May 8, 2024

Low Emitting vs. Technical Data for Carpets

Lauren Richardson - Green Badger Image
Lauren Richardson, Sustainability Manager at Green Badger

When gathering certificates, data, and LEED documentation for Low Emitting Materials (LEM), most are straightforward. However, carpets are certified for emissions by their yarn and their backing. If your subcontractor provides a LEED cover sheet that gives the collection, product name, number (World Woven Collection, WW965, Autumn Warp), more than likely, it isn’t data you can locate in Green Badger-or frankly even on the Carpet and Rug Institute’s website.  Instead, you will need to look at the technical data that the sub provided to find the low emitting yarn and backing. Better yet, your sub provides the VOC emissions certificate right with the submittal package.

Sometimes a sub will reference a generic backing such as GlasBac or EcoWorx on the LEED cover sheet.

Glasbac – This Interface product lists GlasBac, ClasBacRE, CushionBac Renew, ReadyBac and CQuest GB in the description on the certificate. The yarn/backing is 17x Pre-dyed nylon with PVC Backing.

Notice in the technical manufacturer’s document below, the Collection is World Woven Collection, the Product Number is WW965 and the Color is Autumn Warp. Right at the top with the same information, the spec shows GlasBac as the backing.

The Interface website allows the user to select the backing.

When you click on GlasBac (or another preferred backing), you can download the specifications

The user can click on GlasBac (or another preferred backing) and download the specifications.

Live link to Green Label Plus image.

Then, a live link is provided to the Green Label Plus Certificate.

Click on the Green Label Plus link and up comes your emissions certificate.

Green Label Plus Certificate Image - leed documentation

Here is another example:

ShawContract Tech Document

Shaw Ecoworx is a premium PVC-free carpet tile backing. Eco Solution Q fiber is the face yarn.   You won’t find Mindscape Tile in the Green Badger database.

On the second page of the spec Shaw provides a link right to the Green Label Plus certificate.

ShawContract - Mindscape tile Technical LEED Documentation image

Notice when you open up the certificate, EcoWorx falls under 14x Pre-dyed Nylon with Amorphous Resin backing.  In this case the generic backing, EcoWorx, is not published on the certificate but you can trust the manufacturer’s link.

Green Label Plus document for Shaw Industries Group

The Green Label Plus certification by the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) identifies carpets, adhesives, and cushion products that meet indoor air quality standards. When reading any emission certificate be sure that the certificate provides three things:

  • A valid date (crosses over the dates from specification to installation)
  • References the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Standard Method that was used to test the product
  • Shows the Total VOC emissions (TVOC)
    • 0.5 mg/m3 of concentration or less
    • Between 0.5 mg/m3  to 5.0 mg/m3
    • more than 5.0 mg/m3

Here is an example of an SCS Global certificate, which shows the same three items required for LEED documentation.

Example of an SCS Global Certificate

While looking for low emitting material, finding the correct emissions certificate may require that the sub or project engineer visit the manufacturer website where the emissions certificate is usually readily available. 

Just remember that carpets are certified for emissions based on both their yarn and backing and the pretty marketing name is not something you will find in Green Badger database. Ideally the subcontractor provides this information when they first send the submittal package.

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