LEED VOC Requirements for Firestopping

You may notice a trend in posts right now, as I'm on a bit of a VOC kick at the moment. (See indoor environmental quality (EQc4) posts on primers, phenol formaldehyde, and the interior/exterior issue.) The VOC requirements are quite vague, as good standard definitions of each category are hard for many products. Today I was asked to look at what VOC requirements there are for firestopping sealants. Though I don't have a definitive answer (<- this can't be stressed enough), after talking to a few people I feel like we're on the right track.

OSI Green Series Firestopping

I started looking for the VOC limit by searching through the CIR's to no avail. The project manager and I discussed and figured the best definition was "Architectural Sealant", yielding a upper VOC limit of 250 g/l. After looking online I noticed Grace has a great LEED summary of their Flamesafe products. The sheet didn't indicate what category they were listed as, but after talking to Craig Boucher, LEED AP I learned they also assumed that "architectural sealant" was the best category for the putty and silicone products. For the sprays they assumed that it would need to qualify as a non-flat paint under EQc4.2.

In any case none of the Flamesafe products are above 50 g/l total content, and Craig indicated that the products were already around those levels before they needed to be marketed as "green". Interestingly the OSI "green series" products listed above have a higher VOC level (listed at 55 g/l on Green Depot) than the "standard" product from Grace.

As I said before I think I'm right but can't be sure without your help (or dropping $220 on an official CIR). Please let us all know if you can add some certainty to this post by leaving a comment... Your help will be much appreciated!


Chris Grimm said...

Isn't there some mention of firestopping in the Ref Guide under EQ 4.1? I sort of remember hunting and finding it there, kind of fine print. I don't have the Ref Guide handy at the moment or I'd try to find it again. Since that time, I have been spec'ing it <=250g/L as architectural sealant, so I must have come to the same conclusion as the PM you mentioned.

Chris Grimm said...

Found it, in the Potential Technologies & Strategies section, it specifically mentions firestopping.

Also in the Requirements section it is encompasses this by saying "All adhesives and sealants used on the interior of the building (defined as inside the weatherproofing system and applied on-site)" and goes on to say 250 g/L "less water" - what does that mean exactly, take the water out of the formula before you measure it's volume in the calculation? Wonder if any manufacturers publish data that way! By the way, there is a higher limit of 775 g/L for primers on porous substrates, and this seems to apply to firestopping per MASTERSPEC. Nonporous primers have the same 250 g/L limit as the firestopping though.

Does anyone know if waterproofing also counts in this? It IS the weatherproofing system. I have been assuming it does count. I know sealants used in roofing are specifically mentioned somewhere as having this requirement.

Steve said...

Firstly kudos to you for this great site

I'm had much experience with firestopping
and can tell you after many projects were firestop seals and methods must be used, that it is imperative to insure that details include UL tested materials wherever possible.

All this to say this a complex issue. Since prevailing NFPA, municipal by-laws, and Building codes supersede and have precedence over any LEED requirement, BE CAREFUL ABOUT RECOMMENDING PRODUCTS unless you can back it up with applicable UL tested details and products. The Green product manufacturers must provide you with appropriate specs.

Lore said...

We used Architectural Sealant for fire stop on our project (LEED-CI v.2.0) and it was accepted at review, and we were certified. (Silver)

jbeeson said...

What about acrylic based firestopping sealants? Anyone have any experience submitting that?

And don't worry Steve, it has a UL testing report.