First Products Pass New Stricter VOC Standard for Homes

Tom Lent | October 21, 2010 | Newsletter

Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) has released their first Indoor Advantage Gold certifications for products meeting the new, tougher residential criteria under Version 1.1 of the 01350 specification (see the new certificate here). The State of California made several revisions to the 01350 standard early this year including:
1) Tightening the formaldehyde standard to meet new California state guidelines and
2) Establishing a residential scenario that accounts for the lower air change rates in houses that can lead to dramatically higher concentrations of toxicants off-gassing from building materials.
These changes are critical to making the 01350 standard truly health protective in homes and we've incorporated them in the Pharos VOC scoring protocols (see previous blog on the new 01350 standard).

Johns Manville's formaldehyde-free fiberglass batt and blown-in insulation products are the first building products certified to meet these key new criteria.  As a result of these certifications, the JM products are the first products in Pharos to attain a score of 9 in the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) category and a score of 7 in User Toxics (UseTox).

SCS is the first, and so far only, certifier to fully implement the new health-protective Version 1.1 standards. GreenGuard, Floorscore, GreenLabel Plus and other programs have not yet implemented either the formaldehyde or residential revision, citing controversy in the industry over the residential standard.  We note, however, that while the industry suggests that the new state residential standard is too strict, others analysts think they did not go far enough. The one thing there is widespread agreement on is that the school and office 01350 scenarios are not protective for homes and a stricter standard is needed.  Therefore, while the debate proceeds to fine tune the standard, we recommend all certifiers take a precautionary stance and utilize the Version 1.1 standard. Builders, designers and specifiers can protect their clients and play an important role in moving the industry by asking their product suppliers to certify their products meet the new standard.