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French Démarche HQE certification

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French HQE is an approach for promoting and certifying sustainable buildings in accordance with the HQE (Haute Qualité Environnementale) approach.

Motivation for having HQE certification of a building is to achieve higher value of a building in balance, or better sales or better rental price with sustainability as additional argument, or to promote public perception of the company operating a HQE certified building, or to promote environment and health. A study of RICS showed the economic trade-off of green buildings.

There are 15 goals ("cibles") for which the levels "high performance", "performance", or "base" can be achieved, associated with collecting points for fulfilment of HQE specifications. This relates to several environmental aspects (e.g. saving of energy and of resources, recyclability, indoor air quality and more).Three audits are foreseen during building process for supporting and then for evaluating the sustainable building characteristics.

Products and Indoor Air Quality

Regarding indoor air quality, an air quality measurement is suggested after completing the building. Use of low emitting products inside the building will help achieving additional points. Basis for that evaluation is an emissions test using ISO 16000-9, -10 and -11 standards, and performed in an accredited test lab. Existing low emission schemes are accepted as proof, such as AFSSETAgBBEMICODEGUTM1, E1 formaldehyde emission class (as defined e.g. in EN 13986, or in EN 14041, or in EN 14342). Eurofins Indoor Air Comfort product certification covers these specifications, too.

Points are granted a.o. for:

  • Knowledge of VOC and formaldehyde emission level for 25%, 50% or 100% of interior surfaces (more points for more coverage).
  • CMR substances are within the limits as set by the accepted low emission labels.
  • TVOC emissions of all products on floor, wall and ceiling are below 1000 or below 250 µg/m³ (more points for lower emissions).
  • Formaldehyde of all products on floor, wall and ceiling are below 62.5 or below 40 or below 20 or below 10 µg/m³ (more points for lower emissions).
  • Class 1 and class 2 carcinogens emissions of all products on floor, wall and ceiling are below 5 or below 2.5 or below 1 µg/m³ (more points for lower emissions).

Organization and Further Reading

The Association HQE is promoting this approach. For knowing more:

Please see our presentation on LEED - a new challenge for low VOC emission materials, including French HQE, as presentation slides and as paper, held at CERTECH conference on Odours and Emissions from Materials in October 2009.

Using synergies

If a manufacturer needs VOC emission testing for markets in several countries, then Eurofins can help saving money by combining all required testing into one test setup. This service is unique in whole world. No single other testing laboratory is approved for VOC emission chamber testing both for US purposes and for European labels such as Blue Angel, EMICODE and M1, combining this with a world-wide valid ISO 17025 accreditation.

Contact to VOC Testing Laboratories

Please see here contact information of Eurofins VOC testing laboratories in Europe, USA and China: