Hea 02 Indoor air quality

Number of credits available Minimum standards
Building type dependent No

Aim

To recognise and encourage a healthy internal environment through the specification and installation of appropriate ventilation, equipment and finishes.

Assessment criteria

This issue is split into two parts:

  • Minimising sources of air pollution (4 credits)
  • Adaptability - potential for natural ventilation (1 credit)

Note:

  • The potential for natural ventilation credit does not apply to buildings on a prison development.

The following is required to demonstrate compliance:

Minimising sources of air pollution

One credit - Indoor air quality (IAQ) plan

  1. An indoor air quality plan has been produced , with the objective of facilitating a process that leads to design, specification and installation decisions and actions that minimise indoor air pollution during occupation of the building. The indoor air quality plan must consider the following:
    1. Removal of contaminant sources
    2. Dilution and control of contaminant sources
    3. Procedures for pre-occupancy flush out
    4. Third party testing and analysis
    5. Maintaining indoor air quality in-use

One credit- Ventilation

The building has been designed to minimise the concentration and recirculation of pollutants in the building as follows:

  1. Provide fresh air into the building in accordance with the criteria of the relevant standard for ventilation.
  2. Design ventilation pathways to minimise the build-up of air pollutants in the building, as follows:
    1. In air-conditioned and mixed mode buildings/spaces:
      1. The building’s air intakes and exhausts are over 10m apart and intakes are over 20m from sources of external pollution; OR
      2. The location of the building's air intakes and exhausts, in relation to each other and external sources of pollution, is designed in accordance with BS EN 13779:20071BS EN 13779:2007 Ventilation for non-residential buildings - Performance requirements for ventilation and room-conditioning systems Annex A2.
    2. In naturally ventilated buildings or spaces: openable windows or ventilators are over 10m from sources of external pollution.
  3. Where present, HVAC systems must incorporate suitable filtration to minimise external air pollution, as defined in BS EN 13779:2007 Annex A3.
  4. Areas of the building subject to large and unpredictable or variable occupancy patterns have carbon dioxide (CO2) or air quality sensors specified and:
    1. In mechanically ventilated buildings/spaces: sensors are linked to the mechanical ventilation system and provide demand-controlled ventilation to the space.
    2. In naturally ventilated buildings/spaces: sensors either have the ability to alert the building owner or manager when CO2 levels exceed the recommended set point, or are linked to controls with the ability to adjust the quantity of fresh air, i.e. automatic opening windows or roof vents.

One credit - Volatile organic compound (VOC) emission levels (products)

  1. All decorative paints and varnishes specified meet the criteria in Table 9
  2. At least five of the seven remaining product categories listed in Table 9 meet the testing requirements and emission levels criteria for volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions (listed in the table).

One credit - Volatile organic compound (VOC) emission levels (post construction)

  1. The formaldehyde concentration level is measured post construction (but pre-occupancy) and is found to be less than or equal to 100µg/m3 averaged over 30 minutes (WHO guidelines for indoor air quality: Selected pollutants, 20102WHO guidelines for indoor air quality:selected pollutants, World Health Organisation, 2010).
  2. The total volatile organic compound (TVOC) concentration level is measured post construction (but pre-occupancy) and found to be less than 300µg/m3 over 8 hours, in line with the Building Regulation requirements.
  3. Where VOC and formaldehyde levels are found to exceed the limits defined in criteria 8 and 9, the project team confirms the measures that have, or will be taken, in accordance with the IAQ plan, to reduce the levels to within these limits, .
  4. The testing and measurement of the above pollutants are in accordance with the following standards where relevant:
    1. BS ISO 16000-4: 2011 Diffusive sampling of formaldehyde in air3BS ISO 16000-4: 2011 Indoor air - Part 4: Determination of formaldehyde -- Diffusive sampling method
    2. BS ISO 16000-6: 2011 VOCs in air by active sampling4BS ISO 16000-6: 2011 Indoor air - Part 6: Determination of volatile organic compounds in indoor and test chamber air by active sampling on Tenax TA sorbent, thermal desorption and gas chromatography using MS/FID
    3. BS EN ISO 16017-2: 2003 VOCs - Indoor, ambient and workplace air by diffusive sampling5BS EN ISO 16017-2:2003. Indoor, ambient and workplace air – Sampling and analysis of volatile organic compounds by sorbent tube/thermal desorption/capillary gas chromatography – Part 2: Diffusive sampling.
    4. BS ISO 16000-3: 20116BS ISO 16000-3: 2011 Indoor air - Part 3: Determination of formaldehyde and other carbonyl compounds - Active sampling method Formaldehyde and other carbonyls in air by active sampling.
  5. The measured concentration levels of formaldehyde (µg/m³) and TVOC (µg/m³) are reported, via the BREEAM Assessment Scoring and Reporting Tool.

