Green Homes

Building for the future, today – combining the best of historical wisdom and modern technology.

Add to My MSN

What's the Greenest Can of Paint?

5/31/2013 10:30:00 AM

Tags: eco-friendly paint, VOC, color, chemicals in paint, carbon footprint, Philip's Perfect Colors

Reposted with permission by Philip's Perfect Colors.

Being paint-conscious is an easy effort toward helping the environment

What's a VOC?

VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) are the chemical ingredients in paint that evaporate into the atmosphere as the paint is drying. Government agencies (EPA in the U.S.) define what constitutes a VOC, and this differs depending on which continent you reside on. Europe uses a different definition of what can be labeled No-VOC or Low-VOC than does the United States. Europeans calculate VOC including the water in the paint, whereas in the U.S. VOC’s are calculated by measuring only the solids in the can. This results in a more stringent VOC regulation in the U.S.- even if the stated VOC’s on a can are the same as its European counterpart. There are also some ingredients used in European paints that are not classified as VOC’s in Europe but are classified as VOC’s in the U.S., for example, texanol. So there is debate as to what constitutes a VOC in and of itself.

"NO" vs. "LOW"

What is the definition of a No-VOC versus a Low-VOC paint? The test used in the U.S. to measure VOC’s is EPA test 24. Test 24 is accurate down to about 5 VOC grams per liter. Below this it is unable to accurately measure the VOC content of any particular ingredient or the paint overall. So it is impossible to state that a paint is No-VOC without acknowledging that this testing method is, at that level, approximate. Low-VOC paints are generally accepted to have below 50 VOC grams per liter by definition. These are generally speaking more accurately rated coatings because they are above the 5 grams per liter accuracy threshold. It is important to consider that the quality of the coating is as important as the actual VOC rating. If a Low-VOC coating lasts twice as long as a No-VOC coating, then you may spend more time, money and ultimately release more VOC’s into the atmosphere by using the paint with fewer VOC’s.

Is color a VOC?

No, color is not a VOC per se, although the colorants used in paint do contain some VOC’s. Color comes into the VOC debate when we consider how often we paint. Is it not more environmentally friendly to make color choices that we are going to be comfortable with over the lifespan of the paint coating? Often times in a desire to be trendy we may choose the latest fad colors only to grow tired of them before the room really needs to be repainted. If we pick colors that have a lasting appeal we can minimize the amount of painted used overall, thus reducing the net impact to the environment. Remember it is not just the paint but also the manufacturing and shipping processes that contribute to the carbon footprint of any can of paint. Therefore, the greenest can of paint is the one that we don’t need to buy.

For more information please visit www.PhilipsPerfectColors.com.



Related Content

Natural Paints

Test results of first-hand experience with natural paints.

Color Me Healthy

So many paint colors to choose from for Simran Sethi’s home, but one standard must be met: no VOCs o...

Old Fashioned Milk Paint is the First USDA Certified Biobased Paint

According to the USDA, consumers can feel secure in the accuracy of the biobased claim and can make ...

Pantone Color of the Year: Honeysuckle

Some of Natural Home’s favorite paint and wallcovering companies get pretty in pink.

Content Tools




Post a comment below.

 







Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.