Today the paint colors in my new office put me in the perfect Saint Patrick’s Day mood.  Three of the walls are  spa-like sea foam green called ‘Stillness’ and the last is a darker peacock green called ‘Crownhill’ accent.

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I love those names.

In fact I’m not sure which convinced me when I decided upon those paint hues – the actual color chips or the names.

Prior to finishing the room, there was much discussion amongst the family about what the color should be. I just figured while we built it, the light and space and cocoa brown floor tile would speak to me.

It did.

If you tend to favor some shade of green, it’s no surprise. I’m told that ‘the greens’ are the easiest on our eye because we see more shades of it in our visible spectrum than any other color.

It’s one of the most popular decorating colors too. No wonder with our nature-based roots (no pun intended).  We find it a calming, refreshing choice.

There’s actually a psychology to colors. They affect our mood, emotion and behavior. We also tend to assign various meanings to the spectrum. Growth, nature and money are typically attributed to green.

(Maybe my subconscious voted for green hoping those attributes would bless my new business?!)

It’s not simply because the color green is so universally preferred that I mention it, it’s the green build health-based reason too …

The common adage that ‘beauty is only skin deep’ applies perfectly to the paint colors you use at home.

How?  Let me explain…

In people, we generally mean the only thing that should matter about a person is their personality – Not what they look like right?

Well the last time you painted, did you consider the ‘personality’ of the paint?  By that I mean consider whether or not it contains volatile organic compounds or VOCs?

Products with VOCs are linked to human respiratory problems and air pollution. Smoggy ozone at ground level is harmful. It is a difficult pollutant to control because it is not emitted into the air, but actually forms in the atmosphere through a photochemical process.

VOCs in the air react with oxides of nitrogen and sunlight to form ozone. For this reason limiting VOCs is an effective method of control according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The durability and price of greener paint choices is improving all the time. Paint brands containing no more than 50 grams per liter (ie., low-VOC) not too long ago commonly contained 380 grams in the most-used low-luster paints.

Some brands have ‘green’ certifications that are self-awarded or from independent groups. Look for these three independent ratings – GreenGuard, Green Seal Certified, and/or Master Paint Institute (MPI) Green performance.

You may also spot GreenSure (created by Sherwin-Williams) and Green Promise (created by Benjamin Moore).

Your goal for your next project is to use ultra green zero-VOC paint. Schools and hospitals commonly use this because there is virtually no smell (notwithstanding the positive health benefits).

For our 2010 Green Remodel Idea House we used GreenGuard certified Glidden/Dulux Lifemaster Zero VOC Interior Eggshell 9300 for the walls. It is a reasonably priced, high quality paint.

It’s important to know that even eco-friendly paints can become tainted at the store because most color tints added in contain some VOCs!  This varies based upon the color and the manufacturer. We determined at the Idea House the hues we chose contained extremely low amounts.

If you are very chemically sensitive, then it’s worth investing in milk-based or other non-toxic coatings like Mythic Paint. The manufacturer claims zero VOCs, toxins or harmful fumes.

It’s no accident that green symbolizes Saint Patrick’s Day and is traced to three-leaf clovers Patrick used to explain the Holy Trinity to parishioners. It is the traditional color of harmony, nurturing, well-paced energy and luck.

I’d love to hear what luck you’ve had finding zero VOC paint and how you used it in your next green remodeling project.

Me? I’m especially counting on the well-paced energy that’ll be generated in my office.

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