Building products

Screed specimens in the emission test chamber for determining VOC emissions
© Fraunhofer IBP
Samples of screed in an emission test chamber to determine the VOC emissions.

Building products can release both gaseous and water-soluble substances, especially if they are in contact with rainwater. While gaseous substances primarily affect the well-being of people indoors, the release of water-soluble substances mainly affects the durability of building products and can have a negative impact on the environment. The European Construction Products Regulation governs the release of substances into indoor air as well as  into soil and groundwater.

Emissions into indoor air

Gaseous emissions from building products are classified as VOCs (volatile organic compounds). In order to protect consumers from health hazards, proof of suitability must be supplied for certain building products intended for indoor use (Draft Model Administrative Rules – Technical Building Regulations, Annex 8). Low-emission building products also bear further eco-labels:

  • AgBB (Ausschuss zur gesundheitlichen Bewertung von Bauprodukten): German committee for the health-related evaluation of VOC emissions from building products
  • Blauer Engel
  • French VOC regulation
  • GEV (Gemeinschaft Emissionskontrollierte Verlegewerkstoffe, Klebstoffe und Bauprodukte e. V.): EMICODE®

Fraunhofer IBP is an accredited testing laboratory according to DIN EN ISO 17025. It is also an approved test center in compliance with Art. 43 of the Construction Products Regulation for determining emissions into indoor air according to DIN EN 16516, as well as for measuring emissions and analyzing odors.

Release into soil and groundwater

When in contact with water, substances can be released from built-up areas, e.g. from plaster, mortar, roofing membranes, etc., and discharged into the soil, groundwater and surface water. For many of these substances, such as e.g. biocides and heavy metals, concentration limits are stated in legal regulations or guidelines. The nature and quantity of the released substances can be determined either in field tests under real weather conditions or under standardized laboratory conditions. The weathering process of materials can also be accelerated if required. The environmental compatibility of building products is tested exclusively in the laboratory. These results are then fed into calculation models. If desired, analysis methods can also be adapted in order to meet specific customer demands.

Laboratory methods for obtaining eluates, e.g.

  • DIN CEN/TS 16637-2 
  • DIN EN 16105 
  • DIN EN 19529
  • DIN EN 12457-4

Analytical methods for determining substances released into water by building products 

  • DIN 38407-35 
  • DIN 38407-36 
  • DIN EN 1484
  • DIN EN ISO 10304
  • DIN EN ISO14911
  • DIN EN ISO 17294

Industrial projects

  • Development of a model to assess the environmentally-relevant properties of common plasters and mortars for outdoor use
  • Elution of pot preservatives from building products
  • Environmental properties of inorganic mortar and products in paste form
  • Release of biocides from façade coatings
  • Environmental properties of inorganic mortar

Research projects

  • Validation of the laboratory test according to DIN CEN/TS 16637-2 for assessing the release of radicides from bitumen roofing membranes
  • Release of Mecoprop from polymer bitumen roofing membranes
  • Release of aromatic amines from waterproofing products for buildings
  • Release of root penetration inhibitors from roof waterproofing
  • Investigation of the substances leaching out from building elements made of wood, plastic, metal and glass to assess the impact on soil and groundwater.  
  • Energy-efficient building methods: Development of innovative products to prevent algae growth on component surfaces.