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California tests conventional and "green"products for emissions
By Ted Smalley Bowen

California’s push to improve indoor air quality has strong support by the school districts.

In a concession to manufacturers, vendor and product names have been omitted from the most detailed results, but the testing is yielding useful data. “It’s the first time as architect that I have a tool I can take to the manufacturer and say, ‘If you don’t exceed this level, you’re okay,’ where the level is based on health,” says Bernheim. ASTM officials are considering adopting the test protocols as standards.In some cases, the California studies have led manufacturers to reformulate their products or pay closer attention to contributions from raw-material providers and supply-chain partners, something that the green-building community has encouraged for many years.

The waste management board report is available at www.ciwmb.ca.gov/greenbuilding/specs/section/metstudy.htm, and a list of products that passed the tests for the state’s Capital Area East End Complex office project is available at www.ciwmb.ca.gov/greenbuilding/specs/eastend/. The DHS is now monitoring the long-term emissions of materials in the East End facility, according to officials.

The Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) initiative, which is ongoing, relies on independent lab tests arranged by manufacturers. IAQ is an optional but commonly addressed category of CHPS’s green school guidelines. The testing program stems from efforts by the Los Angeles Unified School District to list products that meet Section 01350 standards. Qualifying products are added to a Web site, www.chps.net/manual/lem_overvw.htm, as manufacturers submit their test results.

Officials stressed that the specifications note only emissions levels for products, not other environmental measures, such as embodied energy and pollution generated during manufacturing and distribution.



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