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Ceiling

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Design Guidance

Overall Strategies

A ceiling in an office can either be open, dropped ceiling, or hard lid.

Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans can offer occupants the ability to control ambient comfort without making adjustments to the room, zone, or building mechanical system. This provides potential energy savings. Use of ceiling fans in some environments can also minimize the use of the building mechanical system, especially when paired with operable windows in temperate seasons or climates.

Green Tips

  • Use acoustical ceiling tiles with high Noise Reduction Coefficients (NRC) to reduce noise pollution and allow for ease of access to the plenum space for maintenance.
  • Use light-colored ceiling tiles to reflect daylight to allow natural light to effectively move throughout the space.
  • Evaluate sustainable attributes such as regional manufacturing, recycled content, and low VOC to determine the most appropriate materials to use for a sustainable ceiling.
  • Drop down soffits and accent lights decorate the space, however these features are resource intensive, use these strategies conservatively.
  • Use acoustical ceiling tiles with high Noise Reduction Coefficients (NRC) to reduce reverberation time and improve speech intelligibility for occupant comfort.

Compare Ceiling Options

EB = Existing BuildingsNC = New Construction and Major Renovation

Federal Requirements

Guiding Principles

  • Biobased Content ( Guiding Principles, Executive Order 13693 [EB, NC])
    Section: V. Reduce Environmental Impact of Materials

    Per Section 9002 of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act (FSRIA), for USDA-designated products, specify products with the highest content level per USDA's biobased content recommendations. For other products, specify biobased products made from rapidly renewable resources and certified sustainable wood products. If these designated products meet performance requirements and are available at a reasonable cost, a preference for purchasing them shall be included in all solicitations relevant to construction, operation, maintenance of or use in the building. USDA's biobased product designations and biobased content recommendations are available on USDA's BioPreferred website.

  • Low-Emitting Materials ( Guiding Principles, Executive Order 13514 & 13423 [EB, NC])
    Section: IV. Enhance Indoor Environmental Quality

    Specify materials and products with low pollutant emissions, including composite wood products, adhesives, sealants, interior paints and finishes, carpet systems, and furnishings.

  • Recycled Content ( Guiding Principles, Executive Order 13693 [EB, NC])
    Section: V. Reduce Environmental Impact of Materials

    Per Section 6002 of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), for EPA-designated products, specify products meeting or exceeding EPA's recycled content recommendations. For other products, specify materials with recycled content when practicable. If EPA-designated products meet performance requirements and are available at a reasonable cost, a preference for purchasing them shall be included in all solicitations relevant to construction, operation, maintenance of or use in the building. EPA's recycled content product designations and recycled content recommendations are available on EPA's Comprehensive Procurement Guideline website.

  • Indoor Air Quality ( <span id="docs-internal-guid-f1e45d2e-bf74-2656-0c1b-777092dd54a0"><span>Guiding Principles, Executive Order <span>13693</span> [NC&amp;EB]</span></span>)
    Section: IV. Enhance Indoor Environmental Quality

    Guiding Principles for NC&EB: Take actions to ensure optimal indoor air quality, including:
    (i) “Test for radon in buildings and mitigate high levels.”
    (ii) “Establish policy and implement a moisture control strategy to prevent building materials damage, minimize mold growth, and reduce associated health risks.”
    (iii) “Use low emitting materials for building construction, modifications, maintenance, and operations. In particular, specify the following materials and products to have low pollutant emissions: composite wood products, adhesives, sealants, interior paints and finishes, solvents, carpet systems, janitorial supplies, and furnishings.”
    (iv) Establish a policy and implement necessary protocols to protect indoor air quality during construction, renovations, repairs, and alterations, and during occupancy.
    (v) “Prohibit smoking in any form within the building and within 25 feet of all building entrances, operable windows, and building ventilation intakes.”
    (vi) “Use integrated pest management techniques as appropriate to minimize pesticide usage.”
    Determining Compliance: “Develop and implement an indoor air quality policy that considers the following: moisture control, use of low emitting materials and products with low pollutant emissions, necessary protocols to protect indoor air quality during construction and in the finished building, prohibition of smoking in any form inside and within 25 feet of all building entrances, operable windows, and building ventilation intakes, and use of integrated pest management techniques.”

  • Material Content and Performance ( Guiding Principles, Executive Order <span>13693</span>&nbsp;[EB])
    Section: V. Reduce the Environmental Impact of Materials

    From the Guiding Principles for EB: Procure construction materials, products, and supplies that have a “lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment over their life cycle when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose”, including:
    (i) “Use Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) section 6002 compliant products that meet or exceed EPA’s recycled content recommendations for building construction, modifications, operations, and maintenance.”
    (ii) “Per section 9002 of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act (FSRIA), for USDA-designated products, use products with the highest content level per USDA’s biobased content recommendations.”
    (iii) “Purchase products that meet Federally Recommended Specifications, Standards and Ecolabels or are on the Federal Green Procurement Compilation.”
    (iv) Eliminate, to the maximum extent practicable, “ozone depleting compounds and high global warming potential (GWP) chemicals where EPA’s SNAP has identified acceptable substitutes or where other environmentally preferable products are available” during construction, repair, or replacement at the end of life.
    Determining Compliance: “Procure products that meet the following requirements where applicable: (A) RCRA section 6002, and (B) FSRIA section 9002, and (C) Federally Recommended Specifications, Standards and Ecolabels or are on the Federal Green Procurement Compilation for other green products, as appropriate, and (D) Avoid ozone depleting compounds and high GWP chemicals.”