If you’re an architect, specification writer, or developer and you want to specify healthier paint and flooring materials, but aren’t sure how to do it, the HomeFree Specifications can help. HBN developed specification language in editable Word documents organized according to MasterFormat® standard divisions. The Specifications are primarily based on our Hazard Spectrums for paint and flooring, including materials that fall into the preferred categories (green, light green, or yellow). 

The Specifications provide:

  • Drop-in specification language for materials that meet the HomeFree healthier material guidance, providing project teams with an actionable, practical resource for incorporating safer materials into project specifications,
  • Examples of specific products that meet the specifications,1 and
  • Educational context and links to additional information to provide project teams with not just the “what” of healthier materials, but the “why” as well.

Lauren Zullo, Director of Environmental Impact at Jonathan Rose Companies says, “The HomeFree Specifications are really clear documents that my team can pass along to our various architects and general contractors to help provide the reasoning behind WHY we’re asking for what we’re asking for, in terms of healthier materials. It not only helps increase awareness, but allows design teams to make more informed decisions with value engineered product selection.”

The HomeFree Specifications can help teams work toward different green building certifications, too. The Specifications overlap with LEED “Low Emitting Materials” and “Building product disclosure and optimization - material ingredients” credits.  

Those pursuing certification per the 2020 Enterprise Green Communities (EGC) Criteria will also find these Specifications helpful. The HomeFree Specifications for paint and flooring can help teams achieve the EGC Criteria outlined below. Mandatory criteria are indicated in orange and optional criteria are indicated in green.

Category

Enterprise Criterion

Requirement 2

HomeFree (HF) Specifications

 

 

 

6.1 Ingredient Transparency for Material Health

Specify and install products that have inventories that have been publicly disclosed where content is characterized and screened using health hazard lists or restricted substances lists to 1,000 ppm or better.

 

1 point per 5 installed Declare or HPD products from at least three different product categories

 

1 point per each product with third-party verified HPD or third-party verified Declare label

[8 points maximum]

Preference for products with HPDs or Declare Labels to 1,000 ppm or better included in all HF Specifications.

 

Indication of which example products currently have this documentation.

 

Further preference for third-party verified.

6.4 Healthier Material Selection

VOC content less than or equal to the thresholds provided by the most recent version of SCAQMD 1113 available at time of product specification for all interior paints, coatings and primers.

All versions of the HF Paint Specifications require that paints meet the SCAQMD requirements.

VOC emissions verified as compliant with CDPH Standard Method for all wall finish paints.

Both Green and Light Green versions of the HF Paint Specifications require paints meet the CDPH emission requirement.

 

Yellow version of the HF Paint Specification prefers CDPH-compliant paints.

CDPH-compliant coating and/or primer (excluding wall finish paints)

[1 point per compliant product, 2 points maximum]

Both Green and Light Green versions of the HF Paint Specifications require paints meet the CDPH emission requirement.

 

Yellow version of the HF Paint Specification prefers CDPH-compliant paints.

APE-free paint, coating and/or primer

[1 point per compliant product, 2 points maximum]

 

Both Green and Light Green versions of the HF Paint Specifications require APE-free paints.

6.4 Healthier Material Selection

 

 

All flooring products (whether carpet or hard surface) must comply with CDPH emission requirements.

CDPH emission certification is required for carpet, resilient, and factory-finished wood flooring.

Absence of vinyl-flooring throughout the project.

[3 points]

HF Flooring Specifications are for non-vinyl flooring materials only.

If using carpet, specify those that do not use a fluorinated (PFAS) stain repellent.

[1 point]

HF Specification for carpet requires avoidance of PFAS-based stain repellents.

Composite Wood: Formaldehyde emissions less than or equal to the thresholds provided by CARB Phase 2 and/or TSCA Title IV for plywood, particleboard, MDF, and these materials within other products like cabinets and doors. For any other composite wood products not covered by CARB/TSCA requirements, but used in interior spaces, these must at minimum be NAUF (have no added urea formaldehyde).

HF Specification for wood flooring (engineered wood and laminate) includes this requirement.

Use of composite woods that are certified ultra-low emitting formaldehyde (ULEF).

[1 point per compliant product, 2 points maximum]

HF Specification for wood flooring (engineered wood and laminate) includes this as a preference.

VOC content less than or equal to the thresholds provided by the most recent version of SCAQMD 1168 available at time of product specification for all interior adhesives and sealants.

Required in all HF Flooring Specifications.

Use of adhesives that are CDPH compliant.

[1 point per compliant product, 2 points maximum]

Preference for adhesives that are CDPH compliant included in the HF Flooring Specifications.

 

The HomeFree Specifications can be accessed on the HomeFree Reports page and in the Related Resources lists on the paint and flooring product pages. Please check them out and let us know what you think!  What do you like about them?  What would make them even more useful? Do you want to see specifications for more HomeFree categories? If so, which category should be next?

 

References 

[1] The specifications include examples of products that meet the requirements for a specific category on the Hazard Spectrum. These products were determined to meet our requirements using publicly available information, manufacturer provided information, or a combination of the two. The products do not represent a complete list of available products that may meet the specifications, but are included for illustrative purposes. Their inclusion is not an endorsement or certification of products. 
[2] Only the parts of the Enterprise Criteria that overlap with the HomeFree Specifications are summarized in this table. See the 2020 Enterprise Green Communities Criteria for additional information and the full criteria.