Wednesday, July 18, 2012

EPA Standards on Roof Coatings: VOCs

Besides the performance and sustainability benefits of roof coatings, they also offer economic benefits that should be considered. Energy savings, reduced life-cycle costs and in some cases, federal, state, and local incentives might be available as well:

As regulations related to the roofing industry and concern for the environment continue to evolve, companies searching for sustainable roofing options can consider reflective roof coatings. When specified, installed and maintained properly, roof coatings offer an economical option to consider as part of a sound, overall roof-management program.

One challenge facing the roof coatings industry is the increasing emphasis on reduction of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in construction materials including coatings, adhesives, primers, and sealants. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set standards limiting the amount of VOCs in products.

The intent of these regulations is to reduce the amounts of ozone-depleting compounds entering the earth's atmosphere. Although many roof coatings feature low- or no-VOC formulations, some coatings cannot be used in all areas of the country.

Some state and local governing bodies have VOC standards that surpass EPA requirements. For example, some California air-quality districts limit VOCs. The Ozone Transport Commission (OTC), which is made up of 13 northeast and mid-Atlantic states, also has developed standards for VOC limitations, and it is expected more states will adopt these or similar models in the future.

It is important to research these requirements and ensure that all primers, sealants, base coats, and topcoats specified in the roof coating system being recommended by your roofing contractor indeed meet applicable VOC requirements.

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