Adaptability - Potential for natural ventilation

One credit (credit not applicable to prison buildings)

  1. The building ventilation strategy is designed to be flexible and adaptable to potential building occupant needs and climatic scenarios. This can be demonstrated as follows:
    1. Occupied spaces of the building are designed to be capable of providing fresh air entirely via a natural ventilation strategy. The following are methods deemed to satisfy this criterion dependent upon the complexity of the proposed system:
      1. Room depths are designed in accordance with CIBSE AM10 (section 2.4) to ensure effectiveness of any natural ventilation system. The openable window area in each occupied space is equivalent to 5% of the gross internal floor area of that room/floor plate; OR
      2. The design demonstrates that the natural ventilation strategy provides adequate cross flow of air to maintain the required thermal comfort conditions and ventilation rates. This is demonstrated using ventilation design tool types that meet the requirements of CIBSE AM107CIBSE AM10, 2005, Natural ventilation in non-domestic buildings (or for education buildings by using the ClassVent tool).
    2. For a strategy which does not rely on openable windows, or which has occupied spaces with a plan depth greater than 15m, the design must demonstrate (in accordance with criterion 13.a.ii. above) that the ventilation strategy can provide adequate cross flow of air to maintain the required thermal comfort conditions and ventilation rates.
  2. The natural ventilation strategy is capable of providing at least two levels of user-control on the supply of fresh air to the occupied space (see compliance note CN3.3 for further details).
    Note: Any opening mechanisms must be easily accessible and provide adequate user-control over air flow rates to avoid draughts. Relevant industry standards for ventilation can be used to define ‘adequate levels of fresh air’ sufficient for occupancy and internal air pollution loads relevant to the building type.
    Note: Multi-residential buildings with self-contained flats and individual bedrooms must have a degree of openable window function. This does not need to provide two levels of user-control (as required above), but must be occupant controlled.

Exemplary level criteria

Minimising sources of air pollution - volatile organic compound (VOC) emission levels (products)

The following outlines the exemplary level criteria to achieve innovation credits for this BREEAM issue:

One credit
  1. Criterion 6 has been achieved.
  2. All seven remaining product categories listed in Table 9 meet the testing requirements and emission levels criteria for Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) emissions (listed in the table).
  3. For products B – F listed in Table 9, the formaldehyde emission levels have been measured and found to be less than or equal to 0.06mg/m³ air in accordance with the approved testing standards in Table 9.
Two credits
  1. Criterion 6 has been achieved.
  2. All seven remaining products categories listed in Table 9 meet the testing requirements and emission levels criteria for Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) emissions (listed in the table).
  3. For products B to F listed in Table 9, the formaldehyde emission levels have been measured and found to be less than or equal to 0.01mg/m³ air, in accordance with the approved testing standards in Table 9.

Checklists and tables

Table 9 : VOC criteria byproduct type

Ref

Product Requirements
A Paints and varnishes
Performance requirements VOC content limit
Compliant performance standard EU Directive 2004/42/CE ('Paints Directive')

Compliant testing standard

BS EN ISO 11890-2:2013 – Paints and varnishes – Determination of VOC content, Part 2 – Gas Chromatographic method

Manufacturer also to confirm

Paint to be fungal and algal resistant in wet areas, e.g. bathrooms, kitchens, utility rooms

B Wood panels (including particle board, fibreboard including MDF, OSB, cement bonded particle board, plywood, solid wood panel and acoustic board)
Option 1  
Performance requirements

Formaldehyde E1 class

Compliant performance standard BS EN 13986:2004 Wood-based panels for use in construction - Characteristics evaluation of conformity and marking
Compliant testing standards In accordance with Annex B of BS EN 13986:2004

Manufacturer also to confirm

The absence of prohibited wood preservatives/biocides.

