Building Products and Furnishings

NSF International sustainability standards for building products and furnishings are multi-attribute, life-cycle based American National Standards facilitated by NSF’s National Center for Sustainability Standards (NCSS).

They are developed using the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) stakeholder consensus process. This method encourages participation from industry, academia, government, purchasers and other interested parties and helps ensure a broad range of stakeholder interests are represented in the standards development process.

Four of NSF International’s standards are included in the U.S. EPA’s federal purchasing recommendations, which help federal purchasers identify and procure environmentally sustainable products and services. The standards include:

  • NSF/ANSI 140: Sustainability Assessment for Carpet
  • NSF/ANSI 332: Sustainability Assessment for Resilient Floor Coverings
  • ANSI/BIFMA e3 Furniture Sustainability Standard (LEVEL® is BIFMA’s sustainability certification program for furniture)

EPA recognition of NSF International standards is an important step in extending the influence of these sustainability standards to a broader procurement audience. These sustainability standards have been successful in transforming industries, encouraging more sustainable products and processes, and showcase the benefits of industry and stakeholder participation in the development of sustainability standards.

The NSF standards are point-based and provide a ranking of product criteria achievement (conformant, silver, gold and platinum). The LEVEL program has three performance tiers: LEVEL 1, 2 and 3. The higher the number, the more criteria are considered and met. Categories of criteria vary by standard but generally cover materials, manufacturing processes (inputs and outputs), a company’s social accountability or governance policies and end-of-product-life management. These multi-attribute criteria covering the life cycle of a product make the standards robust in measuring the sustainability traits of a product and the sustainability intent of the manufacturing organization.

NSF sustainability standards for carpet, resilient floor coverings, wallcoverings, commercial furnishing fabric and single ply roofing membranes, as well as the Natural Stone Council standard for natural dimension stone and the BIFMA standard for commercial furniture, can help projects reach LEED certification.

Commercial Furniture

Level 3 certified by NSF mark

LEVEL®, BIFMA’s sustainability certification program for furniture, is a comprehensive and transparent third-party certification program. The LEVEL mark attests that the product, the manufacturing facility and the company responsible for the product brand have been evaluated against the multi-attribute criteria of the ANSI/BIFMA e3 Furniture Sustainability Standard.

Developed by BIFMA, LEVEL is a voluntary certification program in which NSF’s third-party auditors measure a product and its producer against the ANSI/BIFMA e3 Furniture Sustainability Standard. The LEVEL program was created to provide the most comprehensive, unbiased and transparent means of evaluating and communicating the environmental and social impacts of commercial furniture products. The LEVEL program has three performance tiers: LEVEL 1, 2 and 3. The higher the number, the more criteria are considered and met.

The LEVEL certification program provides a clear and simple way to identify products that are sustainable and responsibly produced. The sourcing and manufacturing processes for environmentally responsible products are becoming more transparent. Specifiers looking for responsible materials can compare LEVEL-certified products easily and choose them with confidence.

Sustainable Stone and NSC Chain of Custody

ANSI/NSC 373: Sustainable Production of Natural Dimension Stone establishes criteria to measure the extent to which natural stone is produced sustainably using a life cycle approach. Developed by the Natural Stone Council (NSC) in association with Ecoform, an independent consultant, and NSF International, the standard is applicable to quarriers and processors of natural dimension stone.

NSF International is the NSC’s independent certification body, providing certified companies access to the Genuine Stone® mark that can be used in promotional activities and applied to their individual blocks, slabs, finished pieces, etc.

The standard is a point-based system with prerequisite and optional criteria in nine categories. Each facility operator meeting all of the prerequisite criteria can earn a bronze certification. Silver, gold and platinum require an increasing number of optional criteria be met for certification. Categories include:

  • Energy
  • Water
  • Transportation
  • Site management
  • Land reclamation and adaptive reuse
  • Management of excess process materials and waste
  • Corporate governance
  • Safer chemical and materials management
  • Human health and safety

A companion chain of custody (NSC COC) standard and certification program applies to all aspects of the supply chain, tracking the material as it moves from the quarry through the supply chain to the ultimate destination, including the job site or the end user. For every step of the process, each organization handling the product must be certified to the NSC COC standard in order to retain certification.

The Natural Stone Council explains the reasons for developing the standard and the benefits of certification.


NSF/ANSI 140: Sustainability Assessment for Carpet is the industry-leading standard for sustainability evaluation and certification of carpet products across their entire life cycle. This standard provides a market-based definition and path to more sustainable carpet through performance requirements for the individual product and the manufacturing organization. In fact, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) requires all broadloom and carpet tile purchased by the U.S. government to be certified to NSF/ANSI 140 at the gold certification level. Certification is based on point totals to achieve a silver, gold or platinum level.

  • Public health and environment
  • Energy and energy efficiency
  • Biobased, recycled content materials and environmentally preferable materials
  • Manufacturing
  • Reclamation and end-of-life management
  • Innovation


NSF/ANSI 342: Sustainability Assessment for Wallcovering Products allows companies to evaluate and certify the sustainability of wallcovering products across their entire life cycle. The standard covers materials such as textiles, vinyl, alternative polymer (or vinyl- or alternative polymer-coated), paper and other natural fiber products.

The NSF/ANSI 342 standard assigns point values to prerequisite requirements and elective criteria in a number of categories. Unique to this standard is the requirement to combine points from both the manufacturer and distributor to determine the certification level as conformant, silver, gold or platinum. Each organization is responsible for its own rating and applies for evaluation individually.

Metrics in six key areas are used to assign the point values:

  • Product design
  • Product manufacturing
  • Long-term value
  • End-of-life management
  • Corporate governance
  • Innovation

Manufacturers that are members of the Wallcoverings Association (WA) are authorized to use the WA NSF 342 mark on both their products and for advertising purposes.

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