GREENGUARD Indoor Air Guardian
GreenGuard Indoor Air Guardian




July 2009

Feature Article
NAHB National Green Building Standard

Sustainable building is moving into the mainstream, even in the consumer market. Earlier this year the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) released The National Green Building Standard™ for sustainable home construction. The program addresses numerous areas of home building: Site Design and Development, Lot Preparation, Resource Efficiency, Energy Efficiency, Operation/Maintenance, Building Owner Education and Indoor Environmental Quality. As with other major sustainable programs, the importance of good indoor air quality is recognized within the Indoor Environmental Quality section. Instead of focusing solely on ventilation, this section has 20 credit areas devoted to indoor pollutants.

The National Green Building Standard recognized the importance of minimizing pollutants by going further than most other sustainable programs and awarding points in eight low-emitting product categories. These categories are: Wood Materials, Carpets, Hard-Surface Flooring, Wall Coverings, Architectural Coatings, Adhesives and Sealants, Cabinets and Insulation.

According to the EPA, we spend approximately 90% of our time indoors, where pollutant levels can be two to five times higher than outdoors. Since the products used to construct and furnish homes release potentially harmful chemicals into the indoor environment, focusing on these pollutant sources is especially important.

Many of the pollutants off-gassed from indoor products are classified as volatile organic compounds. These chemicals easily become airborne from products that are either an integral part of our homes or are utilized on a daily basis in the home. Examples include: wallboard, paint, flooring, furnishings, bedding, cleaners and even electronics. With so many potential sources of pollution, poor indoor air quality can be an everyday fact for many households. Studies show that poor indoor air leads to many short- and long-term health consequences. Acute symptoms include triggering asthma and allergy attacks, eye irritation, headaches, upper respiratory irritation, nausea and dizziness. Long-term health risks include respiratory and neurological diseases and even cancer.

The GREENGUARD Environmental Institute offers a proven solution to pollutant source control by providing rigorous, third-party certification programs for low-emitting products. The most stringent is GREENGUARD Children & SchoolsSM. It allows for the unique sensitivities of children and others with challenged health conditions such as asthmatics, cancer patients and the elderly. Many consumer products including paint, electronics, mattresses, cribs and insulation are GREENGUARD Children & Schools Certified and can be found in the product guide available at no charge at

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Press Room

The GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI) serves as a resource for publications and media outlets, providing information on various topics that relate to product emissions and indoor air quality. The following are recent articles and features.

The Energizer Effect

Great Lakes Design Collaborative
7 standards every person should know!

Pharmacy Times
Innovators in Pharmacy: Parata Goes GREEN

Injury Board
Consumer Tips For Healthy Homes: Nontoxic Paints Arrive

PWC (Paintings & Wallcoverings)
Green Schemes

Mother Nature Network
Giving Green Paint New Meaning

U.S. Architecture
Top Projects 2007/2008 Turquoise Place

Building Operating Management
Green Certifications Explained

San Diego Source
Making green choices

To read these and past articles, visit the Press Room/Articles under the 'About GEI' tab on the GEI website.Read More...

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New Specifications

GREENGUARD Certification is recognized and specified by a large number of sustainable programs and local building codes. Below is a list of some of these programs where GREENGUARD Children & SchoolsSM Certified products are recognized. The list is constantly growing as GREENGUARD is regularly specified in new sustainability programs and green building specifications.



Type of Specification

Type of Product(s)

How GG is referenced

LEED 2009 – Schools

EQ Credit 4.0 - Option 1


Adhesives &


LEED 2009 – Schools

EQ Credit 4.0 - Option 2


Paints & Coatings


LEED 2009 – Schools

EQ Credit 4.0 - Option 3




LEED 2009 – Schools

EQ Credit 4.0 - Option 4


Composite Wood &


LEED 2009 – Schools

EQ Credit 4.0 - Option 5




LEED 2009 – Schools

EQ Credit 4.0 - Option 6


Ceiling & Wall


LEED 2009 – Schools

ID Credit (where all insulation installed meets the criteria)



Alternative Path

Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS)

EQ Credit 2.2




Northeast Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CT, ME, NH, RI, VT)

Materials Prerequisite 1




State of Washington Sustainable Schools Protocol

IEQ 3.2




State of Washington Sustainable Schools Protocol

IEQ 3.1


Paints & Coatings


GEI team gets LEED® Accredited
Inspired by the LEED-CI Gold certification of the new GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI) facility in December 2008, everyone on the GREENGUARD Team aspired to become a LEED Accredited Professional by the end of 2009. True to our goal, today, nearly all the Team including the executive management are LEED Accredited Professionals. This not only demonstrates GEI’s commitment to a sustainable environment, it also enables the GREENGUARD Team to better serve our certified product manufacturers, designers and architects, consumers and other stakeholders.

