Product Review

Composite Wood: EPA, California, and LEED v4 Requirements

EPA criteria are similar to CARB’s and create a federal formaldehyde standard for composite wood. We explain the LEED ramifications of these emission standards.

March 6, 2018

Design teams looking for low-emitting interior composite wood panels for LEED 2009 used to have it easy. If the wood panel met the California Air Resources Board (CARB) requirements for no added urea formaldehyde­ (NAUF) or no added formaldehyde (NAF), then it was good to go.

Not anymore. CARB no longer recognizes NAUF, opting instead for an ultra-low-emitting formaldehyde (ULEF) resin standard. The ULEF or NAF criteria are now also required for LEED v4. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s pending Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products, which is scheduled to go into effect in 2018 but does not have an official release date, uses basically the same emission standards as LEED v4.