One important path that painting manufacturers have taken in the design of exterior coatings is in response to federal and local laws on environmental protection. The major step for manufacturers is the formulation of exterior paints with the lowest quantity of VOC. Before any environmental initiatives were implemented, manufacturers were not compelled to factor in the safety of the environment in the formulations they design. Today, how to create low-VOC products that perform as well as regular paints had manufacturers working hard in their drawing boards.
Exterior painting contractors work in tandem with manufacturers to comply with many VOC-compliance regulations imposed on the federal, state and local levels. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is foremost of these VOC-regulating bodies. Geographically, the north east and mid-Atlantic states are covered by the Ozone Transport Commission (EPA) Model Rule. Other states have their own air quality programs in place.
Compliance to these varying environmental regulations led to the release of many environment-friendly exterior coating products for architectural, commercial and industrial painting. Low-VOC latex and water-borne or solvent alkyds are some of the options.
In 2012, the national regulation to shift to water-borne coatings will finally be in place. This is a significant change in favor of the environment. Exterior painting contractors keep this in mind as they choose and use products for their existing and future coatings projects.