Ecolabels Quality Labels
Your industry, our focus
Ecolabels, Quality Labels, and VOC emissions
Quality labels tell you about product performance, and environmental labels (ecolabels) tell you that the product has lower impact on nature or man compared to other products. Most of these labels are private, and all such labels are voluntary.
Some countries established compulsory evaluation of certain properties, such as European CE marking, German GS marking.
VOC emissions from construction products are relevant for indoor air quality and are regulated in several countries, such as in California, and in Europe. More regulation is available for formaldehyde, e.g. the European E1 classification and Californian CARB regulation.
Ecolabels go beyond that and characterize the "better" products in terms of their ambitions. There is a special webpage on comparison between different low VOC emissions programs and ecolabels. A comparison of existing European labels for low emitting products can be found in the EU research project report ECA #24, or by clicking here. ISO standards specify the operation of ecolabels: ISO 14021, 14024, 14025.
List of some ecolabels for low emitting products
Eurofins tests are accepted for many ecolabels.
- Indoor Air Comfort - Eurofins certified products
- EMICODE (Adhesives and more, Germany/Europe)
- BIFMA (Sustainable furniture, USA)
- Blue Angel (Germany)
- Californian CDPH Standard Practice, also called Section 1350, often used for LEED IEQ specifications
- CertiPUR and CertiPUR US (labeling PU foam for furniture industry)
- DIM / DICL (Construction products, Denmark)
- FEMB (Sustainable furniture, Europa)
- FloorScore (resilient floorings, USA)
- European "Flower" ecolabel
- Green Label by CRI (Carpets, adhesives, cleaners, USA)
- Green Tag label (Australia, New Zealand, South Africa)
- GUT (Carpets, Germany/Europe)
- Indoor Advantage by SCS (USA)
- M1 (Construction products, Finland)
- Natureplus (Sustainable construction products, Germany/Europe)
- Nordic Swan (Scandinavia)
- SINTEF (constructopn products, Norway)
- Swedish "byggvarudeklaration" (Construction products, Sweden)
- Umweltzeichen (Austria)
VOC specifications in ecolabels have been compared in a number of papers. Some of these are listed below.
If a report is listed here then this does not mean that Eurofins agrees with all of its content. As an example, many researchers do not realize the high importance in the market achieved by EMICODE and PRODIS/GUT because these are not run by government. But both labels have changed the adhesives market and the carpet market in large parts of Europe, leading to much lower emissions than some 10 - 20 years ago.
- ECA report # 24 (2005): Harmonisation of indoor material emissions labelling systems in the EU
- ECA report # 27 (final draft, 2010): Harmonisation framework for indoor material labelling schemes in the EU
- Marc Lor of Belgian Building Research Institute (BBRI) and others within the Belgian project HEMICPD:
- Report Horizontal Evaluation Method for the Implementation of the Construction Products Directive
- Annex to this report
- Formal reference: Marc Lor, Kevin Vause, Karla Dinne, Eddy Goelen, Frederick Maes, Jacques Nicolas, Anne-Claude Romain, Christophe Degrave, Horizontal Evaluation Method for the Implementation of the Construction Products Directive, Final Report, Belgian Science Policy (Programme to stimulate knowledge transfer in areas of strategic importance - TAP2), Brussels, 2010, 100 p.
- Hal Levin (2010): National Programs to Assess IEQ Effects of Building Materials and Products
- A comparison between limit values of AgBB, GUT, Blue Angel and CDPH Section 01350 was made available by GUT both in English and in German.
- Comparison between EMICODE - Blue Angel - AgBB/DIBt - CDPH Section 01350 (2010), available in English and in German
The TVOC issue
The term TVOC (Total Volatile Organic Compounds) is used in different ways by different labels and regulations. This is explained in a special TVOC webpage.
BIFMA sustainability standard and "level" certification
BIFMA issued a standard for rating of system furniture and seating with low VOC emissions, ANSI/BIFMA M7.1/X7.1, and a standard on sustainability of furniture BIFMA e3. Low VOC emissions is just one out of many criteria in the sustainability standard.
BIFMA e3 sustainability standard is used for a third-party sustainability certification called "level®". Products can be awarded a level 1, level 2 or level 3 compliance mark based on the combined score achieved in their sustainability evaluation. level 3 is the highest award a product can achieve. A list of certified products is available.
