New rules for healthy housing

With the new guideline 5010 natureplus is changing its regulations regarding emission testing.

Many building products emit volatile organic compounds and thus have a significant influence on indoor air quality. In terms of preventive health protection, low-emission products should be used indoors as far as possible. In order to ensure preventive health protection and compliance with legal requirements, the following aspects, classifications and regulations are taken into account when evaluating emissions from building products as part of natureplus certification:

  • the minimisation requirement
  • preventive health protection / the precautionary principle
  • the interior standard values of the German Federal Environment Agency
  • the classification according to TRGS 905/907, DFG-MAK list, EU regulation 1272/2008 and IARC classification
  • the German regulations for the evaluation of VOC emissions from building products, the so-called AgBB scheme, developed by the German Committee for Health Evaluation of Building Products (AgBB) with limit values for volatile organic compounds (TVOC), SVOC and VVOC, among others, as well as with NIK values for individual compounds (NIK = Lowest Interesting Concentration, corresponds approximately to the European LCI values).

Volatile organic compounds are determined in accordance with the international standards EN 16516 and EN ISO 16000-9, ISO 16000-6 and -3.

New Award Guideline 5010

Because there have been a whole series of changes in these regulations in recent years, and in particular EN 16516 has been newly introduced, and because natureplus also wants to regulate the performance of audits transparently and uniformly, the natureplus Criteria Commission has drawn up a new framework guideline 5010 in a process lasting more than a year. Here, everything worth knowing about emission measurement is presented for all eventualities from sampling to test chamber analysis, thus explicitly closing regulatory gaps in the existing standards. In the area of the limit values to be complied with, it becomes clear that the natureplus rules are not limited to one TVOC value, but that various other sum and individual limit values also apply in the interests of preventive health care. All justified deviations from this general rule in individual product guidelines are also documented here.

Demanding and transparent

With the new award guideline 5010, natureplus once again impressively underlines its claim to be the strictest and most transparent seal of quality for consumer and environmental protection in Europe. The new guideline gives natureplus Institute SCE mbH, which carries out natureplus assessments, clear guidance and regulates testing in a practical and customer-friendly manner. It also makes the measured values and limit values in the emission test more comparable with those of other institutes and labels.

The new guideline 5010 replaces the regulations on emission testing previously contained in the individual award guidelines. For this reason, emissions from building products have been assessed in accordance with the new 5010 directive since 11 April 2019 as part of natureplus certification. All directives issued before March 2019 will have to be revised in the near future. We would like to point out that, from now on, the evaluation of emissions in accordance with Directive 5010 will be carried out in all guidelines.


Click here to find the guideline 5010.

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