News Brief

Impacts of Architectural Coatings to Be Measured Over 60 Years

The first PCR created for architectural coatings in North America

All coatings in North America now have the necessary guidelines to create EPDs

The American Coatings Association (ACA) has published the first North American product category review (PCR) for architectural coatings. PCRs establish the ground rules for measuring impacts in a life-cycle assessment (LCA). They help ensure that all products in the same category are measured in the same way. Types of coatings in the PCR include:

  • Concrete curing, sealing, and protective coatings
  • General exterior and interior coatings
  • Floor coatings
  • Primers, sealers, and undercoaters
  • Wood coatings: Includes lacquers, varnishes, sanding sealers, penetrating oils, shellacs, stains, wood conditioners, and wood sealers

The PCR looks at impacts from “cradle to grave,” meaning from the time raw materials are extracted to the time when it is recycled or disposed of. The functional unit defined by the PCR is one square meter of covered and protected substrate for a period of 60 years, the assumed lifetime of the building.

Since few architectural coatings hold up even close to that long, this choice of functional unit means the impacts of re-application are supposed to be included in an LCA. The PCR also specifies an assumed lifetime for different coatings, based on type of material and third-party durability testing.

According to the PCR, manufacturers must also incorporate ingredient reporting at levels required by law (see Safety Sheets Getting New Format—And Some New Data).

NSF International served as the program operator overseeing creation of the architectural coatings PCR. The PCR was created by a committee headed by Doug Mazeffa of the Sherwin-Williams Company, with representatives from ACA, Valspar, PPG Industries, and NSF International, in addition to a public health professional.

More on product category reviews

The DNA of EPDs: The Making of Product Category Rules

EPDSs Will Change How We Build- But Slowly

What’s an EPD? Environmental Product Declaration FAQs

For more information:

NSF International

Published August 14, 2015

Fichman, A., & Melton, P. (2015, August 14). Impacts of Architectural Coatings to Be Measured Over 60 Years. Retrieved from

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