Green Building Materials Testing

“Green” building was coined in the early 1990s by a small group of architects, engineers and contractors to promote a new way of looking at construction.

Since that time it has grown to an international movement that no longer addresses a niche earthy or up-scale market, rather it is becoming the standard for all construction projects. Moving forward it will likely be impossible to remain competitive in any associated building/furnishings/finishes industry without implementing a comprehensive green agenda.

The Green Building Council of SA promotes, encourages and facilitates green building in South Africa. The GBSA also develops the Green Star SA rating tools based on the Australian Green Building Council tools, to provide the property industry with an objective measurement for green buildings and to recognise and reward environmental leadership in the property industry. For more info, refer to the Green Star SA Rating Tools.

UIS Sediba Laboratory is a private laboratory and provides independent VOC and Formaldehyde emissions product testing of a wide variety of residential and commercial building products, using standard test methods and small scale test chambers.   Our scientists have also worked closely with regulators and industry organizations to address the growing demand for testing “green building” products, and provides independent testing programs for VOC content. Use of low emitting materials is helping to improve indoor air quality. Motivation of product manufacturers to show that their product can achieve a Green Star Rating is that they can sell their products to those who want to reduce carbon emissions and Green Star points for certification of their building. (Please refer to our list of tests for more details). More information about the GBSA points (summarized below) that can be earned by testing the products for VOC content (Paints, adhesives or sealants), or testing for VOC emissions (e.g. carpets), can be found in the Green Star Office V1 rating tools.


Volatile Organic Compounds

To encourage and recognise specification of interior finishes that minimise the contribution and levels of Volatile Organic Compounds in buildings.

Up to three points are awarded where the various finishes used in the project meet the benchmarks as follows:


One point where at least 95% of all painted surfaces meet the TVOC Content Limits outlined in Table IEQ-13.1 or where no paint is used in the project.

Adhesives and Sealants

One point where 95% of all adhesives and sealants meet the TVOC Content Limits outlined in Table IEQ-13.2 or where no adhesives or sealants are used.

Carpets and Flooring

One point where all carpets meet the TVOC emissions limits outlined in Table IEQ-13.3;


Where no carpet has been installed in the project and projects wish to use low-VOC flooring, one point is awarded where all the flooring installed in the project meet the emissions limits outlined in Table IEQ-13.3.


Formaldehyde Minimisation

To encourage and recognise the specification of products with low formaldehyde emission levels.

One point is awarded where all composite wood products (including exposed and concealed applications) either:
Have low formaldehyde emissions;
Contain no formaldehyde.

If no composite wood products are used within the project, this credit is ‘Not Applicable’ and is excluded from the points available, used to calculate the Indoor Environment Quality category score. Type ‘na’ in the No. of Points Achieved column.