The application of protective coating systems on building substrates aims to extend their service life. However, it’s very important to consider the ecological effects of these protective coatings to prevent any potential damage to the environment.

In addition to Volatile Organic Content (VOC), the coating’s hazardous air pollutant (HAP) emissions and solid and liquid waste emissions should be checked. Thermal energy demands in manufacturing as well as application and distribution, and durability and performance of the finished material should be impartially compared with alternatives.

All building materials including protective coatings should be assessed for embedded energy and CO2 emission, and balanced with their expected lifespan. For example, though concrete releases only water during the curing process, the production of a key raw material, cement is a significant source of CO2 emission (estimated to be about 5% of all CO2 emissions from human sources worldwide). Concrete that is continuously protected from acid attack by atmospheric CO2 (the cause of concrete spalling) can last for a very long time.

A similar argument also goes for steel, which is a lighter, stronger and faster material than concrete, and has the advantage of being 100% recyclable at the end of its life.

The lifespan of steel and concrete can be extended almost indefinitely when intelligent long-term design strategies for protecting them from degradation are incorporated, such as the right Dulux Protective Coatings products.