May 18, 2012

Don't Waste Paint or Energy!

(Posted by Hannah Kett on 5/18/2012)

During a beautiful evening on May 10, Reed Painting and SustainableWorks provided workshop attendees (and each other!) with a dynamic look at tools and techniques everyone can adopt to be more sustainable.  Here is a quick look at what they discussed—and some resources to go deeper!

Founded in 2006, SustainableWorks set out to be an organization focused on saving homeowners energy in an easy and affordable way.  They knew that there were many techniques that homeowners can implement on their own to reduce energy use—they just needed to know where to start!

The biggest hurdle to reducing energy use in home is efficient heating—and mainly, keeping the heat inside the home.  Many homes in the Seattle area are old and drafty.  They may be small, but when they are added, it could be like missing a window!  To reduce that leakage, SustainableWorks suggests caulk and spray foam for around windows and the base of the walls.  You can check for other leakages by walking around with a lit incense stick.  

Here are a couple of other tips to save you energy now:
·      Seal the chimney with a blow-up “pillow”
·      Keep the heat in by covering the windows or window film
·      Use the right size refrigerator
·      Use the right size pots when cooking or boiling water
·      Remember to unplug what you are not using!
·      If you dry your hair, let it dry naturally first and then finish off with a hair dryer

If you want to go beyond these small (but effective!) changes, consider going deeper with SustainableWorks and their partnership with the city’s Community Power Works program.  As a non-profit contractor, SustainableWorks will provide a Home Energy Assessment for $95 to help show you where you can save some energy!  You can stop there or take the next step and work with an Energy Consultant to discuss the most cost-effective steps forward.  SustainableWorks will connect you with financing.

If you are ready to take the plunge, SustainableWorks will work with you to implement the changes, coordinating everything from contractors to incentives and financing to project management and final inspection.  The result will be money and energy saved, lowering your footprint and increasing comfort.

Learn more about this organization striving to build community—and save you money!.

Reed Painting
Every year in Washington State, an estimated 695,000 gallons of paint is wasted.  When people have a paint project, any leftover paint can easily become waste if it is not stored properly or used quickly in another project.  There is another solution, however: paint recycling!

Since starting their recycling program, Reed Painting has recycled over 2000 gallon cans of paint, and it is now stored in 5 gallon buckets.  After it was all processed, the usable paint amounted to 635 gallons. 

Randy Reed, the company’s owner, thinks every business has some moral responsibility.  And for him, it is important to be involved in the community.  Paint recycling seemed like a natural extension of their business.  They want to become known as a community resource, offering education and donations to local community projects.

For the past couple of years, the company has led a grassroots paint drive to gather people’s recycled paint—and now they have waiting list for people interested in donating.  They said that they often get more calls about the recycling program than for paint jobs—which is great, because it shows how much people value what they offer!

The biggest problem is actually getting the paint into the community.  Whenever a non-profit or community project needs some paint, Reed is more than happy to donate the recycled paint in any quantity!  If you know of a project that could benefit or can think of a creative way to use recycled paint, contact Reed.

Though you won’t be able to choose the tint, it will be high quality paint.  When Reed takes in the paint, they check each can for viability—aka, is it liquid and not oil based?  Then they clean the paint, test it with a roller or brush, and tint it to create groups of basic colors. 

While they could process the paint more efficiently, the amount of paint Reed accepts is currently limited by the space in their shop.  To help with that problem, if you go by the shop, you can purchase recycled paint for a discounted price.

To save their customer’s money, Reed even uses this recycled paint to use it as an undercoat in their professional jobs.

Besides recycling, here are a couple tips to reduce your waste!
-       Measure the area you are painting and estimate the specific amount you will need before purchasing
-       Wrap brushes in plastic and store in the freezer to avoid washing
-       Drop rollers in the can of paint until next use
-       Remember to store the paint in a temperate environment.  Paint processed in the Pacific Northwest becomes unusable after one or two freezes
-       Decrease oxygen in the stored paint
-       Sell or exchange it on Craigslist or a similar site

Learn more about this socially responsible company.

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