• Low Emission Products to Improve Indoor Air Quality
  • GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certification Program

  • The GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certification Program gives assurance that products designed for use in office environments and other commercial spaces meet strict chemical emissions limits and will therefore contribute to the creation of healthy interiors. Achieving GREENGUARD Certification gives credence to manufacturers’ sustainability claims, backing them with empirical scientific data from an unbiased, third-party organization.

    GREENGUARD Certification Standards for Low-Emitting Products

    The GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI) has established performance-based standards to define products and processes with low chemical and particle emissions for use indoors. The standards are primarily for building materials, interior furnishings, furniture, cleaning and maintenance products, electronic equipment and personal care products. The standard establishes certification procedures including test methods, allowable emissions levels, product sample collection and handling, testing type and frequency as well as program application processes and acceptance.

    Allowable Emission Levels

    All products are tested in dynamic environmental chambers following appropriate test methods as posted on this web site. The primary test method for most building materials, furniture and finishes is the, “Method for Measuring Various Chemical Emissions using Dynamic Environmental Chambers."  This method, and others utilized by the GREENGUARD Certification Program,SM follow guidance of ASTM standards D5116 and D6670, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (USEPA) testing protocol for furniture, the State of Washington's protocol for interior furnishings and construction materials, the Blue Angel Eco Label programs, California’s Department of Health Services (CDHS) standard practice for the Special Environmental Requirements, Specification Section 01350 and the EU 1600 environmental testing series. Products are measured for chemical and particle emissions as they are tested in a manner to simulate actual product use. Most building materials and furnishings are required to meet allowable emission levels within seven days of installation. Other products and processes including operating electronics and cleaning systems must meet allowable levels during actual use.

    Exposure Modeling

    Measured emission levels are calculated as air concentrations to represent what a person will actually breathe. These concentrations are determined based on expected use of the product, such as amount and application process, and the indoor building conditions, such as building volume and fresh air exchange rate. For the GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certification Program, air concentrations are based on the product being in a single occupancy room with outdoor air ventilation based on ASHRAE 62.1-2007 or the USEPA’s recommended exposure factors. Maximum allowable emission levels in air concentrations are those required by the State of Washington's indoor air quality program for new construction, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's procurements specifications, the recommendations from the World Health Organization, Germany's Blue Angel Program, LEED for New Construction and LEED for Commercial Interiors. Office furniture products meeting these allowable emission levels automatically meet the requirements of LEED 2009 - CI - credit 4.5 and the BIFMA X7.1 Conformance standard. When multiple emission levels are recommended for products, the lesser, or more stringent, is used as the acceptable emission value for GREENGUARD Certification. The specific room model for this program is presented in the “Single Room Exposure Model.”

    GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certification - Emissions Criteria