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Certifications & International Approvals >> VOC >> Sustainable Buildings

Sustainable or Green Buildings and VOC emissions

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  • Sustainable Buildings
    • Breeam
      • Breeam UK & International
        • Breeam UK & International - 2016 versions
        • Breeam UK & International - 2014 versions
        • Breeam UK & International - former versions
      • Breeam Norway
    • CHPS
    • French HQE
    • German DGNB
    • LEED
    • Green Star
      • Green Star - VOC limits
    • Italian GPP decree
    • Indoor Air Quality in Green Buildings
      • Indoor Air Quality by program

 

Sustainable Buildings

Green or Sustainable Buildings is an important movement in a number of countries across the world.

Sustainable building means that energy consumption, use of resources, impact on environment and on human health are considered and optimised during planning, construction, use and demolition - throughout the whole lifecycle of the building. This is also called sustainable building.

More and more public buildings and large office buildings are built green, but also some residential complexes, schools and hospitals are following the movement of sustainability. Motivation is either to raise the quality and the sustainability of a building in general and to support environmental protection, or to contribute to Corporate Social Responsibility, or to facilitate marketing of the building with green performance.

Programs

There are no uniform criteria for what is considered to be "Green" or sustainable. The best known approach is

Other criteria have been published by

and more. International initiatives can be monitored on websites of the International Initiative for a Sustainable Built Environment (IISBE), World Green Building Council, and in Wikipedia. The SB Alliance is trying to harmonise the Green Building criteria Europe-wide.

A large number of private initiatives can be found, such as

Typically each rating system will have a list of criteria, and in the end there is either a judgement "in compliance" or "no compliance", or there are several performance levels such as "silver", "gold", and "platinum", depending on the degree of compliance with the rating system.

A general comparison between LEED, BREEAM and HQE is available in French language.

Sustainable buildings and construction products

Most sustainable building certification programs are certifiying only buildings, not construction products. But they have a number of requirements on the used construction products, related to energy consumption, waste, recycling, chemical ingredients and human health. Fulfilment of these requirements helps earning more points (or credits) for the final sustainability assessment.

An overview of how products can show compliance with LEED and BREEAM was presented at the Greenbuild Europe / Mediterannean conference in October 2015, see the presentation.

Eurofins supports manufacturers of construction and decorative products used indoors to achieve compliance. As regards selection of complying constructions products, interior finishing and furniture, the Eurofins operated Indoor Air Comfort product certification and similar rating systems may be helpful to show compliance with several of these requirements.

Indoor Air Monitoring

Eurofins also offers post-construction Indoor Air Monitoring services for LEED, BREEAM and DGNB projects.

BREEAM

British BREEAM (Building Research Establishment's Environmental Assessment Method) is an approach for promoting and certifying sustainable buildings.

Motivation for having BREEAM certification of a building is to achieve higher value of a building in balance, or better sales price or better rental price with sustainability as additional argument, or to promote public perception of the company operating a BREEAM certified building, or to promote environment and health.

Credits are awarded in ten categories according to performance. These credits are then added together to produce a singleoverall score on a scale of Pass, Good, Very Good, Excellent and Outstanding.

International

BREEAM was established in the UK. There are national versions in a number of countries:

BREEAM and products

Products cannot be BREEAM certified. Only buildings can. A product can be certified by BRE and listed in BRE Global's Green Guide based on its environmental profile for showing that the product can be used in a BREEAM assessment to help achieve credits, but low emissions are not an element of that certification.

Use of low emitting materials is helping to achieve points for improving indoor air quality. Motivation of product manufacturers to show that their product can support collecting BREEAM points ("BREEAM compliance") is that they can sell their products to those who want to achieve BREEAM certification of their building. But BREEAM does not foresee any type of "BREEAM compliance" attestation of a product. See BREEAM UK / International and BREEAM Norway for details.

Products may qualify for good environmental rating in general with an Environmental Profile including a Life Cycle Assessment. Such rating can lead to listing of a product in a database of BREEAM qualified products.

BREEAM UK & International and products

BREEAM International and BREEAM UK are the basis for any national modification of the British BREEAM (Building Research Establishment's Environmental Assessment Method). This is an approach for promoting and certifying sustainable buildings.

