8 min read

What is Greenguard Gold Certified

This article offers an in-depth exploration of the Greenguard Gold Certification, its criteria, benefits, and its relevance in the contemporary setting.

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Studio Marlowe

Written by:

Christi Farrell, RA, Leed GA


June 7, 2023


Studio Marlowe

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The Greenguard Gold Certification is a distinguished mark for products that prioritize low chemical emissions, ensuring they contribute to healthier indoor environments.

As indoor air quality becomes a focal point in health discussions, this certification stands as a symbol of commitment to a healthier indoor atmosphere.

What is Greenguard Gold Certification?

Greenguard Gold Certification, a program by the globally recognized UL (Underwriters Laboratories), is dedicated to products that emphasize low chemical emissions.

By championing products that contribute to healthier indoor environments, this certification aims to mitigate indoor air pollution and diminish the risk of chemical exposure.

Criteria for Greenguard Gold Certification:

  • Low Emission Standards: A cornerstone of the certification, products must exhibit low emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), safeguarding indoor air quality.
  • Health-Based Criteria: Tailored for sensitive demographics like children and the elderly, this criterion ensures products are apt for environments such as schools and healthcare facilities.
  • Regular Testing: To maintain the gold standard, products undergo rigorous testing in state-of-the-art environmental chambers, ensuring consistent adherence to standards.

Benefits of Greenguard Gold Certification:

  • Promote Healthier Indoor Air: Championing products with this certification ensures a tangible reduction in indoor air pollutants.
  • Minimize Chemical Exposure: Lower chemical emissions translate to a reduced risk of health issues like respiratory problems or allergies.
  • Build Trust: For manufacturers, this certification is a badge of honor, showcasing their unwavering commitment to health and safety.

Steps to Achieve Greenguard Gold Certification:

  • Application: Begin your journey by applying with UL, detailing your product specifications and its intended use.
  • Product Evaluation: UL's meticulous evaluation process involves a deep dive into the product's materials, manufacturing processes, and intended applications.
  • Testing: Eligible products face the litmus test in environmental chambers, measuring their chemical emissions against Greenguard Gold's stringent standards.
  • Certification: Successful products are awarded the coveted Greenguard Gold Certification, valid for a year, necessitating annual re-evaluations and tests.

Why is Greenguard Gold Certification Important?

  • Environmental and Health Benefits: By emphasizing low chemical emissions, the certification ensures a healthier indoor environment, reducing potential health risks.
  • Consumer Assurance: The Greenguard Gold label assures consumers of the product's commitment to a healthier indoor atmosphere.
  • Business Differentiation: For manufacturers, this certification offers a competitive edge, appealing to health-conscious consumers.

Challenges and Criticisms:

While a significant stride towards healthier indoor environments, Greenguard Gold certification is not without its challenges and criticisms.

Here's a more detailed exploration:

  • Stringency of Criteria: Some industry experts argue that the certification's criteria, especially regarding chemical emissions, could be more stringent. They believe that even lower emission levels could be targeted to ensure the utmost safety.
  • Transparency in Testing: There have been calls for more transparency in the testing processes and methodologies used. Stakeholders, including manufacturers and consumers, often seek clarity on how products are evaluated and what specific benchmarks are set.
  • Cost of Certification: For smaller manufacturers, the cost associated with obtaining and maintaining the Greenguard Gold Certification can be a barrier. This could potentially limit the diversity of products that carry the certification, making it more challenging for consumers to find certified products across a range of price points.
  • Consumer Awareness: While the certification is recognized within specific industries, there's a broader challenge of raising awareness among general consumers. Many might not understand the nuances and benefits of the Greenguard Gold Certification compared to other certifications.
  • Global Applicability: As indoor air quality standards and concerns can vary across regions, there's a challenge in ensuring the certification is globally applicable and recognized. What might be a significant concern in one region might not be as pressing in another.


The Greenguard Gold Certification is more than just a label; it's a commitment to a healthier indoor environment.

As the emphasis on indoor air quality grows, certifications like Greenguard Gold will be instrumental in guiding consumers and manufacturers.

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Contributor / Co-Founder
Christi Farrell
Christi is a licensed architect and interior designer specializing in sustainability. She enjoys teaching design and bringing transparency to the impact that furniture has on our planet.
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