September 30, 2010

Low VOC Coatings Are Not Always What They Seem To Be

Volatile Organic Compounds or VOC's in paint are guide lined by local environmental government bodies and have come down dramatically in recent years. They are measured in pounds per US gallon.

The intention is to make paint more environmentally friendly like many other "green" initiatives. The intention is great as long as the result is better for the environment but this isn’t always the outcome.

This is similar to the contentious issues related to toxic, short life batteries in electric cars that have precious raw materials shipped across the world to be manufactured into batteries and then shipped across the world to the market place they are sold in. The environmental impact of this process can be more damaging than just driving a locally manufactured conventional gas powered car.

The use of environmentally paints with lower VOC's can have shorter lives and can therefore omit greater VOC's than older & currently non compliant paint coatings when amortized over the course of their useful life. We have seen situations where the new paint will only last one third as long as the old paint we used for decades and therefore needs to be redone three times to compare in life to our old reliable coatings. This means that you need to triple the VOC emission of the new paint in order to compare to our old paint to see if there’s VOC savings. The use of urethanes vs. fluorocarbons is an example.

The other issue is the total quantity of paint required on a job maybe much greater with a new coating than an old one so you need to look at the total VOC emission for a given project using each alternative paint to compare.

Low VOC emission paints aren’t always better for the environment.

New waterborne paints are becoming longer lasting, more tenacious, with fewer problems with staining or contaminants bleeding through the coating.

Visit us at Induspray USA for more information about commercial/industrial painting.