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25 August 2010

Lifecycle Cost Assessment for Paints

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is technique for assessing the environmental impacts associated with a product over its life cycle. We have recently completed a LCA study assessing the environmental impact of a water based decorative coating system verses a solvent based decorative coating system.

The methodology used for the study conformed to ISO 14040 standards.  The technique considers all inputs and outputs over a product's life, as illustrated below.   


I don't want to get bogged down in detail or technical jargon so in a nutshell the results of this study clearly demonstrated that water-based product has far less  impact on the environment.  Water-based has 85% less impact than solvent-based, with the most significant difference being the impact of the VOC emissions released during paint application.  Using a water-based paint significantly reduces the overall environmental impact, and we can assume that using a low-VOC water-based paint reduces that impact even further.

There are very few situations where a water-based coating solution has not been developed.  Timber finishes is a classic example where user perception is that oil based is better, whereas we clearly demonstrate that water-based is more durable. 

Here at Dulux we are committed to water based manufacture.  We are currently undergoing a $28 million upgrade to our water-based manufacturing facility in Gracefield, Lower Hutt. Yes, that's right here in New Zealand!

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