M1 is a Finnish voluntary emission classification for building materials. Like other European emission classifications such as Germany’s Blue Angel, France’s A+ and Denmark’s Class 1, the M1 mark guarantees that the product lives up to certain requirements of low emission. The M1 classification sets limits for emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), formaldehyde and ammonia from materials. In addition, the acceptability of odour is assessed by means of sensory evaluation using a panel of people.
According to Product Manager Katri Leino from the Finnish organisation Building Information Ltd which operates the M1 classification, both end users as well as construction workers benefit from the certification.
“The M1 certificate guarantees that the indoor climate qualities of the product have been tested in an impartial laboratory. The certificate is needed if construction firms want environmental ratings for their buildings, such as BREEAM, LEED or RTS,” says Leino about the advantages of the classification.
Leino emphasizes that compounds to a certain extent will evaporate from all types of materials, including those of natural origin. That is why there are no completely emission-free products, and we can only talk about low-emission products.
M1 requirements are more comprehensive than their European counterparts
Most European emission classification systems base their testing protocols on the European Standard EN 16516:2017+A1:2020, which covers emissions testing of construction products. However, there are some differences between classification systems when it comes to, for example, the definition and calculation of total volatile organic compounds (TVOC), timepoint for testing and tested substances.
According to the latest M1 criteria, updated in 2017, laboratory tests must examine volatile organic compounds even more closely than before. Compound-specific limit values according to the EU LCI list were included in the criteria, whereas previously only the limit for total volatile organic compounds was included in the classification.
“Alongside the European emission classifications, M1 is one of the most comprehensive classifications that exist, as it also examines ammonia emissions and the acceptability of the product's odour. If a product is on the list of M1-approved products, it promotes good indoor air quality,” notes Leino.
Low emissions of WISA plywood are tested and proven
According to Anna Koski, Senior Product Development Specialist at UPM Plywood, low emissions are an integrated part of the product development process, starting from the selection of components. The goal is the safest possible raw materials and a product approved by an impartial research institute.
The M1 certificate is issued for three years at a time with the possibility to apply for an additional three years before new tests must be made. All WISA plywood products have been tested and live up to the latest requirements.
“The customer can freely choose the best possible product for the site, as all WISA plywood meets M1 requirements, regardless of the treatment. Many fire-retardant products release ammonia and thus do not meet the requirements. The ammonia emissions of our products are so low that the M1 class is achieved,” Koski stresses.
You can find the M1 certifications for WISA plywood products here.