilient floor covering products.

Read our white paper: A Brave New World – CALGreen and What It Means for Flooring Manufacturers in the California Market. Here you’ll learn about the mandatory requirements for flooring products in non-residential and residential construction in California and see the legal statements that architects and contractors are required to sign. The code language itself is analyzed with respect to the types of recognized claims and the implications for making claims that will be accepted under this system.

National green building codes also have been developed and soon will be impacting the selection of interior building products for a broader range of buildings. See our page that outlines the VOC emissions sections of ASHRAE Standard 189.1 and the International Green Construction Code (IgCC). Again, it is important for manufacturers to get their product claims recognized by the important decision makers. And by making conformity statements and test certificates readily available for download, manufacturers can facilitate documentation of compliance with these new building codes.

Keep up-to-date with our blog, website, and product testing services; we are always at the forefront of changes in codes and standards and can help you stay on top of green bulding certfication and code requirements.