Motivation for having BREEAM certification of a building is to achieve higher value of a building in balance, or better sales price or better rental price with sustainability as additional argument, or to promote public perception of the company operating a BREEAM certified building, or to promote environment and health.

Credits are awarded in ten categories according to performance. These credits are then added together to produce a single overall score on a scale of Pass, Good, Very Good, Excellent and Outstanding.

BREEAM and products

Products cannot be BREEAM certified. Only buildings can. A product can be certified by BRE and listed in BRE Global's Green Guide based on its environmental profile for showing that the product can be used in a BREEAM assessment to help achieve credits, but low emissions are not an element of that certification.

Use of low emitting materials is helping to achieve points for improving indoor air quality. Motivation of product manufacturers to show that their product can support collecting BREEAM points ("BREEAM compliance") is that they can sell their products to those who want to achieve BREEAM certification of their building. But BREEAM does not foresee any type of "BREEAM compliance" attestation of a product.

BREEAM International and BREEAM UK recognize Indoor Air Comfort, EMICODE and more VOC rating schemes as proof of BREEAM compliance. Separate documentation for BREEAM is needed no longer if compliance with Indoor Air Comfort or any other one of the referenced rating schemes was shown, see the BREEAM GN22 document. This will ease the identification of compliant materials for BREEAM certified construction projects, and it will support manufacturers in demonstrating BREEAM compliance of their products. Please see also our VOC Blog and a common press release.

Indoor Air Quality

Regarding indoor air quality, use of low emitting products inside the building will be helpful for achieving a point if compliance with the respective specifications has been proved, see:

Further product rating

Products may qualify for good environmental rating in general with an Environmental Profile including a  Life Cycle Assessment. Such rating can lead to listing of a product in a database of BREEAM qualified products.

Eurofins does not offer support with LCA and suggests talking with thinkstep AG or Five Winds, but there are also other qualified opportunities in the market.

Indoor Air Monitoring

Eurofins also offers post-construction Indoor Air Monitoring services for BREEAM projects.

BREEAM UK & International - emissions from products - 2016 version

The BREEAM International New Construction 2016 document is available since March 2016. The methodology for assessing emissions from products has undergone a basic revision, see "Hea 02". It can be downloaded from the BREEAM website after registration to BREEAM webpages, which is free of charge.

Here we summarize the requirements of the 2016 BREEAM versions regarding emissions from products, that need to be fulfilled if this property shall qualify for earning credits within a BREEAM certification of a building.

Please note that BREEAM Norway added additional requirements on VOC emissions to earlier BREEAM versions, see www.eurofins.com/breeam-nor.

Indoor Air Quality specifications

The criteria for low emitting products are not compulsory; you can raise a BREEAM certified building without low-emitting products. But you can earn one or two additional points for your building project by using low-emitting products.

Regarding indoor air quality, use of low emitting products inside the building will be helpful to achieve a point if the following specifications have been proved by testing, or if the product fulfils the specifications of any recognised schemes and programs (differentiated in one list for compliance with the earlier BREEAM standards and one list for compliance with the BREEAM standards from 2016 onwards). This document is not yet available for direct download from the BREEAM webpages. BREEAM Norway goes a separate way and did not yet publish that document.

Criteria valid for

  • Interior paints and coatings
  • Flooring materials (incl. floor levelling compounds and resin floorings)
  • Ceiling, wall, and acoustic and thermal insulation materials
  • Interior adhesives and sealants (including flooring adhesives)

specify for low-emitting products:

  • Formaldehyde - max. 0,06 mg/m³
  • TVOC - max. 1,0 mg/m³
  • Category 1A and 1B carcinogens - max. 0,001 mg/m³

and for exemplary/outstanding products:

  • Formaldehyde - max. 0,01 mg/m³
  • TVOC - max. 0,3 mg/m³
  • TSVOC - max. 0,1 mg/m³
  • Category 1A and 1B carcinogens - max. 0,001 mg/m³

Criteria for Wood-based products:

  • Non-MDF: As above.
  • MDF: Formaldehyde max. 0,08 mg/m³ for low-emitting products, else as above.

Additional criteria for Interior paints and coatings:

  • For low-emitting products: Paints used in wet areas (e.g. bathrooms, kitchens, utility rooms) should protect against mould growth.
  • For exemplary/outstanding products: Meet VOC content limits as listed in Criterion Hea 02 Indoor air quality 2016.

