Lose the VOC: Choosing Eco-friendly Paint for Your Home


Painting isn’t as easy as slathering a coat of paint on your walls. There are a lot of things that you have to consider if you’re planning to repaint the walls in your house. You have to be aware that your choice of paint affects your home’s indoor air quality, and your family’s health as well.

Read on to learn about VOC, and why it’s an essential factor that you must consider when you’re buying paint. You will also know about several paint brands which are certified eco-friendly

Learning about VOC

Organic compounds are chemicals that can be found in all living things. VOC means the volatile organic compound, and these are organic compounds which can easily be altered to gas. Aside from carbon, VOCs also contain sulfur, hydrogen, and chlorine.

VOCs are dangerous air pollutants because they can turn into smog if combined with ground-level nitrogen oxide. Paint, solvents, and fresheners emit VOC. The products that you use in your home can expose you to high levels of VOCs.

VOC can affect your health. Short-term exposure to VOCs can result in minor discomforts like a headache, nausea, dizziness, and epistaxis. Long-term exposure can cause liver and kidney damage. These are the reasons why VOCs should be avoided as much as possible by choosing eco-friendly paint brands which contain low or no VOCs.

Choosing Eco-Friendly Paint Brands

● Farrow & Ball

The paint from this company is free from formaldehyde and ammonia, and it also uses natural pigment and other natural ingredients. The paint is also water-based, efficiently reducing the use of solvents.

● Konig Paints by Vanessa Galloway

The products under this line are water based, but it’s still durable. It’s easy to apply, and it also dries quickly, speeding up the process of your painting job. The 101 colors offered will provide good options for you.

● Benjamin Moore Aura

This paint is odor-free, and it doesn’t contain VOC. It’s also durable, and the colors don’t fade quickly.

● Mythic Paint

This non-toxic paint is odor-free and VOC-free. The absence of chemicals doesn’t affect the quality of the paint because it’s still durable and it gives excellent and lasting coverage for your walls.

● Sherwin Williams GreenSure

This specific line of products was created to produce Painting products which help the environment. The paints under this line are free from toxins and contain low VOC level.

● C2 LoVo Paint

This paint brand is unique because it uses European colorants, and it offers a vast collection of colors. C2 LoVo is also toxin-free, and it contains low VOC levels.

● Dunn Edwards Paints

Dunn Edwards colorants are free from VOC. It also puts a Reactivity-Adjusted VOC Content rating label on their products.

● Ecos Organic Paints

The water-based paints are free of toxins and VOCs. It doesn’t emit a strong odor, and it’s also ideal for people with allergies.

● AFM Safecoat

AFM Safecoat aims to eliminate harmful toxins from their products. It also seeks to eradicate bad indoor air quality for the home caused by products containing VOCs and similar toxins.

● Ecotrend Collagen Paint

With 120 colors to choose from, you’ll have a lot of options for your wall colors. It resists mold and bacteria. It’s also odorless, relieving you from the usual strong fumes of paint. These paints are also free from VOC.

Takeaway

It’s essential to make your house more beautiful by repainting your walls once in a while. Aside from beauty, you also have to consider if the paint you’ll choose is beneficial for your family’s health.

There are a lot of eco-friendly paint choices in the market. You won’t have difficulty in choosing the shade that you want. So be health-conscious with your paint choices and help your family stay healthy inside the home.

Going Green with Your Car

So you want to buy a car, but don’t know where to start. Before making any big investment, you need to do your research, compare models and car insurance rates, and drive the car yourself before making a final decision. Another important factor to note is that the average price of gasoline across Canada is over $1.10 per litre. Choosing to go green and buy a fuel-efficient vehicle or an electric vehicle will help you avoid those high gas prices while being environmentally friendly.

Fuel-efficient models save time spent filling up on gas and they also reduce the amount of smog-contributing pollution compared to driving other cars. Advanced technologies like plug-in hybrids and pure electric cars bring efficiency to a whole new level. No matter what size vehicle you’re shopping for, fuel-efficient vehicles are a smart choice against the inevitable rise of gas prices. That being said, follow this guide to find out what to consider before buying a fuel-efficient car.

1. New or used

The first question to ask yourself before buying a car is if you want it to be new or used. If you’re buying new, make sure to check the fuel-efficiency rating on the car’s EnerGuide Label. EnerGuide is the official Government of Canada mark for rating and labeling the energy consumption or energy efficiency of products including new vehicles. The fuel-efficiency rating can be found next to the gas pump logo on the label. This information will help you compare costs of vehicles and identify the most fuel-efficient car for your needs. If the car has no label you can ask the dealer about the manufacturers’ fuel consumption ratings.

