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Low VOC Paint

New Product Review

by schmidt on April 15, 2009 · 0 comments

in Sustainable Building Materials

Kelly Moore has been kicking around a new line of Zero VOC paints – I bought a few gallons of the Green Coat Line (I Have been using the Low-VOC EnvriCoat line for a few years now) and its seems pretty good.  Fairly low cost, $17.33 a gallon with my commercial discount – seemed to work just fine.  KM also has a line called “Yolo” I have not used, but props of some sort for a nice sustainable display in the store, complete with Soy Based ink, FSC certified little brochures – I am guessing they are a third party selling their paint through KM, but I am not 100% on that.  Anyhoo seems worth a whirl though I have not myself, but if anyone has leave a note.  One thing I finally figured out was what exactly some of these mysterious VOCs are – I always new formaldhyde was one, that crap seems to be everywhere, and amonia, but you can also add to the list ethylene glycol and crystalline silica – though for me, the non chemist guy, crystalline silica does not seem particularely horrid.  Feel free to correct me if I am wrong.



Dwell Magazine has a great piece in this month’s issue on Eco-Friendly House Paints.  I would link the article but Dwell’s site is clunky and I can’t find it.  Good rag though, I always like thumbing through it, and its a local SF business so props to them.  Anyways, I have much love for low/no VOC paints.  Painting is one of the easiest and most cost effective renovation jobs a person can take on, and it can be an opportunity to go and save green at the same time.

I was at Cole Hardware the other day checking out their low/no Benjamine Moore paints, and the prices are very comparable to the regular stuff – within a buck or two.  I have seen the same aggressive pricing at the Kelly Moore stores as well, (BTW – were these like a brother sister family thing, the Moores – that decided to get all competitive with the paint?)

So why low/no VOC paint?  Well, let me tell you, it doesn’t smell like a chemical factory for one thing, so you do not have to fill your lungs with the crap they mix into standard paint. Less chemicals for your house as well, which is always good.

What are these evil VOCs?  As near as I can tell, not being a chemist, they are chemicals like Acetone, Ammonia and Formaldehyde.  In regular paints they are found in concentrations of over 125 parts per liter.  Low VOC paints have less than 20 parts per liter, and no VOCs have, well, I will let you figure that out.  I myself use low/no voc paint exclusively in my rental units and in our remodels.  I have no complaints, it is safer for my workers, better for my tenants, good for the environment, and pretty much the same price.

Win Win, Win and Win.