GREENGUARD Expands Educational Offerings
Effective January 1, 2009, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Continuing Education program implemented a requirement to increase the understanding of the role sustainable design practices play in the effective design and construction of high-performance buildings. This was accomplished by designating certain courses as Sustainable Design (SD).  Furthermore, members of AIA are required to achieve four units of SD courses per year, as part of their overall Health, Safety and Welfare (HSW) education requirements.

To help those in the architecture and design community, GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI) offers four continuing education courses and is introducing a fifth, all of which are accredited by the AIA as HSW and SD courses. The newest course will complement GEI’s current Continuing Education (CEU) offerings and is titled “Indoor Air Quality and Healing Environments.” This CEU is aimed primarily at architects and designers involved in creating all types of healing facilities such as hospitals, doctors’ offices, laboratories, as well as nursing homes and healthcare villages. The course provides information on best practices for design, construction and maintenance of high-performance facilities as they relate to the impact on occupants, stressing the use of low-emitting materials, infection control and the importance good indoor air quality plays in overall human health. The course content is also fully accredited by the IDCEC (ASID and IIDA) as well as the USGBC and is listed on their respective websites.

To schedule any of our continuing education courses, please email

NeoCon 2009
NeoCon 2009 was another very successful show for the GREENGUARD Certified manufacturers and other GEI stakeholders. More than 60 manufacturers promoted their certified products, including several newly certified manufacturers, who successfully completed the rigorous third-party, GREENGUARD program just in time for NeoCon. From furniture to paint, textiles to seating and many more industries, GREENGUARD Certified marks could be seen throughout the showrooms and booths on every floor of the exhibit hall.

The increase in GREENGUARD Certified manufacturers speaks to the importance of standards and certifications throughout the industry. The announcement of BIFMA’s level™ product certification program also supports this point.

Manufacturers will have products evaluated based on the BIFMA e3 Furniture Sustainability Standard and reviewed by a third-party certification process to earn the level mark.

Level certification program covers not only certain environmental criteria of the product or product line, but also incorporates environmental aspects of the company and the facility where the product is produced. The criteria are broken down into four basic elements within the standard:

    1. Materials
    2. Energy and Atmosphere
    3. Human and Ecosystem Health
    4. Social Responsibility

Within the Human and Ecosystem Health section, there are two points focused on the chemical emissions of furniture:

    1. 7.6.1 requires the emission concentrations or factors to meet criteria from ANSI/BIFMA X7.1-2007 at 168 hours/7 days (GREENGUARD Certification qualifies for workstation systems and seating and GREENGUARD testing emission factor data can be used for individual furniture components)
    2. 7.6.2 requires the emission concentrations to meet criteria based on CA 01350 within 336 hours/14 days (GREENGUARD Children & Schools Certification qualifies for this point for workstations systems and GREENGUARD data can be used to meet this point for seating and individual furniture components)

The GREENGUARD Environmental Institute supports this standard as a holistic approach to verifying environmental performance of furniture products.  As GREENGUARD continues its mission to improve public health and quality of life through programs that improve indoor air quality, GREENGUARD Certification should be viewed as complementary to BIFMA’s level.  The level standard does not require product emissions testing/certification as a prerequisite, but includes it as part of the program.  Manufacturers with GREENGUARD Certified and level certified products are demonstrating a significant commitment to their customers’ well-being and to the environment.

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Joseph Q. Jarvis MD, MSPH
Chief Public Health Scientist

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Ask the Expert
Why are children more vulnerable to environmental exposure?

Because of the nature of growth and development, the fetus, newborn and growing child may have significantly different responses to environmental exposure than is the case for adults.  For example, young children breath air closer to ground level, are more often in contact with the floor or ground and often display hand to mouth behaviors.  Children eat and drink more per unit body weight and have a more rapid respiratory rate.  Exposure is therefore different for children even when occupying the same environment.  Developing organ systems are potentially more vulnerable to environmental toxins.  Exposure levels protecting adult workers may not prevent disease in childhood.  Of particular concern are exposure to heavy metals (such as lead), organic compounds (PCB and PAH), pesticides, and endocrine disrupting chemicals.  Much more research is required into effects of environmental exposure on children.  Of those chemicals in high volume use, only 7% have been studied for potential effects on development.

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Sustainability News
Where the ‘green’ is going?
Earlier this year the General Service Administration (GSA) released details on the allocation of the $5.55 billion they will receive under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The funds they will disperse are primarily focused on energy improvements. Below is a list of the programs GSA plans to fund:

  1. $1.03 billion in new construction initiatives for 17 projects including federal buildings, courthouses and land ports of entry.
  2. $3.17 billion in full and partial federal building renovations. More than 40 projects were selected from a list of over 200, with final selections based on energy conservation opportunities, the ability to start projects within 120 days, the ability to control project risk, financial returns and historic significance. All projects must comply with the 2007 Energy Act and Executive Order 13423, which mandate the use of green and energy efficient technologies.
  3. $807 million in limited scope renovations. Approximately 200 limited scope renovations were selected on the basis of needed energy improvements (the worst-performing buildings were selected first). Projects will be equipped with advanced metering devices and buildings that need roof replacements will be equipped with integrated photovoltaic membrane material (solar film), vegetation or cool roof membranes.
  4. $298.5 million in additional projects including small renovations.
  5. $200 million in funds not related to energy improvements.