If you’re buying a used car, make sure to check with Natural Resources Canada’s Fuel Consumption search & compare tool. This tool helps you compare the fuel-consumption information of different car models. You can also use this tool to look up the actual fuel consumption rating for vehicles from the 1995 model year to now. The tool will also help you to see how a vehicle compares to other vehicles in its class size, and how it compares in all size classes.

2. Hybrids

Hybrid vehicles are a cross between a conventional car and an electric car, making use of both gas and electricity. These cars are more efficient because they have a transmission capable of splitting power between an electric motor and the gas engine. The battery is charged from the engine during driving so they cannot be plugged-in.

The electric motor powers the car at low speeds while the gas engine powers the car at higher speeds. Hybrids usually are more expensive, however, depending on how often you drive, what you save on gas may be worth the investment within a few years of owning this type of vehicle.

3. Insurance policy

When looking for a new fuel-efficient car, you should compare more than just sticker prices and fuel consumption ratings, compare car insurance rates as well. Some car insurance providers are more than happy to reward environmentally friendly driving with a discount on your insurance. This discount is put into place because hybrid drivers pose a lower insurance risk than others since they drive fewer miles overall. Make sure to find out what you could save by contacting your agent.

The Importance of Ecotourism

This newer traveling trend isn’t just about enjoying the beauty of nature. It serves many purposes to the environment, cultures, and the world.

I’ve covered what ecotourism is and some of the best spots around the world to travel to, but I think it’s important to highlight exactly why this form of sustainable traveling is so important. It has more benefits than many might think, and I was even surprised by a few of them. If you’ve ever considered giving ecotourism a try, then consider the following benefits.

You: The Traveler

While experiencing something new and adventurous, you bring back more than just a few souvenirs from your travels. Ecotourism provides you with stories, memories, and conservation messages that stay with you for a lifetime. Your experience gives you a taste of the culture and the importance of preserving the natural beauty of the area you traveled to.

It gives the traveler an insight and appreciation for wildlife that they may not have had before, or strengthens the one they already have. It also gets important discussions started about conservation, whether those are about the area you visited or your home country.

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The Host Country

Natural areas used to only be valued for the resources they could provide, but ecotourism has given these areas a new value. Now, people appreciate them for their landscapes, wildlife, and indigenous cultures. It also helps to preserve these areas, making the thrill of seeing animals in the jungle more important to the world than cutting down the trees for lumber.

The Communities

Ecotourism benefits developing communities by creating a more stable economy. From lodge owners all the way to local shops, the flow of money helps to create environmentally-friendly jobs and spur conservation efforts within these communities. Each dollar spent helps feed children, save animals, and house families.

Global Impact

Easily on of the fastest growing industries in the world, ecotourism’s influence is constantly spreading farther across the globe. Every person in every piece of the puzzle is an ambassador for positive environmental change on a global scale. The powerful stories you as the traveler and they as the community are able to tell cause more and more individuals to hop on the sustainable, eco-living bandwagon.

I am passionate about the positive influence ecotourism is having on the world and its natural habitats. As this nature conscious trend continues to grow, and it will, the world will identify and appreciate the importance of preserving what natural ecosystems we have left to enjoy. What are your thoughts on ecotourism, and have you ever traveled to a natural destination?

The Best Ecotourism Destinations in the U.S.

Looking to take an eco-friendly vacation without wasting precious fossil fuels while saving money? There are more places in North America than you might think!

Countries like Africa, Australia, and South America offer a plethora of eco-lodges that offer low-impact tourism centered around the indigenous peoples of the area. In the United States, however, ecotourism seems to be a scarce and rarely heard of phenomenon. It isn’t impossible to find wonderful destinations in our country though.

If you are starting to plan your next eco-trip, consider some of these beautiful locations!

Eco-Tourism in the U.S.

I had to do a little digging to find eco-tourism locations in the country, or even its neighbors, which prompted me to find out why this wonderful way of traveling hasn’t taken off here like it has in other countries. The main reason stems from the fact that environmentally-responsible tourism has its roots in developing nations. A large part of the movement is giving back to local communities that are just beginning to blossom.

The U.S. does not have a national, government-run tourism board like many other nations have. This has led to smaller community-based organizations heading the movement. While North America might not have the same scale of eco-tourism that other countries do, you can still experience rapidly evolving eco-destinations in the country.

Most of them are far from perfect, but I picked out the top two locations based on the principles of eco-tourism.

El Monte Sagrado

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This resort made entirely of adobe-styled structures, constructed from fly ash, can be found in Taos, New Mexico. It runs on what they call the “Living Machine”, which consists of plants and sea life that treat water for reuse. That, and photovoltaic solar cells that power the electrical components of the Living Machine as well as heating and cooling.

