Does untreated hardwood flooring qualify as a low emissions material in LEED for Homes, or does it need to be Floor Score certified?

Asked by Annie
Boston, MA

does Floor Score account for untreated hardwood flooring? does the LEED for Homes rating system count untreated hardwood flooring as a Environmentally Preferable Material under Materials & Resources 2.2?


Rick Goyette

Answered by Rick Goyette

Pawtucket, RI

Emerald Dream Builders

February 14, 2012

This is an interesting question. At the end of the day the floor finish has a greater impact on overall emissions than assembly.

Let’s first review the criteria for MR 2.2 as it pertains to flooring right from the LEED for Homes Reference Guide. As a point of note I’ve left the carpet aspects out of the equation.

  1. Does the Environmentally Preferable Product cover a space greater than or equal to 45% of the floor surface of the dwelling? (If yes move to criteria 2)
  2. Is the material Linoleum, Cork, bamboo, FSC Certified, reclaimed wood, sealed concrete, recycled-content flooring or a combination of the above? (If yes you earn ½ point and move to criteria 3. If no move to criteria 4)
  3. Does the Environmentally Preferable Product cover a space greater than or equal to 90% of the floor surface of the dwelling? (If yes earn an additional ½ point and move to criteria 4)
  4. For improved emissions if the floor is 100% hard flooring? (if yes you earn an additional ½ point proceed to criteria 5. If no proceed to criteria 5)
  5. Is the product SCS Floor Score Certified? (If yes you earn an additional ½ point. Proceed to criteria 6)
  6. Was the flooring locally milled and shipped from a location 500 miles from the project location? (If yes and meets criteria 1 and 2 add ½ point. If yes and meets 2 and 3 add an additional ½ point)

To answer your question given the criteria above:

  • Untreated hardwood flooring would be eligible to receive credit under a few of the criteria listed above. It is entirely possible to earn the points in criteria 1,2,3, 4 and 6.
  • However, unless the flooring comes with the SCS Floor Score Certification you would not be eligible for the ½ point in criteria 5.
  • However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that unfinished hardwood flooring could not earn an additional point for emissions.

There is a process to receive points for Innovative or Regional Design criteria under ID 3 of LEED for Homes.

  • You would have to prepare an Innovative Design Request explaining the merits of your idea and it will be submitted by your LEED for Homes provider to the USGBC.
  • Of course the point can’t be counted until they’ve made a decision on your idea but the flexibility for such points does in fact exist.

For more information on MR 2.2 and ID 3 please consult the LEED for Homes Reference guide which is perhaps the most valuable tool for any project seeking LEED Certification.

For more information on SCS Floor Score see their website here.

Good luck on your project!

Tagged In: leed for homes

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