ANSI/BIFMA M7.1/X7.1 requires testing of VOC and aldehydes emissions after 3 and after 7 days in a test chamber, from which the 14 days emission level is extrapolated by calculation. LEED for system furniture and seating defined limit values for four parameters that can be tested by use of ANSI/BIFMA M7.1/X7.1 testing and certification.
2011 version now has been approved. You can see the approved drafts here:
- ANSI/BIFMA X7.1 (standard, requirements)
- ANSI/BIFMA M7.1 (test method)
The corresponding sustainability program in Europe was issued in 2014 by FEMB.
BIFMA is the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association. It was founded in 1973 with a mission to lead, advocate, inform and develop standards for the North American office and institutional furniture industry.
Eurofins offers documentation of compliance with above specifications on emissions of VOC and aldehydes by independent testing.
Eurofins proposes to contact SCS in California for "level" certification services.
Blue Angel German ecolabel
The Blue Angel offers manufacturers and traders the opportunity to show the environmental advantage of their products. Blue Angel is the oldest ecolabel in the world, and it covers some 10.000 products in some 80 product categories. Blue Angel attempts to promote the "better" products - meaning those products, that show better environmental properties than the mainstream products are doing. Geographically the Blue Angel covers German market, but it is also recognised more and more outside Germany.
Use of Blue Angel requires an application to RAL along with the necessary documentation, and payment of an annual fee, the height of which depends on actual sales volume. Eurofins is offering testing for Blue Angel, and support with application for the license to use that label. Similar services are offered with respect to several other ecolabels around the world.
There are several Blue Angel criteria.
Textiles and shoes
RAL UZ 154 - Textiles
RAL UZ 155 - Shoes
Interior finishing products and furniture
There are a number of Blue Angel criteria for products with low emissions into indoor air and thus potential impact on human health:
- RAL UZ 38 - furniture and slatted frames
- RAL UZ 102 - Wall paints
- RAL UZ 113 - Flooring adhesives
- RAL UZ 117 - Upholstered furniture
- RAL UZ 119 - Mattresses
- RAL UZ 120 - Resilient (flexible) floor coverings, such as linoleum and rubber
- RAL UZ 123 - Sealants
- RAL UZ 128 - Textile flooring
- RAL UZ 132 - Insulation material and ceiling plates
- RAL UZ 148 - Upholstery leather
- RAL UZ 156 - Flooring insulation underlays
- RAL UZ 159 - Textile toys
- RAL UZ 176 - Wooden floorings, boards and doors
- RAL UZ 198 - Low-Emission Internal Plasters
Eurofins is approved as a testing laboratory by Blue Angel for all the above mentioned labels. While most of these specifications are well adopted and used by a number of industries, some other industries prefer working with well established alternative labels, for which Eurofins offers the same services. This holds true namely for the carpet industry and its GUT label, and for the adhesives and sealant industry and its EMICODE label. A comparison showed the equivalency of EMICODE - Blue Angel - AgBB/DIBt - CDPH Section 01350 (2010) is available in English and in German. Nevertheless, Blue Angel can be a major tool in showing ecological advantages for marketing purposes.
Wireless and radio devices used by or for children, and electronic devices
Especially wireless and radio devices used by or for children - baby monitors, toys, mobile phones and the like - are in the focus of parents regarding their radio emissions. Eurofins is accredited according to DIN VDE 0848-1, prEN 50413 by DaTech. With this accreditation according to the European generic standard for human exposure of electromagnetic fields (0 Hz - 300 GHz), Eurofins offers a full application service for the "Blue Angel" for baby monitors (RAL UZ 125).
There are a number of Blue Angel criteria for electronic products with low potential impact on human health:
- RAL UZ 78 - Computers and monitors
- RAL UZ 106 - Portable phones
- RAL UZ 125 - Baby phones
- RAL UZ 131 - Wireless / cordless digital phones
- RAL UZ 171 - Printers, multi-functional appliances
Eurofins offers documentation of compliance with most of the above specifications by independent testing, and support with application for the license to use that label. Similar services are offered with respect to several other ecolabels around the world.
For further information please contact our national organisations or our specialists for making use of the experience of Eurofins Product Testing A/S, the world market leader for VOC emissions chamber testing, and Eurofins Product Service GmbH, a leading test laboratory for electrical and radio testing.
