New Construction and Remodels

Indoor Environmental Quality

New Construction and Remodels

Safety Committee Recommendations for Improving Indoor Air Quality in New Buildings and Major Remodels


  • Meet the requirements of ASHRAE 62-1999, Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality, and approved Addenda (see ASHRAE 62-2001, Appendix H, for a complete compilation of Addenda) using the Ventilation Rate Procedure (LEED Prerequisite);
  • 3rd party commissioning of HVAC units & associated ductwork (LEED Prerequisite).

Materials Selection

  • Adhesives and Sealants: The VOC content of adhesives and sealants used should be less than the current VOC content limits of South Coast Air Quality Management District Rule #1168, AND all sealant used as fillers should meet or exceed the requirements of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District Regulation 8, Rule 51 (LEED Credit);
  • Paints and Coatings: VOC emissions from paints and coatings should not exceed the VOC and chemical component limits of Green Seal's Standard GS-11 requirements (LEED Credit);
  • Carpet: Carpet acts as a "sink" for dust and dirt, which may include heavy metals and other toxins tracked in from outdoors. Carpet also provides an environment for dust mites, mold, and other biological allergens (GreenSpec Guideline Specifications). In order to provide a more allergen free environment for staff and students, resilient flooring should be used in place of carpet. Carpet may be used when specific acoustic concerns necessitate its use. When carpet is used, it should meet or exceed the requirements of the Carpet and Rug Institute's Green Label Indoor Air Quality Test Program (LEED Credit);
  • Composite Wood: Composite wood and agrifiber products should contain no added urea-formaldehyde resins (LEED Credit).

During Construction

  • Protect stored on-site or installed absorptive materials from moisture damage (LEED Credit);
  • If air handlers must be used during construction, filtration media with a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) of 8 should be used at each return air grill (LEED Credit).

After Construction

  • Replace all filtration media immediately prior to occupancy. Filtration media installed at the end of construction should a have a MERV of 13 (LEED Credit);
  • After construction ends and prior to occupancy conduct a minimum two-week building flush-out with new MERV 13 filtration media at 100% outside air. After the flush-out, replace the filtration media with new MERV 13 filtration media (LEED Credit). Lower minimum efficiency reporting values can be consider if MERV 13 filters require major HVAC upgrades. Contingency plans should be developed prior to construction to ensure that two-week flush-out may occur.

Other Items to Consider

  • Install a permanent carbon dioxide (CO2) monitoring system that provides feedback on space ventilation performance in a form that affords operational adjustments. Refer to the CO2 differential for all types of occupancy in accordance with ASHRAE 62-201, Appendix D (LEED Credit);
  • Provide at least one operable window and one lighting control zone per 200 square feet for all regularly occupied areas within 15 feet of the perimeter wall (LEED Credit) – OR – New windows should be operable. Operable windows may be locked closed by Facilities and temporarily opened in the case of emergencies or particular indoor air quality concerns (U of O Lillis Business Center and other new buildings at U of O);
  • Provide controls for each individual for airflow, temperature and lighting for at least 50% of occupants in non-perimeter, regularly occupied areas (LEED Credit);
  • Employ permanent entryway systems (grills, grates, etc.) to capture dirt, particulates, etc. from entering the building at all high volume entryway (LEED Credit);
  • Where chemical use occurs (including housekeeping areas and copying/printing rooms), provide segregated areas with floor to ceiling partitions with separate outside exhaust at a rate of at least 0.50 cubic feet per minute per square foot, no air re-circulation and maintaining a negative pressure of at least 7 PA (0.03 inches of water gauge) (LEED Credit);
  • Achieve a minimum Daylight Factor of 2% (excluding all direct sunlight penetration) in 75% of all space occupied for critical visual tasks. Spaces excluded from this requirement include copy rooms, storage areas, mechanical plant rooms, and other low occupancy support areas (LEED Credit);
  • Achieve direct line of sight to vision glazing for building occupants in 90% of all regularly occupied spaces. Examples of exceptions include copy rooms, storage areas, mechanical, and other low occupancy support areas (LEED Credit).