Use of other European or International testing standards and evaluation schemes

BREEAM International and BREEAM UK recognize Indoor Air Comfort, EMICODE and more VOC rating schemes as proof of BREEAM compliance. Separate documentation for BREEAM is needed no longer if compliance with Indoor Air Comfort or any other one of the referenced rating schemes was shown, see the BREEAM GN22 document.

This will ease the identification of compliant materials for BREEAM certified construction projects, and it will support manufacturers in demonstrating BREEAM compliance of their products. Please see also our VOC Blog and a common press release.

Indoor Air Monitoring

Eurofins also offers post-construction Indoor Air Monitoring services for BREEAM projects.

BREEAM UK & Int. - 2014 versions

More recent BREEAM version:

BREEAM 2016 version is in force. The methodology for assessing emissions from products has undergone a basic revision, see "Hea 02".

2014 regulation

Here we summarize the requirements of 2014 BREEAM versions regarding emissions from products, that need to be fulfilled if this property shall qualify for earning credits within a BREEAM certification of a building.

Examples of the 2014 BREEAM emissions requirements can be found here:
(you can access that page only after registration to BREEAM webpages, which is free of charge)

  • Typically, the new requirements will apply if they are specified in the "Hea 02" criterion.
    The old version applies when it is in the "Hea 09" criterion.
    Some intermediate versions can be e.g. in the "Hea 03" criterion.

Please note that BREEAM Norway adds additional requirements on VOC emissions, see www.eurofins.com/breeam-nor.

Indoor Air Quality specifications

Regarding indoor air quality, use of low emitting products inside the building will be helpful to achieve a point if the following specifications have been proved by testing, or if the product fulfils the specifications of any recognised schemes and programs (differentiated in one list for compliance with the earlier BREEAM standards and one list for compliance with the BREEAM standards from 2016 onwards). This document is not yet available for direct download from the BREEAM webpages. BREEAM Norway goes a separate way and did not yet publish that document.

These requirements are set out in BREEAM 2014:

  • Paints and varnishes
    • VOC content as specified for phase 2 of EU Decopaint Directive (test method: ISO 11890-2).
    • Shall be fungal and algal resistant when used in wet rooms.
    • This means no change against former versions of BREEAM.
  • Wooden products, any sort of floorings, and suspended ceiling tiles:
    • Option 1:
      E1 formaldehyde class applies as specified in
      • EN 13986 for wood panels,
      • EN 14080 for timber structures,
      • EN 14342 for wood flooring, e.g. parquet,
      • EN 14041 for resilient, textile and laminate floor coverings,
      • EN 13964 for suspended ceiling tiles.
        • All these formaldehyde specifications are based on the EN 717-1 testing standard.
    • Option 2:
      Formaldehyde below 0.1 mg/m³ (100 µg/m³) when tested with either ISO 16000-6 or CDPH test method, and calculated to a concentration in a theoretical model room (as specified in ISO 16000-9 or in CDPH standard).test reports performed under ISO 16000 or CDPH standards as alternative proof of compliance instead of EN 717-1, as long as the E1 limit value is respected.
    • With both options: No prohibited wood preservatives are used in the case of wood panels.
  • Flooring adhesives:
    • Carcinogenic or sensitising volatile substances shall be "substantially absent".
    • Proof by testing in a ventilated test chamber after 3 days as specified in EN 13999 (2013 version), parts 1 to 4.
    • This allows using 3 days test results obtained for other purposes (e.g. EMICODE, AgBB, Indoor Air Comfort) for VOCs and aldehydes. These just are screened for carcinogenic and sensitising substances.
    • But in that case, the volatile isocyanates test data have not yet been produced and might need additional testing - at least for PUR based adhesives. For other adhesives, the isocyanates test can be omitted, as explained at the end of this page.
    • But it looks like that BREEAM NL just accepts the EMICODE as proof.
  • Wall coverings:
    • Low content of formaldehyde,
    • low content of vinyl chloride monomer, and
    • migration of heavy metals
    • comply with the standards EN 233, EN 234, EN 259-1 when tested with EN 12149.
    • This means only minor change against former versions of BREEAM.

