06/02/2003

Avoiding the Headaches

Floor Replacement in Occupied Buildings

 

Calculating and Reporting VOC Emissions

The two most commonly referenced protocols for reporting volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions in adhesives are the Carpet & Rug Institute’s (CRI’s) “Green Label Program” and the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) Rule 1168. The organizations use different methods for measuring and reporting VOCs, so results for any one product could differ greatly when tested using both methods.


SCAQMD Rule 1168 was established by officials in and around Orange County, CA. This method does not provide for the actual measurement of VOC emissions, but rather calls for the calculation of emissions levels based on certain raw materials in the adhesive. This method excludes certain compounds from the calculation. So, even though an adhesive may be labeled as “VOC Content: 0g/L; calculated and reported, SCAQMD 1168,” it may still contain certain levels of VOCs that have been exempted from the calculation.


Adhesives that carry the CRI “Green Label” certification have been tested by an independent laboratory to certify that the “total VOC emissions” of any given adhesive is at or below 10.0 mg/m2 hr. CRI’s method involves the analysis and measurement of actual air samples. It does not exempt any chemical compounds from the calculation.

Building owners and facilities managers are presented with many challenges during installation when replacing carpet or other flooring in occupied buildings – from controlling indoor air quality (IAQ) to dealing with tenant complaints. The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 30 percent of new and newly remodeled buildings globally have IAQ problems, and according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), IAQ problems in the United States alone cost businesses about $60 billion annually in lost productivity and illness. 

Factors Contributing to IAQ Issues
While there are a number of factors that contribute to less-than-favorable IAQ conditions during flooring installations, the chemicals found in paints and primers, stripping products, cleaners, and adhesives glue are often identified as possible sources of concern. Emissions from the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in these products are often thought to be the biggest culprits, but strong odor is another factor affecting the air quality in buildings.

Typical tenant complaints during remodeling or renovation include headaches and nausea, which often lead to a loss in productivity. Take steps to help reduce the number of tenant complaints, including asking your contractors and installers: “Are you using the lowest emitting, lowest odor, most environmentally responsible products available?” 

Many flooring contractors and installers only consider environmental factors during installations if buildings in which they are working are either labeled “green” or are considered to be IAQ-sensitive (such as healthcare facilities, nursing homes, and schools).

The W.W. Henry Co. recently reported one of many successful installations of its new environmentally friendly GreenLine™ GL62 carpet adhesive at a fully-functioning radio station in Greenville, SC. The appeal of GL62 for the station definitely was its “low odor.” Since the equipment is critical to operations, station management needed to be able to continue using the studio to stay on the air. The building manager wanted to get the installation done with the least possible disruption and after-effects. Key selling points were no lingering odor and minimal staff downtime. The installers noted the GL62 adhesive didn’t smell like a regular adhesive and were delighted with its grab and bond, describing GreenLine’s performance as equal or superior to even the most aggressive solvent-based adhesives. 

While environmentally friendly adhesives tend to cost more than their standard counterparts, the benefits of reducing tenant complaints and not having to schedule installations for off-hours far outweigh the price difference. They may not solve all of your problems, but it should help reduce some of your headaches.

Ray Clarke is director of marketing for Aliquippa, PA-based Ardex Engineered Cements and The W.W. Henry Co. (www.wwhenry.com).

 

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Connectrac wireways offer discrete power and technology connectivity in open interior spaces of all kinds; affordably, quickly and with long-term flexibility.



When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality.

Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.

Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.


Mitsubishi Electric’s H2i R2-Series heat pumps provide 100% heating capacity down to 0° F and simultaneous heating and cooling down to -4° F delivering year-round comfort, regardless of climate zone.

 
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