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Improving Air Quality in Your Community

Outdoor Air - Industry, Business, and Home: Painting and Coating Operations

You can help painting and coating operations owners and operators reduce emissions of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) that may affect shop employees, customers, and the community by encourage painting and coating operations owners and operators to conduct these activities:

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Substitute Materials

      How?
  • Use paint types such as waterborne paints, powder coatings, ultra-violet (UV)-light, or electron beam curable coatings, or higher solids paints.
  • Use cleaners with low hazardous air pollutant and volatile organic compound content such as water-based, alkaline, or microbial cleaners. These can reduce air pollutant emissions up to 90%.
      Benefits
  • Coatings typically contain 5-6 pounds of VOC per gallon. Alternative coatings may contain less than 0.5 pounds of VOC per gallon and result in lower emissions of VOC.
  • One company substituted high-solids paints for conventional solvent-borne coatings, which resulted in increased transfer efficiency and a 30% decrease in VOC emissions and paint wastes. Also, the company saved $28,000 in paint purchases and paint disposal costs (North Carolina Department of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance [NCDPPEA]).
      Costs
  • Educating customers about the value of substitutes.
  • Capital costs for any new equipment necessary.
  • Training employees to use new equipment and procedures.
      More Information

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Improve Spraying

      How?
  • Use more efficient paint application equipment to reduce overspray such as switching to a high-volume, low-pressure (HVLP) spray, air-assisted airless spray, or electrostatic spray guns.
  • Train painters in proper spray application techniques. Proper training, which includes information on gun position, motion, triggering, and overlap, can reduce air pollutant emissions and enhance the quality of the paint finish.
  • Minimizing overspray results in less labor and product use and less air pollution.
  • Reasons to use HVLP spray guns
    • They produce a quality product (e.g., maintaining the same or similar dry film build [thickness]) while using less paint to do the same job. Using less paint results in less emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) as well as less overspray (dry waste) generated.
    • HVLP guns are more effective than conventional atomized air spray guns when technicians are properly trained. HAP and VOC emissions released during painting operations are directly related to the skill of the spray gun operator.
    • Properly used HVLP spray guns often result in a higher transfer efficiency, which results in reduced overspray.
      Benefits
  • By training spray gun operators to properly use HVLP spray guns, one wood furniture coater reduced VOC emissions by 126,000 pounds per year and saved approximately $120,000.
  • In a conventional spray painting process, as much as 70% of the paint misses its target surface. Using more efficient application methods can often substantially reduce the amount of paint used (NCDPPEA).
      Costs
  • Capital cost of conventional spray gun (air-atomized spray): $500 to $1,500 (NCDPPEA).
  • Capital cost of high-volume low-pressure (HVLP) spray gun: $500 to $1,500 (NCDPPEA).
  • Capital cost of airless spray gun: $3,500 to $7,500 (NCDPPEA).
  • Capital cost of an electrostatic spray gun: $5,000 to $7,500 (NCDPPEA).
  • Training employees to use new equipment and procedures.
      More Information

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Reduce Loss from Evaporation

      How?
  • Only open containers when adding or dispensing materials. This minimizes evaporative emissions and waste.
  • Use air-tight containers to store solvents, paints, and other coatings.
      Benefits
  • Reduces emissions of HAPs and VOC.
      Costs
  • Capital costs for any new equipment necessary.
  • Training employees to use new equipment and procedures.

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Change Cleaning Procedures

      How?
  • Use enclosed or mechanical parts washing and gun washing systems to reduce evaporative emissions.
  • Monitor the amount of cleaning solvent used during cleanup to avoid excess usage.
  • Reuse cleaning solution or solvent. Use dirty solvent for initial cleaning, then follow with clean solvent.
  • Schedule color changes to minimize cleaning needed between colors. Paint products with light colors and then follow with increasingly darker colors.
      Benefits
  • Reduces emissions of VOC and HAPs.
      Costs
  • Capital costs for any new equipment necessary.
  • Capital costs for gun washing units can range from $600 to $1,500 (NCDPPEA).
  • On-site distillation units start at $1,500 with an average cost of $3,000 (IWRC).
  • Training employees to use new equipment and procedures.
      More Information

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Upgrade Facility Equipment

      How?
  • State, local, and Tribal pollution prevention offices may offer funding opportunities.
      Benefits
  • Reduces emissions of HAPs and VOC.
  • One company changed spray nozzles from a larger to a smaller nozzle for a cost of $270. The amount of waste solvent reduction equaled approximately 11,000 gallons, and the cost savings were approximately $13,500 (NCDPPEA).
  • Reduces costs of raw materials purchases and hazardous waste disposal.
      Costs
  • Capital costs to purchase new equipment.

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