Self-Declared Claims for Low-Emitting Materials

Putting Your Test Results to Work

Architectural projects seeking green building certification frequently specify the use of low-emitting interior products. You have invested substantially in developing your products so they meet rigorous standards for indoor environmental quality. You have tested products with Berkeley Analytical (BkA) to secure independent verification that they meet specific standards. Now it’s it time to put your test results to work in the marketplace and deliver your message to architects, specifiers, contractors, and consumers.

Making Your Product Claim

The first step is creating a credible product claim—either self-declared (i.e., first party) or certified (i.e., third party). View our tutorial presentation on How to Establish Low VOC-Impact Claims for Products. Here you’ll learn the basics of product sample selection for both first- or third-party claims that will facilitate the grouping of products under one claim.  Self-declared claims are an increasingly viable option.  For a self-declared claim, you’ll learn how to combine your manufacturer’s statement of conformity with BkA’s 'Compliance Tested' certificate into a document you can take confidently into the marketplace to demonstrate compliance with VOC emission standards. See CPSC’s guidance for creating a self-declared certificate based on a laboratory report.

BkA is now facilitating the creation of fully compliant self-declared claims by making the ClearChem™ program available to BkA’s customers that have tested their interior building products to CDPH Standard Method V1.2. ClearChem is a fully transparent program that provides the information needed for USGBC LEED v4 EQ Credit: Low Emitting Materials in a uniform format.  ClearChem is consistent with ISO 14021 for self-declared environmental claims and is designed to be equivalent to third-party product certification.  USGC lists ClearChem as an accepted program for first-party product claims.

Promoting Your Product Claim

There are various ways to promote your product claim to projects seeking green building certification or other recognition. One way is to list your product and claim in one or more of the on-line green product registries. These registries are where architects, specifiers, and contractors go to find products that are compliant with credits in green building certification systems and with green building codes, and to download the product claims and certificates they need for documentation.

BkA’s customers who use the ClearChem™  program for product claims can list their certificates in the ClearChem online database without charge. These certificates are in PDF format and are available for free downloading.

Other registries are available, but the costs for participation can be substantial. And the choice can be difficult because the registries that accept low VOC-impact product claims vary significantly in quality, numbers of registered products and claims, cost structures, etc. View our comparison of seven product registries that accept products with low-VOC impact claims as a starting point for your own investigation.


Meeting Legal Requirements of Green Building Codes

Having a proper claim is particularly important with respect to green building codes. California’s CALGreen, the nation’s first statewide green construction code, imposes mandatory code (i.e., legal) requirements related to VOC content or VOC emissions for paints and coatings, adhesives and sealants, composite woods, and carpet and resilient floor covering products.

Read our white paper: A Brave New World – CALGreen and What It Means for Flooring Manufacturers in the California Market. Here you’ll learn about the mandatory requirements for flooring products in non-residential and residential construction in California and see the legal statements that architects and contractors are required to sign.

National green building codes also have been developed and are starting to impact the selection of interior building products for a broader range of buildings. See our page that outlines the VOC emissions sections of ASHRAE Standard 189.1 and the International Green Construction Code (IgCC).  By making valid self-declared product claims readily available for download, manufacturers can facilitate documentation of compliance with these new building codes.