Reducing the Emission of VOCs from our Polymer Flooring Solutions

  • Part One: The Quest for EQ 4.2 - Low Emitting Materials

Flowcrete Americas’ Green Commitment: Reducing the Emission of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) from our Polymer Flooring Solutions

Apr 06 2016

  • Flowcrete Americas' has renewed its USGBC membership
  • The company remains committed to formulating materials designed to comply with LEED
  • Flowcrete flooring materials meet LEED guidelines for low emitting materials
  • Flowcrete Americas describes how it working with LEED to exceed VOC benchmarks

From formulating polymer flooring materials that are free from phthalates and derived from water-borne technologies to shipping material in optimized reusable or recyclable smart packaging solutions, U.S Green Building Council (USGBC) member, Flowcrete Americas, remains committed to ensuring sustainable practices are at the heart of its culture and manufacturing operations wherever possible.

In this new series, Flowcrete Americas documents what, where and how it is working in the field alongside its network of applicator partners to keep up with the ever-increasing demand for green building materials and comply with USGBC Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) building requirements.


Part One: The Quest for EQ 4.2 - Low Emitting Materials

LEED is essentially based on the principles that if every building in the U.S. strives to comply with a strict set of energy and environmental design guidelines, then that building should operate at a lower expenditure, increase in asset value, conserve natural resources as well as minimize waste and emissions.

Buildings that meet some, but preferably all, of the prerequisites outlined by LEED are then able to qualify for tax rebates and other local incentives, so you can see why so many organizations, working across the entire spectrum of the design and construction industry, take LEED and LEED certification so seriously.

The choice of building materials used within the interior design of the building can play a significant role in attaining LEED credits to contribute towards said certification in a number of categories.

After walls, floors represent the largest surface area within the building and so the flooring materials selected for the different operational areas of the building can play a large hand in influencing whether or not certain material standards and benchmarks have been met.

As most are aware, resilient polymer floor coatings and mortars offer a wide range of performance benefits, particularly when specifying protective floor systems for industrial spaces, kitchens, back-of-house maintenance area and / or sensitive cleanroom spaces.

These benefits include strength, durability, chemical resistance, thermal shock resistance, enhanced hygiene performance, corrosion resistance…the list is endless. The trick for flooring manufacturers like ourselves is finding a way to formulate flooring materials that meet these same performance benchmarks, without relying on toxic components to get there.


Volatile Organic Compounds

A key LEED consideration is the amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are emitted primarily during the installation of the floor, but also any secondary emissions throughout its use thereafter.

What are VOCs? These are carbon-based chemicals that easily evaporate at room temperature, negatively affecting the environmental air quality of the building for users and occupants.

Typically, construction materials produce large quantities of VOCs, which can be harmful to both the occupants of a building and to the environment. To minimize this harm, the USGBC rewards buildings that utilize products with low, or preferably zero, VOC content.

VOCs are measured as a mass concentration in grams per liter (g/l). This shows the weight of VOCs per volume of packaged material.

When it comes to Floor Coatings, LEED sets that limit at 50 g/l, however for Industrial Maintenance Coatings, that is specialist coatings including primers, sealers, undercoaters, intermediate coatings and topcoats, formulated for more punishing conditions, that limit increases to 100 g/l in accordance with the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) Rule 1113, Architectural Coatings.

Floor Coatings and Industrial Maintenance Coatings that fall under the defined limits are eligible for 1 point towards certification in the LEED Indoor Environmental Quality category.


Flowcrete Americas’ Compliant Flooring Systems

Every flooring system manufactured and promoted by Flowcrete Americas is classified as a low emitting material under LEED guidelines with 75% of systems scoring VOC content of 12 g/l or under and all systems meeting federal EPA regulations.

LEED continues to make its certification process more rigorous and challenging as construction materials develop and green building practices and technologies become more and more refined. The acceptable levels of VOCs emitted by building materials are no exception, with limits decreasing consistently over the last decade; a trend we expect to continue in the future.

As such, Flowcrete Americas continues to pursue innovation in formulation to meet the future demand for low to zero VOC building materials that don’t compromise on performance characteristics.

For more information on how Flowcrete Americas’ materials can help to qualify for LEED certification download our free White Paper.

For more information visit


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Notes to Editors

Flowcrete Group Ltd. is a world leader in the manufacture of seamless industrial and commercial resin floor, wall and coving solutions as well as other specialist coating technologies. Flowcrete Group Ltd. is a subsidiary of RPM International Inc. and has international manufacturing facilities in Europe and Africa as well as Central and South East Asia.

Flowcrete supplies world-class seamless flooring solutions to transform environments across the globe including; decorative seamless resins, waterproof car park deck coating systems, seamless resin terrazzo, durable antimicrobial flooring, corrosion protection, self levelling underlayments, underfloor heating and now underfloor acoustic insulation.

Flowcrete's ambitious and dedicated team, led by President Craig Brookes, is inspired by excellence in people, products and service as well as continual innovation and sustainable growth.

Flowcrete continues to use its global expertise to introduce environmentally friendly, hygienic and aesthetically attractive floors to create a better and more sustainable world.

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