Continuing on from my blog last week on Resene’s PaintWise recycling scheme, this week let’s look at eco friendly paints.
Firstly here are the main alternatives to conventional paints with the safest option first:
- Milk paint: A mixture of casein, a protein found in milk and earth pigments, milk paint has a smooth matt finish suitable for interior walls and furnishings.
- Lime wash: Made from lime and natural pigments, lime wash gives walls, both internal and external, a weathered look.
- Natural/organic paints: These are usually made from vegetable and mineral extracts bound with natural oils or resins. Some natural paints still contain conventional pigments such as titanium oxide and natural solvents that can be low-level irritants.
- Voc-free paints: These have the same make-up as conventional paints but exclude VOCs.
- Low-voc paints: These are made from petrochemicals with reduced levels of VOCs.
What are volatile organic compounds (VOC)? Well they are gases emitted by various solids or liquids, many of which can have adverse health effects. Paints that are low in VOC improve indoor air quality and also offer low odour, excellent durability and a washable finish.
Check paint labelling for the following:
- To be low VOC the paint should consist of <50 grams per litre (g/l) of VOC
- To be zero VOC the paint should consist of <5 g/l of VOC
- Solid content usually ranges from 25-45%. Higher solid percentages mean less VOC’s.
One point I thought worth noting when in the planning stage is to be colour conscious as colour has an effect on energy usage. A dark room may require more artificial light and increased energy to cool it in summer. Instead of painting, maybe consider leaving some surfaces showing their timber finish which can be coated with natural oils or beeswax.
The next question is – where can I find eco friendly paints in New Zealand? Here’s some options:
Biopaints are a Nelson based, New Zealand owned company who offer paints with natural ingredients including plant oils, waxes, tree resins and china clay. Biopaint products don’t include chlorinated hydrocarbon, fungicides, insecticides, bactericides, xylene, toluene, benzene, formaldehyde, phenol and heavy metals like lead, mercury or copper.
PaintPlus is another New Zealand made company. They are CarboNZero: the manufacturing process and distribution is certified carbon neutral. A world first for a paint manufacturer! The paint is low odour and formulated to avoid heavy metals while the levels of VOC are well below the limits set by legislation and eco label criteria.
So New Zealand offers some great alternatives to conventional paints – give them a go!
Image from: http://www.biopaints.co.nz/interior/