Following our commitment to keep our eye on the future and stay abreast of cutting-edge technology, Blue Door Painters is a leader in the industry’s green revolution. There has always been a creative struggle in the development of coating technology between performance and environmental sustainability, since historically some of the best paint components have also been the worst for air quality and public health.
Luckily, with the heightened awareness of environmental concerns in today’s market, that tension is being resolved, and high quality, environmentally healthy paints are now available at reasonable prices. Take a moment to educate yourself on the issues surrounding VOCs (below), and be sure to ask your estimator about the “green” paint options that Blue Door Painters is proud to offer.
VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) and You
VOCs are chemicals that are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. There are thousands of VOCs in the world today, many of which have adverse short- and long-term health effects. As with many chemical contaminants, these effects are diverse, including headaches, respiratory irritation, dizziness and disorientation, kidney damage, liver damage, and compromised central nervous system.
The level of VOCs in the air is much higher indoors, because many household components include VOCs. Cleaning supplies, pesticides, certain furnishings and machines, some types of paper, glues and adhesives, and craft materials, all emit a certain amount of VOCs, contributing to the indoor air concentration. One of the primary sources of VOCs, however, is paint – and the stripper and solvent that often comes along with it. It has been estimated that the average paint job (with traditional paint) releases VOCs for up to 5 years after it has been applied.
The reason that VOCs were originally incorporated into paint films was t0 give the coatings superior performance. Most of the VOC components in paints are included as solvents, which help the paint flow, level, form an even film, and dry/cure in the proper chemical sequence. Others are added as pigments.
When manufacturers learned that VOCs caused environmental damage and started engineering paints without VOCs, at first the new paints were substantially less effective. Without VOCs, the same mixture would require several extra coats to provide the same coverage as the older product. What this meant is that the same paint job would cost twice or three times as much – which made an environmentally friendly paint job unpopular with anyone except the wealthy.
Luckily, the technology has vastly improved. Adequate chemical replacements for the VOC components of classic paints have slowly been found. As the technology changes, leading paint brands are embracing these new techniques, each producing its own green designer paint. Many of these modern paints now do perform up to the standards of non-VOC paints, giving Blue Door Painters a list of products that we are willing to stake our professional reputation upon, both as contractors and as environmentally-minded citizens.
Some examples of VOC-conscious paint brands are listed below:
To learn more about green paint products and technology, check out the Sherwin-Williams LEED and VOC Coatings Reference Guide.