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Minnesota Baseline Specification Review

Baseline Specification Review Home

  • 11 Urban
  • 7 Suburban
  • 3 Rural/Greater MN
  • 10 Non-profit
  • 6 For profit
  • 2 Public
  • 3 Not provided
  • 9 New Construction
  • 3 Rehabs
  • 2 Substantial Rehabs
  • 7 not provided


  • 100% of the MN housing units specified vinyl flooring.
  • 76% of projects specified carpeting, over half of which had carpets with CRI (The Carpet and Rug Institute) Green Label Certification. (This industry-backed certification is for VOC emissions only; non-VOC chemicals hazards are excluded).


  • 74% of projects specified some level of VOC limit for paints
  • 57% of projects specified a low-VOC (less than 50g/L) ceiling paint.  
  • Most projects specified a VOC limit for paints used on walls and trim, but the limit was fairly high (100 g/l).
  • 3 projects specified paints with Green Seal certifications.


  • A majority of the projects specified a board type (e.g., moisture or mildew resistent), but only a few included requirements related to health or the environment.
  • 76% of projects specified orange peel wall texture.


  • In total, 56 insulation products were specified in MN projects.
  • 42% of MN projects specify formaldehyde-free unfaced fiberglass batts.
  • 42% of MN projects specify spray polyurethane foam (SPF), but in gap sealing applications only.


Two countertop materials dominate in Minnesota affordable housing projects: 
  • Plastic laminate was specified for 88% of the kitchens.
  • Cultured marble (crushed limestone & polyester resin) was specified for 100% of the bathrooms

Cabinetry & Millwork

  • Majority of projects specifying cabinets included the option of hardwood plywood construction. MDF and particleboard was used for shelves, drawers, and other components.
  • Most projects specified cabinet manufacturers, but did not include specific product lines.


  • 86% of MN projects specified doors with composite cores
  • 24% of MN project specified doors with a factory finish
  • Only 1 MN project specified a particular product; the others provided general information about which materials should be used.