California CDPH Standard Method "Section 01350"
California CDPH Standard Method (Feb 2010 version 1.1) is the most popular US standard for evaluating and restricting VOC emissions indoor air. Developed in California as "Section 01350" Specification, several systems in the US started referring to CDPH Standard Method. The latest revision occurred in February 2010. Here you can see a list of allowable concentrations.
Showing compliance with the CDPH Standard Method will fulfil indoor air emissions criteria of:
- Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS)
- Indoor Advantage Gold™ certification
- FloorScore label for low emission resilient and hard floorings
- Several LEED Indoor Environmental Quality criteria.
Testing and evaluation
Emission chamber tests are performed for VOCs and aldehydes after a 10 days storage period, after (in total) 11, 12 and 14 days. Test results are calculated for two reference rooms: A school class room and an open-plan office room, with defined temperature, relative humidity and ventilation.
The resulting air concentrations then are rated against 35 Chronic Reference Exposure Levels (CRELs) published by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. Assuming that other products in an office or classroom may be additional sources of VOCs, compliance with CDPH Standard Method requires any products not to exceed one-half of the allowable concentration limits. For a comparison of these CREL values with European limit values for VOC, please click here. In reality only some 20 of the VOCs with assigned CREL can be imagined as being emitted from construction products or furniture.
CDPH Standard Method "Section 01350" requires testing of TVOC. Different from all other regions in the world, TVOC here is defined as the toluene equivalent of all VOCs in the range between n-pentane (n-C5) and n-heptadecane (n-C17). Even though TVOC shall be tested, there is no limit value for TVOC. Together with the very short list of limit values, this is the major shortcut of this low VOC specification. Excessive emissions of other VOCs than those with CREL limit values would not hinder from being in compliance with CPDH Standard Method "Section 01350" specification.
Comparison of EMICODE, AgBB/DIBt, Section 01350
A comparison between EMICODE - Blue Angel - AgBB/DIBt - CDPH Section 01350 (2010) is available in English and in German.
Another comparison between limit values of AgBB, GUT, Blue Angel and CDPH Section 01350 was made available by GUT both in English and in German. It clearly shows that the requirements of CDPH Section 01350 are much weaker than European requirements.
Eurofins Product Testing A/S in Denmark is ISO 17025 accredited and SCS approved for CDPH testing, and listed on CDPH homepage.
CA Section 01350 Allowable Concentrations
Back to main page on CA CDPH method Section 01350
List of Allowable Concentrations for 2010 version 1.1 of California CDPH standard method ("Section 01350"), page 37.
Please note - there is no TVOC limit in this Californian specification.
|No.||Compound Name||CAS No.||Allowable Concentration*
|14||Ethylene glycol monoethyl ether||110-80-5||35|
|15||Ethylene glycol monoethyl ether acetate||111-15-9||150|
|16||Ethylene glycol monomethyl ether||109-86-4||30|
|17||Ethylene glycol monomethyl ether acetate||110-49-6||45|
|24||Methyl t-butyl ether||1634-04-4||4000|
|27||Propylene glycol monomethyl ether||107-98-2||3500|
|33-35||Xylenes, technical mixture||108-38-3,||350|
|(m-, o-, p-xylene combined)||95-47-6,|
*) Refer to http://www.oehha.ca.gov/air/allrels.html. All maximum allowable concentrations are one-half the corresponding CREL adopted by Cal/EPA.
CertiPUR US label
CertiPUR US is a quality label used for showing chemical safety, durability, and performance of flexible PUR foam used in furniture and in mattresses for the US American market. A corresponding European CertiPUR label is set up in a different manner.
This label is applicable to some types of polyurethane (PUR) foam.
Testing goes for VOC emissions, for a number of restricted ingredients, and on a voluntary basis also for physical properties.
Eurofins supplies chemical testing as specified in the CertiPUR US Guidelines. Eurofins Product Testing A/S is one of the especially approved testing laboratories for this purpose.
After testing, the certification is administered by the CertiPUR US organization. Re-certification is required every 6 months.
More information is available in the Web for:
- Foam Suppliers
- Final product manufacturers, distributors, retailers
The CertiPUR US Guidelines contain details on taking, packaging and sending samples for testing (on pages 4 and 8), and more information needed for CertiPUR testing and certification.
Cradle to Cradle
The ambition of the Cradle to Cradle® design concept is to improve the quality of products so that they
- Have an improved consumer quality for the user.
- Pose no health risk for anyone who comes into contact with them,
- Are of both economic and ecological benefit.
