LEED®, the US originated rating system for sustainable buildings, is requested by more and more building planners in the USA and in Europe and at the Gulf. 2nd draft of LEED 2012 now is open for public comment during the period August 1 – September 14, 2011.
As regards VOC emissions of materials into indoor air, the “EQ credit Low-Emitting Interiors“, major proposed changes in 2nd draft of LEED 2012 are:
- VOC emissions limits no longer are valid for single products, e.g. an adhesive, but for all products going into a surface, e.g. a floor or a wall (“systems approach”).
- Total assigned points depends on the percentage of surfaces covered by low emitting products.
- VOC emissions limits are taken from 2010 version of CDPH Section 01350. But for LEED projects outside North America, another way of showing compliance is based German AgBBapproach, together with ISO 16000-11 for handling samples of products that have not been mentioned explicitely in AgBB documents, and with a lower formaldehyde emissions limit. But for formaldehyde, 10 µg/m³ is the limit value to be respected after 28 days, which is lower than in AgBB.
- Above does not apply to furniture that needs to comply with ANSI/BIFMA M7.1-2011.
- TVOC emissions after 14 days shall be communicated in 3 ranges if LEED compliance is claimed based on CDPH Section 01350 (because Section 01350 does not include any TVOC limit value). The ranges are 0 – 0.5 mg/m³ / 0.5 – 5 mg/m³ / 5 mg/m³ and more. The CDPH definition of TVOC applies. But TVOC is no pass / fail criterion.
- VOC content limits for liquid products (paints, adhesives, sealants) have been taken out of LEED rating system, with only few exceptions. This has changed since 1st draft document.
- Wood-based panels and built-in cabinetry shall fulfill California Air Resources Board ATCM formaldehyde requirements for Ultra-Low-Emitting Formaldehyde (ULEF) resins or No-Added Formaldehyde (NAF) based resins
- European EN 717-1 test results will be accepted for above evaluation with a conversion factor of 1.63.
- Further new specifications deal with exempt products (inherently low emitting), laboratory quality requirements and guidelines for claims of compliance.
Other new chemical-related credit
There is a new credit on “Avoidance of Chemicals of Concern” in LEED 2012, requiring for minimum 20% of all purchased products and materials
- that the ingredients are declared, and
- none of the ingredients are listed on the California “Proposition 65” regulation.
Please note that these specifications may change during further commenting and reviewing process. These are not the final versions. On the other hand, LEED projects already now can register for experimental use of new Pilot Credits, e.g. of Pilot Credit 21 – Low-emitting Interiors.
On-going discussion can be followed in a LEED 2012 user forum.