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Part 1: Beyond First Cost: Smart Specification of Paints and Coatings
By Thomas A. Westerkamp
November 2013 -
Paints & Coatings Article Use Policy
Maintenance managers specifying paints and coatings understandably focus on low first costs, given the financial pressures in many organizations. But by taking such a narrow focus, managers run the risk of overlooking a potential win-win: specifying paints and coatings that both hold down life-cycle costs and deliver sustainability benefits to the organization.
By researching the sustainability and performance benefits of paints and coatings commonly used in facilities, and by understanding the green standards, labeling programs, and statutory requirements related to volatile organic compounds (VOC), managers can more effectively specify paints and coatings that will help them hold down-life-cycle costs, as well as improve sustainability and building occupants’ health.
Besides ensuring protection for the substrate and improving the appearance of painted surfaces, managers can specify the most appropriate paints and coatings for the applications that will increase overall sustainability and performance benefits. Among these benefits are color retention, coverage, gloss level, hiding ability, insulation, scrubability, and better indoor air quality (IAQ).
Color retention is the ability of paints and coatings to resist fading or lightening. This characteristic is especially important for sustainability of south-facing surfaces because they are exposed more to ultraviolet degradation.
Coverage refers to the square feet of surface 1 gallon of a paint or coating will cover.
Paints with higher gloss levels offer more reflectivity, which enhances the effectiveness of daylight or indoor lighting. Hiding ability depends on the mix of pigments, binders and extenders to mask substrate color and imperfections.
Some paints have a unique ability to increase a surface’s insulation value by a measurable amount. Using these paints adds to the R-value of a surface and can result in significant energy savings. Coatings can also aid in enhancing noise reduction across dividing walls.
Scrubability is a measure of abrasive resistance. This index gives an indication of the extent to which a coating will be able to withstand repetitive scrubbing — an important measure of the number of times workers can clean a surface before needing to repaint it.
Managers can minimize or eliminate IAQ problems related to paints and coatings by specifying products with low VOC levels. VOCs are components of the paints and coatings that manufacturers introduce to keep pigments in suspension so the product is easier to apply.
Product Focus: Paints & Coatings
Part 2: Green Standards for Paints and Coatings Perform Important Roles
Part 3: Savvy Specification Results in Higher ROI
Part 4: Products: Paints & Coatings