GREENGUARD Indoor Air Guardian
GreenGuard Indoor Air Guardian




May 2010

As the demand for healthier, sustainable, more environmentally friendly products grows, entire industries are scrambling to find profitable solutions to meet that demand. For better or for worse, this has led to a proliferation of eco labels and green certifications—some more legitimate than others—which has further blurred the line between what’s truly “green” and what’s not.

So, how can you separate fact from fiction?

“You have to make sure that the product has been certified—not by the manufacturer or an industry association, but by an independent, third-party organization,” says Larry Speck, award-winning architect and principal at PageSoutherlandPage. “That’s the only surefire way to know what’s credible.”

In the same way that third-party certification helps verify a product manufacturer’s claims, third-party certification can also help identify which certifying organizations are credible. In 1983, the International Organization for Standardization—the world’s largest and most reputable developer and publisher of international standards—established a set of requirements that a product-certifying body must meet in order to be considered reliable, impartial, and high-quality. Accreditation to these requirements, known as ISO/IEC Guide 65:1983 (and later revised as ISO/IEC Guide 65:1996), proves that a certifying organization is free of any conflicts of interest, such as financial, commercial, or social influences.

In an effort to showcase its commitment to quality, impartiality, and reliability, in 2008, the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute began the rigorous and complex process of pursuing ISO Guide 65 accreditation. After an extensive audit, the organization earned ISO Guide 65 accreditation in April 2010.

“We’ve always stressed the importance of third-party certification, so what better way to prove that we mean what we say than to undergo third-party accreditation ourselves?” says Henning Bloech, executive director of the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute.
“Now, instead of urging manufacturers to ‘do as we say,’ we can officially tell them, ‘do as we do.’”

Going above and beyond

In fact, Bloech says, the organization has taken its commitment to third-party oversight one step further by enlisting the help of The Epsten Group, a consulting and certification review firm, to independently assess the credibility of each new product certification process. To ensure total objectivity, the reviewer will not know which manufacturer’s certification documentation he or she is evaluating.

“Third-party reviews are critical to unbiased assessments,” says Alyson Laura, director of certifications at The Epsten Group. “That the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute is voluntarily having us review their certification processes is a testament to their confidence in and dedication to honesty and quality. They’re really going above and beyond the call of duty, here.”

What it all really means

Whether you’re an architect, designer, specifier, facility manager, or manufacturer, ISO Guide 65 accreditation gives you the confidence that the organization certifying your products operates with the utmost integrity.

“It all boils down to a matter of trust,” Laura says. “Unfortunately, it’s hard to know which labels and certifications to trust in an exploding ‘green’ market. The nice thing about ISO Guide 65 accreditation is that it shines a light on certifications that are trustworthy.”

To learn more about green product standards and certifications, see “Primary Green Product Standards and Certification Programs: A Comparison” on the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute Web site.

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Reference the GREENGUARD Product GuideSM for specific certified products.



Abatron, Inc.
Abatron was founded in 1959, specializing in the research, development and custom formulation of epoxy and polyester compounds. Later, urethanes, acrylics, vinyls, silicones, copolymers and other compounds were added to the company's product offerings. Since its founding, Abatron has continued to meet and create specifications for architectural, industrial, electronic, and marine applications. Most Abatron products contain no VOCs. For more information, visit




Chemical Specialties Manufacturers (Chemspec)

Founded in 1968, Chemical Specialties Manufacturing (Chemspec) manufactures innovative clean agents for the residential and institutional marketplace.
Chemspec's more than 40 years of hands-on research and development are key to providing the right solution for today's toughest cleaning challenges.
For more information, visit


Haskell Office

Haskell manufactures structurally sound and well-designed steel contract furniture, including filing and storage products, desks, credenzas, and workstations. These products are found in educational facilities, business offices and commercial buildings across the country. Haskell is as dedicated to environmental protection and the conservation of natural resources as it is to the elimination of pollutants, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs). For more information, visit