Use of other European or International testing standards and evaluation schemes

BREEAM International and BREEAM UK recognize Indoor Air Comfort, EMICODE and more VOC rating schemes as proof of BREEAM compliance. Separate documentation for BREEAM is needed no longer if compliance with Indoor Air Comfort or any other one of the referenced rating schemes was shown, see the BREEAM GN22 document.

This will ease the identification of compliant materials for BREEAM certified construction projects, and it will support manufacturers in demonstrating BREEAM compliance of their products. Please see also our VOC Blog and a common press release.

BREEAM UK & International - emissions from products - former versions

More recent BREEAM version:

BREEAM 2016 version is in force. The methodology for assessing emissions from products has undergone a basic revision, see "Hea 02".

Here we summarize the requirements of old (but still used) BREEAM versions regarding emissions from products, that need to be fufilled if this property shall qualify for earning credits within a BREEAM certification of a building. Typically, the new requirements will apply if they are specified in the "Hea 02" criterion. The old version applies when it is in the "Hea 09" criterion. Some intermediate versions can be e.g. in the "Hea 03" criterion.

Please note that BREEAM Norway adds additional requirements on VOC emissions, see www.eurofins.com/breeam-nor.

Indoor Air Quality specifications

Regarding indoor air quality, use of low emitting products inside the building will be helpful to achieve a point if the following specifications have been proved by testing, or if the product fulfils the specifications of any recognised schemes and programs (differentiated in one list for compliance with the earlier BREEAM standards and one list for compliance with the BREEAM standards from 2016 onwards). This document is not yet available for direct download from the BREEAM webpages. BREEAM Norway goes a separate way and did not yet publish that document.  These requirements are set out in BREEAM 2014:

  • Wooden products and any solid floorings:
    • E1 formaldehyde class applies (which is based on EN 717-1 testing standard), and no regulated wood preservatives are used.
  • Suspended ceiling tiles:
    • E1 formaldehyde class applies (which is based on EN 717-1 testing standard), and no asbestos is used.
  • Flooring adhesives:
    • No carcinogens and no sensitizers as defined in an Annex of EN 13999-1 are emitted. This will require testing in a ventilated test chamber after 1 day as specified in EN 13999 parts 2, 3, and 4 (2007 version, which now is outdated), including determination of carcinogenic and sensitizing volatile compounds, volatile aldehydes, and volatile diisocyanates.
    • BREEAM NL just accepts the EMICODE EC1PLUS as proof.
  • Wall coverings:
    • Low content of releasable formaldehyde and of vinyl chloride monomer, complying with standards EN 233, EN 234, EN 259, EN 266.
    • Migration of heavy metals and other toxic substances comply with above mentioned standards.
  • Adhesive for hanging flexible wall coverings
    • No harmful substances, and preservatives used should be of minimum toxicity.
  • Decorative paints and varnishes

 

Use of other European or International testing standards and evaluation schemes

BREEAM International and BREEAM UK recognize Indoor Air Comfort, EMICODE and more VOC rating schemes as proof of BREEAM compliance. Separate documentation for BREEAM is needed no longer if compliance with Indoor Air Comfort or any other one of the referenced rating schemes was shown, see the BREEAM GN22 document.

This will ease the identification of compliant materials for BREEAM certified construction projects, and it will support manufacturers in demonstrating BREEAM compliance of their products. Please see also our VOC Blog and a common press release.

 

BREEAM Norway and products

BREEAM Norway is a national modification of the British BREEAM (Building Research Establishment's Environmental Assessment Method). This is an approach for promoting and certifying sustainable buildings.

Motivation to achieve BREEAM certification of a building is to obtain higher value of a building in balance, or better sales price or better rental price with sustainability as additional argument, or to promote public perception of the company operating a BREEAM certified building, or to promote environment and health.

Credits are awarded in ten categories according to performance. These credits are then added together to produce a single overall score on a scale of Pass, Good, Very Good, Excellent and Outstanding. Latest publication is the version BREEAM Norway 2016 .

BREEAM and products

Products cannot be BREEAM certified. Only buildings can. There are further explanations in Norwegian language on NGBC website. You can see a guidance on selection of Sustainable materials, issued by the Nordic Green Building Councils, on the NGBC website. Motivation of product manufacturers to show that their product can support collecting BREEAM points ("BREEAM compliance") is that they can sell their products to those who want to achieve BREEAM certification of their building. But BREEAM does not foresee any type of "BREEAM compliance" attestation of a product.

