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Indoor Air Comfort Certification

Index:

Indoor Air Comfort and Indoor Air Comfort GOLD – Product Certification

Eurofins "Indoor Air Comfort(IAC) product certification is an innovative tool to show compliance of a product with low VOC emissions criteria set out in Europe on two levels:

Standard level "Indoor Air Comfort - certified product" shows compliance of product emissions with the criteria of all legal specifications issued by authorities in the European Union and its Member States.

Higher level "Indoor Air Comfort GOLD - certified product" shows additional compliance of product emissions with the criteria of many of the voluntary specifications issued by most relevant ecolabels and similar specifications in the EU. Therefore certified products are those with the best-in-class low emissions, thus good for indoor air quality.

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Criteria covered:

The specifications on VOC emissions of these programs are included in the certification:

  • Indoor Air Comfort:
    • Belgian regulation
    • French regulation, A class (or A+ class for ndoor Air Comfort GOLD)
    • German regulation, AgBB
    • Draft Lithuanian regulation
    • Planned Swedish regulation
    • E1 classification
  • Indoor Air Comfort GOLD, on top of the above:
    • German DGNB
    • EMICODE
    • GUT (except odour testing)
    • Several EU ecolabel criteria
    • Several Blue Angel criteria
    • Several Austrian ecolabel criteria
    • LEED outside North America
    • FEMB standard for sustainable office furniture
    • BREEAM
    • M1 only partly
  • Not included:
    • US programs such as CDPH, BIFMA, Cradle-to-cradle, Greenguard
    • Danish Indoor Air Climate label
    • Any odour and ammonia tests
    • But the tests necessary for the above can be supplemented to an Indoor Air Comfort EU test, saving significant costs when compared with separate testing

The Eurofins "Indoor Air Comfort" certificate and label may give market advantages - especially in countries and for products where no public low emission label exists.

A certified product can also apply for whatever covered label on the basis of the test report, as regards VOC emissions into indoor air. But the individual programs may have supplemental requirements, and they may require license fees.

List of certified products

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Why use IAC certified products?

Background

Most people spend more than 80% of their time indoors. Therefore many are concerned about indoor air quality. While this is mainly an issue of proper ventilation, which is not always realized in energy efficient buildings, another important element of indoor air quality is pollution - from surrounding outside air, and from products and materials used indoors.

Emissions of volatile organic chemicals (VOC) from construction products into indoor air are subject to regulations in Belgium, France and Germany. Formaldehyde emissionsfrom wood-based panels are regulated in USA (especially in California) and in some EU Member States.

Numerous voluntary labels indicate that a product shows low emissions into indoor air, often together with environmental criteria. Programs for certification of sustainable buildings such as LEED, DGNB, HQE, BREEAM, Green Star, reward the use of low-emitting products with higher ranking of the sustainable building - among many other criteria.

All these specifications on low VOC emissions from products into indoor air intend to do the same - improve indoor air quality by encouraging use of low-emitting products - but they have different criteria and limit values, and different testing methods. And in some countries no such information on low-emitting products is available at all.

The Indoor Air Comfort program

Within Europe, the EU ecolabel could have decided to offer a combination covering all the European specifications on low VOC emissions into one label, but they prefer just to add another label instead. Now Indoor Air Comfort fills the gap of a pan-European label.

  • Indoor Air Comfort:
    This label combines all European regulations on VOC emissions from products into indoor air - just by copying together the most stringent legal requirements in any EU country into one label. A product labeled with Indoor Air Comfort will comply with the limit values as defined by any regulation across Europe.
  • Indoor Air Comfort GOLD:
    This label combines all relevant European regulations and most of the voluntary labels on VOC emissions from products - just by copying together the most stringent requirements in any EU country into one label. This makes Indoor Air Comfort GOLD the most ambitious low-emitting label in whole Europe.
  • Certification:
    Indoor Air Comfort and Indoor Air Comfort GOLD include more than testing. These programs include an internal quality program at the production site to ensure continuous manufacture of low-emitting products, including on-site audits, re-testing and certification - all together giving a very high level of reliability of the statement on very low VOC emissions.