Cradle to Cradle® design concept follows a unique approach:
"The Cradle to Cradle® method of production is in direct contrast to the "Cradle to Grave" model in which material flows are formed without any conscious consideration of protecting resources. Rather than attempt to reduce the linear material flows and present-day methods of production, the Cradle to Cradle® design concept envisages their redesign into circular nutrient cycles in which value, once created, remains of worth to both man and nature."
One element of this approach is requiring low VOC emissions, tested after 7 days in a ventilated test chamber, following the methodology of ASTM D5116 / D6690 with CDPH SM 1.1, ANSI/BIFMA 7.1, or equivalent European testing standards. Products that show conformity with LEED v4 VOC emissions requirements will qualify without further testing. Limits are set for TVOC, formaldehyde, and individual VOCs.
You can find more information on US based and Europe based webpages regarding Cradle to Cradle, and in the criteria document. There is also a guidance document with an interpretation of the wording in the standard, and a list of all relevant documents.
Danish Indoor Climate Label
The Danish Indoor Climate Label DICL (Dansk Indeklima Mærke DIM) is a voluntary system for labelling low VOC emission products. It is administered by the Danish Teknologisk Institut.
Eurofins Product Testing A/S is one of the approved testing laboratories for DICL.
DICL goes for VOC emission testing until a satisfactory emission level has been reached. In addition, an odour evaluation is performed.
Result is the number of days needed to reach a satisfactory level of emissions, and this declaration time value will be on the label (in Danish: "tidsværdi").
The satisfactory level is reached when all identified VOC emissions are below 1/2 of their irritation thresholds, and when a dynamic odour test at the elapsed time to reach the declared value shows an acceptable odour.
The threshold for an acceptable odour is:
− Acceptability > 0 (0 = just acceptable)
− Odour intensity < 2 (2 = moderate odour)
In earlier versions, also odour thresholds had been taken for evaluation, but this was dropped in 2005 because of the inconsistency of odour threshold data.
Test methods and evaluation criteria are not completely available for download. They are available upon request from DSIC secretary.
The labeled products can be seen on the website of DICL.
The EMICODE® is a label to show low VOC emissions into indoor air from adhesives, sealants, parquet varnishes and other construction products. The EMICODE is administered by GEV. Achievable classes are:
- EMICODE® EC 1 PLUS - very low emissions PLUS
- EMICODE® EC 1 - very low emissions
- EMICODE® EC 2 - low emissions
- Always to be supplemented by the letter "R", if regulatory requirements exist for safe handling and installing of the product, such as 2-component products and other reactive products.
Market share and more information
In Germany, EMICODE EC 1 and EMICODE EC1PLUS labeled flooring adhesives cover some 80-90% market share of all flooring installation adhesives. Also in several other countries the EMICODE EC 1 is regarded as a label for low VOC emissions with high reputation. EMICODE EC1 and/or EMICODE EC1PLUS are regarded as proof of compliance with the credits for low-emitting products of LEED, BREEAM, and DGNB.
Criteria and limit values
The EMICODE criteria and limit values are the same for all product groups, except parquet varnishes where slightly different limit values apply. Below listed products can be labeled with an EMICODE®:
- Adhesives for flooring installation, solvent-free
- Screeds, solvent-free
- Related primers, solvent-free
- Joint sealants, solvent-free
- Sealings, foam, foils and tapes
- Parquet varnishes, water-based and low VOC
- and some more construction products
Limit values refer to testing in a VOC emission chamber after 3 days and after 28 days, simulating the European Reference Room (12 m² surface, 2.5 m high, 1/2 air change per hour, 23°C, 50% relative humidity in supply air) as in TS / EN 16516.
Solvent content and other specifications
Any EMICODE labeled product must contain less than 0.5% m/m solvents, where solvent is defined as VOC with boiling point of max. 200 °C.
The only exception is for parquet coatings which may contain up to 5% m/m VOC (VOC as defined in EU Decopaint Directive) for EMICODE EC1PLUS or 8% m/m VOC for EMICODE EC1 labeled products.
There are also other limitations on content. For details, please see the general classification criteria, and the classification criteria for parquet coatings.
You can see at the EMICODE homepage:
- Relevant GEV documents (specifications, testing method)
- List of members of GEV
- Testing labs
There are no license fees per product, but the holder of a license has to be member of GEV. The annual membership fee depends on the number of licenses (typically some thousands EUR).
