Sunday, March 21, 2010

Springtime Means “Green” Time

While some parts of the country may still be experiencing a few last wintery, weather events, we have now officially entered into the spring season, or the Vernal Equinox, the transitional period between winter and summer.  As the days will become longer and we’ll have more temperate weather, many consumers begin to think about opening up the windows to let in the fresh air, as well as to catch up on spring cleaning and some household maintenance.  Interior designers, remodelers, and other trades people know their phones will be ringing! 

ED3461A0356FA94D848DC5E12579 A lush, green garden.  Wouldn’t it be nice for your interior spaces to feel this fresh?

My “dance card” has already begun to be filled with the process of project planning and implementation, for quite a few clients.  Almost all of these projects are requiring either a refreshing of painted surfaces, due to lots of “love”, or it’s just time to change up the palette.  I do love how paint can transform a room and give it a new lease on life, so to speak.  I’m also more aware of how important choosing the right paint product can be.  In this day and time of better home insulation products, and where tighter windows and doors allow for less outdoor air exchange, (great for energy efficiency but not so great for holding in toxic fumes), I make every effort to steer clients in the direction of low voc or no voc paints.

Paint Brush

Sometimes there is a misperception of less color choices being available in eco-friendly paints.  All of the colors of a spring bouquet, and then some, can be customized for your room!

I’ve found a great site, which shares a lot of information about these harmful compounds.  Many of you may be familiar with these products, but this site shares an eco-paint primer, (pun intended), on terminology, facts, and sources.  If you click on this > Simple Earth Media <, you can see more details. 01Benjamin-Moore-Aura-paint-Inspired-formatted-2   auralustre

I’ve always been a big Benjamin Moore fan.  Now, their Aura line really has me cheering!

As an interior designer, who likes to create healthy homes, I recognize how the walls, ceilings, and trim work cover a larger surface area than some of the other products I specify.  If I can offer guidance, for just one element in green living, it would most definitely be the paint.  Even though the initial cost-per-gallon may be off-putting for some consumers, those with allergy issues and asthma will make a few less trips to the doctor.  On average, for eco-friendly paints, you could be paying $40-$55 per gallon, as opposed to $23 per gallon for a budget paint.  Here is a 2008 comparison on the top four best paints, reviewed by Consumer Search.  If you’ll notice, Benjamin Moore’s Aura was number one.


Sherwin Williams has stepped up to the plate with a real winner – Harmony.  Their Green Sure designation indicates a paint which minimizes the impact on air quality and maximizes performance.

homeImg2 A slightly lesser known brand, Mythic, was recommended to me by my painters.  This non-toxic paint, is minus the VOC’s, which can be off-gassed many years later, and can contain carcinogens.  It’s low odor, too!

One more important note - if you are considering a remodeling project, requiring any removal, sanding or disturbing of a painted surface, you will want to check out the latest information in this EPA brochure: “Contractors Lead Safety During Renovations”.  As of April 22, 2010, Federal law requires that individuals receive certain information before renovating six square feet or more of painted surfaces in a room for interior projects or more than twenty square feet of painted surfaces for exterior projects in housing, child care facilities and schools built before 1978.  They must also provide a copy of this Renovate Right brochure.

Aaaahhh . . . .  a green springtime!  Don’t you feel like you can breath a little easier?

Cheers to your health!  Wanda   icbw1


traci zeller designs said...

Super post, Wanda! It's wonderful to educate consumers about low and no VOC options!! I've actually been working on a post for tomorrow about the new Stark Paint, which is water-based and no VOC. Three cheers for eco-friendly!!

Wanda S. Horton - Interior Designer said...

Thank you, Traci! I'll look forward to reading your post about the Stark Paint. Will they be carrying it at their showroom in Charlotte?

Storibook Designs said...

Great post Wanda. I did a Trunk Show last fall and this subject was one of my main topics of the evening; introducing Mythic Paints. Another point I've found with these paints (both Mythic & BM Aura) is that the coats go on with better coverage = less paint required for the job. Not sure if your painters have found this as well.

tkpleslie said...

Wanda~Thanks so much for writing about eco friendly paints- I love that you are beginning to educate your readers about healthier(and beautiful!) choices they can make for their homes. I don't think a lot of people realize how much this one choice can affect their ability to breathe comfortably.

Have a great day, Wanda!

You rock, Wanda!

Wanda S. Horton - Interior Designer said...

Thanks for sharing your notes and updates. It's so important for consumers to know, the "little" decisions they make about products, can lead to big results.

Anne Lubner Designs said...

Great post, Wanda! I've been using "green" paint for a couple years now with great success. My painter told me it does roll on differently and that there was a learning curve to perfect its application, but now it's his #1 preference. I had him paint my bedroom with BM Aura and noticed the improvement in my breathing. All these little things that people cannot see, even after the smell is gone, do affect our health!