1. Painting with Benjamin Moore Natura

    Posted on March 23, 2015 by Andrew

     

    The Modern Fiance and I a few months ago bought a 100-year-old house that, despite being in pretty good shape, has needed a little updating a lot of greening. One of the first big things on our to-do list was painting. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve lived in a place that needed some painting. In fact, the last time I painted anything there was no place I knew of locally that sold low- or zero-VOC paint — it was only available to me if I ordered it online. I like to test paint out before committing, so that really wasn’t an option.

    Boy how things have changed. The Home Depot sells Freshaire Choice VOC-free paint. Lowe’s sells VOC-free Olympic paint — really every paint store I’ve been to lately had VOC-free options. It’s great to have choices. But like most green home products, my concern was whether the quality would hold up compared to the VOC-heavy paint options.

     

    For this weekend’s painting project, the MF and I settled on a gallon ofBenjamin Moore Natura paint, available at our local BM outlet. Benjamin Moore is a top-of-the-line paint, which means you pay a little bit more for the Natura paint ($50 per gallon) than you would for, say, The Home Depot’s Freshaire Choice ($35 per gallon). We’d heard good things about Natura though, and it was available in every single color offered by Benjamin Moore — basically every color under the sun — whereas the Freshaire Choice colors were much more limited. Plus, we were able to grab some Natura samples in a few different colors so we could settle on the color we wanted.

    I grumbled a little bit about the cost until I realized what good quality paint we were using. It went on smoothly and easily covered our very uneven plaster walls, much to my surprise. Because we were going from a deep red color to a soft gray, we ended up priming before the color went up, but I think most paint projects could get away without primer and just one coat. It dried very quickly too — by the time we had made it all the way around the room, we could start on our touchups. And either I’m just turning into a better painter as I get older or the Natura paint just looks better on the walls than paints I’ve used in the past.

    Non-VOC doesn’t necessarily mean odor free, but the scent of the paint was very, very minimal. We painted the whole room without feeling lightheaded from the smell. We didn’t need to crack a window by the time the walls were covered, (which is good, because our 100-year-old windows don’t really open anyway!)

    I guess the important thing to say here is that I’d recommend Benjamin Moore Natura paint, even if it wasn’t eco-friendly, so I’m really, really glad it fits into our commitment to make our old house more green.

  2. Eco-Friendly Dusting, the Second Most Natural Way I Know How

    Posted on March 22, 2015 by Andrew

    My last year of college, I lived with two roommates in a surprisingly spotless off-campus apartment. Rather, it was surprisingly spotless when we moved in. (We looked for housing a bit late in the prior school year, and given that it was slim pickings at that point, we felt lucky just to find a place where we weren’t afraid to walk around with our shoes off indoors.) It was well into first semester before it apparently dawned on any of us that in order to keep the place looking as clean as when we moved in, we would have to, you know, clean it. We were all in our early 20s, grown adults who had presumably dusted a shelf or swept the floor in our dorm rooms at some point prior to our off-campus living arrangement and who had undoubtedly been tasked with cleaning portions of our parents’ homes for any number of years prior to that. And yet, somehow it hadn’t occurred to even one of us to develop any sort of proper cleaning regimen or to purchase any cleaning supplies.

    My roommate Erin was the first to acknowledge it. “Are your rooms getting dusty?” she asked. “How do you guys dust?” I think I spoke up first. “Um, sometimes I just blow the dust off my dresser.” We turned to our other roommate, Linda. “I turn on my fan,” she said. It’s a good thing we weren’t required to prove we were fully functional, self-sufficient adults before we got our diplomas, because clearly we had a ways to go.

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  3. Thinking Outside the Moving Box

    Posted on March 22, 2015 by Andrew

    I’ve been in the middle of moving into a new old house, of which you’ll probably hear a lot about here since I’ll be blogging about being green at home. It’s been a slow move with the intent of giving myself time to purge all the unneeded clutter in my home. But the urge to purge often means you end up just tossing a lot of that unwanted stuff in the trash.

    I’ve been trying my darndest not to send anything extra to the landfill during this move. It’s required some thinking outside the moving box, so I wanted to share with you some of the tips I’ve discovered.

    Read more…

Tip of the Day

If It Doesn’t Smell, Don’t Wash It

According to Real Simple, if every American made an effort to launder less — cutting out just one load of laundry a week per household — we’d save enough water to fill seven million swimming pools each year.

So if it looks clean, and it smells clean, call it clean and wear it again. Consider hanging worn clothes out on your clothesline to freshen them up between wearings

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