Use of low emitting materials will be helpful to achieve points if the following specifications are fulfilled. Fulfillment of these requirements is a must for the BREEAM certification levels "Very good", "Excellent" or "Outstanding". These specifications have been modified for Norway and are different from the original BREEAM International version. They are in the chapter "Hea02" of the BREEAM Norway 2016 document.

  • Paints and varnishes applied on-site (on walls, ceilings and floors):
    • VOC content as in EU Decopaint Directive.
    • Emissions from the product:
      • TVOC after 28 days: 200 µg/m²h
      • Formaldehyde after 3 days: 62 µg/m²h, or after 28 days: 50 µg/m²h
      • Carcinogenic VOCs (no testing date specified): 5 µg/m²h
    • This corresponds to:
    • Emissions from wall coatings:
      • TVOC after 28 days: 417 µg/m³
      • Formaldehyde after 3 days: equals 50 µg/m³, or after 28 days: 104 µg/m³
      • Carcinogenic VOCs: 10 µg/m³
    • Emissions from ceiling coatings and from floor coatings:
      • TVOC after 28 days: 160 µg/m³
      • Formaldehyde after 3 days: 50 µg/m³, or after 28 days: 40 µg/m³
      • Carcinogenic VOCs 4 µg/m³
  • Wooden panels as specified in EN 13986 or in EN 14080:
    • E1 formaldehyde level.
    • Emissions from the product:
      • TVOC after 28 days: 200 µg/m²h (equals 417 µg/m³ for wall products)
      • Carcinogenic VOCs (no testing date specified): 5 µg/m²h (equals 10 µg/m³ for wall products)
  • Wood flooring and parquet as specified in EN 14342, resilient, textile and laminate flooring as specified in EN 14041, suspended ceiling tiles as specified in EN 13964, flooring adhesives, screed material as specified in EN 13813:
    • Emissions from the product:
      • TVOC after 28 days: 200 µg/m²h (equals 160 µg/m³)
      • Formaldehyde after 3 days: 62 µg/m²h (equals 50 µg/m³), or after 28 days: 50 µg/m²h (equals 40 µg/m³)
      • Carcinogenic VOCs (no testing date specified): 5 µg/m²h (equals 4 µg/m³)
  • Wall coverings:
    • Emissions from the product:
      • TVOC after 28 days: 200 µg/m²h (equals 160 µg/m³)
      • Formaldehyde after 3 days: 62 µg/m²h (equals 50 µg/m³), or after 28 days: 50 µg/m²h (equals 40 µg/m³)
      • Carcinogenic VOCs (no testing date specified): 5 µg/m²h (equals 4 µg/m³)
    • Low content of releasable formaldehyde and of vinyl chloride monomer, complying with the limits listed in the BREEAM Norway document.
  • Sealants:
    • Emissions from the product:
      • TVOC after 28 days: 60 µg/m³
      • Formaldehyde after 3 days: 50 µg/m³, or after 28 days: 104 µg/m³
      • Carcinogenic VOCs (no testing date specified): 1 µg/m³

Several product labels are accepted as proof of compliance, such as EMICODE EC1 or EC1PLUS, or the Finnish M1 label. Which labels are accepted is different from product group to product group. Details are specified in the chapter "Hea02" of the BREEAM Norway 2016 document.

The Eurofins operated product certification Indoor Air Comfort GOLD covers the requirements regarding product emissions and VOC content for many of these product groups. A certified product will then be able to chow compliance without further testing.

Further product rating

Products may qualify for good environmental rating in general with an Environmental Profile including a Life Cycle Assessment. Such rating can lead to listing of a product in a database of BREEAM qualified products.

Indoor Air Monitoring

Eurofins also offers post-construction Indoor Air Monitoring services for BREEAM projects.

 

CHPS

The Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) is a membership-driven organization aiming at building the best possible schools and by that improving student performance. Developed in California, there are several analogous movements in other US States.

Following CHPS criteria and procedures can result in assigning different levels to school building projects:

The specifications are collected in a Best Practices Manual. Using products that conform with the criteria can give additional credits in the evaluation process.

