Clearing the Air in Your Office
Business owners have a lot to think about. Expenses, staff, clients, taxes, and economic ups and downs — just to name a few. Add to the list of worries is the health of their office space. Nowadays, we’ve come to understand that the buildings we inhabit, whether home or office, have an impact on our overall health, and employers are searching for ways to improve the health and wellbeing of these structures.
The green movement is on the rise across the nation as more and more people understand the importance of energy conservation and pollution controls. We hear a lot about clean air as it relates to the outdoors, but what about the air you breathe inside your home or place of business? Many people are getting sick due to indoor pollution, which can be caused by a number of things. Believed to be the worst offenders of “sick building syndrome” are mold, poor ventilation, and chemical pollutants. Symptoms can range from nausea, headache, dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath, tightening of the chest, and eye, nose and throat irritation.
Chemical pollutants such as volatile organic compounds or VOCs, are especially sinister as they lurk in many places: carpets, cleaning materials, and the interior paint on all of the walls and ceilings. Worse still is that they have been linked to serious health issues such as kidney and liver damage, and even cancer.
But there is good news for business owners. Low/no VOC paint is available in both the residential and commercial market. For medical practices with patients who suffer particularly from respiratory illnesses, no VOC paint would be a blessing. OB/GYN patients and pediatric offices would also benefit enormously from the healthier environment an eco-friendly paint would provide.
It goes without saying that any space painted with a low/no VOC paint would afford employees and patients alike a healthier workplace. Consult your commercial paint contractor to select the best product for your particular project as more and more manufacturers are introducing eco-friendly paints to the market. To know for certain what you’re getting, check for the “Green Seal label”. This non-profit group requires compliance with a strict set of criteria for green standards.
When the time comes to repaint your office space, think green for your employee’s health, your patient’s health, and your own health. Whether they know it or not, you’ve helped them all breathe just a little bit easier.
Inspect Your Home From Top to Bottom Before Old Man Winter Rolls Into Town.
Here in the Grand Rapids area, we’re feeling touches of the winter already. When it comes to protecting your home, it’s not too late to paint the exterior if you get your paint contractor on it right now. There are other areas of the country with a bit more time to work with before the arctic air pushes in.
Having your house painted may be crucial to how your home weathers the extreme cold and moisture of the harsh months ahead. Exposed wood that is subjected to moisture and extremes in temperature is likely to fall victim to wood rot. If you end up with an extensive amount of wood rot at winter’s end you could be facing thousands of dollars in repairs.
Start with a thorough inspection. Check the gutters and facia for moldy streaks. These streaks may indicate your gutters aren’t draining properly and will need to be repaired or redirected to correct the drainage issue. In some instances the mold may only require a good cleaning.
Look for joints and cracks that need to be caulked. Carefully inspect window and door jambs. Water tends to pool in these areas making them prone to wood rot. Look for wood that may be soft to the touch or peeling and blistering. Landscaping may be hiding siding damage caused by drainage problems or plants and shrubs that have grown too close to the house. This is the best time to trim back your greenery.
Once you’ve made all your repairs, a fresh coat or two of a high quality, low-VOC paint will seal your home and protect it from winter’s snow, ice, and temperature extremes.
Painting your home is your best weapon against winter’s harsh elements, but you may want to add these additional winterizing tasks to your arsenal:
- Clear leaves and pine needles from the roof
- Repair leaks around skylights and chimneys
- Repair loose shingles
- Clear chimneys and vent openings of old nests or any other blockages
- Clean gutters
- Drain the exterior water lines of your irrigation system
- Insulate your water spigots and any other pipes that tend to freeze
- Drain water hoses and bring them indoors
Whether you are a do-it-yourselfer or prefer the work of a professional painter, the pay off of fresh paint will be one hundred fold. You can rest easy knowing your home is protected from winter’s icy grip and it will arrive at spring’s door looking fresh and free from harm.