Option 2  
Performance requirements Formaldehyde level of 0.1mg/m³
Compliant testing standards
  1. BS EN ISO 16000-9:2006 Indoor air - Part 9: Determination of the emission of volatile organic compounds from building products and furnishing - Emission test chamber method. OR
  2. Standard method for the testing and evaluation of volatile organic chemical emissions from indoor sources using environmental chambers, version 1.1 - Emission testing method for California Specification 01350, Californian Department for Public Health, 2010.

Note: For either method the resultant emission/surface area obtained from the chamber test method must be extrapolated to predict what the emissions would be in a theoretical model room (as detailed in the standard) and this extrapolated emission rate compared with the required formaldehyde level of 0.1mg/m³.

Manufacturer also to confirm

The absence of prohibited wood preservatives/biocides.

C Timber structures (e.g. glue laminated timber)
Option 1  
Performance requirements

Formaldehyde E1 Class

Compliant performance standards BS EN 14080:2005 Timber structures - Glues laminated timber - Requirements
Compliant testing standards In accordance with Annex B of BS EN 13986:2004
Option 2  
Performance requirements As category B Option 2.
Compliant testing standards As category B Option 2.
D Wood flooring (e.g. parquet)
Option 1  
Performance requirements

Formaldehyde E1 Class

Compliant performance standard BS EN 14342:2005+A1:2008 Wood flooring - Characteristics, evaluation of conformity and marking
Compliant testing standards In accordance with Annex B of BS EN 13986:2004

Option 2

 
Performance requirements As category B Option 2.
Compliant testing standards As category B Option 2.
E Resilient textile and laminated floor coverings (e.g. vinyl, linoleum, cork, rubber, carpet, laminated wood flooring)
Option 1  
Performance requirements

Option 1 - Formaldehyde E1 Class

Compliant performance standard BS EN 14041:2004 Resilient, textile and laminate floor coverings - Essential characteristics
Compliant testing standards In accordance with Annex B of BS EN 13986:2004
Option 2  
Performance requirements As category B Option 2.
Compliant testing standards As category B Option 2.
F Suspended ceiling tiles
Option 1  

Performance requirements

Formaldehyde E1 Class

Compliant performance standard BS EN 13964:2004+A1:2006 Suspended ceilings - Requirements and test methods
Compliant testing standards In accordance with Annex B of BS EN 13986:2004
Option 2  
Performance requirements As category B Option 2.
Compliant testing standards As category B Option 2.
G Flooring adhesives
Performance requirements

Carcinogenic or sensitising volatile substances are substantially absent

Compliant performance standard BS EN 13999-1:2013 Adhesives - Short term method for measuring the emission properties of low-solvent or solvent-free adhesives after application - Part 1: General procedure
Compliant testing standard
  1. BS EN 13999-1:2013 Adhesives - Short term method for measuring the emission properties of low-solvent or solvent-free adhesives after application - Part 1: General procedure
  2. BS EN 13999-2:2013 Adhesives - Short term method for measuring the emission properties of low-solvent or solvent-free adhesives after application - Part 2: Determination of volatile organic compounds
  3. BS EN 13999-3:2007+A1:2009 Adhesives - Short term method for measuring the emission properties of low-solvent or solvent-free adhesives after application - Part 3: Determination of volatile aldehydes
  4. BS EN 13999-4:2007+A1:2009 Adhesives - Short term method for measuring the emission properties of low-solvent or solvent-free adhesives after application - Part 4: Determination of volatile diisocyanates
H Wall coverings
Performance requirements
  • Vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) content
  • Formaldehyde level
  • Migration of heavy metals
Compliant performance standard
  1. BS EN 233:1999 Wallcoverings in roll form - Specification for finished wallpapers, wall vinyls and plastic wall coverings
  2. BS EN 234:1997 Wallcoverings in roll form - Specification for wallcoverings for subsequent decoration
  3. BS EN 259-1:2001 Wallcoverings in roll form - Heavy duty wallcoverings - Part 1: Specifications
Compliant testing standard

