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What Does the GREENGUARD Certification Mean?

UL GREENGUARD Certification, products certified for low chemical emissions
“Products that have achieved GREENGUARD Certification are scientifically proven to meet some of the world’s most rigorous third-party chemical emissions standards, helping to reduce indoor air pollution and the risk of chemical exposure, while aiding in the creation of healthier indoor environments.

What does Greenguard Certified Mean?

According to the UL organization, the GREENGUARD Certification means the product has met industry standards for low emissions. (UL) When a product bears Greenguard certification, it meets strict chemical emissions limits and has been tested for more than 10,000 chemicals. Greenguard certifications indicate that a product is safe for indoor use. (The Spruce).

What is the Greenguard Environmental Institute?

Founded in 2001, the Greenguard Environmental Institute is an industry-independent organization that aims to protect human health and improve quality of life by enhancing indoor air quality and reducing people’s exposure to chemicals and other pollutants. This institution was eventually acquired by an organization called UL (UL Environment), which UL is a global safety certification company.

The GREENGUARD Certification can be obtained from UL, which there are two types of certifications: GREENGUARD Certification and GREENGUARD Gold Certification. The main difference between the two is that the criteria of the latter certification is much stricter when products are being tested.

Why is this Certification Important?

From the perspective of a supplier, this certification is important because it gives them credibility in the industry as well as it can be leveraged as a competitive advantage against companies that do not have it.

From the perspective of a buyer, this certification assures them that their safety is being respected by their supplier. Also, according to a study by West Bend Mutual Insurance Company, employee productivity is increased and employee absenteeism is decreased by simply investing in quality indoor environmental products.

Some Facts about the Indoor Environment

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Americans, on average, spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors (this includes home, school, office, or other building environments), which the concentrations of some pollutants are frequently up to 5 times higher than typical outdoor concentrations. For instance, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), indoor air pollution is responsible for the deaths of 3.8 million people annually.

Moreover, individuals who are usually most vulnerable to the harmful effects of pollution tend to spend even more time indoors. For instance, infants, elders, people with pre-determined health conditions, etc. are at the utmost risk. Also, indoor concentrations of some pollutants have augmented recently because of factors like energy-efficient building construction and the rise in the use of synthetic building materials, furnishings, etc.

Volatile Organic Compounds and Its Unfavorable Consequences

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are airborne chemicals that people are exposed to on a daily basis, which VOCs are released by a variety of products. For instance, formaldehyde is considered to be one of the most widespread VOCs chemicals. It is a colorless and strong-smelling gas that is used in order to manufacture building materials such as particleboard, plywood, glues, etc. Other specific examples of VOCs chemicals are benzene, ethylene glycol, methylene chloride, tetrachloroethylene, toluene, xylene, and 1,3-butadiene.

The harmful consequences of VOCs can cause several symptoms such as headaches, eye, nose and throat irritation, and dizziness. To make matter worse, a high concentration of these airborne chemicals can be very toxic, and even with a long-term exposure of a moderate concentration of VOCs can cause serious diseases or cancer. Nevertheless, VOCs may impact people differently based on several aspects, such as the level of VOCs concentration, the duration of exposure, individual sensitivities, ventilation of the room, etc.

For this reason, GREENGUARD Certification tests products in the strictest possible way. Products such as (1) building products and furnishing, (2) electronic equipment, (3) medical devices for breathing gas pathways, and (4) cleaning and maintenance products.

About Sustema Inc.

Sustema has been certified with the GREENGUARD Certification. With over 25 years of experience designing modular and ergonomic control room consoles, we’ve manufactured thousands of aesthetically superior designs combined with functional comfort for end-users across North America. We’ve learned to integrate ergonomic standards by considering human factors in every project including the control room layout.

To learn more please subscribe to Sustema's blog (below in the footer) to receive the latest posts.


EPA (n.d.). Retrieved from:

Minnesota Department of Health (n.d.). Retrieved from

Tran, V. V., Park, D., & Lee, Y. C. (2020). Indoor air pollution, related human diseases, and recent trends in the control and improvement of indoor air quality. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(8), 2927.

UL (n.d.). Retrieved from

UL (n.d.). Retrieved from

The Spruce (n.d.). Retrieved from


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