Is Commercial Duct Cleaning Required for LEED Certification?

LEED Certification requires regular commercial duct cleaningAfter Office Depot discovered its facilities in North America were responsible for significant carbon emissions and a solid waste footprint, they decided to implement a strategy to increasingly buy green, be green, and sell green. One of the ways they decided to do this was through green and sustainable facilities. According to a case study by the U.S. Green Building Council, Office Depot’s prototype project saw a 37% energy cost savings, 40% reduced water use, and 80% of construction waste diverted from the landfill. This was a huge step that helped the company go from “Taking Care of Business” to its new mission: Taking Care of the Planet.

One of the Prerequisites for LEED® certification, EQ1, includes compliance with ASHRAE 62.1-2004. This standard applies to newly installed air-handling systems, and in section 7.2.4 Ventilation Systems Start-Up, the standard says that “Ventilation air distribution systems shall be clean of dirt and debris.”

Most commercial projects are too large for spot cooling, so the HVAC system is used during the building phase. Unless the contractor can completely seal the system, it’s going to get dirty. Most commercial ductwork arrives with protective oil on the surface to prevent rusting, which causes construction dust to stick.

Unless the contractor takes steps to ensure the HVAC system stays clean, the system will need to be cleaned post-project to ensure that it meets the EQ1 requirement for Ventilation Systems Start-Up and minimum IAQ performance.

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