Spring is the time when everyone starts thinking about painting projects that have been on hold — waiting for inspiration and better weather. I’ve always loved color and think it is important because we live in such a grey environment. One of my businesses is color consulting — helping people choose what colors to paint their homes, inside and out. Painting is one of the simplest ways to transform a space. Unfortunately, some paints, especially oil-based, release harmful vapors and contribute to greenhouse gases.
In the several years I’ve been doing this work, there has been a huge increase in consumer demand for low V.O.C. (volatile organic compounds) paints — those that are safer for humans, especially children, and for the environment.
On the local scene, Yolo Colorhouse in Portland has embraced the challenge of creating a beautiful natural palette and zero V.O.C. paints for both interiors and exteriors. They have received national recognition and have been featured in numerous magazines. Yolo paints are available at several locations including EcoHaus, formerly the Environmental Home Center, a great resource for all kinds of green building products.
My favorites, however, are C2 paints from Daly’s, a family-owned business in Seattle. The colors of these paints are exceptional and unlike any others I’ve used. Just in time for spring, they have come out with a new line of LoVo interior paints, available in all 496 fabulous colors. They also sell poster-sized paint chips that come in handy when making your choices.
Benjamin Moore — sold at Seattle Paint — has their line of Aura paints (low V.O.C.). They say only one coat is needed but I’ve always had to use two. Coverage and durability seem to be very good. Aura paints are very user-friendly and I hope they will add to their color choices as demand increases.
One thing to look for when buying paint and other household products is the Green Seal certification. Green Seal is “an independent non-profit organization dedicated to safeguarding the environment and transforming the marketplace by promoting the manufacture, purchase and use of environmentally responsible products and services”.
Another thing to consider is how to safely dispose of your paint cans. If they are empty, you can throw them in the garbage with the lid off. For information on how to dispose of all other paint products, check with King County Waste Management.
By using eco-friendly paints, you can brighten up your space and take one small action toward environmental responsibility while encouraging manufacturers to make safer products. Consumer demand speaks loudly when it comes to manufacturer’s motivation.