What’s the Best Green Interior Paint?

When it comes to green building, indoor air quality is something you can’t neglect.  One of ways to build and renovate with a focus on indoor air quality is to use a no- or low-VOC interior paint.  Going with a VOC-free paint color (both the paint and the tint) is the only way to do things these days.

According to the EPA, a volatile organic compound is a gas that’s emitted from a solid or liquid, and, although there are many different VOCs, some of them can have short- or long-term adverse health effects.

Pretty much every paint manufacturer makes a no- or low-VOC option, but that doesn’t mean they’re all the same.  The value spectrum includes various considerations, such as application, odor, maintenance, appearance, and texture.

New York Times columnist Stephen Treffinger recently tested 10 different brands of eco-friendly indoor paints and compared his top six choices in an article, “Finally, Good-Looking Non-Toxic Paint?“  He said the following paints performed the best for these reasons:

Yolo Colorhouse Interior No-VOC
Chalky finish, easiest to clean, had a slight odor, $44.95 a gallon.

Safecoat Zero VOC Flat
Applied thickly and easily, had a pleasant smell, cleaned well, $49.95 a gallon.

Benjamin Moore Natura
Applied smoothly, easy to clean, and available in 3,000 shades, $49.99 a gallon.

Mythic Interior Flat Latex
Flat finish, easy to clean, mild ammonia smell, dynamic colors, $49.99 a gallon.

Stark Paint Velvet Emulsion
Smooth and creamy application, mild ammonia smell, $76.70 a gallon.

Farrow & Ball Estate Emulsion
Applied easily, smelled like wet cement, didn’t clean well, $80 a gallon.

You’ve probably had the opportunity to use or test various different “green” paints … what do you think?  What’s the best and greenest interior paint that you’ve found?  Why?


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  • http://squallco.tumblr.com/ Kevin

    Great post. Thank you. Do they all perform the same in terms of VOC? Is each true No VOC?

  • Anonymous

    The best and greenest paint is the one that you don’t use, that is, which was never made.

    Phthalates are also a concern, possibly even more so that “VOCs”.

  • http://greenlandlady.com/site/ Elizabeth Madrigal

    YOLO Colorhouse is a fabulous company, and their paint is actually $10 less than identified here – making it a tremenous value on all levels. I recently interviewed one of the co-founders, Janie Lowe, and the interview can be found here: http://greenlandlady.com/site/products/a-conservation-with-janie-lowe-co-founder-of-yolo-colorhouse/

  • Anonymous

    I think Olympic from Lowes is a much better bang for your buck. Low/No-VOC and actually cheap.

    • Christopher St Vincent

      when Lowes adds color it is no longer VOC free

  • http://ouroakland.net Gene

    I used Yolo Colorhouse for our bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, dining room and my office. It’s great to work with, and contrary to the NY Times article, I didn’t notice any particular odor to it. They have a limited palette of colors available.

    I used Mythic for one wall in our kitchen (an accent color). Also no odor, and good to work with.

  • http://www.internationalcolourauthority.org interiors and fashion colours

    I think, Greener paints are becoming more popular. Your post is very nice regarding The Best and Greenest Interior Paint.

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