LEED IAQ Testing
Since the inception of LEED there has been a LEED credit that amounts to one point where project teams may chose between a whole building flush-out OR pre-occupancy air quality testing. LEED projects often pursue (EQc3.2) Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) testing due to scheduling or weather constraints, but testing air quality prior to occupancy does pose a number of challenges.
The LEED AP or LEED Consultant must identify how many testing locations are required and find a qualified indoor air quality expert to perform the testing within a short scheduling window. There are numerous best practices that increase the likelihood of earning this LEED credit on the first test, but without an experienced LEED consultant you may be left holding a big invoice with no points to show for it.
LEED IEQ 3.2 Testing Success
Healthy Building Science is an experienced green building consulting company with expertise in indoor environmental testing. We help you define the number of necessary testing locations, work with your construction schedule, and perhaps most importantly give you tips that increase the odds of passing LEED air testing the first time.
Here are some recommendations to provide the conditions most conducive to passing the LEED IEQ air sampling.
- All painting, caulking and touch up should be completed at least a week prior to testing.
- The HVAC system should be run on its highest setting (most ACH) 72 hours prior to testing, however during the testing Version 4 requires the air handling system be operated at the minimum outdoor airflow rate for the occupied mode throughout the test.
- Minimum number of people other than the sampling professionals should be present, although if security or safety personnel are required, this takes precedence. Any persons present should be briefed NOT to wear perfume or cologne on the day of sampling. Other personal care products like hair spray and hand sanitizer should be forbidden to be used the day of sampling.
- No cleaning activities should be performed 24 hours prior to sampling, as cleaning products often contain VOC’s.
- Once a sample is set up, no persons should enter the area of sampling for the 4- hour period. Movement can stir up dust and cause particulate samples to fail, as well as VOC’s from the body and clothing can influence the air sample results.
These recommendations are based on prior samplings and the hypothesis as to the reasons for failure. Although a direct correlation cannot be proven, I believe samples have failed in the past because of several reasons:
- Active cleaning crews pushed carts full of cleaning supplies through the sample area.
- Floor buffing was being conducted in an area near the sampling location.
- Touch up painting had occurred the night before sampling.
- Multiple people had walked by the sampling location during the 4-hour sampling period.
LEED IAQ Calculator for Determining LEED IAQ Sampling Plan
Both LEED IAQ Flush-Out and LEED Preoccupancy Testing options require calculations. Unfortunately there is no easy LEED IAQ calculator for calculating the quantity of LEED IAQ sampling necessary. We can help you identify the number of sampling locations according to the LEED Reference Guide.
Often times the LEED Consultant provides the construction team with the total number of samples required and a floor plan mapping out sampling locations. This floor plan is very helpful for our team during the indoor air quality assessment.
From the LEED Reference Guide:
“The number of sampling locations will depend on the size of the building and number of ventilation systems. For each portion of the building served by a separate ventilation system, the number of sampling points must not be less than 1 per 25,000 square feet or for each continuous floor area, whichever is larger. Include areas with the least ventilation and greatest presumed source strength.”
If any one sample does not meet the LEED requirements the first time, only that one sample location and test type (e.g., formaldehyde OR TVOC) must be retested. Usually the real-time testing passes immediately, but if painting has just occurred or if final cleaning is underway the odds of success dwindle dramatically. Sometimes when lab results arrive we learn one or more sample locations did not meet LEED IAQ requirements, and only those locations must be retested and pass in order to obtain the LEED 3.2 point.
Upon request, HBS can help your team quantify the necessary number of samples for your project.
Full-Service LEED IAQ 3.2 Testing Including
- Formaldehyde (Maximum Concentration 27 ppb)
- Fine Particulates (Maximum Concentration 50 ug/m3 PM10)
- Total Volatile Organic Compounds (TVOCs) (Maximum Concentration 500 ug/m3)
- 4-Phenylcyclohexane (4-PCH) (Maximum Concentration 6.5 ug/m3)
- Carbon Monoxide (Maximum Concentration 9 ppm)
Minor Changes Between LEED v3 and LEED v4
Changes between LEED versions for Credit 3.2 have not been that significant. Requiring that furniture be installed before air quality testing may complicate success for some LEED projects if furniture off-gasses significantly.
LEED IEQ 3.2 San Francisco Bay Area Projects:
- San Jose Commercial Office
- Oakland Hospital
- Mountain View Commercial Office
- Sunnyvale Commercial Office
- San Francisco Retail
- Mountain View Commercial Office
We are a professional industrial hygiene service company. We have partnered with accredited laboratories to provide quick turnaround of lab results so the building can be occupied more quickly. Either working for the owner or the lead design professional, we offer full-service LEED IAQ Testing.
We provide LEED IAQ management plan services for clients around the country, but specialize in regional projects located in San Francisco, Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Marin County, Napa, San Mateo County, Santa Clara County, Solano County and Sonoma County.
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