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Greenguard Certification

Just about any company can label their products “green”, but that doesn’t necessarily
mean they’re healthier or more environmentally friendly than others on the market. The
Greenguard Environmental Institute (GEI) set out to change that by implementing an
indoor air certification program. It certifies products that meet the GEI standards
for low chemical and particle emissions.

To obtain certification, products such as insulation, adhesives, flooring, and paint
are tested under conditions that simulate normal use. Researchers measure emissions
of formaldehyde and other VOCs. If a product meets the strict criteria, the
manufacturer may use the Greenguard mark on that product’s packaging. The product
is then tested regularly to ensure that it still meets the certification criteria.

Since children are especially vulnerable to toxins, there’s also a classification
called “GREENGUARD Children and Schools” to insure that products are safe for places
where children are more likely to be.

To search for certified products, visit the online product guide at:

Adgitize your web site.

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No Responses to “Greenguard Certification”

  1. Bruce Ray, Johns Manville Says:

    Greenguard is a good program, if you understand its intentions and limitations. For example, Greenguard is not intended or appropriate for the vast majority of new residential construction and the Greenguard-certified “low emitting” threshold of 50 parts per billion formaldehyde is not intended to be health-based but instead only manufacturing performance-based.

    Consider also the following:
    – Greenguard does not establish health-based standards but instead only product certification thresholds. Actual standards and recommendations from federal and state health and environmental agencies can be much more stringent than Greenguard certification thresholds. One good example is formaldehyde, a chemical found in many building materials. Greenguard Certified products must off-gas formaldehyde in amounts that lead to an indoor concentration of less than 50 parts per billion (ppb) at commercial building ventilation rates. In comparison, the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (part of CDC) has a chronic formaldehyde standard of 8 ppb and the State of California has a chronic standard of 2 ppb. Even FEMA trailers used for temporary disaster housing must now meet a spec of 16 ppb.
    – Both Greenguard for Children and Schools and Greenguard Certified are programs are intended mostly for commercial buildings that have continuous mechanical ventilation systems. Neither program is intended for the vast majority of new single family homes. The difference is in the amount of dilution air assumed.
    o The impact of products on the indoor air concentration of a chemical is a function of two things: 1. The amount of a particular chemical emitted by the product; and 2. a model used to calculate an estimated indoor air concentration of that chemical.
    o One variable assumed in the model is the ventilation rate, which is really just the amount of dilution air assumed. The more dilution air assumed, the lower the calculated concentration; the less dilution air assumed, the higher the calculated concentration.
    o Greeenguard Certified products assume a ventilation/dilution air rate applicable to commercial buildings – up to one air change per hour.
    o But the vast majority of new homes are built tight for energy efficiency and have an average ventilation rate of only 0.25 air changes per hour
    o So, a product that meets the Greenguard Certified threshold of 50 ppb for formaldehyde could yield a true indoor air concentration of up to 200 ppb, which is above all governmental health-based recommendations.
    – The Greenguard for Children and Schools program is clearly intended only for schools and not homes.

    So, Greenguard is a good program if you understand that it is really intended for commercial buildings and not your typical new single family home. And you must keep in mind that Greenguard formaldehyde certification thresholds are not health standards and in fact do not meet many actual recommendations of federal and state health and environmental agencies.

    Here’s the full disclosure. I am with Johns Manville, which is the only manufacturer making a full line of Formaldehyde-freeTM fiber glass building insulation. Since formaldehyde is not necessary for fiber glass insulation to achieve thermal and acoustical performance characteristics, we thought taking formaldehyde out of our building insulation was just a smart thing to do – for our workers, the insulation installers and the many people in the homes and buildings insulated with our products. Thank you. Bruce Ray.

  2. wilson Says:

    WoW, it seems that this is a program that should be educated to the younger generation, Linda…

    wilsons last blog post..Low Cholesterol is The Warning Sign of Cancer!

  3. Randy Carter, Steelcase Says:

    Bruce raises excellent points.

    Environmental Design and Construction magazine offers a three part series on Indoor Air Quality that provides a detailed overview of these programs. You can see and hear 60 minute AIA accredited presentations free at this link:

    These graphic presentations have been popular and have received very positive feedback from people trying to learn the basics and distinguish the important differences. I hope this is helpful.

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