Going Green: Go Greener



Chances are environmental concerns are a factor in the decisions made about your trucks and your business. Now consider going even greener. 

Going green is a cultural phenomenon that’s gained a solid foothold in our society. It’s become synonymous with environmentally responsible policies and choices. Going green means using ecologically progressive products, reducing waste, and reusing and recycling our resources. By doing so, we make the Earth a healthier place to live and ensure a better world for generations to come. 

Going green affects everyday life and is especially noticeable in the commercial transportation and work truck industry with, for example, builder permit levels, restrictions on exhaust emissions, fuel types and mileage requirements—obvious areas of pollution control. Yet, there’s another critical area where green concerns take a dominant role: the paint on your truck.

Whether you’re a one-truck company, multi-truck enterprise, custom-body builder, or mega-fleet operator, the paint used in your body shop matters. That’s because most commercial paint products contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and VOCs are harmful to the Earth’s ozone layer and pose health concerns in the work environment. 


According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), VOCs are unsafe gases emitted from certain solids or liquids. They can be harmful to humans and the environment and are released from a range of chemicals that may be found in products we use every day. These compounds send out VOC molecules that evaporate and affect air quality. 

Breathing VOCs can pose a danger to our short-term and long-term health. This is where paint systems for commercial vehicles come into play since VOCs are also found in the traditional solvent-based paints used on trucks for years. VOCs dispersed into the air during the painting process pose a health risk for painters and technicians if they do not wear the proper air-supplied mask or hood respirator and other safety equipment.

As awareness of VOC hazards grows, concerns over their impact create a demand for safer coating products that minimize or eliminate VOC emissions altogether. Because of these concerns, the US federal government, numerous states, and Canada established regulations that place limits on the VOC content of motor vehicle refinish products. The federal rules in the US governing the use of VOCs fall under the umbrella of the EPA’s National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants guidelines (with individual states maintaining similar provisions). Environment Canada is in charge of VOCs for our neighbor to the north. The refinish industry supports these regulations.


Most painters, body shop owners, body builders, and fleet owners understand the dangers of VOCs; so do paint companies. They listened, and some like PPG stepped up and developed entire lines of paint products that address VOC issues and reduce environmental impact. The company recently introduced its next-generation DELFLEET One® paint system, an ultra-low VOC line of premium undercoats, topcoats and clearcoats—coatings suitable for use across the entire commercial transportation spectrum.

It’s notable that in developing the new system, PPG listened to its commercial customers—painters, body builders, fleet owners—and paid attention to their requests regarding product performance and quality. PPG chemists set out to create a line of coatings that would deliver the outstanding color matching, ease of use, and increased productivity customers expected. PPG then went further, and on its own initiative formulated a premium refinish system with full color capability that offers the commercial transportation industry the lowest VOC level available. Delfleet One features 57% fewer VOC emissions compared to a traditional solvent paint system, ensuring compliance with regulations in all regions of North America. It’s also a compact paint system with 42 toners, four binders, and four paint additives, efficiently reducing on-hand inventory requirements yet providing the resources needed to address all commercial refinish work. 

“The Delfleet One paint system is a major technological advance and an example of what the refinish industry is capable of producing,” says J.J. Wirth, PPG segment manager, commercial coatings, US and Canada. “Our customers made it very clear that they wanted a quality paint system; we delivered that and, as part of an environmentally accountable industry, designed the products to minimize exposure to VOCs. Our intent is to continue raising the bar as we develop high-quality, greener products.”


When painting trucks, we don’t always think about VOCs. We consider the paint’s durability, color match capability, color vibrancy, and of course, cost. Now, VOCs are a consideration. It’s up to you to decide if you’re green enough today in your choice of commercial coatings. 

Choosing the right kind of low-VOC paint can reduce the impact on the environment without compromising the quality of a refinish job. Rest assured, however, that with the advanced refinish products available on the market today, by going greener your trucks will still look good, the quality of the coatings will remain high, and you’ll be doing your part to protect the environment.


To learn more about PPG protective coatings, visit Eli Greenbaum is an automotive writer based in Metro Detroit. Reach him at


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