Leadership is in the Air. ~ Green Label Plus Sets a Higher Standard for Indoor Air Quality

This is the 17th in a series of 18 articles designed to share some of the Carpet and Rug Institute’s (CRI) best online assets – a collection of downloadable fact sheets. Developed as easy-to-use, one-page position statements, the CRI Fact Sheets cover four main carpet-related topic areas: Indoor Air Quality, Asthma and Allergy, Cleaning Products, and Environmental Sustainability.

Each of these topics is addressed from the perspective of various market segments: carpet dealers and consumers; architects, designers and builders; school administrators and facility managers, and healthcare administrators and facility managers. There are also separate fact sheets explaining CRI’s Green Label Plus Indoor Air Quality and Seal of Approval carpet cleaning standards – 18 fact sheets in all.

The fact sheet on the Green Label Plus Indoor Air Quality standard begins,

“There is a growing demand to make indoor environments as healthy and “green-friendly” as possible. Choosing the right materials is a critical step. To assist in the process, CRI has created Green Label Plus for carpet and adhesives to raise the bar on lowering emissions.

Green Label Plus is a voluntary, industry testing program for carpet and adhesive products that establishes the highest standard for indoor air quality (IAQ) ever set by the carpet industry. The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) created Green Label Plus to identify carpets and adhesives that are tested by an independent, certified laboratory and meet stringent criteria for low chemical emissions.”

It continues with these facts:

• It ensures customers they are purchasing among the lowest emitting carpet, adhesive and cushion products on the market.

• It is designed for architects, builders, specifiers and facility managers who want assurances that carpet and adhesive products meet the most stringent criteria for low chemical emissions.

• It represents the fourth time the carpet industry has voluntarily enhanced the IAQ standard for its products.

Green Label Plus Meets California’s CHPS Criteria

Green Label Plus meets, and even exceeds, California’s indoor quality standards for low-emitting products used in commercial settings such as schools and office buildings.

Working in cooperation with California’s Sustainable Building Task Force and the Department of Health Services, the carpet industry took the initiative to enhance its Green Label program for carpet and adhesives to meet testing protocols used by the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS). Under the agreement between CRI and the California agencies, Green Label Plus is acceptable for the CHPS low-emitting materials criteria for use in schools.

Commercial carpet and adhesives that meet the criteria for Green Label Plus are listed on both the CRI and CHPS websites.

Green Label Plus Certified Products Must Pass Rigorous Testing

To receive Green Label Plus certification, carpet and adhesive products must undergo a rigorous testing process. Emissions are measured for a range of chemicals and testing is administered by an independent laboratory. The methodology for small scale environmental chamber testing was developed in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

• Initial testing evaluates carpet against the 76 compounds listed on the California 01350 version 1.1.

• Carpet products are tested annually for emission levels for seven chemicals as required by Section 01350, plus six additional chemicals.

• Annual and quarterly testing of certified carpet is based on 24-hour chamber testing for targeted chemicals and the total level of volatile organic compounds (TVOC).

• Adhesive products are tested for emission levels for 10 chemicals as required by Section 01350, plus five additional chemicals.

• Subsequent annual and semi-annual testing of certified adhesive products is based on 24-hour chamber testing for targeted chemicals and the total level of volatile organic compounds (TVOC).

• Green Label Plus expands on Section 01350 in several respects, including annual tests for the specific chemicals, a chain of custody process and an annual audit of the testing laboratory.

The Green Label Plus symbol indicates:

• The manufacturer voluntarily participates in the program and is identified by an assigned number on the certification label.

• The manufacturer is committed to developing ways to minimize any adverse effects on indoor air quality.

• A representative sample of the product type is tested by an independent laboratory and meets the established emissions requirements.

Green Label Plus Measures Up

The Green Label Plus is an example of the Carpet and Rug Institute’s leadership in the best practices of environmental responsibility. American National Standard Institute (ANSI), the premier source for international standardization and conformity assessment, has accredited CRI for testing indoor air quality.

Green Label Plus is the first, and only, ANSI-accredited green carpet program in the U.S. An accreditation body is an impartial third party that tests and evaluates a product to determine its compliance with relevant standards.

Green Label Plus programs, which test for and certify low emissions from carpet and adhesive, comply with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Guide 65, General Requirements for Bodies Operating Product Certification Programs.

• ANSI Accreditation is a further assurance that the products tested and certified by CRI are green building products that meet high standards for indoor air quality.

CRI’s ANSI Accreditation process started in 2006 and involved audits of the green carpet programs by Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute, an ANSI team, and CRI’s third party indoor laboratory, Air Quality Science of Atlanta.

CRI wants to be known not just as the science-based source of information about carpet, but as the first stop for any and all questions about this useful floor covering.

Click on this link to see the complete list of Carpet and Rug Institute Downloadable Fact Sheets.