Energy conservation is a key component in sustainable building, and most energy conservation strategies include weatherization, insulation and tightening of the building envelope. In such projects, it is imperative to include indoor air quality considerations in the renovation efforts. A tighter building envelope, reduced ventilation rates and the use of potentially high-emitting insulation materials increase the potential for serious indoor air quality problems. GREENGUARD Certified products and materials should be used in all weatherization and building insulation projects to adequately control sources of VOC emissions. For more information on energy and IAQ, visit to read “Energy Conservation and Indoor Air Quality: Benefits of Achieving Both in Homes.”

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Tip of the Month
The Plastics Numbering Scheme
recyclability.jpg We’ve all seen the chasing arrows on plastic products, but what do those arrow loops with numbers in the middle actually mean? The numbers are part of the Resin Numbering System created by the Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI) in 1988 to streamline plastic container labeling for recycling purposes. Different plastics have different properties such as melting point or tensile strength and they often cannot be recycled together.

The labeling system was originally designed to help recyclers sort the plastics by polymer type and to find the highest value recycling outlet for different types of plastic. As concerns mount over the leaching of chemicals from plastic containers into food, most recently in the case of bisphenol-A from baby and water bottles, the resin numbering system can also be used to indentify plastics beyond just recyclability.

In the US, all plastics that come in contact with food are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the “Food Contact Substance Notification program” with additional requirements for substances expected to migrate into food. While the FDA reviews these materials for safety, some consumers remain concerned about food packaging potentially leaching undesired chemicals into their food and drink. The resin numbering system offers guidance regarding the selection of plastic products and food packaging.

#1:  PET or PETE (polyethylene terephthalate) is one of the most common plastics used. It is easily recyclable. No significant leaching issues have been found, but some studies suggest that PET bottles may leach antimony at temperatures above 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Its usage includes water, juice and soft drink bottles.

#2:  HDPE (high-density polyethylene) is another very commonly used polymer, which also can be easily recycled. This plastic so far has not been found to leach. It is mainly used in milk jugs, plastic shopping bags, shampoo bottles and laundry detergent bottles. 

#3:  PVC or Vinyl (polyvinyl chloride) is often viewed as non-recyclable when used in packaging. Soft PVC can leach phthalates, some of which have been banned in Europe and the US for use in children’s products. PVC is used in some cling wraps, children's toys, detergent and spray bottles.
#4:  LDPE (low-density polyethylene) is recyclable (often only at recycling centers). It has not been found to leach. This plastic is mostly used in plastic shopping bags, cling wraps, some baby bottles and reusable drink & food containers.
#5:  PP (polypropylene) is recyclable, but only few curbside programs accept it in the United States. It has not been found to leach. Polypropylene is used in baby bottles, yogurt and takeout containers, reusable food and drink containers.
#6:  PS (polystyrene) is recyclable, but it is hard to find recycling programs that accept polystyrene. Studies suggest that this packaging can leach styrene into food. Polystyrene is used, among other products, in rigid foam drink cups, takeout food containers, egg containers, and meat packaging.  
#7:  Mixed. The number 7 code applies to all other plastics not included in numbers 1 through 6. It includes PC or Polycarbonate, which is not recyclable and was found to leach bisphenol-A (BPA). However, the 7 designation also includes new polymer types such as PLA, which is derived from corn and has not been found to leach into food.  

For more information visit,, or

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Recently Certified Manufacturers

GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certified®



ABET LAMINATI offers a variety of GREENGUARD Certified surfacing materials. They also provide almost 500 decorative high pressure laminate surfaces including metallics, woodgrains, solid colors, digital and silk-screened designs, Tefor, a 100% recycled product, an interior wall system, MEG exterior laminate, and veneer or laminate flooring. For more information, visit or call 800-228-2238.

  Anderson Hardwood Flooring, Inc.
Anderson Hardwood Floors is proud to offer GREENGUARD Certified Engineered and Solid Hardwood Flooring. Based in Clinton, South Carolina, Anderson is one of North America’s largest hardwood manufacturers selling quality hardwood flooring world-wide. For more information, visit

  GAR Products
GAR Products offers GREENGUARD Certified quality seating, table tops and table bases for all levels of the hospitality and design industries. GAR Products serves national and international clients with high quality indoor and outdoor furniture from manufacturing headquarters in Lakewood, New Jersey.  GAR is committed to reducing its environmental footprint through innovative manufacturing practices and to protecting the environment with products of enduring quality and beautiful design.

