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Washington DC Baseline Specification Review

Baseline Specification Review Home

  • 7 Urban-Large City
  • ​2 Urban-Small City
  • ​1 Not provided
  • 1 Non-profit
  • 3 For profit
  • 6 Not provided
  • 3 New Construction
  • ​7 Rehab


  • 90% of projects specified vinyl flooring somewhere in the building.
  • ​One project (10%) excluded resilient vinyl flooring in their specifications, instead specifying carpet and ceramic tile.
  • About 80% of projects specified carpeting. All of these required Green Label Plus certification. (This industry-backed certification only covers some VOC emissions; some hazardous VOC and all non-VOC chemicals are excluded.)
  • ​Almost half of projects specifying carpet included a recycled content requirement (either pre- or post-consumer).
  • ​Most carpet specifications called for a stain or soil resistant treatment.
  • ​Other types of flooring specified (most likely in a common area) include: solid wood, laminate, biobased resilient flooring, and PVC-free resilient flooring.
  • ​About three quarters of projects specified flooring adhesive VOC limits consistent with the SCAQMD 1168 requirements.
  • ​When specified, carpet pads were either rebond, prime polyurethane, or rubber.


  • Over half of projects set VOC limits of <50 g/L flat and <150 g/L non-flat bases.
  • ​About a third of projects had more strict VOC requirements for paints at <50 g/L for bases of all sheens, and a third required <10 g/L for at least some sheens.
  • ​​None of the projects included VOC requirements for tints.
  • ​20% of the projects specified paint to meet the chemical restriction requirements of the Green Seal-11 (GS-11) standard.


  • About a quarter of projects specified recycled content requirements that make it likely synthetic gypsum would be required to meet the specification.
  • ​No projects specified natural gypsum as a requirement.


  • Most projects specified use of fiberglass batt insulation.
  • ​About 50% of projects specified formaldehyde-free fiberglass batts. As of October 2015, all residential fiberglass batt insulation made in the U.S. is formaldehyde-free.


  • All projects specified laminate countertops somewhere.
  • ​About half of projects specified cultured marble in the bathroom.
  • ​About half of projects specified quartz or solid surface as either an alternate or in a common area.
  • ​60% of projects specified substrates with NAUF (No Added Urea Formaldehyde).

Cabinetry & Millwork

  • About 80% of projects specified NAUF (No Added Urea Formaldehyde) composite wood products.
  • ​Most of the projects specified a particular manufacturer and product or product line.
  • ​Nearly all projects specified cabinets with a factory finish.
  • ​One project (10%) specified a laminate (HPL or melamine) finish for exterior faces, with an additional 60% specifying laminate only for interior surfaces.
  • 80% of projects specified wood trim/base in some locations.
  • ​Half of projects specified rubber wall base in some locations. 30% specified vinyl wall base.
  • ​20% of projects specified MDF for trim in some locations or as an alternative to wood. All of these required the MDF to be NAUF (No Added Urea Formaldehyde).


  • Two-thirds of projects specified doors with a composite core, and about half specified hollow core doors with a composite face.
  • ​About 65% of projects that included wood doors with composite core or facing specified NAUF (No Added Urea Formaldehyde).
  • ​Only 1 project specified a particular product or series; the others provided general information about which materials should be used and often included approved manufacturers.
  • ​Almost half of projects specified at least some factory finished wood doors.