For example, if a paint uses organic solvents rather than a water base, it will release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the surrounding air. As a result, solvent-based paints can also contain about 50 per cent more embodied energy. VOCs are detrimental to indoor air quality. Exposure can trigger headaches; irritation to the eyes, nose and throat; damage to the liver, kidneys and central nervous systems; and loss of coordination.
An ingredient such as titanium dioxide, widely used in the paint industry as a pigment, has its major environmental impact occur during its manufacture. This is because it has high embodied energy, is a limited resource, and its production can result in unsustainable air and water emissions.
The standard sets requirements that aim to provide a benefit by:
• reducing waste generation and resource consumption
banning ozone-depleting substances
• requiring that water and air emissions are responsibly managed
• minimising VOC (volatile organic compounds) content
• preventing the use of harmful ingredients such as carcinogens, mutagens or reproductive toxins
• requiring that suitable information on the preparation, application, care, storage and disposal of the product is supplied to the public
• ensuring workers and suppliers through the supply chain can expect fair pay, equal opportunity, and a safe working environment
The scope of this standard is applicable to the following types of paints in the product categories:
• Interior architectural paints;
• Exterior architectural paints;
• Other water based coatings; and
• Student and artist paints.
Solvent-based coatings are not eligible for application under this standard.
Green Star is Australia's trusted mark of quality for the design, construction and operation of sustainable buildings, fitouts and communities. Choosing Green Star can help you save money, create a healthy place for people, minimise your environmental footprint and build a better future for us all.
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