CHPS and products

Products cannot be CHPS certified, but they can be listed in the High Performance Products Database. A listing in that database can be an important market advantage for products.

There are 11 sustainability criteria for listing a product. As regards indoor air quality, the products need to fulfil the VOC emissions requirements of California CDPH standard method version 1.1 (formerly called Section 01350). There are different pathways of conformity declaration before a product can be listed:

  • Testing by an independent and accredited laboratory (such as Eurofins)
  • Certification by an independent and accredited body (such as SCS)
  • Well-founded analogy conclusion from a tested product by self-declaration

Any self-declaration with analogy conclusion from a non-tested product is not accepted. You can see a detailed description of these procedures.

Eurofins is approved as testing laboratory for CHPS in California.

French Démarche HQE certification

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 the 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.

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 AFSSET, AgBB, EMICODE, GUT, M1, 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:

German DGNB

German DGNB (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Nachhaltiges Bauen) is an association for promoting and certifying sustainable buildings.

Motivation to have a building DGNB certified is to achieve higher value of a building in the balance, or better sales or better rental price with sustainability as additional argument, or to promote public perception of the company operating a DGNB certified building, or to promote environment and health. The procedure is to collect points for proper consideration of environmental aspects (e.g. saving of energy and of resources, recyclability, indoor air quality and more). Some international support of this approach is visible at DGNB International.

You can request the DGNB criteria on the DGNB website.

Regarding indoor air quality, an indoor air quality measurement has to be performed max. 4 weeks after completing the building. Then a number of limit values for trace air contaminants shall be respected. Use of low emitting products inside the building will be helpful for achieving this goal, but in contrast to other certification schemes, use of low emitting products is not directly connected to earning points for DGNB certification - with the exception of flooring installation products and sealants if they are labelled with the EMICODE or the Blue Angel. For more details: See the criterion "Sociocultural and Functional Quality SOC1.2, Indoor Air Quality".

The use of coatings with low VOC content also can contribute to earning points via the criterion "Environmental Quality ENV1.2 Local Environment Impact".

Products and DGNB

Products that support to achieve DGNB certification can be registered in the DGNB Navigator against a fee. This allows the manufacturer to demonstrate its commitment to sustainability at his own responsibility. It gives purchasers the necessary guidance and transparency when selecting products. Such a registration, along with the availability of a product-specific environmental product declaration (EPD type II - ISO 14025 / EN 15804), allows to use the "DGNB Navigator Label".

But please note: Listing in the DGNB Navigator is not a DGNB product certification or so. It is a self-declaration of the manufacturer.

Indoor Air Monitoring

Eurofins also offers post-construction Indoor Air Monitoring services for DGNB projects.

Green Star

Green Star is a membership-driven organization aiming at building sustainable buildings and certifying these. Developed in Australia, there are analogous organizations in New Zealand and in South Africa.

Motivation for having Green Star 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 Green Star certified building, or to promote environment and health. Procedure is to collect points for proper consideration of environmental aspects (e.g. saving of energy and of resources, recyclability, indoor air quality and more).

Different than other associations for sustainable buildings, most of the criteria documents for assigning sustainability points are not public for free, they must be purchased for a significant price, or you must become member of the respective Green Building Council for a significant fee.

Products and VOC and formaldehyde

Products cannot be certified, but use of compliant products can help building projects to collect additional points for a higher sustainability rating.

The requirements for products regarding formaldehyde and VOC are assumed to be the same in all three countries. The documentation is in a technical manual that is available for a fee. The requirements deal with:

There was a debate within Green Star Australia that European test methods and low VOC programs should be accepted in the most recent version, besides US test methods, but we did not yet receive any clear information about that. Green Star New Zealand accepts AgBB and GUT compliance for floorings, and Green Star South Africa accepts some European labels.

If certification runs via the GreenTag label, then Indoor Air Comfort GOLD labeled products are recognized as low-emitting for

  • Carpets
  • Resilient Flooring
  • Interior Textiles & Upholstery
  • Mattresses and Bedding textiles

As most of the criteria documents for assigning sustainability points are not available for free to non-members, and quite expensive, we cannot guarantee that the above information is most up to date.

If you have any additional information and clarification then please send this to us by email.

Green Star - VOC limits

Green Star requirements on low VOC emissions regard

There can be granted 1 point for each of these categories.

