Assessing the Performance of Green Paints

Assessing the Performance of Green Paints   December 21, 2009

This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor of Print & E-Media, with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's tip is the impact of VOCs on paint performance.

The relationship between volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, and the performance of paints and coatings used to be very strong. The three main sources of VOCs in paints were the resin system - or the base of the paint - pigment, and the solvent that mixes everything together.

Shifting from oil-based to water-based paints has lessened the number of chemicals in paints, but it was a challenge for manufacturers to lower the chemical levels in pigment to acceptable amounts. Pigment, which affects depth of color and the number of coats workers have to apply, is a key component in any paint formulation.

But now that manufacturers have reduced the chemical levels in pigment, managers can strike a balance between environmental impact and performance when specifying paints.

The U.S. Green Building Council's rating system, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, references both Green Seal and Greenguard certifications. Vying for certification under LEED, Green Globes or other green building certification programs can be overwhelming in terms of specifying products that meet the rating system's requirements. A Green Seal or Greenguard label ensures managers that certain products will earn points toward LEED certification, providing a roadmap for specifying environmentally responsible paints.


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