While I have been waiting for a lot of boring (but necessary) things to be completed for our home I have been trying to think of the fun stuff that we will get to choose for our home. One of the things I’ve been thinking about lately is paint. My entire house will be painted so of course I want to find eco friendly options, as paint can be pretty toxic. While we’re getting some other things done, I have been researching paint companies that make more environmentally friendly paints. While doing my research, I found three main brands that stood out to me and those are Colorhouse Paint, Clare Paint, and Ecos Paint.
When thinking of paint and the environment, you might not know what to look for. The main thing are VOCs. According to Clare’s website, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), are carbon-containing compounds, emitted as gasses, that can pollute the air in your home and the environment. VOCs are commonly present in a wide array of household products, including paints made with carbon-based solvents. VOCs contribute to ozone pollution which is bad for the environment. VOCs also contribute to air pollution indoors. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), VOCs contribute 2 to 5 times higher pollution of air indoors than outdoors, which is why it’s important to us to create products that support healthier indoor air environments. There are also certifications that companies can have as well to prove they are environmentally friendly.
After a ton of reading up on VOCs and having Clare and Ecos Paint claim zero VOC it made me wonder why Colorhouse didn’t claim that. When I read in more depth on their blog about the claims (which you can find here), they say they want to be as transparent as possible with their customers. And even if paint is labeled as zero VOC, there are still VOCs allowed (a small amount). So, while Colorhouse chooses not to label their paint as zero VOC it still meets standards that these other companies are claiming. Here’s a closer look.
Colorhouse and VOCs
Maximum VOC Content for Inspired untinted base paint and primer: 3 g/L (as determined by ASTM Test Method D 6886). The VOC content may increase after tinting.
Clare and VOCs
While no VOCs have been intentionally added to our products, trace amounts may be present as residual components of other ingredients. VOC contents in paint are regulated by the EPA. As per EPA Test Method 24, a paint is classified as Zero VOC if it contains less than 5 g/L of VOC content. The maximum VOC content levels in our paint are as follows:
Wall Paint 2 g/L Trim Paint 2 g/L Ceiling Paint 2 g/L Primer 3 g/L (ASTM Test Method D 6886)
Ecos and VOCs
I couldn’t find anything on their website about specific VOCs, except that they created a paint without them. And they did have this disclaimer: At ECOS, we recognize the need to “Think Beyond Zero VOC.” Many chemicals that can cause illness are not regulated VOCs, so simply knowing the amount of VOCs in a product doesn’t really tell you how harmful it is. We carefully select our ingredients for the well-being of our customers, avoiding all chemicals that are known to cause irritation, illness, and discomfort.
Certifications & The Environment
I couldn’t find any certifications for Ecos on their website.
Clare has the GREENGUARD Gold Certification.
Colorhouse has the Green Wise certification. Both the Green Wise and GREENGUARD Gold Certifications have to do with indoor air quality. Colorhouse is also LEED compliant, which means they are using green building practices in designing, constructing and operating buildings to maximize occupant health and productivity, use fewer resources, reduce waste and negative environmental impacts, and decrease life cycle costs. As well as the South Coast Air Quality Management District - Super Compliant, and MPI Extreme Green Certified. And, last which is one of my favorite things - Colorhouse has a Paintcare drop off site at their warehouse where you can drop off old paint and they will recycle it so it doesn’t end up in landfills. You can find other Paintcare drop off sites here. And if you’re in Oregon, you can drop it off at the Colorhouse Paint headquarters:
519 NE Hancock #B
Portland, Oregon 97212
Once I found the companies and did the research and knew they were better paint, I asked for fan decks from all of them so I could see color options right in front of me. All three companies were so nice and sent over fan decks right away. The cards really helped me see the colors more clearly than online. Things can look different online due to lighting, internet browsers and more. So make sure to see it in person. Looking at colors online can be helpful, but it’s not the same as having a physical sample. Plus, now that I have color cards I can place them with other samples I will eventually get like kitchen cabinets, hardware and tiles.
While flipping through the color cards, they were all so different. Colorhouse arranged their card like a fashion line - different colors and shades within a category. Ecos Paint is much more similar to standard paint, where the fan card showed so many different options for so all the colors. They definitely had the most colors to choose from! And, Clare took a different approach saying they didn’t want to overwhelm you with colors so they have a smaller arrangement. The really cool thing about the Clare color card is you can remove the color chip, it just peels right off so you can stick it anywhere to see your color.
After finding the eco friendly paints and accessing the colors themselves, there was also the question of primers. Which all companies offer a primer. And all three companies paints are also self priming, which is great if you’re painting over existing paint. But, with new construction you still need to prime new surfaces in order to paint. So, I will have to be purchase primer as well. You can also order all of this paint online for each company, which makes it super easy to get even in remote areas like Mammoth Lakes.
So, the last thing I was evaluating was price. Because, based on the above these paints are all very similar in that they are eco friendly, they all have great colors, they’re all self priming, and they all sell primers as well. The pricing though, was not all the same. Colorhouse is your most budget friendly paint with a gallon being only $45. Clare came in second with a gallon being $49 and Ecos is the most expensive with a gallon being $65.35. Colorhouse also gives you a small discount when you buy 5 gallons. So, while I probably could have been happy with almost any of these paint options, as I mentioned we are definitely on a budget for this house. And, with all the other things being pretty similar price was my deciding factor in choosing a paint. And, I also felt that Colorhouse was the MOST eco conscious brand after reading everything on all three websites. So we will be using Colorhouse throughout our entire house, and I will share paint colors that I choose once we get to painting!