What is LEED?

LEED stands for The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It is a nationally recognized rating system for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED gives building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their buildings’ environmental performance.

What does LEED Promote?

LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.

What is GREENGUARD™?

The GREENGUARD Environmental Institute was founded in 2001 as a “third-party product certification program for emissions testing”. It is an independent, non-profit organization that has established voluntary acceptable indoor air standards for indoor products, environments, and buildings.

Like BIFMA FES, Greenguard emissions testing has been accepted by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) as achieving indoor air quality standards for the LEED rating system.

What is BIFMA?

BIFMA is a membership based not-for-profit organization made up of furniture manufacturers, suppliers and associated agencies. BIFMA’s mission is to lead, advocate, inform and develop standards for the North American office and institutional furniture industry.

BIFMA Furniture Emissions Standards (FES) have been developed within the testing standards of the American National Standard Institute (ANSI) to measure volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions of office furniture. The BIFMA FES standard has been accepted by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) as achieving the required indoor air quality standards for the LEED rating system.

What is ANSI?

ANSI is the American National Standards Institute. They provide manufacturers, specifiers, and users with a common basis for evaluating safety, durability, and the structural adequacy of the specified furniture. No they don’t! They define how to write tests. The standards define the specific tests, laboratory equipment to be used, the conditions of test, and the minimum acceptance levels to be used in evaluating these products.

What is the difference between BIFMA and GREENGUARD™ emissions testing?

BIFMA FES is an emissions test method for furniture products. GREENGUARD™ is a certification brand covering a variety of building products.

The testing protocols are similar and have been determined to be technically equivalent by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) as meeting the standard required by the Indoor Air Quality section of the LEED rating system.

Why did Spec choose BIFMA over GREENGUARD™?

BIFMA is the recognized leader in developing standards for the North American office and institutional furniture industry. In addition to the BIFMA FES Indoor Air Quality testing, it has developed a Sustainability Standard which takes into account other sustainability issues in addition to Indoor Air Quality such as end of life management, water management, energy efficiency, energy conservation, environmental and health and safety requirements for our facilities, and the health and safety of our employees. This new Sustainability Standard goes far beyond GREENGUARD’s focus, and we believe will soon become the new environmental standard by which all furniture manufacturers will be measured. Spec has committed to this Sustainability Standard and to continuously improve to become an environmental leader in the contract furniture industry.

What is Healthier Hospitals Initiative (HHI)?

Healthy Interiors goal of the Healthier Hospitals Safer Chemicals Challenge, Version 2.0 ensures that 30% of the annual volume of furnishings and furniture purchases (based on cost) eliminate the use of formaldehyde, perfluorinated compounds, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), antimicrobials*, and flame retardants**.

Spec HHI Declaration

*Triclosan and triclocarban are explicitly prohibited. No other added or built-in chemical antimicrobials are allowed unless they are registered with the U.S. EPA under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), and have published data that show efficacy in a hospital/clinical setting measured by a reduction in healthcare associated infections (HAIs) as part of comprehensive infection control measures. Antimicrobials added to materials or products for the sole purpose of preserving the product are exempt.

**Eliminate the intentional use of all flame retardants where code permits. When flame retardant chemicals are necessary to meet code requirements, use chemicals that meet GreenScreen Benchmark 3 or 4 or their equivalent.

What is the difference between Pre- and Post-Consumer Recycling?

“Post-consumer” refers to material that has been purchased, used by the final consumer, and then recycled. “Pre-consumer” refers to material that is generated during a manufacturing process, such as scraps from the cutting of envelopes. Instead of being disposed, the materials such as trimmings, damaged or obsolete products, or overruns are collected and incorporated into recycled products.

What is Sustainability as it pertains to furniture?

Sustainability is a development strategy that "meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." It calls for a future-oriented perspective which integrates economic, environmental and social aspects into business strategies and decision making.

What is Greenwashing?

Greenwashing is a term used to describe the perception of consumers that they are being misled by a company regarding the environmental practices of the company or the environmental benefits of a product or service.

What LEED credits does Nu-Green help achieve?

  1. MR Credit 4.1 & 4.2: Recycled Content
    10% — 1 Point or 20% — 2 Points, post-consumer + 1/2 pre-consumer

    Intent
    Increase demand for building products that incorporate recycled content materials, therefore reducing impacts resulting from extraction and processing of virgin materials. 

    NU Green is EPP certified 100% recycled or recovered wood fiber.

  2. MR Credit 5.1 & 5.2: Regional Materials
    20% Manufactured Regionally — 1 Point, if your facility is within 500 miles or 800 km of Spec.

    Intent
    Increase demand for building materials and products that are extracted and manufactured within the region, thereby supporting the regional economy and reducing the environmental impacts resulting from transportation.

  3. MR Credit 7: Certified Wood — 1 point 

    Intent 
    Encourage environmentally responsible forest management. 

    NU Green is FSC certified.

  4. EQ Credit 4.4: Low-Emitting Materials, Composite Wood and Laminate Adhesives — 1 point 

    Intent 
    Reduce the quantity of indoor air contaminants that are odorous, potentially irritating and/or harmful to the comfort and well-being of installers and occupants. 

    NU Green has no urea formaldehyde resins during the manufacturing process.