Comparison with Blue Angel, AgBB and Section 01350
A comparison between EMICODE - Blue Angel - AgBB/DIBt - CDPH Section 01350 (2010) is available in English and in German.
Important to note
Please note that you have to fulfill also other requirements than low VOC emissions for using the EMICODE, such as avoidance of certain chemicals and low solvent content. And several products will need to be labeled with the suffix ECx R to indicate that regulations for workers protection will apply. You cannot read these from a VOC test report. For details please see the GEV classification criteria.
With each testing request we kindly ask you to submit the GEV product category from the "product matrix". Then we can apply the test that is appropriate for your products.
EU ecolabel ("Flower")
The European ecolabel (also called EU "Flower" due its logo) is having a number of different criteria for several products and services.
Some of these include requirements on content and/or emissions into indoor air of VOC and formaldehyde:
- Textile flooring
- Wooden flooring
- Wooden furniture
- Paints and varnishes
More details such as User Guidance Manuals can be found under the links for the different criteria for several products and services.
The homepage of the EU ecolabel supplies explanations of how to apply for an EU ecolabel, including the costs for application and maintenance (different per country of application), and how to use the EU ecolabel after successful application. The application goes via a Competent Body in the respective country.
SVOC content determination for paints and varnishes is a controversial issue and is outlined on a separate webpage.
Eurofins offers documentation of compliance with above specifications on VOC and aldehydes, and some more properties to be tested.
SVOC Testing for the EU ecolabel
The recent EU ecolabel criteria for paints and varnishes (2014/312/EU) requires declaration or testing of the SVOC content (semi-volatile organic compounds), on top of the VOC content (volatile organic compounds). Unfortunately there was some confusion about how to test, because the referenced standard ISO 11890-2 as such does not support SVOC testing. This resulted in a revision of the EU ecolabel criteria document (EU) 2015/886.
Industry working groups in France and in Germany tried to solve the resulting challenges. Based on that dialogue, the European Paint Industry Association CEPE published a guidance paper on how SVOCs could be tested by expanding the scope of ISO 11890-2. This can be downloaded from CEPE homepage, or with a direct download link.
The updated User Manual (version 1.2) of the EU ecolabel for paints and varnishes contains a more stringent guidance on SVOC testing. ISO/TC 35 WG1 works on an amendment or revision of ISO 11890-2. There were several analytical challenges. A finally revised ISO 11890-2 standard can be expected in 2018. Until then, the testing labs should follow the above mentioned guidance.
The VOC testing lab of Eurofins Product Testing A/S in Denmark is ISO 17025 accredited for ISO 11890-2 testing. The most recent progress of standardization work at ISO will be taken on board continuously. This ensures that test results of Eurofins sill be valid also in the future.
FEMB sustainability standard
FEMB issued a standard for specifying "Sustainability requirements for office and non‐domestic furniture for indoor use". It was launched in October 2014 and coordinated with the respective US standars, issued by BIFMA.
The FEMB Sustainability standard (2014) will be used for a third-party sustainability certification called "level®". Products can be awarded a level 1, level 2 or level 3 compliance mark based on the combined score achieved in their sustainability evaluation. Level 3 is the highest award a product can achieve.
Low emissions is just one out of many criteria in the sustainability standard.
For formaldehyde, minimum is compliance of the used wood-based panels with the E1 class as specified in EN 13986; more points can be earned if the emissions correspond to 50% of E1, CARB phase 2 or Japanese class F****.
The new FEMB standard does not invent new requirements for low VOC and formaldehyde emissions. Instead, it requires that the emissions-related specifications of any of a list with well-established environmental marks are fulfilled:
- German Blue Angel RAL UZ 38 or 117; or
- ANSI/BIFMA e3-2010 sections 7.6.1 and 7.6.2
- This can be proven by any equivalent program. Indoor Air Comfort GOLD is one of the listed examples.
The standard was published in October 2014.
Read more if you like:
- FEMB Sustainability standard (2014)
- FEMB "level" sustainability certification program
FEMB is the European Federation for national Office Furniture Associations, which have manufacturers and suppliers as members. Contact regarding this issue: Technical.email@example.com
Eurofins offers documentation of compliance with the above specifications on emissions of VOC and formaldehyde by independent testing in line with Blue Angel, BIFMA, or E1 (EN 717-1) testing, or with its Indoor Air Comfort GOLD certification program.