Carpets and other floorings

Emissions of carpets and carpet underlays after 24 hours shall meet these requirements:

  • Total VOC less than 0.5 mg/m² per hour
  • 4-Phenylcyclohexene less than 0.05 mg/m² per hour

Testing: ASTM D5116

If no carpet is used then a point can be earned for this category if other flooring complies with the above limits.

Paints

Green Star has no VOC emissions limits for paints, only VOC content limits:

Product type g/l
Walls and ceilings - interior semi gloss 16
Walls and ceilings - interior low sheen 16
Walls and ceilings - interior flat washable 16
Ceilings - interior flat 14
Trim - gloss, semi gloss, satin, varnishes and woodstains 75
Timber and binding primers 30
Latex primer for galvanized iron and zincalume 60
Interior latex undercoat 65
Interior sealer 65
One and two pack performance coatings for floors 140
Any solvent-based coatings whose purpose is not covered in table 200

Calculation: Grams minus water per liter of the whole product.
Different from SCQAMD: No subtraction of exempt VOCs, no subtraction of the water volume from the product volume.

Testing, if not just calculated - choice of standards:

  • GC in-can headspace, ISO 17895 for VOC content < 1%
  • GC after extraction, ISO 11890-2 for VOC content < 15%
  • Weight loss testing, ISO 11890-1 for VOC content > 15%, or
  • Weight loss testing, ASTM D3960 / ASTM D2369.

Adhesives and Sealants

Green Star has no VOC emissions limits for adhesives and sealants, only VOC content limits:

Product type g/l
Indoor carpet adhesive 50
Carpet pad adhesive 50
Wood flooring and Laminate adhesive 100
Rubber flooring adhesive 60
Sub-floor adhesive 50
Ceramic tile adhesive 65
Cove base adhesive 50
Dry Wall & Panel adhesive 50
Multipurpose construction adhesive 70
Structural glazing adhesive 100
Architectural sealants 250

Calculation: Grams minus water per liter of the whole product.
Different from SCQAMD: No subtraction of exempt VOCs, no subtraction of the water volume from the product volume.

Testing, if not just calculated:

  • Weight loss testing, ASTM D3960 / ASTM D2369.

 

Italian Green Public Procurement of construction works

Italy issued a decree on Green Public Procurement of construction works on 21 January 2016.

It defines minimum criteria for the case that Italian public authorities invite tenders for construction works, with focus on energy consumption and other sustainability issues.

Chapter 2.3.5.5 contains minimum requirements on VOC emissions that correspond to the French VOC class A.

  • In contrast to VOC regulations in other countries, this regulation is NOT binding for all construction works and construction products. It is relevant only for public sustainable building projects.
  • Testing shall follow CEN/TS 16516 or ISO 16000-9 or equivalent standards.
  • The Eurofins operated labels Indoor Air Comfort and Indoor Air Comfort GOLD include this requirement and may therefore serve as proof of compliance.

The decree was issued by the Italian Ministry for the environment ("Il ministro dell'ambiente e della tutela del territorio e del mare") with the name "Adozione dei criteri ambientali minimi per l'affidamento di servizidi progettazione e lavori per la nuova costruzione, ristrutturazione e manutenzione di edifici per la gestione dei cantieri della pubblica amministrazione e criteri ambientali minimi per le forniture di ausili per l'incontinenza".

The document is available here for download (6.2 MB).

Indoor Air Quality in Green Buildings

Several programs for sustainable buildings specify indoor air monitoring after finishing a building project, for showing the achieved indoor air quality

More information

Please see the detailed information at www.eurofins.com/iaq-programs.

Contact to Indoor Air Monitoring Laboratories

Eurofins operates several teams performing such services, among others in these countries:

Post-construction Air Quality in sustainable building programs

Several programs for sustainable buildings specify indoor air monitoring after finishing a building project, for showing the achieved indoor air quality. Eurofins teams perform such services in several countries.

Here you find listed the requirements of some sustainable building programs, regarding post-construction indoor air quality after finalizing a building:

Specifications of low emitting interior products are specified elsewhere; use of complying products will facilitate reaching these targets.

LEED version 4 (since November 2013)

Source: Most recent version, as in the Webpage in November 2013

Air measurement: Post construction, but pre-occupancy, during normal working hours with normal operation of ventilation system, performed by a lab using ISO 17025 accredited testing methods, selected from below list of ASTM, EPA or ISO standards.

