Choosing the interior and exterior color palettes when building your ‘green’ home is one the most exciting parts of the process. The colors you choose are an integral part of your personal expression, as well as making this house truly your home. Although it is linked to your inner creativity, the decision on which paint you use comes with a bit of pressure.

Paint isn’t just about decoration, it’s about your health, and that of the planet.

According to a study conducted by the National Cancer Institute, those who work in the painting trades had a “significantly increased risk of cancer, a result that indicates that paints may be dangerous to your health, your family, and the environment.”


Toxic ingredients  

From volatile organic compounds (VOCs), to biocides and fungicides, along with some pigments; these dangerous ingredients are readily available on the paint market today.

VOCs are a class of chemicals that evaporate at room temperature. When evaporation occurs, off-gas can cause a variety of symptoms like nausea, dizziness, eye irritation and difficulty breathing; which could be linked to larger health problems such as damage to the lungs, heart, and kidneys or a sign of cancer. These same chemicals escape and contaminate the outdoor air as well; known to contribute more than 1.75 million pounds of VOC emissions every year in the state of California alone.

Toxic fungicides are used to prevent mildew, and biocides preserve the overall life of the paint. These toxins also contaminate both indoor and outdoor air, and are still detectable five years after painting.

How to pick your paint 

The best option is to select a paint that has zero to low VOCs, low biocides, and all natural pigments. Some zero to very low VOC paints include recycled water based paint, acrylic and latex paints. For the interior, milk paints and natural paints made from natural substances such as minerals, balsam, and citrus are best. It is important to note that all exterior paints contain fungicides and biocides. An exterior paint that uses zinc oxide as the fungicide, is ideal.

How to pick your colors 

Mood and lighting are the keys when painting indoors. Consider the room and what you want it to feel like. Brighter colors and warmer tones give a more sociable atmosphere, whereas deeper colors give off a formal tone. Next, think about the natural lighting in that room. Sunlight shows off true color, and incandescent lighting brings out warm tones.

For the exterior, think of the climate you live in. Colder climates will do will with darker tones to absorb the heat from the sun; and warmer climates will do well with lighter colors that reflect the heat.


Being aware of the toxic ingredients in paint, and knowing how to select safer products are the first steps in the exciting process of choosing the color palettes when building your green home. Sustainable products will provide a happy and healthy ambience, no matter which colors you choose.

Are you ready to immerse yourself in paint swatches?

Contact us today to learn more about the eco-friendly paints and other products we use to build a green home.

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