KYDEX, LLC is a worldwide leader in specialty thermoplastic sheet manufacturing. KYDEX produces custom products for applications requiring high performance and regulatory compliance with an extensive array of color and texture combinations. KYDEX has a proven track record of delivering consistent, high quality product in accelerated time frames, and offers a wealth of manufacturing, formulation and technical expertise. For more information, visit


Qatar National Aluminum Panel Company (Q-NAP) is a Qatari/ Korean joint venture in the manufacturing of composite paneling for use in architectural design. Q-NAP is a front-runner in quality, manufacturing, client focus, and timely delivery. Q-NAP’s composite and corrugated core panels are developed by the highest-class modern technology, giving them maximum project flexibility and unsurpassed quality. For more information, visit




ShuttleSystem, LLC

Reshape your schools with revolutionary furniture from Shuttle. Shuttle’s patented quick-connector lets teachers reconfigure rooms in minutes, then instantly lock furniture into position. Shuttle computer and student desks, teacher workcenters, mobile storage and more will make a real difference in any school. Hundreds of standard products, plus custom sizes and colors, are also available. The new “QuickCustom” program builds new designs from your ideas. All furniture pieces boast ultra-rugged construction, contemporary design, and GREENGUARD Children & SchoolsSM Certification. For more information, visit


Stewart Filmscreen Corp.

A family-owned business since 1947, Stewart maintains the highest standards in screen design, craftsmanship, and customer service. Stewart Filmscreen designs and manufactures innovative projection screen products for both the residential and commercial markets, bringing the same quality and innovation to all viewing environments. For more information, visit


More certified manufacturers

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In an effort to raise awareness about indoor air quality and the importance of low-emitting products, the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute made its social media debut on March 29 by joining the wildly popular microblogging site, Twitter. Twitter offers a fun and interactive way to engage target audiences through 140-character real time updates. GEI invites you to join the conversation, read its updates, check out its photos, and more! Just click here to get started.

In addition to its Twitter account, GEI launched a Facebook page to expand its social media presence even further. Want to become a fan? Click here!

That’s not all, of course. In the coming weeks, GEI will undertake a number of other exciting social media initiatives, including the unveiling of its first-ever blog. Keep checking the GREENGUARD Web site, Twitter feed, and Facebook page to stay up-to-date.

The GREENGUARD Environmental Institute has teamed up with Healthy Child Healthy World, a nationally renowned 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization dedicated to helping parents minimize their children’s exposure to chemicals. As part GEI’s trusted partnership with Healthy Child Healthy World, the two organizations will now collaborate on various initiatives to prevent children from coming in contact with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), toxic chemicals, and other pollutants that emit from everyday products. For more information, read GREENGUARD’s press release.

On April 20, approximately 1,400 people across 12 countries and four continents tuned in to watch Creating Value Through Sustainability,” a live MIT Enterprise Forum broadcast and webcast sponsored by the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute. The program featured presentations from a group of notable U.S. corporate sustainability executives—including Matt Kistler of Walmart; Eric Hespenheide of Deloitte & Touche LLP; and Paul Murray of Herman Miller, Inc.

The event, which was held just two days before the 40th anniversary of Earth Day and in the middle of what many around the country call “Earth Week,” focused on ways companies can profitably implement “green” business strategies. Ninety-seven percent of viewers who responded to a survey about the event rated it “good” (64-percent) or “excellent” (33-percent).

For a free online viewing of the entire 1.5-hour-long program, click here.

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Public hearings on the first version of the International Green Construction Code (IgCC)—a comprehensive set of green building code requirements intended to reduce a building’s impact on the natural environment— are set to take place Aug. 14-22 in Chicago, Ill.

Unlike other sustainable building programs, which are purely voluntary and based on rating systems, the IgCC is written in code language and is intended to be adopted by governmental bodies and mandated by code officials.

The GREENGUARD Environmental Institute served as a voting member of the Water Conservation and Indoor Environmental Quality and Comfort work groups and was an active participant in multiple work group development sessions and live meetings.