Contaminant Maximum concentration Maximum concentration (Healthcare only) ASTM and U.S. EPA methods ISO method

Formaldehyde

27 ppb

16.3 ppb

ASTM D5197; EPA TO-11 or EPA Compendium Method IP-6

ISO 16000-3

Particulates (PM10 for all buildings; PM2.5 for buildings in EPA nonattainment areas, or local equivalent)

PM10: 50 micrograms per cubic meter
PM2.5: 15 micrograms per cubic meter

20 micrograms per cubic meter

EPA Compendium Method IP-10

ISO 7708

Ozone (for buildings in EPA nonattainment areas)

0.075 ppm

0.075 ppm

ASTM D5149 - 02

ISO 13964

Total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs)

500 micrograms per cubic meter

200 micrograms per cubic meter

EPA TO-1, TO-15, TO-17, or EPA Compendium Method IP-1

ISO 16000-6

Target chemicals listed in CDPH Standard Method v1.1, Table 4-1, except formaldehyde

CDPH Standard Method v1.1-2010, Allowable Concentrations, Table 4-1

CDPH Standard Method v1.1-2010, Allowable Concentrations, Table 4-1

ASTM D5197; EPA TO-1, TO-15, TO-17, or EPA Compendium Method IP-1

ISO 16000-3,  16000-6

Carbon monoxide (CO)

9 ppm; no more than 2 ppm above outdoor levels

9 ppm; no more than 2 ppm above outdoor levels

EPA Compendium Method IP-3

ISO 4224

 

LEED version 2009

Source: Most recent version, e.g. LEED for Commercial Interiors, October 2013

Air measurement: Post construction, but pre-occupancy, during normal working hours with normal operation of ventilation system, all finishes installed and all moveable funishing in place.

Contaminant

Maximum Concentration

EPA Compendium method

ISO method

Formaldehyde

27 parts per billion

IP-6

ISO 16000-3

Particulates (PM10)

50 micrograms per cubic meter

IP-10

ISO 7708

Total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs)

500 micrograms per cubic meter

IP-1

ISO 16000-6

4-Phenylcyclohexene (4-PCH)

(This test is required only if carpets and fabrics with styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) latex backing are installed as part of the base building systems)

6.5 micrograms per cubic meter

IP-1

ISO 16000-6

Carbon monoxide (CO)

9 parts per million and no greater than

2 parts per million above outdoor levels

IP-3

ISO 4224

 

BREEAM International

Source: e.g. BREEAM 2011 for New Construction, © BRE Global Ltd 2011, Criterion Hea 02 "Indoor Air Quality", available from BRE Global.

Air measurement: Post construction, but pre-occupancy.

Contaminant Maximum concentration Testing methods
Formaldehyde 100 µg/m³
(30 minutes average)
ISO 16000-3
ISO 16000-4
TVOC 300 µg/m³  *
(8 hours average)

ISO 16000-6
ISO 16017-2

* BREEAM NL: TVOC shall not exceed 8 µg/m³, see BREEAM-NL Nieuwbouw en Renovatie 2014 versie 1.01. But this looks likes a typo error because all other national BREEAM programs require 300, not 8 µg/m³

DGNB

Source: "Sociocultural and Functional Quality SOC1.2, Indoor Air Quality" (2014), available from DGNB.

Air measurement: Maximum 4 weeks post construction. The number of rooms to be tested is specified in a table, depending on the size of the building.

Parameter Maximum air concentrations in all tested rooms, µg/m³ Testing Methods
TVOC
(plus reporting and evaluation of individual VOCs)
500 1000 3000 > 3000 ISO 16000-6
Formaldehyde 60 60 120 > 120 ISO 16000-3
Points achievable 50 25 10 0  

The document also contains an appendix with "New Construction Benchmarks (NOW) for evaluation of individual substances as part of VOC measurements" with related air concentrations of some 150 substances, copied over from a 2010 publication of the German EPA (Umweltbundesamt). There is also an example of a test report table.

Contact to Indoor Air Monitoring Laboratories

Please see here contact information of Eurofins IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) testing laboratories in Europe and in the USA:
www.eurofins.com/IAQ.</p