Indoor air quality is a top concern for today’s builders and homeowners. That’s why they prefer to use flooring, wall panels and furniture with low VOC (volatile organic compound) emissions.
Our VOC Green program identifies products that comply with indoor air quality emissions criteria of green building programs such as LEED, CHPS and the Green Guide for Health Care. When evaluating a product’s VOC emissions, we provide an independent third party certification that follows a strict set of guidelines from the state of California recognized as the industry’s “gold standard.”

Developed by Benchmark International, one of the oldest and most respected certifying laboratories in the nation, the VOC Green program reviews a manufacturer’s production procedures and independently verifies emission levels of more than 30 specific chemicals. The Benchmark team has years of experience in the forest products, composites, concrete and steel products industries. Our services are supported by international accreditations, which include ISO Guide 65 Product Certification, ISO 17020 Inspection Agency, and ISO 17025 Testing Laboratory.


What is a volatile organic compound (VOC)?
Simply put, VOCs are chemicals you can breathe. They are organic chemical compounds with high enough vapor pressure to enter the atmosphere. In more technical terms, they are carbon-containing compounds (excluding carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, carbonic acid, metallic carbides and carbonates, and ammonium carbonate) with vapor pressure at EPA-defined standard conditions ranging between n-pentane and n-heptadecane.

The term “VOC” and its technical definition may sound unnerving, but many VOCs are appreciated: the fresh minty smell from your mouthwash, the forest’s pine scent, and that new car smell are VOCs. VOCs are not inherently dangerous themselves, but some can contribute to unhealthy indoor air conditions if left unregulated. That’s where the VOC Green program comes in—to provide you with the assurance that your product has low VOC emissions.

Meet Section 01350

To keep VOCs in your home at safe levels, we measure a product’s emission levels according to strict guidelines provided by the state of California. These guidelines outline everything from appropriate sample collecting and packaging methods to exact testing requirements, as well as acceptable emissions levels. Over an exhaustive two-week testing period, we check emission levels of over 30 specific chemicals.

In official terms, California’s VOC emissions guidelines are called “California Specification 01350 (Standard Method v1.1, effective January 1, 2012).” In many instances, the industry simply refers to this regulation as “Section 01350,” or “Thirteen-Fifty” in conversation. Section 01350 is recognized by all major green building programs as the standard for evaluating emissions that impact indoor air quality conditions. That means VOC Green certified products can contribute to LEED and all other programs that recognize Section 01350.

Benchmark International developed the VOC Green program as part of its ongoing effort to provide third-party verification services to the wood industry and end consumer. VOC Green follows California Specification 01350 and currently tests the following products:
  • Flooring of all types including engineered, laminate and LVT flooring construction
  • Composite wood and many composite wood products
  • Although Section 01350 offers certification for these products, we currently do not test:
  • Structural building products, ceilings, walls, and thermal and acoustic insulation
  • Liquid materials such as janitorial products, interior paints, sealants and adhesives
  • Electronic air cleaners and other electronic equipment
  • Furniture
  • The VOC Green program’s certification procedures adhere to the following:

    Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) Reference Specifications for Energy and Resource Efficiency, Section 01350 Special Environmental Requirements for wood-based flooring and composite wood products.

    California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Standard Method for Testing and Evaluation of Volatile Organic Chemicals Emissions from Indoor Sources using Environmental Chambers Version 1.1 CDPH/EHLB/Standard Method V1.1. (February 2010) for wood-based flooring and composite wood products.

    Indoor air quality emissions criteria for building products as specified in the USGBC Leadership Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating Systems for wood-based flooring and composite wood products.

    ISO 14021 Environmental Labels and Declarations: Environmental Claims, Terms and Definitions (Type II).

    ISO 14024 Environmental Labels and Declarations: Environmental Labeling Type I, Guiding Principles and Procedures.

    Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims.

    The VOC Green program is managed by Benchmark International.

    For more information or to speak with a representative, email