International eco-label for sustainable building products

Standardisation of testing criteria of acknowledged eco-labels in co-operation with the specialised trade for building products.

Content Description




In February 1999 nine noted ecology-oriented assessment institutes from Germany and Austria founded the "working pool for the ecological assessment of building products". The aim of the group is to standardise and improve assessment criteria for building products in order to issue a joint eco-label. The new eco-label is to promote the use of building products which meet the principles of sustainability to a high extent. Initiator of this project was the "Federal Union of specialised trade for building materials in Germany" (Bundesverband Deutscher Baustoff-Fachhandel). The union's background was to put a range of natural building products - standardised by certain criteria - on the market. The Austrian specialised traders for building products joined in and announced their participation in the project in October 1999.

The working pool for the ecological assessment of building products commissioned the three most experienced assessment institutes (including the applicant) with standardising their assessment criteria and methods. Thus Austria plays an essential part in developing the new eco-label.

The single steps in working out the present project are:

  • Defining principles for the new eco-label(with emphasis on renewable raw materials, recycling materials, etc.)
  • Adaptation of basic standards (the effects of building products on health and on the environment, ecology of systems, etc.)
  • Definition and regulation of testing methods (laboratory testing ,assessment methods, etc.)
  • Formulation of assessment criteria for the single product groups on the basis of existing eco-labels and defined standards.

All steps are carried out in co-operation with all participants of the working pool and in permanent consultation with the advisory board (i.e.: environmental organisations, the specialised trade for building materials and consumer-oriented unions) and the building industry. The results of the present project are furthermore planned to be included in the "assessment for buildings", a catalogue of criteria which is being developed within the scope of the "ECO-Building Project for optimising buildings".

The major part of organisational work has been financed by the applicant, thus the subject of the present application deals with basic research that is still to be carried out. The expenditures for creating a basis for defining testing criteria however exceeds the applicant's financial means largely.

Subject of the present research application is the standardisation of testing criteria and methods for Austria, especially requesting support to carry out the following items:

  • Development of all relevant steps (standardisation of testing criteria, objectivity especially of environmental criteria, ranking of criteria)
  • Organisational realisation (travel expenditures, conferences, workshops)

The special quality of the project is due to the following criteria:

  • Co-operation of all participating parties: assessment institutes, distributors, the industry and consumers.
  • International joint venture of reputable assessment institutes with recognised eco-labels.
  • A step towards a Common Europe
  • By offering a distinguished natural product range within the specialised trade for building products the prominence and popularity of natural products will be increased

Project Partners

Project manager: Mag. Hildegund Mötzl
Österreichisches Institut für Baubiologie und -ökologie

Siegfried Camana
ANAB - Associazione Nazionale Architettura Bioecologica, Milano (Italy)

Michiel Haas
NIBE - Nederlands Instituut voor Bouwbiologie en Ecologie bv, Bussum (The Nederlands)

Michael Fischer
IUG - Institut für Umwelt und Gesundheit, Fulda (Germany)

Dr. Michael Köhler
Bremer Umweltinstitut - Gesellschaft für Schadstoffanalytik und Begutachtung mbH., Bremen (Germany)

Thomas Schmitz-Günther
ecoCasa BetriebsberatungsgmbH, Neckargemünd (Germany)

Dr. Ulrich Schubert
TÜV Süddeutschland, Bau und Betrieb GmbH
Gruppe Umwelt-Service - Ökologische Produktprüfung, München (Germany)

Dr. Gerd Zwiener und Ursula Lahr
eco-Umweltinstitut GmbH, Köln (Germany)


Mag. Hildegund Moetzl
Oesterreichisches Institut für Baubiologie und -oekologie
Alserbachstraße 5/8
A 1090 Wien
Tel.: +43 1 319 20 05-32
Fax: +43 1 319 20 05-50