Eurofins proposes to contact SCS in California for "level" certification services.
FloorScore® is a system for certifying low VOC emissions of resilient and hard flooring systems and related adhesives.
FloorScore labelled products meet the indoor air emissions criteria of:
- Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS)
- LEED® Green Building Rating Systems
- Green Guide for Health Care.
FloorScore tests to the CDPH SM 1.1 "Section 01350" Specification, which includes the Chronic Reference Exposure Levels (CRELs) concentrations established by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment and procedures developed by the US EPA. Assuming that other products in an office or classroom may be sources of VOCs, FloorScore certifies hard flooring products that do not exceed one-half the allowable concentration limits. In contrast to that, the limit value for formaldehyde, in line with the CDPH SM 1.1 "Section 01350", is 9 µg/m³
Eurofins Product Testing A/S is one of the approved testing laboratories.
For details of FloorScore label, please click here.
A comparison between EMICODE - Blue Angel - AgBB/DIBt - CDPH Section 01350 for adhesives and similar products is available in English and in German.
Another comparison between limit values of AgBB, GUT, Blue Angel and CDPH Section 01350 was made available by GUT both in English and in German. It clearly shows that requirements of CDPH Section 01350 are much weaker than European requirements.
Eurofins offers documentation of compliance with above specifications on emissions of VOC by independent testing. Eurofins proposes to contact SCS in California for certification services.
Green Label Plus by CRI
Carpet and Rug Institute CRI is operating a certification system for low VOC emission carpets, for carpet cushion (acoustic or thermal insulation underlays, see also at www.carpetcushion.org) and for low VOC emission adhesives, Green Label Plus GLP.
Emissions Criteria, fees and more documents are available from CRI website.
Historically, Green Label Plus certification by CRI has been one way of compliance with LEED 2009 Indoor Environmental Credit 4.3. But besides that, testing by any ISO 17025 accredited testing laboratory, such as Eurofins, is sufficient (and cheaper) for the purpose of LEED 2009 compliance - as long as the product and testing requirements of any of the options within LEED 2009 Indoor Environmental Credit 4.3 are met. It was clearly stated by US Green Building Council that CRI GLP certification must NOT be regarded as the only way of showing compliance with LEED EQ credit 4.3 for carpets.
The present version of LEED, LEED v4, no longer promotes or even mentions the CRI Green Label Plus certification in any way. And outside North America LEED even accepts alternative pathways of compliance, such as AgBB, GUT, Indoor Air Comfort, Blue Angel, or for adhesives also the EMICODE. This allows to use existing test data from these programs to show LEED compliance without any need to send samples to CRI in the US for testing and certification.
Please click here for the test method. Unfortunately it is not easy to be identifed in the web. CRI Green Label Plus certification is not very transparent with its documents and procedures regarding VOC emissions.
A comparison between limit values of AgBB, GUT, Blue Angel and CDPH Section 01350 was made available by GUT both in English and in German. It clearly shows that requirements of CRI are much weaker than European requirements.
Eurofins offers documentation of compliance with the alternative specifications on emissions of VOC and aldehydes as outlined above by independent testing, with broad acceptance for LEED purposes, but not as official partner of CRI.
Eurofins is not among the CRI approved test houses.
Green Tag product certification
The ambition of the Green Tag product certification program is to show sustainability of products, mainly to be approved for use in sustainable buildings.
Green Tag Label is an Australia based scheme for product sustainability certification, in use also in New Zealand, South Africa and Malaysia. For more information, please see:
The GreenTag standard is available for information purposes only without a fee after signature of a license agreement. It is a searchable PDF document. Get it from here:
VOCs and emissions into indoor air
VOCs and emissions into indoor air play a minor role only; you can see these regulations when searching the standard for the terms VOC or formaldehyde.
Requirements are based on Green Star programs for sustainable buildings. But as regards the requirements on emissions into air, compliance can be shown as well by documentation of conformity with the related requirements of other sustainable buildings programs, operated by national Green Building Councils (GBCs), such as LEED v4 or BREEAM.
In the draft version 3.3 / 4, issued in December 2015, some European programs to characterize low emitting products were added as options to show compliance with the requirements on emissions into air. The Eurofins operated program Indoor Air Comfort GOLD is listed as an option for the requirements on emissions into air for:
- Resilient Flooring
- Interior Textiles & Upholstery
- Mattresses and Bedding textiles
Eurofins offers documentation of compliance with VOC and formaldehyde specifications of GreenTag product certification by independent testing.