BS EN 12149:1998 – Wall coverings in roll form. Determination of migration of heavy metals and certain other elements, of vinyl chloride monomer and of formaldehyde release

Relevant standards - VOCs

All standards outlined inTable 9 are standards recognised across Europe and internationally for VOC content and testing. In instances where a product is not assessed against the listed European or International standard, it is acceptable to use an alternative, nationally recognised, standard provided the following is met as a minimum:

  1. The performance level requirements required by the alternative standard are equivalent to or better than those specified in the standards in Table 9. For example, if a material containing formaldehyde has been added to the floor covering product as part of the production process, then the E1 emission measured for formaldehyde must be less than 0.124mg/m³ (as required by BS EN 14041:2004).
  2. Where an alternative standard omits evaluation of a particular material, it is only acceptable to use the alternative standard in instances where the product does not contain that particular material.

BREEAM Assessors should seek confirmation from BRE Global prior to awarding credits for compliance with standards not listed in Table 9 or previously approved as alternative nationally recognised standards.

Products with no formaldehyde containing materials

For some floor coverings and wood-based panels, the requirement for formaldehyde testing (referred to in the above criteria) does not apply to 'floor coverings to which no formaldehyde containing materials were added during production or post-production processing', or in the case of EN 13986:2004, wood-based panels.

As such, if a product manufacturer confirms that they have made a declaration of formaldehyde class E1 without testing (in writing or via a company product fact sheet or literature) then the product in question meets the BREEAM requirement relevant to formaldehyde testing. A declaration of E1 without testing is effectively confirmation from the manufacturer that formaldehyde emissions comply with the emission level requirements of the relevant standards and therefore, evidence confirming the actual emission levels via testing will not be required by the assessor to demonstrate compliance with that particular requirement.

Compliance notes

Ref

Terms

Description

Shell and core

CN1 

Applicable assessment criteria

Indoor air quality, criterion 1

Both options: This criterion is not applicable.

Ventilation, criteria 2 to 5

Option 1 - Shell only: These criteria are not applicable.

Option 2 - Shell and core: Criteria 2 and 3 are applicable. Criterion 4 and 5 do not apply.

VOCs, criteria 6 to 12 and 15 to 20

Both options: These criteria are not applicable.

Adaptability - Potential for natural ventilation, criteria 13 to 14

Both options: All criteria relevant to the building type and function apply.

Refer to Appendix D – BREEAM UK New Construction and Shell and Core Project Assessments for a more detailed description of the above shell and core assessment options.

CN1.1

Ventilation systems

See criteria 2 to 5.

Option 2 - Shell and core:

Where ventilation systems are not within the remit of the shell and core developer, compliance can be demonstrated through the building servicing strategy where this is predetermined by the built form or core services provision as appropriate to the shell and core option being followed.

Simple buildings

CN2 

Applicable assessment criteria

Indoor air quality - N/A

Ventilation (1 credit)

  1. Criteria 2 and 3; criteria 4 and 5 are not applicable

Volatile organic compound (VOC) (1 credit)

  1. Criteria 6 and 7; criteria 8 to 12 are not applicable

Adaptability - Potential for natural ventilation (1 credit - not applicable to prison buildings)

  1. Criteria 13 and 14

Exemplary level criteria (up to 2 credits)

  1. Criteria 15 to 20
General

CN3 

Furnishings

The scope of the VOC credits does not extend to furnishings, e.g. desks or shelving, it focuses on the key internal finishes and fittings integral to the building.

CN3.1 

Mechanically ventilated or cooled buildings

See criteria 13 and 14.

Buildings that employ a mechanically ventilated or cooled strategy are still able to achieve this credit provided it can be demonstrated that the features required by the criteria can be made easily available to the building user, e.g. windows fixed shut for an air-conditioned strategy can be modified to be opening windows. The aim of the potential for natural ventilation criteria is to ensure that a building is capable of providing fresh air using a natural ventilation strategy.

