How Do Different “Green” Paints Compare?

When it comes to painting your house, choosing the right paint isn’t just about color and finish. It’s also about making environmentally friendly choices that benefit both your health and the planet. Green paints, which are designed to be eco-friendly, have become increasingly popular for these reasons. They contain lower levels of harmful chemicals known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), making them a safer option for your home.

Why Choose Green Paints?

Choosing green paints for your home is a decision that offers numerous benefits for both your health and the environment. Here’s why making the switch to eco-friendly paint is a smart move:

Health Benefits

Green paints have low or zero VOCs, which means they emit fewer harmful chemicals into the air. VOCs are responsible for that strong paint smell and can cause headaches, dizziness, and respiratory problems. Opting for low-VOC or no-VOC paints creates a healthier indoor environment for your family, reducing the risk of allergies and other health issues.

Environmental Advantages

Using green paints helps reduce your environmental footprint. Traditional paints release VOCs into the atmosphere, contributing to air pollution and smog. Green paints, on the other hand, have a lower environmental impact because they contain fewer toxic substances and are often made from sustainable materials. This means you’re not only making a healthier choice for your home but also a more sustainable one for the planet.

Local Incentives and Regulations

In places like San Ramon,  local incentives or regulations often encourage the use of eco-friendly products. Some areas may offer rebates or tax incentives for choosing green building materials, including paints. It’s worth checking with local authorities or paint suppliers to see if there are any benefits to going green in your area.

Key Factors to Consider When Choosing Green Paints

Choosing the right green paint involves considering several important factors to ensure you make the best choice for your home and the environment. Here are the key factors to keep in mind:

VOC Levels

Green label with a leaf motif for VOC Free products, representing no volatile organic compounds used

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are chemicals that can evaporate into the air and cause health issues. When selecting green paints, look for products labeled as low-VOC or zero-VOC. These paints emit fewer harmful fumes, making them safer for your indoor air quality.

Federal regulations restrict the limit of VOCs to 250 grams per liter (g/l) for flat paints. Other paint types are allowed 380 g/l. For paints to be labeled as “low VOC,” it must contain less than 50 grams per liter. To be labeled as “no VOC,” VOCs must be 5 grams or less. 

Harmful Ingredients

In addition to VOCs, be mindful of other harmful ingredients that may be present in some paints. Avoid paints containing biocides, phthalates, and vinyl chloride. These chemicals can have adverse effects on your health and the environment. Always check the ingredient list and opt for paints that use safer, non-toxic components.


Eco-certifications are a reliable way to identify truly green paints. Look for certifications from reputable organizations like Green Seal, LEED, or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These certifications ensure the paint meets stringent environmental and health standards, giving you peace of mind that you’re choosing a genuinely eco-friendly product.

Top Green Paint Brands

When selecting green paints, several brands offer high-quality, eco-friendly options that cater to different needs and preferences. Here’s an expanded look at some of the top green paint brands available:

Kelly-Moore Enviro Coat and Green Coat

  • Features: Both paints are zero-VOC and low-odor, making them ideal for indoor environments where air quality is a concern. Enviro Coat is 100% acrylic and offers excellent hide and easy application. Green Coat is designed for professional use, providing a durable, tough finish.
  • Benefits: These paints are suitable for homes, schools, hospitals, and commercial buildings. Kelly-Moore also emphasizes environmental responsibility with recycled content in their eCoat line.

Delta Soy Paint

  • Features: Made from sustainable soybeans, this paint is free of VOCs and harmful chemicals. It’s an excellent option for those looking for a natural, non-toxic paint.
  • Benefits: Delta Soy Paint is biodegradable and offers a durable finish. It is suitable for a variety of surfaces, including walls, furniture, and cabinetry.

Yolo Colorhouse No VOC Paint

  • Features: This brand focuses on creating no-VOC paints that are eco-friendly and aesthetically pleasing. It offers a curated palette of colors free from harmful chemicals.
  • Benefits: Yolo Colorhouse paints are known for their high coverage and durability, making them a popular choice for environmentally conscious homeowners.

Benjamin Moore Green Promise

  • Features: Benjamin Moore’s Green Promise line includes several zero-VOC options, such as Natura and Aura. These paints are designed to offer exceptional performance while being environmentally friendly.
  • Benefits: Known for their Color Lock® technology, these paints provide lasting color and durability, making them a top choice for both interior and exterior projects.

Behr Premium Plus

  • Features: Available exclusively at Home Depot, Behr Premium Plus is a zero-VOC, low-odor paint that offers excellent coverage and durability. It’s GREENGUARD Gold certified, ensuring it meets strict environmental and health standards.
  • Benefits: This paint is budget-friendly and widely available, making it accessible for many homeowners looking to make eco-friendly choices.

Real Milk Paint

  • Features: Made from natural ingredients like milk protein, lime, and earth pigments, Real Milk Paint is VOC-free and biodegradable. It’s a great option for those looking for an all-natural paint.
  • Benefits: This paint is ideal for a variety of surfaces, including walls, wood, and furniture. It’s easy to mix and use and offers a unique, matte finish.

Sherwin-Williams GreenSure

  • Features: The GreenSure line from Sherwin-Williams includes several low-VOC and zero-VOC options designed to meet strict environmental standards. Products like Harmony and Emerald are part of this line.
  • Benefits: These paints are known for their durability, excellent coverage, and low environmental impact. They are suitable for a wide range of applications, from residential to commercial projects.

Glidden Brilliance

  • Features: Glidden Brilliance is a low-VOC paint available in a variety of finishes. It’s designed to provide good coverage and durability while being more environmentally friendly.
  • Benefits: This paint is affordable for those looking to reduce their environmental impact without sacrificing quality.
  • These brands provide a variety of green paint options that cater to different needs and budgets. By choosing any eco-friendly paints, you can ensure a healthier living environment while contributing to the planet’s well-being.

Ecological concept flowers being painted


Choosing green paints for your home is smart for your health and the environment. Choosing paints with low or zero VOCs, avoiding harmful ingredients, and looking for eco-certifications can ensure a healthier indoor space for you and your household.

If you want to learn the best paint for your home, consult with experienced professional painting contractors like Custom Painting Inc. We can provide you with suggestions and recommendations for “green” paints when you are about to do house painting. You can ask us by leaving a message or by calling  925-866-9610.