Home improvements and commercial building maintenance can be beneficial, yet stressful at the same time. One cost-effective way to maintain or renovate your space is with paint. You can change the look of any area in no time with a fresh coat of paint; however, do you really know what is being put on your walls?
Paint can contain some hazardous chemicals that can be harmful to your health. If you’re concerned about paint materials used in your home or business and how they affect the environment, you do have some choices. There are eco-friendly paint options as well as green-certified professional painters who can help make the air your family and employees breathe and the surrounding environment better.
Benefits of Eco-Friendly Painting
There has been a growing awareness toward living an eco-friendly lifestyle or “going green”. The rise in environmentalism among local businesses and neighborhoods gives everyone a chance to take steps in improving the environment around them. One way homeowners and businesses are doing that is conserving water and energy.
Another opportunity to go greener is by using eco-friendly products. When it comes to painting residential or commercial properties, owners can now choose to lessen their reliance on harmful chemicals.
Home and property owners are turning towards using sustainable and eco-materials to improve their surroundings. Using eco-paints is just one such practice. Professional painters are also following suit, with products and services now being designed with eco-friendliness in mind. There are benefits to the property owners and environment when green painting is a priority.
1. Better Air Quality
It is always advised to paint in well-ventilated areas because volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are contained in many paints are released into the air. These chemicals are not just present in paints, they’re in carpets, adhesives, household cleaners, and a range of interior building materials. When the paint is used, the emission of VOCs is called off-gassing. This is a continuous process, starting when the paint is applied to the surface until after it dries.
VOCs react with other elements to produce ozone, which causes air pollution. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), some air pollutants are higher indoors than outdoors. VOCs affect indoor air quality and the best way to reduce the amounts is to use environmentally friendly paint products.
Green painting products are made with a variety of natural materials like clay, proteins, and balsam. They don’t contain petroleum, making them better for the environment. Professional painters should make use of zero VOC paints as much as possible. Eco-friendly paint will last and give you a quality finish.
There are indicators to help you differentiate this less harmful paint from regular paint. You should check the ingredients on the paint can label. Avoid those with heavy metal pigments or petroleum. Look for certified organic paints and those with no or low VOC labels.
2. Less Contamination
Groundwater can also be contaminated by pouring paint and paint contaminated water into the stormwater drainage system. When contaminated water enters the storm sewers, it pollutes the lakes and rivers. In most cities, this practice is illegal. Green certified painters will know how to properly dispose of paint products or recycle them.
Hazardous paint products can also harm plants and crops. VOC emission affects the ozone layer. When ozone enters the leaves and plants through a natural gas exchange, plant life is seriously compromised. Damage can occur to the leaf edges, roots, and stem. Ozone damage can affect crop yields, particularly corn, peanuts, or cotton, because of their sensitivity to environmental changes. Using eco-friendly paint products and practicing green solutions can help improve water quality and nature.
3. Health Advantages
There are also health benefits that result from using green or sustainable paint products. VOCs cause health effects such as asthma or respiratory irritation. The level of irritation depends on the amount that is present in the air, how long, and the extent of exposure. Removing as many sources of VOCs as possible from indoor environments should be a priority for property owners and professional painters.
Green Certified Painters
Not sure what it takes to be a green painting company? Are you looking to hire a painting contractor who is environmentally responsible?
There is more to being an eco-friendly painting company than just choosing the right paint. To truly reduce their environmental footprint, green-certified painting contractors have to address their water usage, waste disposal, transportation, recycling and even office practices. All of these steps will help to reduce their carbon footprint.
Paint Related Practices
Being environmentally conscious is not just limited to using eco-friendly paint. Environmentally safe practices need to be followed. There are many options available for a painting business to implement to reduce their impact on the planet.
Use leftover paint. Keep it until the next job that uses the same colors or standard white.
Do not dispose of paint, thinner, or solvents down the drain. Pack them in secure cans and drop them off at a hazardous waste disposal site.
Donate extra paint to local charities, schools, or community groups.
If possible, similar colors can be mixed and used again. Offer the savings to the customer and explain the reason for doing it. When you mix different paints, make sure to label the cans properly.
If zero VOC paint is not available, use a lower VOC alternative.
Avoid using alkyd-based paints.
When prepping the surface, wash the walls and trim with gentle cleaners.
In addition to paint-related policies, all companies can make several business decisions. Here are a few to adopt below:
Use fuel-efficient vehicles.
Invest in central storage so that crew leaders and painters don’t have to drive long distances.
Assign painters to jobs that are closer to their homes to reduce traveling time.
Buy locally made paint, sundries, and office supplies to reduce your carbon impact footprint.
Hold phone or online meetings instead of traveling to the office.
Use recycled office supplies. Implement green office policies such as printing on both sides of the paper.
Some organizations choose to get their products or services verified by a third party, to present evidence of being eco-friendly. Green America offers businesses across many industries an evaluation to implement and improve their green practices. Members of the Green Business Network adopt principles, policies, and practices that improve the quality of life for their customers, employees, communities, and the planet.
Green America certifies businesses that are:
Actively using their business as a tool for positive social change;
Operating a "values-driven" enterprise according to principles of social justice and environmental sustainability;
Environmentally responsible in the way they source, manufacture, and market their products and run their operations and facilities;
Committed to practices that benefit workers, customers, communities, and the environment;
Accountable for their work by continually improving and tracking their progress, and operating with transparency in every facet of their business.
Rigorous green business standards are applied in the certification process. Companies seeking Green America's Green Business Certification must meet the standards for all businesses, as well as meet or exceed all required standards in their industry.
What to Know When Choosing Green Paint Products
If you desire clean air for your family or employees, there are non-toxic paints in the colors that you love that are easy to find. We already know that paints contain VOCs that are harmful to the environment and your health. Here are a few other contaminations to avoid.
Fungicides and Biocides
Paints contain toxic fungicides to prevent mildew growth, and biocides, which are used as preservatives to extend shelf life. Toxic biocides can be detected in the air five years after the paint is applied. Fungicides and biocides contaminate both indoor and outdoor air. If the paint is not disposed of properly, it can also seep into groundwater.
Some of the toxic chemicals in paints come from the pigments used to color them. Look for paints made with all-natural pigments.
The best choice for exterior paint is one that has zinc oxide as the fungicide. Avoid oil-based paints because of their high VOC content, as well as paint from old cans that may contain mercury or lead.
Milk paint and natural paints are the first choices for interior paint. Natural paints are derived from substances such as citrus, balsam, and minerals. Milk paint gives the wood a rich, deep color, allowing the grain to show through. Latex paint with very low biocide and VOC levels is another good choice. Latex paint is safer for the environment than oil-based paint.
Improving Your Environment
The green or eco-friendly lifestyle is important to many families and business owners. If you’re looking for professional painters who always commit to going green, The Painting Pros are here for you. We want to provide our customers with safe products and services. A paint job from our highly-skilled craftsmen is done right the first time, always with quality green products.
Our green certification proves that we care about the environment. We’ve adopted green policies and practices to help improve not only our employees' lives but also our customers and the local community. Our customers keep coming back to us because of the service and care they receive. Contact us today for your green painting experience.