The Living Building Challenge (LBC) has quickly gained traction as one of the most rigorous and all-encompassing green building certifications available. If you’re looking for a green building program that will help differentiate your company and drive widespread organizational change, LBC may be the right solution. Awair Omni is certified by RESET and can help you monitor your indoor air quality to meet LBC Healthy Interior Environment requirements.
What is the Living Building Challenge?
The LBC certification program is hosted and overseen by the International Living Future Institute. To become a Living Building, a property must be proven to be self-sufficient, or “net positive.” In essence, it must operate within the limits of site resources, produce more energy than it uses, treat water on-site, and provide inhabitants with all the basic resources they need to thrive in their environment.
There’s a reason why “challenge” is in LBC’s name. Earning your LBC 3.1 or 4.0 certification is no easy feat. To become certified, your building must pass preliminary and final audits in five separate categories, or “petals:” Place, Water, Energy, Health & Happiness, Materials, Equity, and Beauty. These diverse objectives, while challenging to achieve, are also what makes LBC the gold standard for sustainable building projects.
To accomplish the Health & Happiness portion of the LBC program, participants must comply with Imperative 08: Healthy Interior Environment, which requires Indoor Air Quality monitoring. With the release of LBC v4.0, maintaining healthy indoor air quality has become a Core Imperative.
Reasons to Invest in Better Indoor Air Quality
Contrary to popular belief, indoor air is often more polluted than outdoor air. That’s due, in part, to the fact that many common building materials, furniture, and cleaning products release chemicals (also known as Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs) into the air. Fine dust (PM2.5) and Ozone (O3) pollution can also be tracked indoors from outside sources and compounded by common indoor activities (e.g. cooking and cleaning). If a building lacks good air flow and adequate ventilation, all three of these pollutants can rise to unhealthy levels and affect the health of building occupants on a short- and long-term scale.
In addition to VOCs, commercial buildings are often highly populated — and more people means that more CO2 is being released into the air. When CO2 levels remain elevated, occupant wellbeing, productivity, and health all suffer.
Although temperature, humidity, light, and noise are not typically considered pollutants, all four environmental factors have a direct impact on the health, productivity, and wellbeing of building occupants.
In addition to improving health outcomes, creating a healthier indoor environment can also boost your bottom line, improve company perception, and help drive sustainable business growth.
Accomplishing LBC Imperative 08: Healthy Interior Environment
If you’re not familiar with indoor air quality, this component of the LBC program can seem daunting. Imperative 08 asks program participants to provide:
- Cleaning Product Documentation: A list of all cleaning products used in the building to ensure that all products comply with EPA air quality standards.
- HVAC Documentation: to prove that the building’s central exhaust and air filtration system complies with ASHRAE 62.
- Potential VOC Documentation: A list of all building materials “that have the potential to emit Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and supporting documentation demonstrating each product’s compliance with CDPH v1.1-2010.”
- IAQ Testing Results: Air quality test results that prove that the indoor air quality is healthy along with documentation of any steps taken to improve air quality since preliminary readings were taken.
- System Report: Documentation that proves that equipment has been permanently installed to monitor indoor carbon dioxide (CO2), temperature, and humidity levels.
Hiring an IAQ specialist to test your air and provide custom reports can be costly. Awair Omni can help you streamline this process, save money, and continuously monitor your indoor air quality over time.
Using Awair Omni for IAQ Testing and Systems Report Documentation
Awair Omni is an air quality monitor designed to help businesses track indoor pollution levels and create a safer, healthier, and more productive environment for building occupants. It does so by monitoring seven factors that affect building health: temperature, humidity, CO2, PM2.5, chemicals (VOCs), light, and noise.
Because Awair Omni is certified by RESET, it can be used as an alternative compliance path for teams looking to conduct IAQ testing and implement a continuous air quality monitoring solution. Rather than submitting two separate IAQ tests (one for post-construction and one post-occupancy), Awair Omni can be used in conjunction with more limited post-construction spot tests for formaldehyde, NO2, ozone, and 4-PCH to meet this LBC requirement. To remain valid, the project must meet RESET certification requirements (maintaining healthy air quality levels) for a twelve month period. If your project is already on track to be a Living Building, maintaining RESET air quality standards should require minimal effort and reinforce overarching project goals.
The data collected by Awair Omni is available in a user-friendly dashboard, making it easy to review, analyze, and export air quality data to streamline reporting efforts. In addition to fulfilling the LBC’s Imperative 08, Awair Omni can help you earn other Green Building Credentials and empower you to maintain a healthier environment for years to come.
To learn more about how Awair Omni can help support Living Building Certification, download our one-sheet Omni & LBC Guide below.