When trying to spruce up your office, you have several avenues to explore. You could change the furniture or hang up some bold artwork. You could buy a few plants or switch up your lighting. For the biggest impact, painting your walls with either a fresh coat of the same colour or something new is hands down the way to go.
However, paint comes with its own hazards. Some older paints have lead in them, and even newer latex and oil paints can contain harsh and dangerous chemicals. Navigating these difficulties can feel like a minefield, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
There are many reasons to go for eco-friendly paint. Maybe someone in the office is pregnant. Maybe you’re worried about the health problems that can come along with run-of-the-mill paint. Maybe you’re passionate about the environment and don’t want to compromise your values just because you want to revamp your space.
If you decide to go green, you have a great array of options to choose from. Here’s what you need to know to make the best choice for you and your office.
Understanding Volatile Organic Compounds
Your average can of paint likely contains volatile organic compounds, which are also known as VOCs. They’re gas emissions from certain solids and liquids, usually used and created in the manufacturing of paints, refrigerants, and pharmaceuticals.
When you use regular paint, VOCs can leech out of the paint and into the air. The EPA has found that common organic pollutants are between 2 to 5 times higher inside homes than outside.
VOCs And Your Health
VOCs can cause short- and long-term health issues. These issues can range from small problems, like nausea, to much more serious problems like liver damage and memory impairment.
With the dangers of VOCs in regular paint, it makes sense to seek out eco-friendly alternatives. Your office should be conducive to focus and productivity, not anxiety about VOCs and the stress of dealing with the potential health issues that go along with them.
Choosing eco-friendly paint for your office interior protects you from VOCs and the health risks that come along with them.
VOCs And The Environment
Maybe your primary motivation for seeking out eco-friendly paint for your office interior is to protect the environment. VOCs have been proven to damage the environment in several ways.
VOCs primarily harm the environment by contributing to acid rain and ozone formation. Using products such as interior paint may seem like no big deal, but in reality, they can have disastrous consequences.
Acid rain runs into plant and animal ecosystems, draining the soil’s nutrients and releasing aluminum, which harms both plants and animals. In this way, VOCs from sources such as interior paint can contribute to the damage and destruction of ecosystems.
When VOCs are released into the air, they can contribute to ozone formation. While ozone in the atmosphere protects the planet from ultraviolet radiation, ozone at ground level is hazardous to humans as well as the environment.
Ground-level ozone can lead to smog, which leads to plants developing diseases or being unable to grow to their fullest potential, environmental stress, and diminished survival of tree seedlings. When ozone reacts to sunlight on warm days, smog is more rapidly produced and the quality of the air drops dramatically.
Both acid rain and ozone formation, increased due to the presence of VOCs, harm not only us but the ecosystems around us. Choosing an eco-friendly paint option for your office interior is a must if you’re environmentally conscious.
Oil-Based Paints Versus Water-Based Paints
Oil-based paints have several redeeming qualities, such as their superior resilience to wear-and-tear. However, besides their well-known offensive smell and long drying time, they have a much higher VOC concentration than water-based paint, also known as latex paint.
This isn’t to say that latex paint has no VOCs, but when given the option to choose between oil-based paint and water-based paint, water is the way to go.
Low-VOC and No-VOC
Many well-known paint brands carry low-VOC or no-VOC paints. Both are great options when you compare them to paint with an average amount of VOCs! However, they can be pretty different.
Low-VOC paint just has lower VOCs compared to other paint—there’s no fixed amount of VOCs to make a paint low-VOC, it just has relatively fewer VOCs. This makes it a better option than regular paint, but not necessarily the best paint available.
Paint labeled “No-VOC” can also be misleading. While the paint itself contains extremely low amounts of VOCs, the tinting process can actually add VOCs to the paint. Unfortunately, choosing a no-VOC paint doesn’t mean you’re home free.
Find An All-Natural Option
If you’ve found a low-VOC or no-VOC paint option, that’s great! The next step to making sure your choice is the most eco-friendly is to look for paints labeled ‘non-toxic’ or ‘all-natural.’
These paints use ingredients such as plant oils, clay, and natural latex to deliver the colour you want while also protecting you and the environment from harsh and dangerous chemicals and additives.
The downside to these paints is that since they’re formulated differently than regular paint, they may perform differently, too. They can also be harder to find, so you might have to hop on the internet to get what you’re looking for.
Regardless of the challenges that come with using all-natural or non-toxic paint, they are truly some of the cleanest, safest options when it comes to choosing eco-friendly paint for your office interior.
It’s All Relative
When it comes to choosing eco-friendly paint, you have many options. From picking latex over oil to seeking out all-natural paint, you can take several paths in finding more eco-friendly paint. It all depends on what you believe is best for your office interior.
You deserve to have an office that feels efficient, professional, and aesthetically pleasing. The last thing that should be on your mind is the danger of paint on your walls. When you choose eco-friendly paint for your office interior, you get to focus on what really matters—your space.