Office of General Services

New York State Office of General Services

Approved EO4 Specifications

Acoustical Ceiling Tiles and Panels

Covered Products

Ceiling tiles and panels including: wet pressed mineral fiber, perlite, fiberglass, gypsum wall-board, metal tiles and panels, and wood or agri-based composite tiles and panels.

This specification does not include the suspension systems for acoustical ceilings.


To set minimum environmental goals for ceiling tile installations in State properties.


Typical criteria for selection:

The selection of acoustical ceiling materials varies depending on the specific performance criteria desired (e.g., durability, light reflectance, sound absorption, washability, design flexibility, recycled content, and/or fire resistance).

Wet-pressed mineral-fiber tiles and panels:

These are the most commonly used tiles in commercial suspended ceiling applications and are typically made from a mixture of waste paper, mineral fiber (which may include slag, a waste product from steel-making), cornstarch, and various other mineral-based components. A number of these products have high recycled content.

Non-wet formed perlite ceiling tiles:

Tiles that are manufactured from expanded volcanic perlite, ceramic clay and inorganic binders. These products are fireproof and will not harbor or provide nutrients for microbial growth. Light reflectance and noise reduction values of these tiles are somewhat lower than mineral fiber and fiberglass.

Fiberglass ceiling panels:

Currently most fiberglass ceiling panel products use a phenol-formaldehyde binder. It is anticipated that in the future the market will shift to bio-based products. Most fiberglass tiles are faced with a cloth, fiberglass, or vinyl scrim sheet. At least one manufacturer offers a closed-loop ceiling tile reclamation program. Fiberglass ceiling panels are available with up to 90% recycled content.

Wood or agri-based (composite) tiles or panels:

Though far more common in Europe, these panel products are also available in the U.S. They are typically free of mineral fibers and formaldehyde. Medium density fiberboard panels (MDF) should conform to ANSI A208.2 – 1994 to ensure no emissions. Wood is a grown product and the wood fiber content can be obtained from sources under sustainable forestry management such as those certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

Metal ceiling products:

Metal can contain a high percentage of recycled content. These tiles and panels may include a backing for better sound performance.

PVC covering or scrubbable paint finish:

Products for use in food service facilities, hospitals, or other areas with high sanitary standards may have a coating of scrubbable paint or PVC-containing application.

Residential acoustical ceiling panels:

Not available in as many materials or styles as commercial products but commercial products may be used in a residential setting.


Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) – Waste management programs that involve the controlled burning of PVC may release dioxins. Production of PVC has also been linked to creation of dioxin which is a known human carcinogen listed with EPA.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) –VOCs are human-made or naturally occurring organic chemical compounds that are used and produced in the manufacture of paints, adhesives, some building materials, petroleum products, pharmaceuticals, and refrigerants. Reduction of the introduction of VOCs in interior environments is a part of maintaining good indoor air quality.

Pre-consumer Recycled Content - Material diverted from the waste stream during a manufacturing process. Excluded is reutilization of materials such as rework, regrind or scrap generated in a process and capable of being reclaimed within the same process that generated it.

Post-Consumer Recycled Content – Material generated by households or by commercial, industrial and institutional facilities in their role as end-users of the product which can no longer be used for its intended purpose. This includes returns of material from the distribution chain.

ASTM E84 – A standard test method used to determine the surface burning characteristics such as smoke development index and flame spread index of a material.

ASTM E2129 – Standardized protocol for Data Collection for Sustainability Assessment of Building Products.

Ceiling Attenuation Class (CAC) – An acoustic characteristic of ceiling materials. A CAC rating of 35 or greater is recommended for spaces with noisy plenum equipment. This represents the ceiling’s efficiency as a barrier to airborne sound transmission.

Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) - A measure of how much sound is absorbed by a material and should be no less than 0.65. .

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) - An internationally recognized green building certification system, providing third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies intended to improve performance in metrics such as energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.

Standard Setting and Certifying Programs

ASTM International (ASTM) - American Society for Testing and Materials is an international standards organization that develops and publishes voluntary consensus technical standards for a wide range of materials, products, systems, and services.

Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) - a best practices manual to help schools, districts and practitioners to achieve high performance design, construction and operation.

Forest Stewardship Council (FCS) – an independent review body which certifies wood products that are grown, harvested, milled and delivered in a process that manages forestry resources.


Affected entities shall specify ceiling tiles that include the following:

In addition, the following specifications relate to specific ceiling tile products.

Wet pressed mineral fiber tiles and panels shall be specified to meet the following criteria:

Fiberglass ceiling tiles shall be specified to meet the following criteria:

Wood or agri-based (composite) tiles or panels shall be specified to meet the following criteria:

Non wet-formed perlite ceiling tiles shall be specified to meet the following criteria:

Affected entities are encouraged to:

Toxics in Packaging:

In accordance with Environmental Conservation Law section 37-0205, packaging shall not contain inks, dyes, pigments, adhesives, stabilizers, or any other additives to which any lead, cadmium, mercury or hexavalent chromium exceed the following concentration level: 100 parts per million by weight (0.01%).