Advantages

Using IAC certified products gives you these advantages:

  • You can be sure that the products do not pose a health risk from emitted volatile chemicals.
    With Indoor Air Comfort GOLD, you use the best-in-the-class products in terms of low indoor air pollution.
  • You can be sure that the product complies with all regulations on VOC emissions in any European country.
    With Indoor Air Comfort GOLD, the product conforms with other private labels as well, such as EMICODE, GUT, and Blue Angel, in terms of low indoor air pollution.
  • Indoor Air Comfort GOLD certified products will qualify directly for compliance with low VOC specifications in several programs, such as the FEMB standard for sustainable office furniture, or for the non-US LEED programs and for BREEAM.
  • See a list of low VOC specifications that are covered by Indoor Air Comfort and by Indoor Air Comfort GOLD.

List of certified products

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Why manufacture IAC certified products?

In several countries, there is growing concern about indoor air quality, and emissions of volatile organic chemicals (VOC) from construction products into indoor air. This is subject to regulations in France and Germany. Formaldehyde emissions from wood-based panels are regulated in USA (especially in California) and in some EU Member States.

Programs for low VOC emissions

Numerous voluntary labels that help pto promote low-emitting products on the market, such as the EMICODE, Blue Angel, FloorScore, BIFMA, and many more. Most of these are having specifications on indoor air quality as only one out of many environmental aspects. More and more buildings are built sustainable and certified by e.g. LEED, BREEAM, DGNB, HQE, Green Star. Most of these building certification programs reward the use of low-emitting products with higher ranking of the sustainable building - among many other criteria.

All these specifications on low VOC emissions from products into indoor air intend to do the same - improve indoor air quality by encouraging the use of low-emitting products - but they have different criteria and limit values, and different testing methods. This depends on local history, and on which experts were involved in the set-up of the respective system. And in some countries, no such information on low-emitting products is available at all.

Internationally operating companies will need to deliver the same information - low emissions of VOC - to different organisations with different testing requirements and different limit values. This causes a significant cost burden without giving additional information. A pan-European label on low VOC emissions could facilitate this situation.

The Indoor Air Comfort program

Within Europe, the EU ecolabel could have decided to offer a combination covering all the European specifications on low VOC emissions into one label, but they prefer just to add another label instead. Now Indoor Air Comfort fills the gap of a pan-European label.

  • Indoor Air Comfort:
    This label combines all European regulations on VOC emissions from products into indoor air - just by copying together the most stringent legal requirements in any EU country into one label. A product labeled with Indoor Air Comfort will comply with the limit values as defined by any regulation across Europe.
  • Indoor Air Comfort GOLD:
    This label combines all relevant European regulations and most of the voluntary labels on VOC emissions from products - just by copying together the most stringent requirements in any EU country into one label. This makes Indoor Air Comfort GOLD the most ambitious low-emitting label in whole Europe.
  • Certification:
    Indoor Air Comfort and Indoor Air Comfort GOLD include more than testing. These programs include an internal quality program at the production site to ensure the continuous manufacture of low-emitting products, including on-site audits, re-testing and certification - all together giving a very high level of reliability of the statement on very low VOC emissions.

Advantages

Manufacturing IAC certified products gives you these advantages:

  • This certification helps you to promote your low emitting products.
  • Your certified products will be listed on the webpage www.eurofins.com/iac-certified with the certificate number. The certificates will be available for download, and the validity of the certificate will be visible.
  • Your customers can be sure that the products do not pose a health risk from emitted volatile chemicals.
    With Indoor Air Comfort GOLD, you supply them with one of the best-in-the-class products in terms of low indoor air pollution.
  • You and your customers can be sure that the product complies with all regulations on VOC emission in any European country.
    With Indoor Air Comfort GOLD, the product conforms with other private labels, such as EMICODE, GUT, and Blue Angel, in terms of low indoor air pollution.
  • Your customers may profit from the fact that Indoor Air Comfort GOLD certified products will qualify directly for compliance with low VOC specifications in several programs, such as the FEMB standard for sustainable office furniture, or for the non-US LEED programs and for BREEAM.
  • A certified product can also apply for whatever covered label on the basis of the test report, as regards VOC emissions into indoor air. But the individual programs may have supplemental requirements, and they may require license fees. See a list of low VOC specifications that are covered by Indoor Air Comfort and by Indoor Air Comfort GOLD.

Please note that, due to lack of harmonization of testing methods, in very few cases it may happen that IAC GOLD labelled products may fail the Finnish M1 label, German ABG or AgBB, or German Blue Angel; and Indoor Air Comfort does not include odour tests because Eurofins does not trust in their reliability. But in most cases, IAC GOLD labelled products will comply with many of the other covered specifications.

