Certified Low-Emission Carpet Adhesives and Carpet

Scope

In living spaces, utilize third-party certified low-emission carpet products that are designed to reduce human exposure indoors to individual VOCs. The How to Find Indoor airPLUS Compliant Low Emission Products document provides guidance on identifying compliant products including industry databases and examples of product labeling.

See the Compliance Tab for related codes and standards requirements, and criteria to meet national programs such as DOE’s Zero Energy Ready Home program, ENERGY STAR Certified Homes, and Indoor airPLUS.

 

Description

VOCs are emitted through off-gassing from many household products, including carpets and carpet adhesives. The How to Find Indoor airPLUS Compliant Low Emission Products document provides guidance on identifying compliant products including industry databases and examples of product labeling.

The Green Label Plus program tests carpets for emissions levels of 13 different chemicals, and tests carpet adhesives for 12 different chemicals. All Green Label Plus certified carpet and adhesives undergo a three-tier testing process, including follow-up testing to monitor continual compliance with emissions limitations.

As specified by the Green Label program, cushion products are characterized as prime polyurethane, bonded polyurethane, mechanically frothed polyurethane, rubber-hair, rubber–jute, synthetic fiber, resinated or coated synthetic fiber, rubber and rubberized polyurethane. Carpet cushions are tested for the following:

  • total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs)
  • butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT),
  • formaldehyde,
  • 4-phenylcyclohexine (4-PCH).

The maximum emissions limits for these are as follows:

  • 1000 µg/m² hour for TVOCs,
  • 300 µg/m² hour for BHT,
  • 50 µg/m² hour for formaldehyde,
  • 50 µg/m² hour for 4-PCH.

CRI logoGreen Label and Green Label Plus are independent product certification programs run by the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI). These certifications include third party verification to ensure products meet strict emissions limits. Each certified product is listed in the CRI certified products database, located on their website at www.carpet-rug.org.

Using certified products lowers occupants’ risk of exposure to high levels of VOCs from construction materials. These Indoor airPLUS specifications can be implemented by requiring documentation of material certification for each material submittal package from sub-contractors. Any submittal requirements, such as manufacturer documentation of product certifications, should be clearly outlined in the project specifications and/or subcontractor bid package. Information for each third party certification and emissions standard required by Indoor airPLUS can be found in the How to Find Indoor airPLUS Compliant Low-Emission Products document.

 

Ensuring Success

To ensure Indoor airPLUS Item 6.3 requirements are met, incorporate the requirements for product certification into the project’s specifications and/or bid package. Require documentation of product compliance for each product submittal from sub-contractors and suppliers.

Climate

No climate specific information applies.

Training

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Videos

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Compliance

The Compliance tab contains both program and code information. Code language is excerpted and summarized below. For exact code language, refer to the applicable code, which may require purchase from the publisher. While we continually update our database, links may have changed since posting. Please contact our webmaster if you find broken links.

DOE Zero Energy Ready Home

Zero Energy Ready Home (Rev. 03) Exhibit 1, Item 6  “Indoor Air Quality” requires that builders meet the EPA Indoor airPLUS Verification Checklist and Construction Specifications.

EPA Indoor airPLUS

The Indoor airPLUS Verification Checklist (Version 1 Rev. 03) states:

6.3: Carpets and Carpet Adhesives   

The How to Find Indoor airPLUS Compliant Low Emission Products document provides guidance on identifying compliant products including industry databases and examples of product labeling.

This Retrofit tab provides information that helps installers apply this “new home” guide to improvement projects for existing homes. This tab is organized with headings that mirror the new home tabs, such as “Scope,” “Description,” “Success,” etc. If there is no retrofit-specific information for a section, that heading is not included.

SCOPE

Guidance for the measures described in this guide is applicable to both new and existing homes.

Follow safe work practices as described in the Global Worker Safety section of the Standard Work Specifications. Follow all manufacturer recommended measures for worker safety. 

More Info.

Access to some references may require purchase from the publisher. While we continually update our database, links may have changed since posting. Please contact our webmaster if you find broken links.

Case Studies

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References and Resources*

  1. Author(s): Carpet and Rug Institute
    Organization(s): Carpet and Rug Institute
    Publication Date: January, 2012
    Standard describing a green labeling program for low VOC carpets.
  2. Author(s): Carpet and Rug Institute
    Organization(s): Carpet and Rug Institute
    Publication Date: July, 2011
    Downloadable fact sheet covering carpet-related topics including Indoor Air Quality, Asthma and Allergy, Cleaning Products, and Environmental Sustainability.
  3. Author(s): Carpet and Rug Institute
    Organization(s): Carpet and Rug Institute
    Publication Date: May, 2014
    Standard describing a labeling program for carpet cushions.
  4. Author(s): DOE
    Organization(s): DOE
    Publication Date: April, 2017

    Standard requirements for DOE's Zero Energy Ready Home national program certification.

  5. Author(s): EPA
    Organization(s): EPA
    Publication Date: October, 2015
    Companion document to the Indoor airPLUS Construction Specifications, providing guidance on identifying compliant products, including industry databases and examples of product labeling.
  6. Author(s): EPA
    Organization(s): EPA
    Publication Date: October, 2015
    Document outlining specifications that were developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to recognize new homes equipped with a comprehensive set of indoor air quality (IAQ) features.

Contributors to this Guide

The following authors and organizations contributed to the content in this Guide.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Indoor airPlus program and PNNL.

Last Updated: 06/16/2017