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Sustainable Practices to Benefit Auto Body Shops

Organization(s) New York City Dept. of Environmental Protection
Project Description The New York City Department of Environmental Protection's (NYC DEP) Bureau of Environmental Compliance, Environmental Economic Development Assistance Unit (EEDAU), has recently been awarded a $15,000 grant from the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation's Bronx Initiative for Energy & the Environment (BIEE) for a "VOC & Particulate Reduction Project Through Enhanced Use of High Volume Low Pressure Spray Guns (HVLPs) in Bronx Auto Body Shops." This P2 project will help reduce air emissions (i.e., VOCs and particulates) in the Bronx by providing financial support to eligible auto body shop owners who have taken a mandatory free training class in the optimal use of this environmentally preferred equipment and have applied for a cash rebate to purchase new, brand name HVLP spray guns or equivalent technology. A 100 percent rebate will be provided to those shop owners who turn in their conventional, more polluting, spray guns at the time of purchase of the HVLP equipment.

The improved environmental performance of HVLP spray-painting guns over conventional guns has been documented by various academic papers. An article in the American Industrial Hygienists Association Journal (AIHA), "A Comparison of Conventional and High Volume-Low Pressure Spray-Painting Guns," (March 1996) states, "Anecdotal reports indicate that switching from conventional to HVLP spray-painting guns reduces paint usage in auto body shops by about 25 percent. In this study a 30 percent improvement in transfer efficiency reduced particulate over-spray concentration by approximately 50 percent averaged over all sampling locations. In addition to reducing the worker's exposure, the increased transfer efficiency acts to reduce emissions of particulate and volatile organic compounds into the environment." Further, the current US EPA's "Design for the Environment" automotive refinishing web site, http://www.epa.gov/dfe/pubs/auto/spraygun_success/index.htm, shows the following (see "Why HVLP Spray Guns?"): "Research demonstrates that HVLP spray guns can achieve far greater efficiency (over 60 percent with good technique) than conventional spray guns. Higher transfer efficiency means less of what you do not want: paint over-spray, mists that a painter might breathe, emissions to the community - and more of what you do want: savings on paint and an improved bottom line."

The launch of this NYC DEP project in spring 2004 is timely because, starting in January 2005, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) will require various commercial sectors (including auto body shops) to utilize HVLPs (or equivalent technology) in their spray-painting operation. Also timely was the opportunity to participate in the free March 12, 2004, "Pollution Prevention & Spray-Painting Workshop," organized by NEWMOA and the Massachusetts Office of Technical Assistance on spray-painting fundamentals, techniques to reduce paint consumption, and the importance of using personal protective equipment, which will prove valuable in evaluating EEDAU's upcoming training workshop.

As of spring 2004, about 50 percent of the spray guns being used in the New York City market are the conventional, more polluting-type, and thus it is an opportune time to benefit from the increased penetration of the HVLP-type products. By increasing the promotion of HVLP and equivalent technology, with its inherent emission-reducing and cost-saving features, greater transferability and proliferation of this technology will be achieved in the marketplace. Moreover, NYC and nearby regions have been in non-attainment for ozone or non-attainment for PM10, thus it is an opportune time to promote VOC and emissions-reducing technologies in the Bronx and also in the other four boroughs.

Project Contact
Name Rose Marabetti
Phone 718-595-4467
Project Keywords
Processes Painting and Coating Processes
Areas of P2 Expertise Environmentally Preferable Purchasing
Industrial Sectors Auto Body
Activity Keywords Funding and grants, Policy/Legislative, Training/workshops
Newsletter Northeast States Pollution Prevention News - Vol. 14 No. 1, Spring 2004


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