Indoor Air Comfort includes only low VOC emissions limits, and VOC content criteria for some wet-applied products. It does not make any statements on other product properties - with the only exception that labeled products have to fulfil all European laws and regulations for being certified. 

Indoor Air Comfort covers only European specifications, it does not cover the USA, and it does not cover US programs such as CDPH, BIFMA, Cradle-to-cradle, Greenguard. For that purpose, we recommend the Indoor Advantage program, operated by Scientific Certification Systems SCS in Emeryville, California.

List of certified products

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How IAC works

Summary

  • After an initial characterisation test and first factory inspection, an external surveillance system will identify any changes in the promised product properties, allowing the manufacturer to take corrective action.
  • An existing quality assurance system in the production will allow sufficiently constant product emissions properties in terms of VOC emissions only with VOC related amendments.
  • Continuous certification will require external on-site inspection of the quality documentation and manufacturing site, along with re-testing in regular intervals.
  • An easily visible certification mark allows the user to assume the correctness of the manufacturer's statement without further investigations.

Organization of IAC certification

  • Selection of a representative sample for testing, based on an allocation of similar products into groups.
    • If agreements on grouping exist already with other programs, such as DIBT Ü mark, FloorScore or M1, then these will be accepted in very most cases. Otherwise just present a reasonable proposal to the IAC certification body.
  • Test of a representative sample in a test chamber (testing details may differ by product group, see the IAC specifications).
  • Reporting of test results (specifications and limits may differ by product group).
  • Contract between manufacturer and certification body to ensure continuous production of very low emitting products by external surveillance.
    • If a contracts exist already for DIBT Ü mark, then these can be combined with the IAC contracts to cover both in one inspection program.
  • Initial inspection of relevant manufacturing site(s) with an inspection report including the relevant documentation.
    • This will result in agreements on actions for maintaining low VOC emissions from labelled products, e.g. on details of production, exclusion of certain raw materials, factory production control, quality documentation.
    • If such agreements exist already for DIBT Ü mark then these will be taken over in very most cases.
  • IAC Certificate is granted if all data support, after an evaluation of test and inspection reports.
  • Periodic external inspections by Eurofins incl. a survey of emission relevant elements of the routine quality documentation.
  • Periodic re-testing of samples taken during the inspections to ensure continuous reliability of claims on low emissions.
  • Continuous monitoring and improvement of specifications, testing and inspection methodology.

Other certification and labeling programs

  • Certificates may be important to show compliance of a product with purchase specifications, or with sustainable or "green" building projects and certifications. A certified product can apply for other labels on basis of the test report as regards emissions into indoor air. Please click here for a list of some of the labels for which Eurofins test reports are accepted.
  • Eurofins Product Testing A/S was notified to the EU Commission as notified testing lab for CEN/TS 16516 - the harmonized European standard for testing VOC emissions of construction products that converts into EN 16516 in 2017.
  • Eurofins is approved certification body ("ÜZ-Stelle") for the German Ü mark. Eurofins may offer both - ÜZ certification for the Ü mark, and IAC certification. Inspections then can be performed in parallel for both purposes to save time and costs.
  • Cooperation also is possible for the US based Indoor Advantage and FloorScore certification programs operated by Scientific Certification Systems SCS
  • Indoor Air Comfort covers only European specifications, it does not cover the USA. For that purpose, we recommend to use the Indoor Advantage program, operated by Scientific Certification Systems SCS in Emeryville, California.
  • Indoor Air Comfort GOLD label directly qualifies for the VOC emissions criteria of LEED version 4 (except furniture). This can be read from a table available at the webpages of US Green Building Council.
  • Indoor Air Comfort GOLD label directly qualifies for the VOC emissions criteria of BREEAM. This can be read from a table of acknowledged programs.
  • Indoor Air Comfort program cooperates with the EMICODE. Products that could be EMICODE labeled can only be labeled with Indoor Air Comfort, or with Indoor Air Comfort GOLD, if they already carry an EMICODE label as well.

Product Types

  • Textile floor coverings (according to EN 14041);
  • Resilient floor coverings (according to EN 14041);
  • Wooden floorings;
  • Insulation materials (EN 13162 until EN 13171);
  • Gypsum boards (EN 520);
  • Adhesives, levelling compounds, primers, sealants, sealings (if labelled with an EMICODE);
  • Coatings;
  • Floor or wall systems;
  • Furniture;
  • Other building materials, and systems of several layers.

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IAC Specifications, Documents, Links

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