Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are typically found as solvents in paints and coatings adjusting the viscosity of the paint to make it suitable for application.
The VOCs – which are measured in grams per litre (g/l) – are released into the air during and after application and, as a result of potential health and environmental impacts, VOC content as well as emissions are now regulated in many countries.
There are a number of options available to allow you to comply with regulations and/or optimize your building’s indoor air quality.
Low VOC paints and coatings have reduced amounts of volatile organic compounds, meaning they don't release as much VOC as traditional paints.
It's important to remember that when it says "low" it's in comparison to different regulations and standards relative to other paints. Thus what "low" means, depends on what you compare with.
Due to part of the industry’s reliance on solvent borne coatings, traditionally to maximize performance or overcoming climatic demands, one approach to lowering VOC is by increasing the volume solids content. Also, some regulations exempt certain solvents from being included in the VOC calculations due to their negligible environmental impacts.
As with “low VOC paints” there is no global definition of what can be called solvent free.
CEPE – the European Council of the paint, printing ink and artists’ colours industry – recommends only using the term “solvent free” for those paints that show no more than 3% weight loss determined by VOC test methods.
One of the easiest ways of coating a building or object to reduce the environmental impacts, is to choose a paint system that lasts for a very long time.
Throughout the lifetime of the item, if a highly durable coating is applied, the need for maintenance is reduced, and the need for a new paint material containing VOC emissions is reduced accordingly.
Water-borne paints and coatings are dissolved in water – thus have very low VOC levels – to give them the viscosity needed in order to be suitable for application.
The paint is dispersed as small droplets in water, the water then evaporates and the droplets form a continuous paint film.
Water-borne paints and coatings also typically have less odour which is critical for higher occupancy buildings. Formulating water-borne products is a balancing act between lowering VOCs while ensuring key performance properties.
Please contact your local Jotun office for advice on a suitable paint and coating system for your project.
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