Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in Products

Groups: 
  • Design-Build Contracts
Category: 
  • Materials

Basic

Requirements and Criteria Type: 
  • Technical Specification (Requirement Specifications)

Main Objective: 

Motive

Volatile organic compound (VOC) is the designation given to an organic substance that easily evaporates at, for example, room temperature and spreads from materials and products into the surroundings. If the content of VOCs is too high, a poor indoor environment can occur with excessively high concentrations of these substances. Exposure to high concentrations of VOCs can cause irritation of the respiratory tract and mucous membranes, as well as immune system disorders. Some of the substances are carcinogenic. In addition to health disorders, excessively high concentrations of VOCs in indoor air can result in odours, lower perceptions of air quality and increase the energy consumed by ventilation.

More than 300 different volatile organic compounds have been identified and many of them are primarily found in indoor air. They come from degassing from construction materials, paint, varnish, sealants, interior fittings, furniture, textiles, installations, cleaning agents, etc.

Argument

Ever more airtight buildings subject to requirements concerning the energy consumed by ventilation make it even more important to reduce degassing into indoor air by setting requirements for this.  

Requirement Specification: 

 Documentation of the requirement must be submitted to the client on an ongoing basis as they come in.

 

Table 4.37.1 – Requirements for materials and products

The following materials and products exposed to indoor air must be low-emission pursuant to NS-EN 15251:2007, Annex C:

Certification schemes and labels confirm the products satisfy the requirement for low-emission materials pursuant to NS-EN 15251:2007, Annex C:
a) Wooden boards Certifications such as M1, EC 1, EC 1 Plus, Swan ecolabel and SINTEF Technical are approved documentation.
b) Wood strip flooring Certifications such as M1, EC 1, and EC 1 Plus are approved documentation.
c) Textile and laminate floorings Certifications such as M1, EC 1, EC 1 Plus, GuT, SINTEF Technical Approval, and Swan ecolabel (except for wood strip or linoleum floors) are approved documentation.
d) Paints and varnishes applied on site. Certifications such as M1, EC 1, EC 1 Plus, and SINTEF Technical Approved are approved documentation.

 

Paints used in wet rooms (bathrooms, kitchens and washing rooms) must be fungus and algae resistant.

 

Information about the Requirement Specification: 

 

Tabell 4.37.3: Overview of certification schemes
Certification scheme About the scheme  
M1 Finnish certification scheme, supervised by the Building Information Foundation (RTS).
 
 
 
EC1 German certification scheme, EMICODE, supervised by the eco-INSTITUT GEV (Association for the Control of Emissions in Products for Flooring Installation, Adhesives and Building Materials).

 

 
 
GuT German certification scheme for carpets, supervised by ECRA (European Carpet and Rug Association).
 
 
Swan ecolabel Nordic comprehensive labelling scheme, supervised by Swan ecolabel.
 
 

SINTEF Technical Approval

Norwegian documentation that the construction product has been assessed as suitable for use and satisfies the requirements of the Technical Regulation (TEK17) for those areas of use and conditions specified in the approval document. Supervised by SINTEF Building and Infrastructure.
 
 

Advanced

Requirements and Criteria Type: 
  • Technical Specification (Requirement Specifications)

Main Objective: 

Motive

Volatile organic compound (VOC) is the designation given to an organic substance that easily evaporates at, for example, room temperature and spreads from materials and products into the surroundings. If the content of VOCs is too high, a poor indoor environment can occur with excessively high concentrations of these substances. Exposure to high concentrations of VOCs can cause irritation of the respiratory tract and mucous membranes, as well as immune system disorders. Some of the substances are carcinogenic. In addition to health disorders, excessively high concentrations of VOCs in indoor air can result in odours, lower perceptions of air quality and increase the energy consumed by ventilation.

More than 300 different volatile organic compounds have been identified and many of them are primarily found in indoor air. They come from degassing from construction materials, paint, varnish, sealants, interior fittings, furniture, textiles, installations, cleaning agents, etc.

Argument

Ever more airtight buildings subject to requirements concerning the energy consumed by ventilation make it even more important to reduce degassing into indoor air by setting requirements for this.  

Requirement Specification: 

Documentation of the requirement must be submitted to the client on an ongoing basis as they come in.

Table 4.37.1 – Requirements for materials and products

The following materials and products exposed to indoor air must be low-emission pursuant to NS-EN 15251:2007, Annex C:

Certification schemes and labels confirm the products satisfy the requirement for low-emission materials pursuant to NS-EN 15251:2007, Annex C:
a) Wooden boards Certifications such as M1, EC 1, EC 1 Plus, Swan ecolabel and SINTEF Technical are approved documentation.
b) Wood strip flooring Certifications such as M1, EC 1, and EC 1 Plus are approved documentation.
c) Textile and laminate floorings Certifications such as M1, EC 1, EC 1 Plus, GuT, SINTEF Technical Approval, and Swan ecolabel (except for wood strip or linoleum floors) are approved documentation.
d) Paints and varnishes applied on site. Certifications such as M1, EC 1, EC 1 Plus, and SINTEF Technical Approved are approved documentation.
e) Suspended ceiling panels Certifications such as M1, EC 1, EC 1 Plus, Swan ecolabel and SINTEF Technical Approval are approved documentation.
f) Wall claddings Certifications such as M1, EC 1, and EC 1 Plus are approved documentation.
g) Floor adhesive and sealants Certifications such as M1, EC 1, EC 1 Plus, GuT, SINTEF Technical Approval, and Swan ecolabel (except for wood strip or linoleum floors) are approved documentation.

Paints used in wet rooms (bathrooms, kitchens and washing rooms) must be fungus and algae resistant.

Tabell 4.37.2 : Approved test standards for various products
Product Approved test standard

Wooden boards

Wood strip flooring

Textile and laminate flooring

Suspended ceiling panels

Wall claddings

Floor adhesive and sealants

ISO 16000-9 together with ISO 16000-6

Testing and calculations must be performed pursuant to EN 16516
Paints and varnishes applied on site. ISO 11890-2:2013 – Paints and varnishes – Determination of volatile organic compound (VOC) content – Part 2: Gas-chromatographic method
Information about the Requirement Specification: 

 

Tabell 4.37.3: Overview of certification schemes
Certification scheme About the scheme  
M1 Finnish certification scheme, supervised by the Building Information Foundation (RTS).
 
 
 
EC1 German certification scheme, EMICODE, supervised by the eco-INSTITUT GEV (Association for the Control of Emissions in Products for Flooring Installation, Adhesives and Building Materials).

 

 
 
GuT German certification scheme for carpets, supervised by ECRA (European Carpet and Rug Association).
 
 
Swan ecolabel Nordic comprehensive labelling scheme, supervised by Swan ecolabel.
 
 

SINTEF Technical Approval

Norwegian documentation that the construction product has been assessed as suitable for use and satisfies the requirements of the Technical Regulation (TEK17) for those areas of use and conditions specified in the approval document. Supervised by SINTEF Building and Infrastructure.
 
 

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Published: 07. Feb 2018, Last modified: 25. Jun 2019