GUT label for textile floorings
The GUT label is an evaluation system for low VOC emissions carpets within the PRODIS label, an initiative of GUT and ECRA.
VOC emission testing normally is based on a test after 28 days storage in test chamber, with the option to stop the test already after 7 days or even after 3 days in case of very low emissions - please see here details and limit values.
Eurofins Product Testing A/S is one of the approved testing laboratories the reports of which are accepted for GUT labelling.
A comparison between limit values of AgBB, GUT, Blue Angel and CDPH Section 01350 was made available by GUT both in English and in German. It clearly shows that requirements by CRI in the USA are much weaker than European requirements.
Indoor Advantage (SCS)
Indoor Advantage™ is a trade mark of Scientific Certification systems (SCS) in Emeryville, California. Purpose is to certify low VOC emissions products.
There are two levels:
- Indoor Advantage™ - Office furniture systems, components and seating that meet the criteria for this indoor air emissions certification program also meet the criteria of ANSI/BIFMA M-7.1-2011 and ANSI/BIFMA X-7.1-2011 Furniture Emissions Standards and therefore the criteria for LEED - Commercial Interiors EQ credit 4.5.
- Indoor Advantage Gold™ - Building materials such as adhesives and sealants, paints and coatings, textiles and wall coverings, and composite wood, as well as classroom and office furniture systems, components and seating that earn this SCS certification meet the indoor air emission criteria of California 01350, the California Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Specifications For Open Panel Office Furniture, and LEED EQ 4.1, 4.2, 4.4, and 4.5.
Eurofins Product Testing A/S is one of the approved testing laboratories for Indoor Advantage. For details, please click here.
Eurofins offers documentation of compliance with above specifications on emissions of VOC and aldehydes.
M1 Finnish label
M1 is the short version name of the Finnish voluntary emission classification of building materials. M1 is the name of the lowest emission class of that system.
The emission classification of construction products for interior use is based on an emission chamber test after 28 days. Chemical testing parameters are TVOC, 1A and 1B carcinogens (EU classification), formaldehyde, ammonia, and an odour acceptability test (modified ISO 16000-28 test, or CLIMPAC test; odour shall be neutral (or better acceptable) under the test conditions.
Please see also for further information:
- Table with the M1 and M2 limit values
M1 is administered by RTS. For more details, please visit RTS website or any of these links:
- Classification critera
- Procedure for application
- Classification fees
- Testing method (REVISED - valid from 22.01.2015)
- Approved testing labs for M1 labeling (Eurofins Product Testing A/S is one of the approved labs)
- Office furniture is included since 2015.
It is stated that tests made for other emission classification systems than M1 will be accepted, if the tests are performed by an M1 approved lab, and following the M1 testing methodology. But at the same time, some changes of the test method made in 2015 increased the differences from other low VOC specifications, especially for some paints and for adhesives, but also for doors, windows, and "fixtures" (mounted furniture e.g. in built-in kitchen).
Eurofins Product Testing A/S is working on combining M1 tests with other tests, such that manufacturers can order one single combined test and receive test data that can serve all low VOC emissions specification across whole Europe, if not even globally. The new changes in the M1 test method require a revision of this approach if M1 shall be included in such a global VOC emissions test.
Combine several tests to save costs
Eurofins offers documentation of compliance with above specifications on emissions of VOC, aldehydes, ammonia and odour by independent testing.
Costs can be saved if a M1 test is combined with other VOC emissions testing. But please note that
- RTS requires that the whole M1 test is performed with the same sample and at the same time, for avoiding any error by ageing of sample; you cannot first perform VOC and formaldehyde tests for other purposes and then later decide to add the tests that you are missing for M1 (ammonia and odour) without repeating also the VOC and formaldehyde testing.
- RTS requires that they can approve the selection of representative or worst-case sample to cover a whole group of products in advance; this decision by Finnish RTS can be different from the decision by others on the same subject (e.g. German DIBt or Blue Angel).
- RTS has different specifications for testing some products than other regulations or labels do.
This concerns mainly some coatings, adhesives, doors, windows, fixtures (mounted furniture).