The public comment period for the first version of the IgCC closed May 14. However, the second version of the code is due November 2, 2010, and a subsequent public comment period is scheduled to open January 3, 2011.

GEI applauds the Green Building Initiative (GBI) on the successful completion of the first American National Standard for Commercial Green Building. The standard, officially named ANSI/GBI 01-2010: Green Building Assessment Protocol for Commercial Buildings and approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), ensures that building project leaders seeking green building certification can choose from a wide array of products and materials that qualify for sustainable credits. Moreover, it helps simplify the task of finding these qualified products by providing a user-friendly list of credible third-party certification programs where appropriate.

Section 12.2 of the new standard (“Source Control of Indoor Pollutants”) specifically references the GREENGUARD Children & Schools℠ Certification Program and the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute’s Standard Method for Measuring and Evaluating Chemical Emissions From Building Materials, Finishes and Furnishings Using Dynamic Environmental Chambers.

Derived from the Green Globes® environmental design and assessment rating system for New Construction, the standard was developed using ANSI's consensus-based guidelines, which ensure a balanced, transparent, and inclusive process. The standard received formal approval on March 24, 2010 and will now go through a pilot program.

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Anne M. Fitzpatrick, PhD, MSCR, APRN

Anne Fitzpatrick is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the Emory University School of Medicine and the Director of the Emory Asthma Clinical Research Program.


Asthma is a common chronic lung disease that causes inflammation of the airways and difficulty breathing in response to specific triggers. While there is a genetic component to asthma, there is mounting evidence that exposure to allergens and airborne particulate matter (PM) may also influence the development and severity of the disorder.
The health effects of these allergens and PM largely depends on the size of the particles, their distribution in the air, and their concentration. Inside the home, larger allergens such as dust mites, cockroach dander, molds, and pollen typically reside in settled dust and become airborne with disturbances (for instance, vacuuming). By contrast, dander from cats or dogs, molds, PM from cigarettes, and outdoor pollution tend to remain suspended in the air for longer periods of time.

Fume-emitting heaters (such as kerosene heaters, wood stoves, non-fueled gas heaters, or open fires) and volatile organic compounds from cleaning products, air fresheners, furniture, paint, and other common household products and materials may also irritate the airways of patients with asthma. Building products and materials used in commercial buildings—including offices, retail centers, healthcare facilities, and schools—can also emit volatile organic compounds.

If you or your child has asthma or difficulty breathing, be sure to ask your doctor or your local allergist/immunologist what steps you can take to improve the air quality in your indoor environment. Initial cost and practicality should be considered.

Simple measures like avoiding smoking, adjusting indoor humidity, keeping pets outside of the bedroom, applying dust mite coverings to pillows and mattresses, avoiding excessive cleaning, and choosing low-emitting products might be helpful.

While many commercial air cleaning products are available, keep in mind that many of these have not been carefully studied. If you have questions about your indoor air quality or products you have seen, please talk to your doctor.

Do you have a question for our team of experts? Email your question to

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The GREENGUARD Environmental Institute 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:

Making the Grade: Healthy Schools Nurturing Healthy Kids (New!)
Credits: AIA (1LU), IDCEC (0.1 CEU), USGBC

Clearing the Air on Sustainability: Why Good Indoor Air Quality Matters
Credits: AIA (1LU), USGBC

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

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

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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The GREENGUARD Environmental Institute 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.

Reed Construction Data
A solution for healthier buildings: GREENGUARD® certification

Energy Boom
Ideabox Unveils New Energy-Efficient House-in-a-Box Design

Karen Patriquin Architect
Sustainable Building Design

Kids Today
Infant Furniture Outlook Improves

Penincula Pulse
Keeping Green, Cleaning Green

Kitchen & Bath Design News
Green Professionals Seek to Raise IAQ Awareness

Eco Home
Case Study: North Carolina’s First Green Multifamily Affordable Housing

Wallet Pop
Online sweepstakes offers $10,000 eco-friendly office makeover

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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