In cities across the United States green living and healthy building strategies are becoming increasingly popular. From San Francisco, CA to Asheville, North Carolina, the green real estate market is hot and using Earth friendly products for home renovations is becoming standard practice. According to educational web sites and industry publications indoor air is often two or three times more polluted than outdoor air because of toxins found in paints, stains and finishes.
In his article entitled “Avoiding Paint Toxicity”, published on http://www.ArchitectureWeek.com, writer Rick Braunshausen says, “Poor indoor air quality is one of the most serious problems that architects and engineers work to rectify in both new and existing buildings.” “The effect of toxic agents from paints is especially dangerous when the building remains occupied during remodeling or repainting,” he continues. So what can you do to protect yourself and your loved ones from harsh chemicals when painting inside your home? The first and most important step is to get educated.
The Air is Always Greener in a Home Safe From VOC’s
Many homeowners and homebuyers are familiar with the dangers of lead paint. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission, http://www.cpsc.gov/, has a public safety alert posted online that explains what you need to know about lead based paint in your home. Homes built prior to 1980 are most at risk for lead contamination from paint. Real estate agents are required to provide a lead base paint disclosure form to any homebuyer investing in a home built prior to 1978. This is especially important for families because children have a higher sensitivity to lead. Lead paint must be ingested or inhaled for poisoning to occur and tests can be done on paint in your home if lead is a potential concern. Lead is not the only toxic substance found in paint, finishes and stains, however, there are other chemicals that are dangerous for both people and animals.
Volatile organic compounds, also called VOC’s, are found in solvent-based paints and when used in enclosed areas can cause a variety of health conditions. According to writer Christi Graham, featured on http://www.HealthyHomePlans.com/, “The American Lung Association reports that VOC’s can produce a number of physical problems such as: eye and skin irritation, lung and breathing problems, headaches, nausea, muscle weakness and liver and kidney damage.” “VOC’s are consistently ten times higher indoors than outdoors, with numbers rising to 1,000 times higher after a new coat of paint,” Graham continues.
In the past VOC chemicals were considered necessary for paint to be high performance, but new environmental initiatives have promoted the development and sale of low-VOC and zero-VOC paints, stains and finishes. Low-VOC and zero-VOC paints are less harmful to humans and the Earth but are still durable and affordable. As green products become more readily available on the market these alternative paints will become more cost effective, especially for homeowners with children.
Green Living Tips for Painting the Interior of Your Home
Living a green lifestyle means many things to many people. Using non-toxic paints is a great first step to creating a healthier home environment. Here are some tips for getting started on your next painting project.
Tip 1. Use low-VOC, zero-VOC or natural paints. Currently there are a wide variety of paint companies on the market offering lines of non-toxic paint for indoor use. Alternative paint companies specializing in green products and even mainstream paint producers like Sherwin Williams have created low and zero-VOC products for indoor home use.
Tip 2. Always be certain you have enough air ventilation when painting your home and buy paints with sealing properties that help decrease outgassing. Keep in mind that outgassing is at its worst for the first four days. Large fans placed in open windows and doorways are essential for avoiding harmful fumes and even small amounts of VOC’s.
Tip 3. Compare prices on various nontoxic paints. As the trend of green paint products gains attention alternative paints will continue to become more competitive in price. Many paints and other green products can be researched and purchased online.
Tip 4. Choose the right paint for the right job. Different types of paint serve different purposes in the home. For instance, if you plan to paint a kitchen or bathroom make sure the paint can withstand scrubbing and cleaning.
Tip 5. Buy the right amount of paint for the job. Find out the square footage of the room or rooms you want to paint and purchase the amount of paint necessary for that square footage. This will reduce waste and save money.
Environmental concerns will become more prevalent in the future and green real estate practices can help preserve the Earth and keep you and our family healthy.
For more information on green real estate and healthy built homes visit [http://www.JaneSellsAsheville.com]
Jane Kayton is a real estate agent with Century 21 All Seasons based in Asheville, NC. She specializes in helping her clients find the perfect mountain homes and land near Asheville. Jane is also an avid whitewater rafter and hiker. To learn more about real estate in Western North Carolina visit her web site [http://www.JaneSellsAsheville.com]