M1 and M2 limit values
These are the limit values to be respected for showing compliance with the M1 or M2 classes in Finland, all after 28 days ventilated storage:
|Concerned products:||All||All||Alternative for small and
very small surfaces *
|C1A and C1B carcinogens **||5||5||1|
|Odour: Not odorous, scale:||0,0||0,0||0,0|
|* Doors, windows, grout, sealants, ...|
|** Does not apply to formaldehyde|
While the general limit values are given as emission rate (per hour and m² surface), the right-hand column for small and very small surfaces contains limits expressed as air concentrations in the reference rooms, as specified by CEN/TS 16516.
TVOC definitions and loading are mostly identical with those in CEN/TS 16516.
In addition to the above, a number of products shall not contain casein: Plasters, tiling products, leveling agents, putty, mastics, fillers, screeds and renders.
Emission class M3 is for materials with higher emissions than M2. But the M3 class is not really in use by manufacturers.
SINTEF product certification and documentation
SINTEF is a large semi-official, but independent and non-commercial, research organization in Norway. SINTEF delivers compliance documentation for products both produced in Norway, and imported to Norway:
- Technical Approvals
- for building/construction products, components and construction systems
- verifying that a building/construction product or construction design is suitable for use in Norway
- Product Certificates
- indicating that the product is in accordance with a standard or other technical specification
- European Technical Approvals (ETAs) for specific building/construction products
- in order to provide a basis for CE marking of a product if there is no harmonized European product standard (EN standard) available as basis of CE marking.
A list of certified/approved products is available in Web, as well as the requirements per product group.
Background is the Norwegian Technical Regulation of The Planning and Building Act (TEK). It requires us of CE marked of EOTA approved products, but it also stipulates that a CE-marked product does not necessarily satisfy the applicable requirements in a specific building project - especially not under the specific Norwegian climate loads, structural loadings and building techniques. The regulation promotes requirements over and above those necessary for CE marking for some products. A SINTEF Technical Approval is a confirmation that these additional requirements are fulfilled for a specific building product.
Regarding emissions into air, the requirements of SINTEF approvals and certification refer to
- EN 15215, likewise BREEAM Norway
- The new VOC emissions test method developed by CEN/TC 351, prEN 16516
- Recognition of established labels:
Products that comply with Finnish M1, Danish DICL or with the EMICODE EC1 or EC1PLUS label are assumed to be low-emitting. On top of showing the license to use one of these labels, SINTEF requires to see the underlying test reports. Under this condition, also AgBB and Blue Angel test reports can be sufficient documentation.
- Test reports are accepted from ISO 17025 accredited test labs. Eurofins Product Testing A/S is expressively mentioned on an example list of accredited laboratories.
Swedish Building Material Assessment
The Swedish Building Materials Assessment ("Byggvarubedömningen") is a program issued by Swedish landlords and facility managers for rating products with respect to their environmental impact.
Products showing compliance with all or most of the criteria as specified by this program can be included in the sustainability database BASTA which can promote the use of these products in Swedish construction industry. This is applicable to a wide range of construction products.
Assigned classes are:
- Accepted - alternative should be considered
- To be Avoided - alternative must be explored
The Building Material Assessment Criteria are available in English and in Swedish. There is a download area with all relevant documents.
As regards VOC emissions into indoor air, the classification only applies to relevant goods for indoor use e.g., coating materials or applications which through emissions can reach inside air, referred products wallboard, floor covering, sealing, paint, wallpaper, caulking, adhesive, putty). The actual materials stone, brick, wall tile, floor tile, mosaic tile, glass and metal on interior surfaces are not assessed. However, necessary surface layer and base treatment must be assessed according to the specified criteria - see chapter 8 in the Building Material Assessment Criteria of 2015-04-30.
Emissions evaluation relies on Total VOC emission chamber test or FLEC test within 26 weeks, following the (outdated) testing standards EN 13419 parts 1 and 2 (now ISO 16000 part 9 and part 10, or CEN/TS 16516), with VOC determination as described in ISO 16000-6. Formaldehyde is tested with the standard EN 717-1 or equivalent (such as ISO 16000-3 or CEN/TS 16516).
Classification is based on:
- Knowledge or no knowledge of the dominating VOC emissions
- Formaldehyde emission rate 0.05 mg/m²h or air concentration 0.05 mg/m³ for best class after 4 weeks
(0.124 mg/m²h or air concentration 0.124 mg/m³ for second best class)
- TVOC emission rate after max. 26 weeks max. 200 µg/m²h for best class
(400 µg/m³ for second best class)