EDJ Takes Note...

April 1, 2003
EDJ Takes Note...Office Equipment and IAQ IssuesAtlanta, GA-based indoor air quality company, Air Quality Sciences, Inc. (AQS), has released a comprehensive report on indoor air quality issues specifically related to office equipment. In Black and White: The Office Equipment Industry's Guide to Managing Product Emissions addresses the complex and increasingly publicized issues surrounding product emissions from office machines and their impact on indoor environmental quality. A topic of controversy and concern, emissions from office machines have been found to contribute to significant health problems, discomfort and general malaise among building occupants. Like most manufactured products, office equipment off-gasses chemical compounds from product components. In addition, many of these machines emit complex mixtures of chemical and particle pollutants while in operation, increasing their contribution to indoor air pollution and risk potential. Office equipment manufacturers are facing the challenges of creating low-emitting machines that are acceptable for indoor environments. The report includes summaries from emissions studies conducted on office equipment, industry trends, common pollutants and their sources, potential health effects, testing technology, standards, guidelines and voluntary programs and options for addressing product emissions problems. In Black & White is available free of charge at Eco Design Distance LearningThe San Francisco Institute of Architecture now offers Ecological Design programs available through self-paced distance learning. Programs include technical, undergraduate and postgraduate home study, augmented by advanced learning materials such as textbooks by the world's leading ecological design experts, video tape presentations, Web resources and Internet interaction with faculty and students.Students can take just one course or complete an entire certificate or degree program. Courses are suitable for personal fulfillment, for career training, or as preparation for teaching these subjects to others. Each course consists of 12 study modules requiring one to two chapters of reading, a feedback report (answers to essay questions) and related research (primarily on the Internet). In addition, each course requires an average of 36 hours of study and provides three units of academic credit (or 36 hours of continuing education credit). Specific programs provided include:
  • Associate Degree and Technical Certificate Program, which provides an overview introduction to the basics of ecological design and building practices. It will qualify students for entry-level work in ecological planning, construction and design counseling.

  • Bachelor of Sciences in Ecological Design, which will qualify students to work in ecological design consulting, energy retrofit analysis, alternative materials cost/benefit analysis and integrated ecological systems design.

  • Master of Ecological Design, which is designed to qualify students for independent research and practice in ecological design, comprehensive building energy systems analysis, architectural systems and bioclimatic site planning.For more information, see "Eco Distance Learning" at Make the News
  • Mohawk Industries received the 2003 Environmental Leadership Award given by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. Mohawk was one of three manufacturers to receive the annual distinction, and was selected for its role as a leader in the state as a manufacturer addressing important environmental issues. Georgia-Pacific and Georgia Power Co. were the other award recipients.

  • Armstrong Ceiling Systems and the Institution Recycling Network (IRN) have joined forces to provide more opportunities for old, discarded acoustical ceiling tiles from renovation projects to be reclaimed rather than dumped into landfills. Under provisions of the new agreement, IRN will manage the packaging, consolidation and transportation of old ceiling tiles from IRN members' renovation projects and coordinate their shipment and recycling by Armstrong. In the past, ceilings from projects like these may not have been able to be recycled because they did not meet the minimum quantity requirement for a direct pick-up by Armstrong, or because generators could not manage the logistics to qualify for Armstrong's existing Ceiling Recycling Program.

  • GreenGuard Certification has been awarded to Benjamin Moore's Eco Spec® line of paint products. To earn certification from the GreenGuard Environmental Institute, the paints underwent a series of rigorous emissions tests for levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). It is these compounds that contribute to the creation of smog, which leads to the depletion of the ozone layer. Additionally, when released in closed, non-ventilated spaces, these emissions can cause irritation to the respiratory tract.The GreenGuard Environmental Institute has also awarded Herman Miller's office seating its GreenGuard Indoor Air Quality Certification for low emitting products. The seating was tested and verified by the GEI to have low chemical emissions that meet or exceed GreenGuard's Indoor Air Quality Standards. Products certified by the GEI must pass a series of rigorous emissions tests and undergo quarterly monitoring tests to ensure their low emitting status.Pilot Standard for Carpet ReleasedScientific Certification Systems (SCS) has released its pilot standard for environmentally preferable carpet titled "Standard Specification for the Evaluation and Certification of Environmentally Preferable Carpet." The pilot standard was available for public review and comment until August 29 via the SCS Web site at An initial draft of the standard was also circulated to key stakeholder groups for review and comment. The SCS carpet standard applies to all broadloom and tile carpet products used in residential, commercial and institutional applications, and was designed, according to the SCS, to address key stages of the product life cycle while incorporating relevant environmental and human health issues. For manufacturers of carpet products, the standard establishes the criteria necessary for certification of the product(s) as environmentally preferable. Manufacturers cannot, however, self-certify their product(s). Instead, independent third parties review and audit the manufacturer in accordance with the standard and provide an independent assessment/certification of the product(s) environmental preferability.The pilot carpet standard is broken down into several scored categories using a 100-point scale. To achieve certification as an environmentally preferable product, manufacturers must demonstrate that the carpet meets the following minimum requirements to the satisfaction of the independent third party evaluator:
  • a minimum of 75 points overall; and

  • a minimum of 50 percent of the total points available in each of the following four areas: Resource Conservation; Product Manufacturing; Product Performance in Use; and Extended Product Responsibility. International Ideas to Repair and HealThe International Union of Architects (UIA) has launched A Celebration of Cities, an international ideas competition created to generate a global database of inventive architectural designs to repair and heal cities across the world. The American Institute of Architects (AIA), along with a range of organizations affiliated with the profession of architecture, will co-sponsor the ideas competition. The project criteria call for small-scale, sustainable solutions that are simple, have an immediate effect, while remaining economical. All types of housing and urban sites are targeted, including large housing complexes, shanty towns, historic cities and modern suburbs. The competition is divided into two categories, one for architects and one for architecture students. The AIA will convene a national jury to select up to five professional and five student projects that will be forwarded to the UIA for the international competition. Architects and architecture students whose projects have been selected in the international competition will receive special recognition from UIA. Their projects will be presented at the UIA World Congress in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2005.For additional information on regulations and submission guidelines, visit the AIA Web site at Schools PortalCalifornia's Division of the State Architect (DSA) has released the Sustainable Schools Web site (, a new Web portal geared toward those interested and involved in designing, developing and constructing high-performance schools—including school administrators, board officials, developers, architects, planners, researchers, teachers, students, parents or any other individual who wants to learn more about a new era of environmental, communal and economic-conscious school construction.The Web portal is part of DSA's commitment to helping schools create high-performance educational facilities that ensure the optimal health and productivity of students and faculty. The new site will aide schools by providing a broad and diverse collection of sustainable building resources including guidelines, programs, case studies, relevant publications and more. Of particular interest is a database of financial incentives. This database displays financial incentive programs that will fund projects in the areas of energy, water, materials, siting, green building, landscaping and transportation and includes programs from the federal to the local levels.

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