Highmark offers GREENGUARD Certified office seating. Based in Huntington Beach, California, Highmark is a manufacturer of intuitive, clean, affordable and green office seating.

      ITW Devcon
ITW Devcon offers GREENGUARD Certified TrimBonder™ Adhesive. Based in Danvers, Massachusetts, ITW Devcon manufactures various adhesives for bonding a wide variety of substrates.


  OFS Brands
OFS Brands is a leader in the manufacturing of contract office furniture – and is now offering GREENGUARD Certified casegoods, seating and conference, healthcare, hospitality and educational furniture under the OFS, FirstOffice, Carolina and Loewenstein brand names. Located in Huntingburg, IN with manufacturing facilities in Indiana and North Carolina, OFS Brands provides products chosen for outstanding quality, superior construction, and their timeless designs.


OFFICE MASTER, INC. offers GREENGUARD Certified ergonomic office seating for various settings ranging from healthcare to education to specialty ergonomic situations. Based in La Verne, California, Office Master manufactures using the principles of “Sustainable Environmentalism” and Value-oriented Design. For more details, visit

UNIFOR offers the GREENGUARD Certified Naòs System designed to define a new office setting. Based in Turate, (Como), Italy, UNIFOR manufactures using aluminum extrusion for modular frames, top in aluminum coupled with laminate or wood or back-painted glass.

Valspar offers GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certified coatings. Headquartered in Minneapolis, MN, Valspar focuses on providing a broad portfolio of wood finishes

Vitra, Inc.
Vitra offers GREENGUARD Certified task and lounge seating. Based in New York, NY, Vitra manufactures seating and systems products at their assembly plant in Allentown, PA.





GREENGUARD Children & SchoolsSM Certified




Centiva offers GREENGUARD Certified adhesives. Headquartered in Florence, Alabama, Centiva manufactures luxury vinyl tile and quality GREENGUARD approved adhesives.


    MaxxmarTM Window Fashions
Maxxmar Window Fashions based in Toronto, Canada, offers GREENGUARD Certified PolySilk (vinyl) and wood shutters. Maxxmar Window Fashions manufactures very high quality shutters with many unique proprietary features at an affordable price.

  Parata Systems
Parata Systems offers GREENGUARD Certified prescription-dispensing automation. Based in Durham, North Carolina, Parata provides industry-leading technology solutions that improve consumer safety and convenience, while helping America’s pharmacies improve prescription capacity and accuracy. Parata is the first company in the pharmacy industry to have a product qualify for this important designation. Learn more:

  PolyTEC Shutters
PolyTEC Shutters offers GREENGUARD Certified interior window shutters. Headquartered in Long Beach, CA with offices across the nation, PolyTEC Shutters were developed for the architectural/design communities with a special emphasis in the health care market.

Rubbermaid Home Products offers GREENGUARD Certified ventilated wire shelving. Based in Huntersville, North Carolina, Rubbermaid offers a wide selection of shelving systems to keep closets, pantries and utility rooms organized.

    Sunland Shutters
Sunland Shutters offers GREENGUARD Certified Polycore Synthetic Shutters and Lexwood Basswood Shutters. Headquartered in Long Beach, CA, Sunland Shutters offers high-performance window solutions.

      The Shade Store  


The Trend Group offers GREENGUARD Certified Trend Q Engineered Surfaces and AG engineered Surfaces (Cristallino, Prezioso and Rock Solid). The three main offices of TREND are located in Vicenza, Italy, Miramar, Florida and Sydney Australia. Using recycled glass, quartz and granite, Trend manufactures 1/4" thin slabs and tiles, using a unique manufacturing system., and


More certified manufacturers

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GREENGUARD Environmental Institute
2211 Newmarket Parkway, Ste 110
Marietta, GA 30067

Continuing Education

GEI is proud to be a recognized USGBC Education Provider and provides numerous accredited Continuing Education Courses related to indoor air quality principles, including the following:

Indoor Air Quality and Healing Environments (New!)
Credits: AIA (1LU), IDCEC (0.1 CEU), USGBC

Healthy Indoor Air by Design
Credits: AIA (1LU), IDCEC (0.1 CEU), CSI (1-ECH), USGBC

Clearing the Air on IAQ: Making Sense of IAQ Standards and IEQ Requirements
Credits: AIA (1LU), IDCEC (0.1 CEU), CSI (1-ECH)

Building Blocks for Healthy Indoor Air
Credits: AIA (1LU), IDCEC (0.1CEU), USGBC

Design to Prevent the Damaging Effects of Mold
Credits: AIA (1LU), CSI (1-ECH)

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