Where the building is predominantly naturally ventilated, but mechanical ventilation is necessary to boost ventilation during peak conditions, (i.e. maximum occupancy or peak temperature conditions) due to the function/specific usage patterns of the building, the potential for the natural ventilation credit can still be awarded provided calculations/modelling demonstrate that the mechanical ventilation system will be required for 5% of the annual occupied hours in the occupied spaces for the adopted building design/layout.

CN3.2 

VOCs - number of products required to comply See criterion 7.

Where five or fewer products are specified within the building, the number of products that need to be assessed for the VOC criteria reduces proportionally as follows:

  • Where five products are present, four must comply
  • Where four products are present, three must comply
  • Where three products are present, two must comply
  • Where two or fewer products are present, all must comply.

CN3.3

Levels of ventilation See criterion 14.

The two levels of ventilation must be able to achieve the following:

  • Higher level: higher rates of ventilation achievable to remove short term odours or prevent summertime overheating
  • Lower level: adequate levels of draught-free fresh air to meet the need for good indoor air quality throughout the year, sufficient for the occupancy load and the internal pollution loads of the space.

CN3.4 

Industrial areas: air pollution/ventilation rate requirements For industrial buildings, the minimising sources of air pollution and adaptability (potential for natural ventilation) criteria and credits apply only to office areas and not to operational areas. If the building does not contain any office areas, this issue is not applicable.

CN3.5 

Measuring the distance See criteria 3a and 3b. The distance requirement for air intakes and extracts does not necessarily mean the plan distance, but the three-dimensional distance around and over objects, e.g. on plan the air intakes may be less than 20m from a source of external pollution, but the intake may be on the roof of a 10-storey building and therefore over 20m from the source of pollution.

CN3.6 

BREEAM recognised alternative VOC testing schemes

Guidance note 22 available from the BREEAM website provides a list of approved alternative schemes recognised by BREEAM and that can be used to demonstrate compliance for the VOC emission levels.
Building type specific

CN4 

Healthcare

Window openings

See criteria 13 and 14.

In healthcare buildings some openings in public and patient areas need to be provided with restricted opening distances of not more than 100mm (HBN 00-10 Part D: Windows and associated hardware8Health Building Note 00-10: Part D: Windows and associated hardware, Department of Health, 2013.). This is for health and safety reasons, especially where windows are within reach of the elderly, mentally ill or children. However, it is felt that good design can overcome these restrictions and provide compliant natural ventilation solutions, even in safety-sensitive areas.

Methodology

None.

Evidence

Criteria Interim design stage Final post construction stage
All

One or more of the appropriate evidence types listed in The BREEAM evidential requirements section can be used to demonstrate compliance with these criteria.