The resort collects rainwater, composts, recycles, and even uses water from their Living Machine to irrigate crops. They transport treated water back to the city of Taos, and have even founded a local school.

Sadie Cove

Located in Homer, Alaska, this wilderness lodge features off-the-grid coastal cabins in Kachemak Bay State Park. Using hydroelectric power from a nearby stream, each cabin effectively runs on alternative energy. They offer meals from their organic vegetable garden, and focus heavily on their “leave no trace” philosophy.

I found their benefits to the local ecosystem interesting. They are actively working to have the area officially declared a mountain goat sanctuary, which means you can definitely observe the adorable creatures in their natural habitat.

Have you ever been to either of these locations? Do you know of any other great eco-tourism locations in the U.S.?

What Exactly is Ecotourism?

Maybe you’ve heard of the term ecotourism before, maybe you haven’t. Either way, this post is here to inform you on this absolutely fantastic way of travel.

Everything seems to be going “eco” these days, and that couldn’t make me any happier. From the spur in health consciousness to business adopting environmentally friendly practices, the world is slowly becoming a better, more sustainable place.

Ecotourism is one of the practices people around the globe have been picking up, but what exactly is it? How does one do it? These questions an more are all answered below!

Defining Ecotourism

The International Ecotourism Society defines ecotourism as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education.” Essentially, it means leaving only your footprints behind when you visit a location.

The Principles

As with any movement, there are a set of principles to follow when practicing this form of travel. It starts with minimizing any impact you may have on the environment as well as the culture and people of the area. That can be as simple as not leaving your trash on a hiking path, or something more thought-driven like respecting the customs of a particular religion or culture.

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Aside from respecting the people of the area, I try to contribute direct financial support for any conservation efforts they make. Alternatively, I could financially help the surrounding area by choosing to buy from only local small businesses. I would also avidly work to conserve natural resources by using as little power and water as possible.

The end goal is to unite conservation, communities, and sustainable travel. Some even take things a step further by choosing to stay in the area and work to market it as an ecotourist location while helping to construct low-impact facilities and aiding the indigenous people of the area in conservation efforts.

Others choose to become interpreters who uphold the area’s spiritual beliefs and create positive interactions between visitors and indigenous people.

Sustainable Travel Just Makes Sense

Traveling to a new location is always an exciting adventure, but enjoying and preserving the beauty of nature while doing it is even more of an enriching experience. As traveler’s, we have to do our part to preserve environments and cultures around the world before industrialization and mega corporations decimate them.

What are your thoughts on ecotourism? Where have you traveled to recently where you could put these principles into action? I would love to hear about it!

Your Guide to Ecotourism

If you’ve ever wondered what this growing trend is, then these 5 steps can help you make the most of yur next vacation.

Ecotourism goes by many names, like green travel or ethical travel, but what exactly is it and how can you go about doing it? While though I understand the concept behind it, even I had a tough time figuring out how to leave nothing but my footprints behind when traveling.

I decided to take some advice and a well deserved trip to the Grand Canyon. These are the five sustainable steps I followed to keep things as green as possible.

1. Keep it Simple

Packing light is the first step to making your travels as eco-friendly as possible. A lighter load means better fuel efficiency for the plane you are flying on. While it was difficult to pick and choose only the necessities, I found that the money saved on baggage was well worth it.

2. Conserve Water

This is one you can do at home as well, but save water everywhere you can. I took shorter showers, turned off the faucet while brushing my teeth, and even re-used my towels for a few day instead of washing them.

Honestly, I didn’t find this part all that challenging. Sure, I didn’t get to take a luxuriously long shower but I did my part to not waste a precious resource. Plus, I didn’t even have to use the hotel’s laundry service.

3. Conserve Energy

These are things I do at home already, but they certainly help to keep things green. The easiest way to accomplish this step is by turning everything off (AC, TV, lights, everything) and putting the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door. That keeps housecleaning from using up energy to run the vacuum while keeping my room free from harsh cleaning chemicals.

4. Reuse and Recycle

While it might be common sense to not throw your trash wherever you’d like, I actually found it difficult to break a few old habits for this one. For instance, returning brochures and maps when I was done using them took some getting used to. Things like refilling the same water bottle all week and using only one bar of soap for both my shower and hand washing routines also took a little more conscious thought than I’d like to admit.

5. Leave Only Footprints

I’m a huge fan of adventure. but straying from hiking trails can harm the native flora, which can have negative consequences to the rest of the ecosystem. By not straying off on my own path, I was helping preserve local wildlife!

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The Hidden Final Step

I would like to add respecting the culture and the area to this list. While Arizona isn’t exactly exotic to us here in the states, it adds to the traveling experience when you immerse yourself in the ways of a people.

How do you stay green when travelling? I’d love to hear about your travels and experiences!