M1 criteria and the use of classified products

M1 criteria and the use of classified products

M1 stands for low emissions 

The classification divides building materials into three categories of which M1 is the best. M1 label tells that the product has been tested in an independent and impartial laboratory and it has fulfilled the specified criteria at the age of 4 weeks.

Products within classification

The classification presents requirements for the building materials, fixture and furniture without padding or textile coverings used in ordinary work spaces and residences with respect to good indoor air quality.

Wood, glass, metal surfaces, stone and ceramic products have a special status

Design guidance provided in the Classification of Indoor Environment 2008 places no restrictions on the use of following products:
  • brick
  • natural stone
  • ceramic tile 
  • glass 
  • metal surfaces 
  • board and log surfaces made of unprocessed wood (excluding hardwood). The VOC emissions of fresh wood may nevertheless exceed the limit value of emission class M1. 

Materials that have not been tested shall not be granted a classification label.

Criteria for Emission Classes 

The emission classification of building materials has three emission classes. Emission class M1 corresponds to the best quality and emission class M3 includes materials with the highest emission rates. Classified materials have to fulfill the following criteria at the age of 4 weeks'.

Examined qualities M1
[mg/m2h]
M2
[mg/m2h]
The emission of total volatile organic compounds (TVOC).
A minimum of 70% of the compounds shall be identified.
< 0,2 < 0,4
single VOC (µg/m3) ≤ EU-LCI ≤ EU-LCI
The emission of formaldehyde(HCOH) < 0,05 < 0,125
The emission of ammonia (NH3) < 0,03 < 0,06
The emission of compounds (CMR) belonging to category 1A or 1B in Annex VI to Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 1* < 0,005 < 0,005
Odour 2* Is not odorous Is not odorous

1* does not apply to formaldehyde
2* The result of sensory evaluation shall be at least + 0,0

Plasters and tiling products, levelling agents, putty, mastics, fillers, screeds and renders shall not contain casein. Emission class M3 includes materials whose emissions exceed the values specified for materials in category M2. 

The emissions of the products falling into the class small areas (2m2) and very small areas (0,4m2) can be assessed also as concentration in the model room. The criteria (mg/m3) for such products in the class M1 are for TVOC 0.02, formaldehyde and ammonia 0.01 and carcinogenic compounds 0,001, single VOC (µg/m3) ≤ EU-LCI, the product shall not be odorous. Small areas are e.g. doors, windows, wooden columns and grout and very small areas e.g. sealants

Upholstered office chairs

The emission classification of upholstered office chairs has one emission class, M1. There is a possibility to classify upholstered office chairs with fabric or artificial leather surface. The chairs will be tested as building materials. The classification work group will decide the product to be tested prior testing. Classified chairs shall fulfill the following criteria at the age of 3 days'.
Examined qualities M1
 [µg/m3]
The emission of total volatile organic compounds (TVOC).
A minimum of 70% of the compounds shall be identified.
≤ 20
single VOC ≤ EU-LCI or ≤ 10
The emission of formaldehyde(HCOH) ≤ 10
The emission of ammonia (NH3) ≤ 10
The emission of  CMR belonging to category 1A or 1B in Annex VI to Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 1* ≤ 1
Odour 2* Is not odorous

1* does not apply to formaldehyde
2* result shall be + 0,0

Additional information
• the fabric/surface material shall not be handled with fungiside sprays
• LCI-values µg/m3, kts. http://www.eu-lci.org/EU-LCI_Website/EU-LCI_Values.html
• Date of chair part assembly shall be mentioned, the parts shall be as fresh as possible
• emission measurement at the day 3, odour assessment at the day 3 or 4

Classified products must be correctly used and maintained 

The classification method does not pose any requirements for emissions during installation. Issues related to occupational safety must be checked from the manufacturer’s instructions and any Material Safety Data Sheets available. Classified products must be used only in proper sites and under proper conditions. For example, products meant for non-humid premises must not be used in humid premises. Furthermore, improper building material maintenance actions may deteriorate the indoor air. Instructions for installation and use of products can be demanded directly from manufacturers and importers. Errors made when designing and implementing structural elements and ventilation systems cannot be corrected by using good building materials.