Ford Study Examines Impact of Water-Based Paints

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Kermit had it right even before it was cool: It ain’t easy being green. Sometimes, it can be difficult to determine which options are the best for the environment, and why.

For example, you probably have some go-to, can’t-go-wrong green moves that you do every day, like setting the thermostat a little higher, biking when you can and taking your reusable mug to the coffee shop down the street. But sometimes your choices aren’t that simple, and even the best of us can get tricked while going green.

Photo: Flickr/Sunfrog1

Although latex paint is less harmful than oil-based paint to the environment and public health, all types of paint should be handled and disposed of properly. Photo: Flickr/Sunfrog1

With that being said, here’s another eco-riddle for the list: Ford Motor Company recently experimented with two different types of paints in some of its manufacturing plants to find out for itself which was the more eco-friendly option.

According to Green Tech Media, contrary to popular belief, Ford found that solvent-based paint (made with industrial chemicals) produced a smaller carbon footprint than water-based paints.

Why? It comes down to energy.

One reason for this result is that water-based paints need to have the water and primer sucked from the mixture before the next coat can be applied, which takes a great deal of energy.

Additionally, each layer needs to be “baked” to dry, which is another energy-intensive process. Lastly, water-based paints require large painting rooms with sufficient air conditioning to ensure proper application of the paint.

Ford asserts, however, that is not planning to switch back to solvent-based paints and will continue to use water-based. The company says the study simply highlights the benefits that a hybrid paint strategy can offer, both in terms of monetary savings and carbon emissions.

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