What to Remember for LEED v4 Exam in Low Emitting Materials

Rob Freeman's picture
Rob Freeman
Vice President
August 17, 2015

Volatile Organic Compounds, aka “VOCs”, are chemical compounds that have high vapor pressure at room temperature. As such VOCs evaporate (become a gas) at room temperature and are emitted by certain materials, solids or liquids.

The new LEED v4 exams have simplified the Low Emitting Materials credits by combining into one (1) credit what was previously covered in six (6) different credits in LEED 2009.
The new LEED v4 exams have simplified the Low Emitting Materials credits by combining into one (1) credit what was previously covered in six (6) different credits in LEED 2009.
Credit: UBC Learning Commons via Flickr

VOCs are both man-made, as well as naturally occurring in plants and other organisms.

Man-made VOCs are common and found everywhere, by the thousands, in our cars, homes and places of work.

However, prolonged exposure to some man-made VOCs has been shown to cause health problems, especially in the indoor environment.

The Indoor Environmental Quality (EQ) category section in LEED v4 includes a credit that specifically addresses volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Offgassing

The emissions process is also known as offgassing, or "outgassing".

You’re familiar with offgassing if you’ve ever experienced that “new car smell”. The new car smell is actually the odor comprised of many VOCs emitting from the cars interior, from adhesives, sealants, fabrics, plastics or all of the above.

In conventional buildings offgassing is commonly found in many building products (such as paints, sealants, furniture or flooring).

To address indoor air quality concerns, the health of building occupants, and positively impact human health and productivity, LEED addresses acceptable levels of VOCs in the Indoor Environmental Quality (EQ) category within its “Low Emitting Materials” credits.

These credits reference certification standards for classes of materials, and set limits for the amount of VOCs permitted to offgas from building products in LEED certified buildings.

Changes in New LEED v4 Exams

The new LEED v4 exams have simplified the Low Emitting Materials credits by combining into one (1) credit what was previously covered in six (6) different credits in LEED 2009.

It’s 99% likely you will be asked about Indoor Environmental Quality on the LEED v4 Green Associate exam… As such, you should memorize the standards and definitions mentioned in the Low Emitting Materials credits and what they refer to.

EQ Low Emitting Materials Credit

For products to earn this point, the must either be inherently non-emitting, as described below, or they must be determined to be compliant with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Standard Method v1.1-2010. Also composite wood products must comply with ultra-low emitting formaldehyde standards of California Air Resources Board (CARB) and/or have no added formaldehyde.

There are two compliance options for project teams to earn the new, streamlined Low Emitting Materials credit in LEED v4.

  • Product Category Calculations
  • Budget Calculation Method

In Option 1, Product Category Calculations, you should know the basic categories of building products to be considered “Low Emitting”. These include:

  • Interior Paints and Coatings
  • Interior Adhesives and Sealants
  • Flooring
  • Composite Wood
  • Ceilings, Walls and Insulation
  • Furniture

In Option 2, Budget Calculation Method, you should know what a VOC budget is.

A VOC budget is a weighted average calculation that includes the VOC compliance for each product as a percentage of the whole, and the VOC level(s) of those products.

It is also a good idea to know what inherently non-emitting materials are. Some inherently non-emitting materials include:

  • Stone
  • Ceramic
  • Powder-coated metals
  • Plated or anodized metals
  • Glass
  • Concrete
  • Clay brick
  • Unfinished or untreated solid wood flooring

You should also be familiar with the meaning/definition of Volatile Organic Compound (VOC), as described above.

Connect.

Find members with green building and green business skills and experience.

Want to be listed on this page? Join Poplar Network for only $99.99 per year!

Meet Pros.

Avatarmohammed alzghool's picture
Facility Manager
madina
AvatarPoplar Team's picture
Activist
Ridgefield, CT
AvatarAshly Dollesin's picture
Engineer
NEW YORK, NY

Learn.

Relevant education and training to consider.

Why join Poplar Network?

Poplar Network

  • Full Year Professional Listing
  • Save up to $1,000, or more, on Professional Liability insurance (E&O) designed for LEED consultants
  • Share Poplar Education courses with other Poplar Network members for FREE
  • Submit articles for authorship publication on Poplar Network (3 CEUs from GBCI per approved article)
  • FREE 10.5 Hour LEED continuing education package
  • Save on exam preparation and continuing education
  • Connect with other Poplar Network members

Join Today!

 
: 650-746-4261