Choosing low / no VOC paint for business offices
By Painters USA Team
— Last updated January 09, 2023
A fresh coat of paint does wonders to brighten and enhance business offices, making for a more pleasant workplace while maintaining property value and appeal.
And as some companies strive to get employees to return to in-office work after a couple of years of pandemic-driven remote work, anything to make that office space more inviting can only help! After all, nobody wants to work in a place that appears unpleasant and unhealthy, especially now.
Getting remote workers back to office?
If you still have a number of people working remotely, it’s a great time for office painting. Plus from January-March 2023, you can take advantage of our special Winter Promotion for new and current customers.
What are VOCs?
When evaluating paint, many organizations focus on color and sheen. But one other important coating characteristic should be considered: VOCs.
VOC is an acronym for Volatile Organic Compound, many of which are human-made chemicals used in the manufacturing of various products, including paints.
VOCs are emitted into the air as paint dries or as part of an off-gassing process that happens with use of adhesives or cleaning products and installation of new building materials and furnishings. The strong, unpleasant smells that occur are caused by the evaporation of these compounds.
In regards to paint, these odors dissipate during the first few days after painting, though in some cases, depending on the product used and the ventilation in the area, they can linger.
What are low / no VOC paints?
In general, paints that use water as a carrier instead of petroleum-based solvents have reduced VOC levels.
EPA zero / low VOC standards were established in Section 183(e) of the Clean Air Act, which limits the amount of volatile organic compounds that coating manufacturers and importers can have in their products and establishes container labeling requirements. VOC content limits for architectural coatings are based on the coating category, from anti-graffiti coatings to concrete protective coatings to waterproofing sealers and many in-between.
ZERO VOC: 5 grams per liter or less. (Adding color/tint may increase levels)
LOW VOC: Interior coatings must contain 250 or less grams per liter.
What are the hazards of VOCs?
According to the EPA, VOCs are problematic to environmental and human health:
- Environment: Ground-water contamination and other forms of pollution.
- Health: Eye, nose, and throat irritation are the most common problem, but VOCs can also cause headaches and nausea in some instances.
Of course, the workers most at risk are the painters themselves.
That’s why Painters USA takes precautions to protect our teams:
- Use proper PPE, supported by Respirator Fit Training.
- Evaluate and establish proper ventilation in the project space.
- Follow all safety recommendations and label instructions set forth by the manufacturer for application, along with proper storage and removal of leftover containers.
How to reduce VOCs in business offices
VOC hazards are most prevalent with the initial implementation and off-gassing of products like paint and new carpeting. Keeping those newly renovated and refreshed offices well-ventilated and off-limits for a while and good, ongoing ventilation are all important. EPA studies have found organic pollutant levels to be 2 to 5 times higher inside than outside.
Opting for low-VOC or zero-VOC paints and other products is also a good option. While the cost difference may sometimes be higher, extra value comes from a faster return to normal operations, a healthier, more productive workplace, and alignment with company green / eco goals and initiatives.
Finally, while studies are mixed and you may need to have an indoor jungle for maximum effect, some plants may also help clean the air. The Green Business Bureau recommends five plants for improving office air quality, and plant service companies can offer advice in this area.
Low / no VOC paints = fast return to service
The use of low / no VOC paints in business offices are not only healthier, they require less downtime. Because the unpleasant, unhealthy odors are reduced, less time is needed to let those fumes dissipate. You’ll have fewer employee complaints and health issues. In short, your offices will be ready to reopen sooner.
Low / no VOC paints for commercial use
Painters USA is happy to work with you to select low / no VOC paint from leading commercial coating manufacturers like Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore.
Tell us your requirements for budgets, deadlines, and any other factors and we will match you with the best option for your needs.
Learn more about our commercial painting services.
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