Section 01350

Special Environmental Requirements

“Special Environmental Specifications” for California’s Capitol Area East End Complex, completed in 2002-03, were rewritten in Construction Specifications Institute format and cited as “section: 01 35 00, General Requirements – Special Project Procedures,” or simply “Section 01350.” Section 01350 received wide acceptance from building materials manufacturers due to its flexibility, relative low cost, and because it is the only health-based building material specification. California’s Section 01350 covers environmental and public health considerations for building projects. It establishes goals and provides an overview of special environmental requirements, such as guidelines for:

  • Energy
  • Materials
  • Water efficiency
  • Indoor air quality
  • Nontoxic performance standards for cleaning and maintenance products
  • Sustainable site planning and landscaping considerations

Some key elements of Section 01350 are procedures to ensure good indoor air quality to protect human health. This part of the specification includes product selection guidelines and emission-testing protocols to distinguish low-emitting materials.

CDPH Standard Practice for VOC Testing

In 2004, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), formerly the Department of Health Services, expanded several sub-sections of the indoor air quality part of Section 01350 through the development of a “Standard Practice.” This document superseded “previous versions of small-scale environmental chamber testing portion of California Specification 01350.” It included:

  • Updated sub-section on sample receiving and handling;
  • Expanded section on laboratory methods and procedures;
  • New sub-section describing laboratory reporting requirements;
  • Additional information on Total Volatile Organic Compounds (TVOC) calculations and Proposition 65 chemicals;
  • No change to pass/fail criteria.

The complete 2004 “Standard Practice” document is 61 pages.

  • Standard Practice For The Testing of Volatile Organic Emissions from Various Sources Using Small-Scale Environmental Chambers (2004)

In 2010, CDPH updated the 2004 Standard Practice with several major changes, such as:

  • Changing the title to Standard Method for the Testing and Evaluation of Volatile Organic Chemical Emissions from Indoor Sources Using Environmental Chambers, Version 1.1;
  • Modifying some modeling parameters;
  • Referencing other comparable standards for specific product types;
  • Lowering a 16.5 micrograms per cubic meter (µg m-3) concentration limit for formaldehyde to 9.0 µg m-3 commencing January 1, 2012.

This 2010 CDPH update supersedes prior versions.

  • Standard Method for the Testing and Evaluation of Volatile Organic Chemical Emissions from Indoor Sources Using Environmental Chambers, Version 1.1 (2010)

State Construction Projects

The California Integrated Waste Management Board (now known as CalRecycle) initiated a multi-stakeholder process to develop the basis for Section 01350 in 1999-2000 with its Modular Office Furniture Specification. The California Sustainable Building Task Force subsequently modified and used this modular office furniture specification in the Capitol Area East End Complex Block 225 State construction project, completed in 2002-03.

Low-Emitting Materials Criteria for Schools: Section 01350

The Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) 2009 California Criteria for New Construction/Major Modernizations includes a credit, EQ 2.2, for low-emitting materials. School projects that specify and install products meeting the 2004 CDPH Standard Practice, or other comparable specific product standards, may claim up to 4 points towards CHPS certification. The CHPS Criteria refer to a Low-Emitting Materials Table of products that meet indoor air quality test protocols, now replaced with a High Performance Products Database on the CHPS website.

National Implementation

After CHPS offered points to schools projects that use low-emitting materials that meet Section 01350, several high performance schools adopted Section 01350 for inclusion in their projects. The Los Angeles Unified School District adopted CHPSPDF download district wide in 2003 and wants all of its schools to obtain points for low-emitting materials. On a national level, several states have adopted CHPS’ best practices.

In June 2010, NSF International initiated a workgroup to develop a national health-based standard for testing VOCs, principally by expanding CDPH criteria.

Building Material Emissions Study

This November 2003 CDPH study investigated recycled and virgin content building material emissions using Section 01350 protocols and concluded:

  • Recycled content products performed about the same as virgin content products;
  • Both product categories have the potential to emit chemicals of concern;
  • Low-emitting building materials are readily available;
  • To ensure they are low-emitting, all building products should be tested using Section 01350 indoor air quality protocols;
  • Proper ventilation plays an important role in good indoor air quality.

Tire-Derived Rubber Flooring Study

To follow-up the Building Materials Emission Study (BMES), the CIWMB funded the Tire-Derived Rubber Flooring Chemical Emissions Study: Laboratory Study Report. The goals of the study were to develop health based Indoor Reference Exposure Levels (iRELs) for four chemicals and to further study the emissions from tire-derived Rubber (TDR) and new rubber (NR) flooring products.  The TDR Flooring study concluded:

  • Both TDR and NR flooring products emit a myriad of VOC’s.
  • TDR flooring products designated for interior-only use are generally lower emitting: exterior products were frequently “super VOC emitters.”
  • NR flooring products in this study emitted higher amounts of some chemicals than TDR products.
  • Potential exposures were generally not high among the interior-only products tested, and emission rates for most of these chemicals appear to decrease by the 28-day tests.


The Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) worked with several organizations and individuals to develop Section 01350:

  • California Department of Public Health
  • California Air Resources Board
  • California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment
  • Hal Levin, Building Ecology Research Group
  • Anthony Bernheim, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C, Sustainability Principal, AECOM Design

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