Looking for a low-stakes way to architectonics for the bloom of your client? Start with your acrylic selection. Going the added mile back sourcing paint, from low VOCs to third-party certification, can advice annihilate the accident of breath in toxins from aerial chemicals—for audience and installers. Accede the afterward belief back sourcing acceptable paints for your abutting project.
Get accustomed with VOCsMany accepted autogenous products—including assertive paints, varnishes, and disinfectants—contain airy amoebic compounds (VOCs). These compounds, which act as solvents to accord acrylic its adapted consistency, are appear into the air as they dry. And admitting best VOCs blow into the air already the acrylic has dried, they can abide to offgas baby amounts for months and alike years to come.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, VOCs can be activate in paints, as able-bodied as in aggregate from accoutrement to air fresheners to charwoman products. Not alone do these articles afford able odors, but acknowledgment to some VOCs can, in the abbreviate term, account affliction to the eyes, nose, and throat, dizziness, and nausea. Some VOCs (including formaldehyde and benzene) are accepted carcinogens and/or may advance to agency damage.
Though federal regulations absolute the bulk of VOCs in architectural coatings (a aphorism in the Clean Air Act dictates that autogenous and exoteric coatings cannot beat added than 250 grams of VOCs per liter), abounding acrylic manufacturers action “low” or “zero” VOC options. Admitting these paints are marketed as “better for you,” accumulate in apperception that they are not absolutely VOC-free: According to the Blooming Home Guide, a customer website from the U.S. Blooming Architectonics Council,“low-VOC” paints are advised those with beneath than 50 grams of VOCs per liter; “zero-VOC,” adverse to its monicker, contains beneath than 5 grams per liter. Also analysis the characterization for accepted VOCs including toluene, xylene, acetone, methyl ethyl ketone, and ethyl acetate.
It’s all about that baseWhen selecting a coating, accede its base—a key betrayal for VOC content. “Latex, or water-based, paints will accept lower levels of VOC than oil-based paints, with low-VOC and VOC-free options actuality best for air quality,” explains LEED-certified artist Jeffrey Dungan, whose close is based in Birmingham, Alabama. Instead of utilizing solvents as oil-based paints do, the primary colorant carrier in acrylic (or acrylic) paints is water.
Designer Thomas A. Kligerman of AD100 close Ike Kligerman Barkley swears by Benjamin Moore’s water-based Natura acrylic back sourcing. “It performs beautifully,” he says. “A day afterwards the acrylic is dry, there is no actinic scent—in fact, there is no aroma at all.”
Dungan, meanwhile, prefers to use mineral-based paints with no VOCs whenever possible. Mineral acrylic (which has been about for added than a century) consists of adhesive and silicates in lieu of petrochemicals. Rather than basic a layer, the blanket forms a actinic band with the apparent it’s activated to, consistent in a abiding finish. Dungan’s go-to cast for mineral-based paints is Romabio.
Look for certificationsStill borderline whether your acrylic acquirement is absolutely bigger for you? Further validate your acquirement by attractive to third-party certifiers—organizations that analysis and authorize standards for architectonics products, including paint.
Third-party groups accommodate Blooming Seal, GREENGUARD, LEED, Collaborative for High Performance Schools, The Master Painters Institute, Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, and the Cradle to Cradle Articles Innovation Institute. Abounding of these organizations accept searchable acceptable artefact indexes, like the Cradle to Cradle Certified Artefact Registry, the Living Future Institute’s Declare Database, or the MindfulMATERIALS database.
Also analysis your artefact for disclosures such as a Bloom Artefact Declaration (operated by the Bloom Artefact Collaborative) or a Declare Characterization (operated by the International Living Future Institute), two autonomous accoutrement that acknowledge a product’s capacity and authenticate acquiescence with assorted blooming architectonics appraisement systems such as LEED or the WELL architectonics standard.
Dig deeperThough artefact manufacturers are authoritative cogent strides in accretion accuracy (Benjamin Moore, for example, has reformulated its artefact curve to abate VOCs), the onus is still on you to do your appointment back sourcing paints.
Seek out continuing apprenticeship workshops through your bounded AIA or ASID affiliate focused on abstracts and wellness (as a bonus, such courses can accumulate you credits for your autogenous architectonics or architectonics license). Also activate to accustom yourself with lists like the International Living Future Institute’s LBC Red List, which provides guidelines for how to abstain “worst-in-class” chemicals and abstracts generally activate in architectonics products. Of course, as an accessible aboriginal step, don’t be abashed to quiz your go-to acrylic rep to apprentice added about the capacity in your adopted paint.
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