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Part 5: Formaldehyde and LEED

Elizabeth Baldwin

In my continuing series on formaldehyde, I'm going to take a quick look at LEED's position. "Air Quality" is one of the six primary LEED categories and focuses on "Low-Emitting Materials," among other issues.

This gives the flooring industry two opportunities to contribute toward LEED credits-first in the choice of the floor product itself and second in the gluing and/or finishing of the product.

If you are selecting an engineered floor for a LEED project, ask for one that has "no added urea formaldehyde." You simply need a statement from the manufacturer confirming that to present with the invoice to the LEED auditor. (Unlike CARB, LEED allows manufacturers to self-certify their products.)

The second way to contribute can be through your choice of glue or finish. Ask for "low-VOC" products. (A "VOC" is a "Volatile Organic Compound." LEED allows different levels of VOCs depending on the product. For example, wood flooring adhesives must have a less than 100 grams per liter-less water-while subfloor adhesives must have less than 50 grams.) Most glues and finishes will indicate their ability to contribute toward LEED credits in their advertising material and again, all you will need is that statement from the manufacturer and the invoice as your LEED documentation.

We'll conclude this long (but hopefully not too boring) series on formaldehyde next time with "Fun Formaldehyde Facts!"

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