The short answer is. "heck no!" And here's why. As agencies prioritize the health of their teams, they are turning to indoor air quality and LEED certifications for assurance that building materials and interior furnishings meet healthful standards. Red list materials are a no-go for agencies seeking products that are designed with the user's health in mind. Read on to learn more.
The Healthful 911 Dispatch Workplace
More frequently than ever before, municipal agencies identify Indoor Air Quality as a priority when building or renovating.
We are exposed to over 80,000 chemicals in our daily lives, with varying degrees of safety and testing. Green building rating systems are increasingly taking note of the potential health and environmental risks associated with chemicals found in common building materials, and are taking steps to encourage projects to identify and select safer products.
Three ways of achieving a healthful workplace come with certifications. Each ups the ante on product and materials standards.
Indoor Air Quality
Center's seeking to provide their 911 dispatchers with a healthful work environment prioritize Indoor Air Quality. There are multiple certifications for Indoor Air Quality. SCS testing ensures interior products have no to low VOC emissions.
...with the most transparent indoor air quality (IAQ) standard for furniture and building materials. The Indoor Advantage and Indoor Advantage Gold standard aligns with both ANSI/BIFMA M7.1 and X7.1, and CA 01350. It is recognized by the EPA and GSA, and qualifies for many building rating systems, including LEED v4, BREEAM, WELL Building, and Living Building Challenge.
Another common, though less stringent, standard is Greenguard.
The LEED certification program is the leading international program for sustainable building design and construction. Attaining LEED certification demonstrates environmentally responsible building practices...
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is one of the most popular green building certification programs and it is used worldwide. Developed by the non-profit U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), it includes a set of rating systems for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of green buildings, homes, and neighborhoods. The standards aims to help building owners and operators make environmentally responsible choices and use resources efficiently.
Municipal agencies are leaning to LEED guidelines for new construction to meet environmental, health and safety goals. Stockton CHP is one such agency. The CHP 911 dispatch team space is shown above.
THE living Building CHALLENGE
The Living Building Challenge is the world’s most rigorous standard for green buildings. Going above and beyond LEED certification, Living Buildings strive for net-zero or net-positive energy, are free of toxic chemicals, and lower their energy footprint many times below the generic commercial structure.
To be certified under the Challenge, projects must meet a series of ambitious performance requirements over a minimum of 12 months of continuous occupancy.
According to The Living Future Institute, "the Red List contains the worst-in-class materials used for residential and commercial construction." Use of these chemicals are of high concern because they 1) pollute the environment, 2) bio-accumulate within the food chain and reach toxic levels consumed by humans, and/or 3) have proven unhealthful and harmful to construction and factory workers.
Products that contain chemicals on the Red List must not be used if a building is to achieve Living Building status. This requirement is intended to ensure that buildings are not only conserving energy or limiting waste, but also protecting occupant health. Red List materials contain one or more compound from these commonly recognized chemical families:
- Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)
- Formaldehyde (added)
- Halogenated flame retardants
- Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs)
- Lead (added)
- Petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides
- Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
While achieving Living Building Status is gaining steam, you can use resources that The Living Future Institute provides to learn more about Red List materials and how to avoid them.
The Ingredients in Watson Consoles Workstations
While this ingredients label includes some non-ingredient items - it is all true. We choose materials that will enhance the daily experience of the dispatcher, reduce harmful exposure for our factory worker's, and ease the burden we place on the environment.
We proudly source our materials regionally. Local sourcing supports our economy and reduces carbon emissions associated with transporting materials long-distance. The proximity to our providers also means we can visit their operations and regularly audit materials a the source.
Projects within 500 miles of our factory qualify for LEED credit. Developers, nationwide, can be assured that project design steers away from using Red and Yellow List materials. We also employ design for disassembly – a process intended to maximize economic value and minimize environmental impacts through reuse, repair, re-manufacturing and recycling.
Red List FREE
Watson Consoles' dispatcher desks, lockers, storage, tables - you name it - are RED LIST FREE! In addition to selecting high quality commercial grade materials that support 24/7 shift work for a decade or more, you can rest assured you are breathing clean air. In addition to ZERO RED LIST CHEMICALS, Mercury console workstations are third-party certified for Indoor Air Quality:
- Mercury Dispatch console desks are Indoor Advantage Gold™ certified by SCSC Global Services. IA Gold certifies compliance with ANSI/BIFMA X7.1/M7.1 as well as ANSI/BIFMA e3-2012 (credit 7.6.1).
- Other Watson Consoles products are Indoor Advantage™ certified by SCS Global Services. Certified products comply with ANSI/BIFMA X7.1/ M7.1 and contribute 1 point under LEED Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) credit 4.5 for Low-Emitting Materials: Composite Furniture and Furnishings.
Why Should Your PSAP Care?
We spend more than 90% of our time inside artificial environments. And a good chunk of that time is spent in commercial spaces, including work. Studies indicate that off-gassing chemicals from interior furnishings can contribute to respiratory illnesses resulting in shallow breathing, coughing, sinusitis, headaches, migraines and fatigue. Employers who prioritize Indoor Air Quality know that a healthy crew is less likely to call-out due to respiratory distress. Physically healthy dispatchers are also more emotionally resilient. (Check out this resources page for more tips and tools for dispatch teams.)
If your PSAP is considering new console workstations, ask your procurement team to prioritize Indoor Air Quality and to specify red-list-free materials.
You might also be interested in these posts:
- Watson Consoles' Dispatch Workstations Contain Healthy Ingredients
- The Cornerstone of Effective PSAP Design
- Dispatch Console Resources