MPI Green Performance® Standard [GPS-1-12 and GPS-2-12] For Paints & Coatings


A pilot program investigating OFP (Ozone Forming Potential) initiated by the National Institute of Building Sciences, addressed coating performance relative to environmentally preferable products with the following:

“Given that the primary function of paints and coatings is to provide protection for coated surfaces, and thus extend the life of such surfaces, it is imperative for any environmentally preferable product specification to address the equivalence in performance between products being compared. Inadequate consideration of product performance in the past has led to a selection of paints and coatings that have not provided comparable performance, leading to the premature aging of structures on the one hand, or excessive product use to offset performance shortcomings on the other hand.”

Also in the draft specification was the requirement that “only products appearing in the current edition of the MPI Approved Products List under the category for the intended application will be considered for certification, and that continued listing in the MPI Approved Products List will be a condition of maintaining the certification”.

As to recycled paints, there are at least two concerns. The first concern is that the waste stream must be verifiably environmentally preferable. The second is that recycled paint must meet the same minimum performance standards as comparable non-recycled paint, and that there must be comfort as to the ongoing continuance in spite of varying raw material streams. These concerns are being addressed in the new Green Seal Standard for Recycled Paint that requires MPI listing approval based upon testing to MPI’s performance standards, and auditing both by Green Seal and by MPI.

The MPI Green Performance® Standard therefore requires that all products shall meet or exceed the performance requirements of the applicable MPI product standard, evidenced by current listing in the MPI Approved Products List.

Note:      This standard addresses environmental friendliness with performance in the context of differing geographical environmental regulatory trends. It does not address sustainability issues where higher VOC coatings perform significantly better. In these cases duty cycle considerations would prompt the use of higher-per-coat VOC coatings in order to extend the duty cycle thereby lowering the total VOCs. Some of these are stains, varnishes, industrial maintenance coatings, interior trim coatings, etc.

Environmental regulations also can bring ‘unintended consequences’ in the broader picture. Examples include: as yet unknown challenges through the use of new replacement solvents, and the need for better applicator knowledge in the safe use of newer formulated products. Another example is the more frequent repainting (due to lower product performance) that may be required, resulting in the contribution of additional VOCs and higher O. & M. costs.

Essential Elements of MPI’s Green Performance® Standard
  • Performance
  • Chemical Component Restrictions
  • Maximum Allowable Limits of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)


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