WASHINGTON - Citing the launch of a growing number of "green building" initiatives that could place a range of new environmental demands on coatings products, the NPCA is inviting manufacturers to participate in an industry panel that would present the views of coatings formulators and producers on these programs.

The NPCA has voiced criticism that the initiatives are being pursued with little or no consideration of industry views on crucial performance and technical issues.

In addition to an EPA draft green-building guide, the NPCA is calling attention to green-building programs being developed by the EPA, state governments and non-governmental organizations involving paint and coatings at the federal level and in California and Massachusetts.

The EPA Draft Federal Guide for Green Construction Specifications initiative is described as the EPA's "green building initiative for federal buildings." In comments submitted recently to the EPA on the agency's draft guide, the NPCA said it is important that such recommendations "take into consideration industry performance standards, which the current draft guide does not."

The NPCA said the draft EPA guide relies largely on standards and specifications developed by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), primarily the council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, and product standards and certifications developed by the Green Seal organization.

The NPCA contends this reliance "is inappropriate for government guidelines since neither USGBC or Green Seal are voluntary, consensus-based organizations. Their specifications and standards are not subjected to an industry review process or appeals."

The NPCA also said the USGBC and Green Seal specification programs "inappropriately" include coatings-VOC limits enacted by California's South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), the most stringent VOC rules on architectural and industrial maintenance coatings in the nation. The limits "clearly are not consensus-based standards," the NPCA said, and were designed to set limits for air-quality goals specific to the situation in the Los Angeles air basin.

More information about the development of the NPCA work group is available from the NPCA website, located at www.paint.org, or from NPCA Government Affairs Counsel Alison Keane, e-mail akeane@paint.org, or Environmental Affairs Director David Darling, e-mail ddarling@paint.org.