This is a legacy version of the WELL Building Standard. Please check the latest version here.

VOC reduction

Indoor air quality can be degraded significantly by volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that off-gas from paints, finishes and other coatings, and also result from the use of cleaning products, air fresheners, personal care products and other materials brought into the building. VOCs include benzene (classified by the EPA as a known human carcinogen), formaldehyde and other chemical compounds, which at high concentrations can lead to irritation of the nose and pharynx, and have been associated with leukemia, childhood asthma and other respiratory disorders. VOC levels can be 5 times higher indoors than outdoors.

Part 1: Interior Paints and Coatings

The VOC limits of newly applied paints and coatings meet one of the following requirements:

a.1 100% of installed products meet California Air Resources Board (CARB) 2007, Suggested Control Measure (SCM) for Architectural Coatings, or South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) Rule 1113, effective June 3, 2011 for VOC content.
b.1 At minimum 90%, by volume, meet the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Standard Method v1.1-2010 for VOC emissions.
c.1 Applicable national VOC content regulations or conduct testing of VOC content in accordance with ASTM D2369-10; ISO 11890, part 1; ASTM D6886-03; or ISO 11890-2.
Part 2: Interior Adhesives and Sealants

The VOC limits of newly applied adhesives and sealants meet one of the following requirements:

a.1 100% of installed products meet South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) Rule 1168, July 1 2005 for VOC content.
b.1 At minimum 90%, by volume, meet the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Standard Method v1.1-2010 for VOC emissions.
c.1 Applicable national VOC content regulations or conduct testing of VOC content in accordance with ASTM D2369-10; ISO 11890, part 1; ASTM D6886-03; or ISO 11890-2.
Part 3: Flooring

The VOC emissions of all newly installed flooring must meet all limits set by the following, as applicable:

a.1 California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Standard Method v1.1-2010.
Part 4: Insulation

The VOC emissions of all newly installed thermal and acoustic insulation inside the waterproofing membrane must meet all limits set by the following, as applicable:

a.1 California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Standard Method v1.1-2010.
Part 5: Furniture and Furnishings

The VOC emissions of at least 95% (by cost) of all newly purchased furniture and furnishings within the project scope must meet all limits set by the following, as applicable:

a.1 ANSI/BIFMA e3-2011 Furniture Sustainability Standard sections 7.6.1 and 7.6.2, tested in accordance with ANSI/BIFMA Standard Method M7.1-2011.
Endocrine
Cardiovascular
Integumentary
Nervous
Respiratory
Immune

Applicability Matrix

Core & Shell New & Existing Buildings New & Existing Interiors
Part 1: Interior Paints and Coatings P P P
Part 2: Interior Adhesives and Sealants P P P
Part 3: Flooring P P P
Part 4: Insulation P P P
Part 5: Furniture and Furnishings P P P
Commercial Kitchen Education Multifamily Residential Restaurant Retail
Part 1: Interior Paints and Coatings P P P P P
Part 2: Interior Adhesives and Sealants P P P P P
Part 3: Flooring P P P P P
Part 4: Insulation P P P P P
Part 5: Furniture and Furnishings P P - P P

Verification Methods Matrix

Letters of Assurance Annotated Documents On-Site Checks
Part 1: Interior Paints and Coatings Architect & Contractor
Part 2: Interior Adhesives and Sealants Architect & Contractor
Part 3: Flooring Architect & Contractor
Part 4: Insulation Architect & Contractor
Part 5: Furniture and Furnishings Architect & Owner
1

U.S. Green Building Council. LEED v4: Reference Guide for Building Design and Construction. Washington D.C.: U.S. Green Building Council; 2013: 37, 43-44, 541-552, 567, 605, 623, 645-53, 658-61, 682-3, 685-6, 723-4.

04.1.a

Adherence to CARB SCM for Architectural Coatings or SCAQMD Rule 1113 satisfies the requirements for VOC content but not the emissions requirement of USGBC's LEED v4 EQ Credit: Low-Emitting Materials for wet-applied products.

04.1.c

USGBC's LEED v4 EQ Credit: Low Emitting Materials suggests projects outside the U.S. meet applicable national VOC control regulations or conduct testing of VOC content in accordance with ASTM D2369-10; ISO 11890, part 1; ASTM D6886-03; or ISO 11890-2.

04.1.b

USGBC's LEED v4 EQ Credit: Low-Emitting Materials requires that 90%, by volume, for emissions of paints and coatings applied to walls, floors and ceilings are tested and determined compliant with CDPH Standard Method v1.1-2010.

04.2.a

USGBC's LEED v4 EQ Credit: Low-Emitting Materials requires that adhesives and sealants wet-applied on site meet the applicable VOC limits of the SCAQMD Rule 1168, in addition to emissions requirements.

04.2.c

USGBC's LEED v4 EQ Credit: Low Emitting Materials suggests projects outside the U.S. meet applicable national VOC control regulations or conduct testing of VOC content in accordance with ASTM D2369-10; ISO 11890, part 1; ASTM D6886-03; or ISO 11890-2.

04.2.b

USGBC's LEED v4 EQ Credit: Low-Emitting Materials requires that 90% of interior adhesives and sealants, for emissions, applied on site are tested and determined compliant with CDPH Standard Method v1.1-2010.

04.3.a

USGBC's LEED v4 EQ Credit: Low-Emitting Materials requires flooring ofollow the test method and meet the emissions criteria of CDPH Standard Method v1.1-2010.

04.4.a

USGBC's LEED v4 EQ Credit: Low-Emitting Materials requires insulation follow the test method and meet the emissions criteria of CDPH Standard Method v1.1-2010.

04.5.a

USGBC's LEED v4 EQ Credit: Low-Emitting Materials requires furniture and furnishings to comply with ANSI/BIFMA e3-2011 Furniture Sustainability Standard sections 7.6.1 and 7.6.2, and be tested in accordance with ANSI/BIFMA Standard Method M7.1-2011.