Eco-friendly Painting and its Benefits
The past decade has seen a growing awareness and trend toward living an eco-friendly lifestyle and ‘going green’. While the rise in environmentalism really started to gain momentum back in the 1970s with government regulations and community movements, we have now come to a point where almost everyone is taking steps to lessen their ecological footprint. We at painters at Austin are here to walk you through the process and acquaint you better with eco-friendly paint.
Eco-friendly paint, or natural paint, is paint that has been specially designed to have lower levels of volatile organic chemicals (VOCs, for short). You know that generic paint smell you get when you open a new can or walk into a freshly painted room? It’s the VOCs you’re smelling.
What’s wrong with conventional paints? Who knew that picking up a paintbrush could have so many pitfalls? Apart from the nausea, dizziness and headaches which can arise if you don’t open enough windows while you’re merrily creating a feature wall or jazzing up an old cupboard, the long-term effects aren’t great either.
VOCs usually have short- and longer-term adverse health effects, and while people are using products containing organic chemicals, they can expose themselves and others to very high pollutant levels, and elevated concentrations can persist in the air long after the activity is completed. VOCs are the main reason painting instructions advise that you only work in well-ventilated areas.
The EPA notes that the effects of VOCs are about 2-5 times higher indoors than outdoors, and if you’re stripping paint during a home project, studies show that it can skyrocket up to 1,000 times higher.
What are the benefits of eco-friendly painting? Environmentally friendly paint is made from a variety of natural materials, including clay, milk proteins, citrus, balsam and other minerals. One example is milk paint, which is made from the milk protein such as casein and a little lime. Milk paints have been used for hundreds of year and usually come in powder form. When mixed with water before use, it emits little to no order. However, it is intended only for internal use and doesn’t weather well if used outside. The good news is that you can be proactive and clean up the air in your home with more than just a few potted plants. Ready for a fresh start and a fresh coat of paint? Here are the best eco-friendly options for your space.
If you’re looking for some eco-friendly paints, here are a few brands to get you started:
- Emerald Interior Acrylic Latex Paint: Although this brand does include biocides and fungicides, it has been certified by Greenguard for low chemical emissions. This brand offers hundreds of color options and four finishes, including matte, flat, satin and semi-gloss. They also offer exterior paints, which are low in VOCs but not certified.
- KILZ Original Low VOC Primer: Although this brand isn’t certified, it is low VOC and has high reviews through Lowes. Intended to go underneath your color coat, this primer is designed to resist major staining and protect the walls of your home from damage.
- Natura Paint by Benjamin Moore: This line of paints, including both paints and a primer, is zero VOC, asthma- and allergy-friendly, and gives off zero emissions after four hours of dry time. It also comes in a variety of colors but is limited in its distribution and can be hard to find.
- Sherwin-Williams Harmony: Not only is Sherwin-Williams Harmony line completely free of VOCs, but their innovative technology also helps to purify your home’s air by reducing toxic emissions from other household products and odors from pets. This acrylic paint is GreenGuard Indoor Air Quality Certified and GreenGuard Certified for Children and Schools, so you can feel good about applying a fresh coat.
- ECOS Paint: The environmentally-friendly ECOS Paint is “paint you can feel good about.” Entirely free of VOCs, this USA-made brand offers a colorful selection of organic paints for interior and exterior walls. Used by the Louvre, Westminster Abbey, and the Getty Museum, these paints mix quality and environmental consciousness like no other.
- Behr Premium Plus: Behr’s Premium Plus line of eco-friendly paints is zero VOC, plus it comes as a two-in-one paint and primer to make it even easier. As a Greenguard Gold certified paint, this product is certified to have low chemical emissions in your home. This low-odor paint is also one of the more affordable options on the list!
- Earth Pigments: Another safe alternative to conventional paints are mineral and plant-based pigments that are sustainably harvested from the earth. This is a more hands-on painting process that requires you to mix the pigments with additional materials but they end result is worth the extra effort. Earth Pigments offers beautifully rich colors including earth tones made from ocher, bright oxide pigments, and natural mica.