Thursday, November 18, 2010

EcoLabels & Certifications: Indoor Air Quality Certifications

Today's installment of Deborah Fuller's Eco-Labels and Certifications series focuses on Indoor Air Quality Certifications.

GreenGuard Certification–VOC levels in Furniture, Materials and Finishes

  • GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certified®: Product certification program for low emitting interior building materials, furnishings, and finish systems. All GREENGUARD Certified Products have been tested for their chemical emissions performance and can be found in the GREENGUARD Online Product Guide.
  • GREENGUARD for Children & SchoolsSM: Product certification program for low emitting interior building materials, furnishings, and finish systems used in educational, office and other sensitive environments. GREENGUARD Children & Schools Certification sets strict emission limits on over 360 individual chemicals and requires a cap on the total level of all VOC emissions.

Contributes to: USGBC –LEED credits MRc4.5 Systems Furn & Seating
GREENGUARD is a for profit organization; the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute is a not-for-profit organization.

Green Seal - VOC Levels in Paints & Coatings

Green Seal certified products meet science-based environmental certification standards that are credible and transparent. Green Seal utilize a life-cycle approach. Green Seal is recognized by the USGBCas the certification system for Paints and Coatings.Products only become Green Seal certified after rigorous testing and evaluation, including on-site plant visits Green Seal provides science-based environmental certification standards that are credible, transparent, and essential in an increasingly educated and competitive marketplace. A 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, Green Seal issued its first environmental standards in 1991-2, and the first product certifications were completed in 1992.

Contributes to: USGBC –LEED credits EQ 4.2 Paints & Coatings
Green Seal is a non profit organization.

Blue Angel - VOC Levels in Office Equipment
The world's first eco-labeling program, Blue Angel, was created in 1977 to promote environmentally sound products, relative to others in the same group categories. The Basic Criteria apply to components of desktop computers, including workstations consisting of controller (console), keyboard and monitors, copiers, printers and plotters.
Blue Angel certification for computers is primarily concerned with waste avoidance and reuse potential. The criteria for awarding the Blue Angel include:

  • the efficient use of fossil fuels
  • alternative products with less of an impact on the climate
  • reduction of greenhouse gas emission
  • conservation of resources
  • once approved, eco-labeled products are reviewed every two or three years to reflect state-of-the-art developments in ecological technology and product design.

Contributes to: USGBC –LEED credits EQ 5 Chemical & Pollutant Source
Blue Angel is a government agency (Germany)

SCAQMD –South Coast Area Quality Management District –VOC levels in Adhesives & Sealants
The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) (AQMD) is the air pollution control agency for all of Orange County and the urban portions of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. This is the second most populated urban area in the United States and one of the smoggiest. AQMD is committed to undertaking all necessary steps to protect public health from air pollution, with sensitivity to the impacts of its actions on the community and businesses.
NOTE: this is not a certification but a governing agency that regulates VOC’s. The USGBC has adopted this standard for all Adhesives and Sealants.

Contributes to:USGBC –LEED credits EQ 4.1 Adhesives & Sealants
SCAQMD is a government agency (California)

Floor Score
FloorScore, developed by the Resilient Floor Covering Institute (RFCI) in conjunction with Scientific Certification Systems (SCS), tests and certifies hard surface flooring and flooring adhesive products for compliance with rigorous indoor air quality emissions requirements. Individual volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are evaluated using health-based specifications. Flooring and adhesives that earn FloorScore certification earn a legitimately enhanced market position, distinguished by the FloorScore certification label.

Contributes to: USGBC –LEED credits EQ 4.3 Flooring Systems
Floor Score is an industry organization

SCS Indoor Advantage Gold
The emphasis on individual VOCs rather than on total VOC concentration is one of the features that distinguish the SCS Indoor Advantage™ Gold program. The health risks associated with individual VOCs vary, making some more of a concern than others. Likewise, this emphasis on individual VOCs encourages manufacturers to identify and address the sources of chemical contaminants in their manufacturing process and enables them to establish specifications for the materials and components they purchase.

Contributes to: USGBC –LEED credits EQ 4.1 Adh& Sealants, EQ 4.2 Paints & Coating, EQ 4.3 Comp. Wood, EQ 4.5 Furniture
SCS Indoor Advantage Gold is a for profit organization

Carpet & Rug Institute Green Label Plus
Today, indoor air quality (IAQ) is an important environmental consideration, especially since we spend approximately 90 percent of our time indoors. Green Label Plus is the certification standard that the USGBC requires for carpet, carpet tiles, carpet pad and adhesives to help specifies identify products with very low emissions of VOCs.

Contributes to: USGBC –LEED credits EQc 4.3 Carpet
Carpet & Rug Institute is a non profit trade organization

Check back soon for the next installment: Wood Forestry Certifications


Rachel R. Belew said...

Thanks for helping to shed light on indoor air quality-related labels and certifications. We appreciate your coverage!

Just two friendly clarifications, though:

1. The GREENGUARD Environmental Institute is a not-for-profit organization.

2. While GREENGUARD Children & Schools Certified products meet CA 01350, our certification is much more robust and comprehensive than CA 01350. GREENGUARD Children & Schools Certification sets strict emission limits on over 360 individual chemicals (as opposed to just 36 chemicals) and requires a cap on the total level of all VOC emissions (known as TVOC).

I hope this is helpful.


Rachel R. Belew
Communications Manager
GREENGUARD Environmental Institute

Jodi "Millennial 4 Earth" Williams said...

Many thanks Rachel - glad to have you reading our site. We have updated accordingly!

Rachel said...

Thanks, Jodi! We appreciate it!

To clarify, both GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certification *and* GREENGUARD Children & Schools Certification set emission limits on over 360 individual chemicals as well as TVOC; the difference is that the Children & Schools Certification imposes more stringent emission limits to account for the unique health sensitivities of children.

I know it can get confusing :)


Reinhard said...

In fact there are many more serious indoor air quality labels and certifications, most of them in Europe (and more stringent than most US labels), some of them becoming important also in the USA such as the EMICODE ... for an overview and for comparison papers, please see here:

Jodi "Millennial 4 Earth" Williams said...

thanks for the new great resource reinhard!

UGG Fox Fur said...

The article is worth reading, I like it very much. I will keep your new articles.

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