Links to supporting resources for Green Star NZ and Homestar NZ accreditation:
For Green Star NZ and Homestar NZ support contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
New Zealand green systems and resources
Resene was a Gold Foundation member of the NZ Green Building Council and has been supporting the New Zealand Green Building Council as a member and with a range of initiatives since launch.
NZ Green Building Council
The NZ Green Building Council facilitates the Green Star NZ and Homestar NZ programme and assists building owners, specifiers, etc to learn and understand what is required to achieve Green Star and Homestar NZ rating points and make sustainable improvements via seminars, consultations etc. The NZ Green Building Council also disseminates information and resources for improving the environmental footprint of buildings, products, specifications etc.
The NZ Green Building Council does not provide independent verifications for products.
Companies, specifiers, owners, etc can choose to join the NZ Green Building Council. This does not mean that they are more or less environmentally preferable to non members.
Environmental Choice NZ
Most Resene waterborne products are Environmental Choice NZ approved. Refer to the Resene VOC Summary list to see Environmental Choice NZ approval by product. Copies are available from Resene representatives or the Resene website.
Environmental Choice NZ is an independent product verification programme run by the Ecolabelling Trust and owned by the NZ Government. Products must meet Environmental Choice NZ specifications to become Environmental Choice NZ approved. Over time, specifications for products are gradually tightened, so that products complying with Environmental Choice NZ have to meet a better standard of environmental preferability as time passes.
Environmental Choice NZ takes a broader view than the Green Star NZ VOC specification and considers the wider impact of the product, including manufacturing, packaging, banning the use of many ingredients that are known to be hazardous and/or cancer causing, etc.
Environmental Choice NZ does not have a specification available for all products at this stage, however many recent specifications have been developed due to demand from industry for specifications for some materials. Paint does have an Environmental Choice NZ specification.
Environmental Choice NZ costs are based on company size. This is to ensure that smaller companies have equal opportunity to gain an Environmental Choice NZ specification as larger companies.
When specifying Resene paint refer to the Resene VOC summary to view VOC levels and Environmental Choice NZ approval by product. Please ensure your list is current prior to specification, as product reformulations may result in a change in VOC levels and Environmental Choice approval. Resene staff are happy to assist with writing or checking specifications to ensure the optimum paint system is specified.
Please refer to the NZ Green Building Council for verification of requirements for any Green Star NZ and Homestar NZ specifications.
What is a VOC?
A VOC is a volatile organic compound - in the case of paint, this is solvents that are released into the air as the coating cures over time. Most waterborne paints now have VOC levels of 100gm or less per litre. Traditional solventborne paints have considerably higher levels of VOCs - often 400gm per litre or higher. For example 7 litres of Resene Waterborne Woodsman has around the same VOCs as just 1 litre of Resene solventborne Woodsman and it is more durable so will last longer before requiring recoating.
To put this VOC level into context, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District estimates that the average dairy cow emits 19.3 pounds (8.75kg) of VOCs a year. This equates to 23gm VOC emitted per day per cow.
New Zealand has a dairy population of 5.35 million cows (2006). With an average VOC emission rate of 23gms per cow per day, the total daily VOC emissions of the NZ cattle population is 128,319kg of VOC. The annual VOC emissions for the NZ cattle population is 46,836,468kgs. Australia has a cattle population of 27 million cows. With an average VOC emission rate of 23gms per cow per day, the total daily VOC emissions of the Australian cattle population is 647,592kg of VOC. The annual VOC emissions for the Australian cattle population is 236,370,960kgs.
The VOC emissions from paint are dwarfed by the emissions from cows. Total Resene VOC emissions from all decorative paint manufactured in NZ both waterborne and solventborne would be equivalent to less than one week of NZ cow emissions. For waterborne products only, which comprise well over 90% of Resene's decorative paint production, NZ made Resene decorative paint VOC emissions would be less than 3 days of NZ cow emissions. Over a period of 10 years, 1L of Resene Lumbersider will emit a total of just 35gm of VOCs while one average cow will emit 37kg (87,545gm) of VOCs.
A Californian study of vehicle VOC emissions in 1997, showed an average VOC emission of 9.3gms per litre of petrol. The average car used 5.9 litres per day, so the total average car usage resulted in 55gm of VOC emissions per day. Over a period of 10 years, 1L of Resene Lumbersider will emit a total of just 35gm of VOCs while (based on the California study) one car with average usage will emit over 200kg (200,000 gm) of VOCs.
Closer to home, hairsprays, deodorant sprays and many cleaning products release VOCs. In early 2007, Hong Kong enacted a regulation for hairsprays that no more than 80% of their content by weight could be VOCs. For a 500gm can of hairspray, this means potentially 400gm is VOCs. Most hairspray users would use a can every 1-2 months, which would equate to up to 4800gm of VOCs emitted per annum. This is the same level of VOCs emissions as you would get from using 87 litres of paint of a low VOC waterborne enamel, such as Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen, which would be sufficient to apply one coat to an area of around 1000 square metres. Over a period of 10 years, 1L of Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen will emit a total of just 55gm of VOCs while someone using one can of hairspray per month will emit up to 48kg (48,000gm) of VOCs.
The stated paint VOC level is the maximum VOC that may be released for the full life of the paint and it is anticipated in most cases it will be much lower, which means that the total environmental impact over the product's life is considerably less than items such as motor vehicles, hairsprays and cattle, which continue to emit VOCs on an ongoing basis. The drivers to reduce VOCs internationally come from two different interest groups - the first is interested in internal air quality (usually European), the second is interested in localised pollution and low level smog (driven by a number of organisations in California). More recently there has been a concern for possible interactions with so called "green house gases" but these are tenuous and not historically linked to the interest in VOC reduction.
Resene has always believed that our best contribution to sustainability is to offer longevity and thus reduce the need for repainting. Reducing toxicity has always been a way of life at Resene but quality remains paramount.
See the Resene Architects Memo Very 'orrible compounds and In the valley of the blind (both available from Architects memos) for more information on VOCs.
Read more about ways to improve your home's performance with paint
There is a range of local and international standards and the Resene Technical Team are happy to support specifiers and architects with information on products and their compliance.
Please refer to the NZ Green Building Council for verification of requirements for any Green Star NZ specifications.