Ask The Painter: Going Green

June 23, 2010

How is the Painting Industry “Going Green”?

The guidelines governing “green” materials (among other things) are documented in the LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System™ a voluntary set of guidelines and practices set by the U.S. Green Building Council*. Current LEED® guidelines for an interior latex paint to be designated as “green” set the limits of VOCs in flat sheen paints as being 50 grams/liter or less, and 150 g/l or less for non-flat sheens (eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, etc.). VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compounds – basically the stuff in the paint we worry about from an environmental point of view.

As the various paint manufacturers move toward producing “greener” paints, the number of “green” paint products has grown. Some of the products have zero VOCs until tinted, some are “package” colors that are tinted at the factory with zero-VOC pigments, and some have levels of VOCs that are above zero, but still meet the LEED® guidelines.

In many cases, the “green” paints perform as well as their non-green counterparts, and at little or no additional cost. In other cases, the “green” paints do not perform as well and may even require additional coats to adequately cover, thereby significantly increasing the cost of a job due to extra labor and materials. With pre-tinted “package” paints, job logistics may be complicated by the need to pre-order enough paint to complete the job. While one store may stock enough of a given color to paint one or two rooms, painting a whole house interior with multiple coats may require waiting for the paint to be ordered or making trips to several stores to gather up enough paint for the job.

At Southern Painting, we have experience working with several of the major manufacturers “green” paints. If you are interested in getting a quote for a painting project using “green” paints, just let us know and we will be glad to discuss this with you.

* For more information on the U.S. Green Building Council and LEED®, please visit their web site.

Copyright 2009 Jeff Stec

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