Additional information

Relevant definitions

Areas with a large and unpredictable occupancy
The following are examples of these types of space:
  • Auditoria
  • Gyms
  • Retail stores or malls
  • Cinemas
  • Waiting rooms.
Where the assessed building does not have any areas deemed to be large with an unpredictable pattern of occupancy, the criterion does not apply.
ClassVent
ClassVent is a customised spreadsheet design tool that provides a means of sizing ventilation openings for a natural ventilation strategy for school classrooms. The tool was developed by the Department for Children, Families and Schools (DCFS, formerly DfES). The tool can be downloaded from http://www.teachernet.gov.uk/docbank/index.cfm?id=9955
Clinical areas
See issue Hea 01 Visual comfort.
Containment Levels
Containment Levels 2 and 3 are defined in The Management, Design and Operation of Microbiological Containment Laboratories 2001, ACDP.
Occupied spaces
See relevant definition provided in issue Hea 01 Visual comfort. The following building areas, where relevant to the building type, can be excluded from the definition of occupied spaces for the potential for natural ventilation criteria:
  1. Ancillary building areas, e.g. WCs, corridors, stairwells, store rooms, plant rooms
  2. Swimming or hydrotherapy pools
  3. Catering and small staff kitchens
  4. Washrooms or changing areas
  5. Laboratory or other areas where strictly controlled environmental conditions are a functional requirement of the space
  6. Custody cells and holding areas in law courts
  7. Operational, shop floors or ancillary areas in industrial buildings and retail buildings
  8. Healthcare buildings: rooms or departments where control of ventilation is required for prevention of cross infection or controlled environmental conditions including:
    1. Operating theatres
    2. Laser surgery unit
    3. Operative imaging unit
    4. Intensive treatment unit
    5. Infectious diseases isolation unit
    6. Wards housing immuno-compromised patients
    7. Manufacturing pharmacy
    8. Specialised imaging, X-ray and scanning unit
    9. Pathology containment laboratories
    10. Mortuary and dissection suite
    11. Research laboratories and associated animal houses
    12. Sterilising and disinfecting unit (SDU)
    13. Emerging treatment technologies including gene therapy and stem cell units
    14. Areas immediately adjacent to the above are excluded if it can be demonstrated that reverse air flow would be likely with natural ventilation
    15. Any other areas which require mechanical ventilation to satisfy the requirements of Healthcare Technical Memoranda
    16. Any other areas that require mechanical ventilation due to specific operational-related processes.
Occupied spaces requiring local exhaust ventilation, e.g. laboratories, workshops and food technology rooms, must still demonstrate that they meet the criteria for potential for natural ventilation (unless listed as an exempted area in this definition).
Openable window area
The openable window area is defined as the geometric free ventilation area created when a ventilation opening, e.g. window, is open to its normal operational fully designed extent for ventilation purposes (i.e. this excludes open areas created when reversible windows are opened for cleaning etc.). It is not the glazed area of a façade or the glazed area of the part of the window that is openable (unless it opens fully).
Relevant standards (ventilation)
Education buildings: Building Bulletin 101 Ventilation of School Buildings, April 2014. Offices spaces: Top of the range recommended in the British Council for Offices Guide to Best Practice in the Specification of Offices9BCO Guide 2009, Best Practice in the Specification of Offices, BCO, 2009., i.e. 12 litres per second per person. Clinical areas with controlled environmental conditions: HTM 03-01 Specialised ventilation for healthcare premises10HTM 03-01 Specialised ventilation for healthcare premises, Department of Health, 2007. (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) SHTM 03-01 Ventilation for Healthcare premises Part A: Design and Validation11SHTM03-01 Ventilation for Healthcare Premises Part A: Design and Validation, Health Facilities Scotland, Feb 2013 (Scotland) Relevant standards are not listed for all areas/building types as the provision of fresh air is adequately covered in Approved Document Part F Ventilation (and the standards referenced therein).
Sources of external pollution
This includes but is not limited to the following:
  1. Highways and the main access roads on the assessed site
  2. Car parks and delivery/vehicle waiting bays
  3. Other building exhausts, including from building services plant industrial/agricultural processes
Service and access roads with restricted and infrequent access (for example roads used only for waste collection) are unlikely to represent a significant source of external pollution. These roads can therefore be excluded from the criteria of this issue. This does not include vehicle pick-up/drop-off or waiting bays.
Volatile organic compound (VOC)
Any organic liquid or solid that evaporates spontaneously at the prevailing temperature and pressure of the atmosphere with which it is in contact (Source: BS EN ISO 11890).

Other information

Indoor air quality and measurement

The testing and measurement of pollutants must be in accordance with the relevant standards (as listed in the : VOC criteria byproduct type table). Sample measurements should normally be taken in representative habitable or occupiable rooms, so not every room in a building would need to be sampled (see below for examples of representative room types). For example, in an office, one sample in a cellular/single occupancy office should suffice to assess the VOC concentration of the air for that type of habitable space in the building (assuming the other cellular offices have the same specification). In larger rooms, such as open plan office areas, further sampling locations should be used to understand the homogeneity of the atmosphere. Depending upon the performance of the measurement method in terms of repeatability and the required level of confidence in the value obtained, replicate samples may be taken at one or more sampling locations.

