GREENGUARD is a low emissions certification program owned and managed by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), one of the largest and most respected product safety organizations in the world. GREENGUARD has two certification levels: GREENGUARD and GREENGUARD Gold. At this time, all of our GREENGUARD certified products have achieved Gold status. GREENGUARD Gold certification complies with CA 01350 but under stricter certification requirements than any other emissions program. It also establishes a very low Total VOC level and sets emissions for specific VOCs at 1/100th of the US Federal Government’s Threshold Limit Value (TLV) for occupational exposure.
In UL’s words, GREENGUARD Gold certification is “designed to define low-emitting materials suitable for environments where people, particularly children and sensitive adults, spend extended periods of time, in particular schools and healthcare facilities.”
GREENGUARD Gold certification is also recognized by LEED as a qualifying attribute for low emitting materials credits.
The majority of Kentwood, Evoke and Abode products, having been produced as CA 01350 compliant for years, have now been further tested and certified to the GREENGUARD Gold certification standard. The website will continue to indicate products as either CA 01350 compliant, or as both CA 01350 compliant and GREENGUARD Gold certified as appropriate.
To check the certification status of any particular product, check the features on the product page.
The introduction of GREENGUARD Gold certification as the ‘house standard’ for emissions confirms Metropolitan's commitment to providing our customers with products that meet the strictest air quality standards in the world. For more information on the GREENGUARD program, please read on:
Indoor air quality began to gain attention as a health issue in the late 1970s, when office workers began complaining of ailments which were traced to their exposure to chemicals in the air inside their workplaces, giving rise to the phenomenon of ‘sick building syndrome’. Increased building insulation, tighter building envelopes, and other energy efficiency measures often led to environments where the VOCs emitted by furniture, floor coverings and other manufactured materials led to noticeably poor indoor air quality.
Both manufacturers and regulators responded to the concern. Companies began to focus on controlling emissions from glues, finishes, fabric treatments, paints and other building products. In the late 1980s, the US introduced regulations limiting formaldehyde levels in workplaces and a few years later, the first emissions-based purchasing specifications began to appear: government procurement programs specified materials that met specific emissions targets.
One of the first companies to work with the government on this program was an independent outfit called Air Quality Sciences (AQS). It was founded in 1989 by Dr. Marilyn Black to research indoor air quality and how to improve it.
In 1992, AQS partnered with the Carpet and Rug Institute to create the Green Label program, which focused on emissions from carpeting.
In 2001, the company introduced the GREENGUARD program, which was directed towards contract furniture and building products.
In 2011, AQS and the GREENGUARD program were acquired by Underwriters Laboratories, a company known throughout North America by its acronymic logo: UL.
UL’s stated mission is ‘working for a safer world’ and the organization traces its roots to the 1938 World’s Fair in Chicago, when it was tasked with ensuring that the new-fangled electrical lighting being used at the event was safe to be used in a public setting (compared to the open flames of gas-light and candles of the time). UL has gone on to become the defacto standard for consumer product safety in the US and its mark appears on thousands of consumer products (CSA is the equivalent in Canada). A recent study by Samsung found that the average American home contained over 800 products with UL marks.
Under UL’s ownership, the GREENGUARD program has expanded and is becoming recognized as the highest standard for Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) ratings. The UL protocol looks at VOCs from three perspectives.
First, it considers emissions of a number of specific VOCs and compares them to established health-based exposure thresholds.
Second, it looks at the total amount of VOCs (TVOC) emitted.
Third, it compares the emission profile against the familiar CA 01350 standard.
Under UL’s testing protocol, products may achieve a rating of either GREENGUARD or GREENGUARD Gold certification. Meeting GREENGUARD certification levels, means among other things that the emissions must be 1/10th the federal “Threshold Limit Values (TLV).” The “Gold standard” is much stricter, with emissions at just 1/100th of the established TLV, as well as allowing less than half the TVOCs permitted in the regular standard and requiring full compliance with CA 01350.
For more information on the GREENGUARD program, please visit ul.com/gg