Feature Short

Why “Zero VOC” Was Never Enough

We used to look for coatings, adhesives, and sealants that contained no VOCs. Great for smog prevention, but IAQ and installer health are also important.

What if we told you that the original purpose of reducing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in wet-applied building products was to prevent smog in cities—not to improve indoor air quality (IAQ)? And that certain hazardous VOCs are “exempt” from being counted because of that? And that “zero VOC” doesn’t come anywhere close to meaning a product contains no VOCs?

We’d be telling you a lot of truths that a lot of people don’t know. We’d also be explaining the main reason why at least two major green building programs (LEED v4 and the Living Building Challenge) now require wet-applied products to show that they have both low VOC content and low VOC emissions.

Originally published October 4, 2016 Reviewed October 22, 2019

Melton, P. (2019, October 22). Why “Zero VOC” Was Never Enough. Retrieved from https://www.buildinggreen.com/feature-shorts/why-zero-voc-was-never-enough