EcoStyle VOC classification change
EcoStyle VOC classification change
After reviewing Australian and overseas standards, ROCKCOTE has determined to change the VOC classification for all paints in the EcoStyle range from “zero VOC” to “very low VOC” in line with recognised Australian classification standards such as APAS.
Formulations have not changed for any EcoStyle product. This is simply a change in classification. ROCKCOTE will be updating all marketing material to reflect this change over the coming months.
What are VOCS? According to the Australian Governments’ advice on healthy homes, VOCs are chemicals that can easily evaporate at room temperature and off gas into the surrounding air. They are emitted by a variety of commonly used products, construction materials and new furnishings.
VOC classification standards
There is no Australian standard for classifying the levels of VOCs in paints, which causes confusion in the marketplace. There is also no defined Australian standard for “zero VOC”.
For this reason, ROCKCOTE has previously turned to US Environmental Protection Authority standards that categorise “zero VOC” as less than 5 gm/L of VOC. EcoStyle Paints all fall within this standard and ROCKCOTE is not the only paint manufacturer in Australia to have used this reference.
ROCKCOTE’s review looked at the standards set out by three influential bodies, outlined below.
1. Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA)
GECA is one of the country’s leading independent certification authorities and EcoStyle Paints have held GECA Certification under the GECA Paints and Coatings standard since 2007.
To meet the standard, interior ceiling and wall paints must contain less than five grams of VOCs per litre. Primers, sealers and undercoats must contain less than 30 grams; and trims less than 75. EcoStyle Paints fall well beneath this guideline. However the standard does not define zero, very low or even low VOC.
The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) recognises products meeting GECA VOC ratings as also meeting requirements for Green Star.
2. Global Green Tag
A certification program recognised in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, South Africa and in 70 other countries. The GBCA recognises Global Green Tag’s GreenRate certification as eligible for Green Star points.
The allowable total VOC content for Global Green Tag is substantially higher than the VOC levels in EcoStyle Paints (see table below). It gives no guidelines for zero, very low or low VOC categories.
3. The Australian Paint Approval Scheme (APAS)
APAS is administered by the CSIRO tests and certifies paints and coatings to ensure they meet stringent performance specifications
APAS standards are as follows:
- Very High: >250 gm/L
- High: 100 – 249 gm/L
- Moderate: 50 – 99 gm/L
- Low: 5 – 49 gm/L
- Very Low: <5 gm/L
ROCKCOTE has made the decision to align EcoStyle VOC level descriptions with those set by APAS. All products in the EcoStyle Paints range fall into the Very Low category of less than 5 grams per litre of VOCs.
To encourage transparency in our industry, ROCKCOTE is taking the unusual step of publishing the VOC levels in EcoStyle Paints.
EcoStyle Paints perform to the standard expected of high performance interior paints while still meeting the requirements of the GECA Paints and Coatings Standard, which considers the entire product lifecycle and heavily restricts or disallows several toxins commonly found in paints. For more information on why EcoStyle is classified as a non-toxic paint check out our EcoStyle page.
As the performance expectation and sheen level of the product increases (from flat to semi-gloss for example), formulations need to change to ensure ease of application and performance requirements. This can be seen by the changes in VOC levels as sheen levels change in the below table.
Compared with the standards set by all certification programs outlined below, VOC levels in EcoStyle Paints are extremely low, and at the bottom end of the “very low VOC” APAS category.
ROCKCOTE encourages customers to do their own research on VOCs and toxins in paint, and be informed about the various schemes. If VOC levels and toxins are a consideration, we recommend asking your paint supplier to provide a list of VOC levels before selecting a product for your project.
More information on VOCs in the home is available on the Australian Government’s Your Home website.