frequently asked questions

is there an official definition of "green"?

No. Many different measures or standards can be applied to designate a practice or a product as “green”. For construction, remodeling, or DIY projects, “Green” currently references the incorporation of practices that decrease impact on the environment. This can include, but is not limited to, the use of low VOC content paint products that have reduced VOC emissions.

what are the standards that are sometimes used to determine "green"?

While there is no single authority on what makes a product green, three different types of standards are often used. They include governmental regulations, the widely accepted United States Green Building Councils’ Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Green Building Rating System™ and independent certifying bodies, such as the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS).

what is a voc?

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are carbon-containing chemicals which are released into the atmosphere from both man-made and naturally occurring materials. Because of their impact on air quality, they are subject to a variety of regulatory definitions depending on jurisdiction and product type. For architectural coatings, VOCs result from the use of solvents and thinners which evaporate into the air as the paint dries. Outdoors, they can contribute to ground-level ozone, forming smog. Indoors, they can affect air quality both in the short term during the painting process and in the long term through continued off-gassing.

how does ppg determine which of its paint products it designates green?

At a minimum, all PPG products bearing the “Ecological solutions from PPG®” symbol meet LEED 2009 NC requirements. In addition, PPG uses the most stringent regulatory laws as product development guidelines. Therefore, when you see a PPG product bearing the “Ecological Solutions from PPG®” symbol, you can be sure it has been formulated to have no, or low, VOC* content.

*Colorants added to these base paints may increase VOC level significantly depending on color choice.

what is leed?

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. The LEED rating systems are developed by the US Breen Building Council (USGBC) committees, in adherence with USGBC policies and procedures guiding the development and maintenance of rating systems. The LEED Rating System was created to transform the built environment to sustainability by providing the building industry with consistent, credible standards for what constitutes a green building.

what are the benefits of leed certification?

LEED certification is third-party validation of a building’s performance. LEED-certified projects blend environmental, economic, and occupant-oriented performance. They cost less to operate and maintain, are energy- and water-efficient, have higher lease-up rates than conventional buildings in their markets, and are a physical demonstration of the values of the organizations that own and occupy them.

where does paint fit into the leed equation?

Paint is one many categories of building materials, construction practices and building footprints that contribute and can impact a buildings overall LEED certification. Paint requirements are found in section EQ 4.2 under Low-Emitting Materials: Paints & Coatings.

can products be certified under leed?

No. LEED applies to green building projects. Individual products can contribute to points under the rating system; LEED criteria are performance-based. In attempting to meet these requirements, LEED practitioners identify products that have desired attributes. However, some LEED criteria do require specific product data as a part of a successful submittal.

what are the voc requirements of eq 4.2 under leed new construction (NC) 2009?

  • Flats <50 g/L
  • Non-Flats: <150 g/L
  • Anti-corrosive and anti-rust: <250 g/L
  • Clear wood finishes: Varnish <350 g/L; Lacquer <550 g/L
  • Floor coatings: <100 g/L
  • Sealers: Waterproofing Sealers <250 g/L; Sanding Sealers <275 g/L; All Other Sealers <200 g/L
  • Shellacs: Clear <730 g/L; Pigmented <550 g/L
  • Stains: <250 g/L

Note: All VOC requirements posted in this systems guide are current as of January 2012. For the latest data or more information on USGBC or LEED rating system, please visit the following website:

what is chps?

The Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) “Low Emitting Products” criteria Section 01350 was developed in California to oversee the nation’s first green building rating program especially designed for K-12 schools. The mission of the Collaborative for High Performance Schools is to facilitate the design, construction and operation of high-performance schools.

where does paint fit into the chps equation?

Paint requirements are found under Indoor Environmental Quality Credit EQ2.2. CHPS EQ2.2 credits are offered for products meeting testing method and emission limits criteria defined in the CDHS Standard Practice.

does green cost more?

Not always. In fact, many of our products that builders and DIYers have trusted for years meet guidelines and standards for building “green”.

how can i stay up to date with the latest regulatory changes?

While we try to maintain the most accurate and up-to-date information in our third-party certification and government regulation sections, we recommend always consulting the regulatory organization of the most accurate information.

where can i find a list of ppg paints' "green" products?

Use our comprehensive online product search to find products that meet your specific project needs.

LEED is a registered trademark of US Green Building Council.