in Greener Homes on 31 May 2009
Eco-paints are good for your health and for the planet.
It might signify a job well done, but that new paint smell can be bad for you. The volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in conventional paint give off low-level toxic fumes that can worsen asthma and cause headaches, among other health problems. They also add to air pollution. “On exterior surfaces, the ‘off-gasing’ of VOCs produces smog,” says Daniel Wurm, from Green Painters. Happily, there are eco-friendly options.
Most brands offer low VOC coatings in the full range of colours, for about the same price as premium grade paints. To avoid greenwash, Mr Wurm recommends products bearing the Good Environmental Choice Australia tick. It certifies that the product is low VOC and that its manufacturing process met environmental performance standards.
“If you’re serious about making a difference to the environment you can’t beat natural paints,” Mr Wurm says. They’re made from renewable or highly abundant resources such as clay, linseed oil and citrus oil, and come in a wide range of colours. The only catch is cost: up to double the price of standard paints. “But in comparison to a house, it’s still a very small amount,” he says.
Heat reflective paints
Exterior paints are now available that are both insulating and low VOC. “They can cut your cooling costs by up to 40 per cent,” Mr Wurm says “They reflect solar radiation so they stop the heat from getting into your house in the first place.”