Carbon Footprints - Floor Paints and Industrial Paints and Coatings

Posted in Firwood News Update by Firwood on April 11st 2016
With an ever increasing interest in the effect of products from floor paints to industrial paints and coatings on the environment then the assessment of the carbon footprint is one of the indicators of the environmental impact of using one product rather than another. It may only be of passing interest that crisp manufacturers now quote the carbon footprint of a bag of crisps (Estimated at 80g C02) but this shows that the manufacturer is looking at the issue and endeavouring to reduce the carbon impact of their operations and products.

For paint manufacturer's data is now available to calculate the carbon footprint of their key products and interesting results are showing the benefits of both newer technologies such as water borne coatings and the use of higher performing products.Where for example a product protects the structure to which it is applied from corrosion then the benefits of using a paint system that offers long term durability can reduce the carbon impact of the structure to which the coating is applied.

So how do we go about calculating the carbon footprint of a tin of paint? The initial process is to look at our operations and calculate over a period of time (ideally a few years) the energy, water and waste used/produced for different types of paint manufactured. At Firwood we have participated in the British Coatings Federation Coatings Care indicators of performance for over 10 years and we can see trends in our energy consumption relative to the production from our factory. We can calculate energy and water usage and waste produced per litre of paint manufactured.

For our raw materials then we have access to a database of commonly used paint raw materials which was put together by CEPE the European association representing paint and printing ink manufacturers.In 2013 CEPE launched an Eco Footprint Tool so that paint manufacturers can calculate the Carbon Footprint of their products based initially on a cradle to factory gate calculation. Work is now progressing to look at the cradle to grave impact of coatings on their intended applications.

Looking at calculations carried out to date then in all aspects water borne products are showing benefits over their solvent borne alternative.

The table below shows the difference in two product types, floor paints and gloss finishes. Users selecting the water borne alternative will have a reduced impact on emissions on both health and environmental grounds.


Carbon g C02 equivalent
per kg paint
Ozone depletion Pot,
μg CFC-11 eq
29 Floor Paint
Solvent Borne
2872 310
2500 Garage Floor Paint
Water Borne
700 Fast Dry Gloss
Solvent Borne
2640 Decorative Gloss
Water Borne

This information allows the end user to be more selective in their choice of product and is the start of more extensive research into the use of more sustainable coatings. Development of the information is required to look at the full impact of the product selection not only during its manufacturing process but also when applied including long term protection of the substrate.

The carbon footprint of the coating is affected by the use of solvents and high carbon items such as titanium dioxide.This information is used by Development Chemists at Firwood Paints so that formulations can be optimised. Customer interest in sourcing lower more sustainable solutions is growing and the paint industry has a need to provide low carbon solutions wherever possible.

Firwood – A Leading UK Manufacturer of Floor Paints and Industrial Paints and Coatings

For more information about any of Firwood's products including the professional range of floor paints and industrial paints and coatings please get in touch today by calling 01204 525231 or email

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