Prior to measurements being taken, the ventilation and heating systems should be operating for a period of time to ensure the relevant spaces in the building reach equilibrium in terms of their internal environmental conditions. Typically this may take between 12 and 24 hours.

Examples of representative room types include: naturally ventilated carpeted office, mechanically ventilated vinyl floored meeting room, workshop, living room or bedroom. Rooms that are not habitable or occupiable may, for example, include toilets, store rooms, plant rooms, stairways or corridors. The definition of 'habitable or occupiable rooms' comes from Approved Document F, Means of Ventilation, HM Government, 2010.

In accordance with the criteria, where levels are found to exceed the defined limits, the credit can only be claimed where the project team confirms the measures that have, or will be undertaken in accordance with the IAQ plan, to reduce the TVOC and formaldehyde levels to within the required limits.

This information is provided to assist project teams and BREEAM Assessors on the appropriate scope of IAQ testing; therefore it is guidance only and not a requirement of complying with BREEAM. The testing regime should be determined based on the advice of the appropriate person appointed to conduct the testing, in order to determine and report representative values of indoor air quality for the building.

There are a number of publications available on the issue of measuring and improving the indoor air quality in buildings including BR 450, A protocol for the assessment of indoor air quality in homes and office buildings, Crump, Raw, Upton, Scivyer, Hunter, Hartless. BRE (2002).

Volatile organic compounds

VOCs are emitted by a wide array of products numbering in the thousands. Examples include: paints and lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, glues and adhesives, urea-formaldehyde foam insulation (UFFI), pressed wood products (hardwood plywood wall panelling, particleboard, fibreboard) and furniture made with these pressed wood products.

‘No’ or ‘low’ VOC paints are available from most standard mainstream paint manufacturers. The emissions of VOCs from paints and varnishes are regulated by the Directive 2004/42/CE, implemented in the UK by the Volatile Organic Compounds in Paints, Varnishes and Vehicle Refinishing Products Regulation 2005. Products containing high organic solvent content should also be avoided (EU VOC Solvent Directive 1999/13/EC).

Exposure risk assessment of any possible release of chemicals from manufactured products and their possible impact on health and the environment generally, is an important requirement of European regulations. The possible impact of a building product on indoor air quality is included in the European Construction Products Directive, 89/106/EEC. The amended Directive, 93/68/EEC provided the criteria for CE Marking of products.

Products to be fitted in buildings should not contain any substances regulated by the Dangerous Substances Directive 2004/42/CE, which could cause harm to people by inhalation or contact. Materials containing heavy metals (e.g. antimony, barium, cadmium, lead and mercury) and other toxic elements (e.g. arsenic, chromium and selenium) or regulated biocides (e.g. pentachlorophenol) should be avoided.

Various labelling schemes identify products that have been tested and shown to be low emitting and these have been summarised in various publications including:

BRE Digest 464 (the standards outlined in Table 9 however, are the only standards recognised by BREEAM for the purposes of assessing this issue.)

ECA (European Collaborative Action, Urban Air, Indoor Environment and Human Exposure) (2005): Harmonisation of indoor material emissions labelling systems in the EU, Inventory of existing schemes12ECA (European Collaborative Action, Urban Air, Indoor Environment and Human Exposure) (2005): Harmonisation of indoor material emissions labelling systems in the EU, Inventory of existing schemes., Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. Report No. 24, EUR 21891 EN..

ECA (European Collaborative Action, Urban Air, Indoor Environment and Human Exposure) (2012): Harmonisation framework for indoor material labelling schemes in the EU13ECA (European Collaborative Action, Urban Air, Indoor Environment and Human Exposure) (2012): Harmonisation framework for indoor material labelling schemes in the EU. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. Report No. 27, EUR 25276 EN.

Dangerous substances are defined in the Dangerous Substances Directive (67/548/EEC)

BS EN 14175 and Fume cupboard discharge velocity: BS EN 14175 Part 2 states that the discharge velocity from fume cupboard extracts should be at least 7m/s but that a figure of 10m/s is preferable to ensure that the discharge will not be trapped in the aerodynamic wake of the stack. Higher discharge velocities may be required, especially in windy locations, but higher rates may cause noise problems.


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