Cannon Painting Isn’t Sacrificing Quality by Using “Green” Paint
It’s not a new concept, “going green”, but in the painting industry, green has typically been relegated just to paint brushes and walls. Cannon Painting’s Chris Ward saw the environmentally friendly green light early on and has been educating his customer’s about the health benefits of choosing a “green” commercial paint contractor.
In reality, becoming an environmentally friendly house painter is not a simple task in a typically wasteful industry. Determining how much paint you need is not an exact science, there are lots of containers, and customers do change their minds occasionally. Chris says this is exactly where he starts his conservation efforts by “…trying to reduce the amount of waste per project…”. He also recycles leftover paint and other materials whenever possible and encourages everyone to do the same. Most communities offer drop sites where you can bring leftover paint for recycling or proper disposal.
Next, and probably most importantly, is Cannon Painting’s decision to use environmentally friendly products whenever possible. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), paint contains volatile organic chemicals or VOCs, which are gases emitted into the air. As paint dries, VOCs evaporate and may cause eye, nose, and throat irritation, headache, fatigue and dizziness. The long-term effects are not yet known. It’s also the pollutant that keeps on giving. These emissions can continue for as much as six months after the paint has dried. It’s a bit frightening when you consider laying your precious newborn in a freshly painted room.
The really great news is that low-VOC latex paints are readily available in top name brand paints and Cannon Painting has been using them routinely. In fact, Chris and his crew were the first in their area to use “green” paint both for exterior and interior painting projects. Chris rests easy knowing he is protecting the health of the homeowner and his crew, yet he is not sacrificing quality.
Unfortunately, green technology hasn’t caught up with solvent-based paints, wood stains and lacquers the way it has with water based paint. Oil products are required to protect real wood surfaces; even so, they still aren’t as durable on the exterior as they are on interior surfaces since wood is meant to decompose over time. Cannon Painting takes the utmost care to ventilate and apply these types products as environmentally safely as possible.
Cannon Painting’s Chris Ward takes his environmental responsibility seriously. For your next house painting project, choose a commercial painting contractor that considers the health of you and your family as important and his own. Going green is a long-term goal for Chris, and you can bet he will be on the cutting edge.
A recent study by Rent.com found that a staggering 86 percent of Americans prefer an apartment with sustainable features, and more than half are willing the shell out the extra cash for the upgrade.
According to the survey, 42 percent of respondents were willing to pay up to $100 extra to live in a green apartment, and 13 percent would pay even more than that.
Renters were almost three times as likely as non-renters (11 percent versus 4 percent) to say living in an environmentally friendly home an absolute necessity.
If you’re on the hunt for your next apartment, Rent.com suggests some simple eco-friendly things to look for during your search that provide sustainable elements without the inflated price tag.
VOC-free paint: Landlords will usually repaint the interior of the apartment before you sign the lease. If this is the case, ask your landlord if they’re willing to let you choose the paint. This will allow you to choose both the color of the paint as well as a brand that offers VOC-free or low-VOC paint.
Matters of aesthetics and sexiness aside, when it comes to environmental impact there’s no denying the vitality of eco-friendly building products designed to not only conserve resources like energy, water and raw materials but also to help you save money and stay healthy.
You may not be aware of it, but paint formulations have been undergoing dramatic changes over the past several years, driven by regulations to reduce the Volatile Organic Compounds (known as VOCs) in a gallon of paint. VOCs have been identified as having an adverse effect on air quality, so over the past couple of decades, the government has stepped in to require increasingly stricter limits on the VOC content of paint.
Nationally, the U.S. EPA has set the limit for flat-sheen paints at 250 grams per liter, but there are parts of our country where poor air quality is more of an issue and the limit on VOCs is even lower. In Southern California, for instance, the governing body has set the VOC limit at 50 grams per liter. Missouri follows the national EPA rule, though nearby Illinois is part of a consortium of five Midwest states (which also includes Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio) that are moving forward with lowering VOC limits to 100 grams per liter.
While low or no VOC content is good for the environment, it is also good for the consumers who use them. Low-VOC paints emit less odor than other types of paint. That’s why they are often specified for projects where the occupants could be sensitive to paint fumes, such as hospitals and schools.