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P2 for Autobody Shops

Organization(s) New York City Environmental Economic Development Assistance Unit
Project Description The Auto Body Craftmen's Guild held a meeting in Staten Island on October 4, 2000 with about a dozen participants, including autobody shop owners, directors of the Guild and distributors of autobody shop equipment. New York City's Environment and Economic Development Assistance Unit's (EEDAU) Senior Project Manager was invited to give an overview of the NYS Empire State Development's Environmental Management Investment Group (EMIG) grant program and its feasibility for autobody shop owners. The EMIG program consists of three project categories: Capital, which provides cash reimbursement for the purchase of P2 equipment; Research and Development, which provides funding for cutting edge (not-yet-commercial) equipment; and Technical, which provides technical assistance such as consulting services. The Capital category appeared to have the most potential for autobody shops.

The group discussed some P2 equipment that could be applicable to this grant, starting with "High Volume Low Pressure" (HVLP) spray guns, which utilize less paint and release less VOCs, and "spray gun washers," which recycle the cleaning solvent, reducing solvent purchases. Other items discussed included spray booths, "high tech" enclosed painting rooms with air-control systems that reduce paint usage per car as well as VOCs; "iso-cyanate free" primers, paints that substitute more benign material for various hazardous chemicals; solvent recyclers, which distill old paint thinner for reuse, so fewer chemicals need to be purchased; and some newer paint products that require fewer coats and thus decrease emissions of VOCs.

The EEDAU representative then explained that documentation of the P2 efficiency of the equipment would be required in the grant application. A kick-off meeting was held in January 2001 and was sponsored by the Auto Body Craftman's Guild, a major trade association representing NYC's auto body shops. Other meetings were held in February 2001 in various parts of the New York City area. Attendance at the meetings was excellent, surpassing the expectations of the sponsors. Presentations at the meetings focused on how shops can comply with the Right to Know law.

In 2006, the New York City EEDAU, was awarded a $20,000 grant from the KeySpan Ravenswood Community Impact Fund. This fund is a community benefit project under KeySpan's public interest agreement relating to the construction and operation of a 250 megawatt gas-fired electric and steam cogeneration facility on the Ravenswood generating station site in Queens County. The Fund, held in the name of the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), provides funding for several community or environmental improvement projects in the area served by Queens Community Board No 1.

The EEDAU and the Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC) will be administering a pollution prevention rebate program under the KeySpan Ravenswood Fund for auto body (refinishing) shops in the Community Board 1 district of western Queens. This program will provide financing for the purchase of dust-free sanding (DFS) systems and high volume, low pressure (HVLP) paint spray guns. It is also being sponsored by the NYCEDC and the Queens Borough President's Office. A kick-off meeting for potential auto body shop participants was held on August 24, 2006 and an additional informational meeting was conducted on September 28, 2006. These meetings will be followed by two training workshops led by technicians from the companies that supply the dust-free sanding (DFS) systems and the HVLP paint spray guns to be held in October 2006.

The program will provide rebates of up to 50 percent of the cost of each approved DFS system and up to $500 for each approved HVLP spray gun that is purchased. Dust-free sanding (DFS) systems are used to collect harmful sanded-waste, dust, or particulates (including fine particulates) that are created during the "sanding of automobiles (removal of scratches, filling-in of dents, etc.), and can prevent up to 90 percent of these emissions from being released into the workspace and surrounding communities. DFS systems can insure that body shops are in compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) permissible exposure limits (PEL) for total dust, and pursuant to any manufacturer's specifications and in accordance with any customary and reasonable safety practices. In addition, DFS systems enable auto body shops to save on clean-up, paint, and material costs.

HVLP spray guns are used to provide a high quality paint finish to various products, such as vehicles and furniture, and use approximately 25 percent less paint, and emit approximately 25 percent fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and 50 percent fewer particulates than conventional spray guns. Based on paint savings alone, trade representatives have stated that HVLP spray equipment pays for itself within a few months of purchase.

A similar rebate program for HVLP spray guns was successfully launched in the spring of 2004 in the Bronx with the financial support of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation. The program's financial incentives allowed eligible shops (those with up-to-date permits) to meet changes to regulation, Part 228, Surface Coating Processes, which became effective January 2005. This revision requires paint application equipment to have higher transfer efficiency than conventional spray guns, thus reducing solvent emissions and improving air quality. Under the NYC DEP program 14 Bronx-based auto body shops were awarded rebates for a total of 40 low-emission HVLP (or equivalent technology approved by NYS DEC) spray guns. The installation and usage of these emission-reducing spray guns by Bronx participants has resulted in significant decreases in VOC emissions. (The final report on data collection is near completion.) The Bronx HVLP program offered two (mandatory) training sessions for participants on the optimal use of the HVLP equipment.

The pollution prevention rebate program is being marketed aggressively by NYC DEP and QEDC, and includes direct mailings, telephone calls, site visits, and the help of the shops. The goal is to ensure maximum participation from the auto body shops in the Community Board No. 1 district and the reduction of emissions in order to help improve the air quality in western Queens.

Thus far, EEDAU in conjunction with QEDC has issued $19,250 in payments for the program, or 96 percent of the funds allocated by Keyspan (now merged with National Grid) and NYCEDC. A total of ten Queens Community Board 1 auto collision shops have participated in the program. Most of the participating shops received funding for portable dust free sanding (DFS) models, although one shop opted for a DFS "wall unit" (central vacuum with "drop down" sanding tools in different areas of the facility).

Overall, the program participants have been satisfied with their DFS equipment. The only challenge mentioned (by a minority of participants) was having the technicians acclimate to the new devices, as DFS systems contain a vacuum hose (to collect dust when sanding), which is attached to the sanding tool. Preliminary figures from the participants have indicated that the DFS equipment captures an average of 0.3 pounds of dust for each vehicle sanded. This "capture rate" however is quite variable among the shops, and these variances are primarily due to the type of work performed (and sanding required) by the respective shops.

More Info www.nyc.gov/dep
Project Contact
Name N/A
Phone 718-595-4454
Project Keywords
Processes Painting and Coating Processes, Solvent Recovery
Areas of P2 Expertise Environmental Management Systems, Environmentally Preferable Purchasing
Industrial Sectors Auto Body
Activity Keywords Funding and grants, Research and development, Training/workshops
Newsletter Northeast Assistance & Pollution Prevention News - Vol. 19 No. 1, Spring 2009 [PDF]


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Last Modified 09/08/2009

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