* iStock photo. Do your bit: Make a small but significant step to saving the ozone layer by using a low or zero VOC paint, which is available at Pembroke Paints.
* iStock photo. Do your bit: Make a small but significant step to saving the ozone layer by using a low or zero VOC paint, which is available at Pembroke Paints.
"Going green" is probably a phrase that you have heard once or twice before.

Luckily for Bermuda, it's becoming an island-wide reality. With new construction and building renovations continuing to progress even with the slight drop in home and commercial sales and rentals, contractors and the typical do it yourselfer are looking into alternatives to contribute to a greener Bermuda.

One of the small but significant steps currently being taken is switching to a low VOC or zero VOC paint product. VOCs are solvents that help paint dry quickly, provide a smooth finish, flow easily and promote leveling and curling. They help control thickness, hardness and smoothness of a typical application.

However, the problem with VOCs is that, when they evaporate, they contribute to the creation of ozone. Once consumers became aware of the damage oil-based and high VOC paint products were causing the environment, paint manufacturers had no choice but to come up with a more environmentally friendly product.

Local paint supplier Pembroke Paint was one of the first on the island to carry low VOC paint.

According to David Swift, General Manager of Pembroke Paint, "the HGTV craze and the media have greatly contributed to the popularity of low VOC paints. Customers are beginning to ask more questions and want to be socially conscious of their carbon footprint."

Mr. Swift noted that women in particular are interested in the low VOCs and are having an important say in the products used in their households. There has also been a rise in low VOC paint use in commercial properties around the island including projects at Victoria Place, HSBC, and the SAMSAL Building.

There are numerous benefits to using a low VOC or zero VOC paint. Besides just reducing landfill, groundwater and ozone depleting contaminants, the reduction of toxins in the air ultimately benefits everyone, including those with allergies and chemical sensitivities. The paints are water based so they are easy to clean and perform well in terms of coverage and sustainability.

Another popular paint trend, especially in Bermuda due to our damp environment, is the usage of mildew and mold resistant paints. These are frequently used in bathrooms and kitchens to prevent the unsightly and unhealthy appearance of mildew stains.

According to Mr. Swift, it is extremely important when applying mildew and mold resistant paints that the existing surface has been properly cleaned. The surface must be treated with bleach and wiped down to properly kill the mildew spores. Mr. Swift states that, "Mildew and mold resistant paint should last the user on average about five years."

With this current rise in environmentally friendly paints, the paint industry has also created options for those who are affected when using the paints. Alternative scents for those who are susceptible to paint fumes are now a viable option. Oftentimes, paint fumes are quite strong and can be irritating to some individuals, but your paint professional can now add scents such as vanilla and pine to water based paints in order to reduce the effects to those who are sensitive to the smell.

Construction efforts are constantly moving forward and new guidelines are being implemented to contribute to a healthier and greener Earth. The paint industry is doing its part to educate and create products that will benefit all of us in the long run. It is important to pay attention to the options that are available and to expand our knowledge so that we can all help to maintain a beautiful Bermuda.

Want to know more? For more information on the different types of paint on the market, contact Pembroke Paint at 292-8368.