Justin Asks: Will my laminate HDF low VOC floor qualify for LEED IEQ credits?

Answer: Hi Justin, thanks for your question on Low-Emitting Materials as they apply to LEED projects. Without more specific details of your flooring system, it’s difficult to say exactly what credits will apply.

Indoor Environmental Quality: LEED Credits for Low VOC Floor

IEQ Credit 4.1, Low-Emitting Materials – Adhesives and Sealants is specific to adhesives and sealants used in construction. This credit has requirements for maximum VOC limits for different types of sealants. Subfloor adhesives have a VOC limit of 50 g/L while wood flooring adhesives have a limit is 100 g/L. There are other requirements for sealants as well. Without knowing what product you are using, I cannot say whether or not your project will qualify for this particular credit.

IEQ Credit 4.2, Low-Emitting Materials – Paints and Coatings is specific to low-VOC paints and coatings. This credit states: “Clear wood finishes, floor coatings, stains, primers, and shellacs applied to interior elements must not exceed the VOC content limits established in South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) Rule 1113, Architectural Coatings, rules in effect on January 1, 2004.”

I believe that for clear wood finishes, varnish has a VOC limit of 350 g/L and lacquer has a limit of 550 g/L. Other floor coatings have a limit of 100 g/L. You should refer to this standard for the complete details.

Again, without knowing what product you are using, I cannot say whether or not your project will qualify for this particular credit. However, if the products you use do meet these requirements, your project may also qualify for IEQ Credit 4.3, Low-Emitting Materials – Flooring Systems (per LEED-NC 2009).

Lastly, IEQ Credit 4.4, Low-Emitting Materials – Composite Wood and Agrifiber Products is a category that HDF would fall under. The main requirement in this credit is that the composite wood product used in the building does not contain any added urea-formaldehyde resins.

From the description of your product, I would say it most likely qualifies for this credit. With more details about the other products you plan to use (adhesives, sealants, paints and coatings), I may be able to provide you a better answer on the other LEED credits.

I hope this helps! Good luck with your project.



imageDavid M. Pratt

David M. Pratt, P.E., CEM, LEED AP is an Energy Management Consultant for Sustainable Climate and Energy Solutions group of MWH Americas, Inc. MWH is the global leader of the wet infrastructure sector. The MWH organization is driving the wet infrastructure sector globally, and we are leading the world in results-oriented management, technical engineering and construction services to build a better world.

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