Benjamin Moore Aura Paint
This 100-percent acrylic Hybrid Resin System makes Aura paint resistant to water spots, water sensitivity and color rub-off and keeps damp environments or repeated washings from altering the paint.
VOC paints have a bad reputation for being hard to work with. For three years, Benjamin Moore & Co. has tried to change that. What they came up with is Aura: a 100-percent acrylic, low-VOC, green-friendly interior paint that meets all regulatory guidelines in all states.
"We felt that there was a need for an ultra-premium brand," says Benjamin Moore senior marketing manager Jeff Spillane. "We developed Aura using three separate teams — one team developed a new resin, one built a new colorant system and one worked on the product itself."
Spillane says they decided to work on changing the raw material itself, rather than working with an existing material like most paint suppliers do. Specifically for Aura, Benjamin Moore created a patented ColorLock technology, which integrates a proprietary resin with an exclusive waterborne colorant system. It was created without any added VOCs and contains no glycol, so the color is locked in, says Spillane.
The new colorant system is paired with the second development, a 100-percent acrylic Hybrid Resin System, which makes Aura paint resistant to water spots, water sensitivity and color rub-off. Also, the resin keeps damp environments or repeated washings from altering the paint. Special coalescing agents in the paint balance open time and dry time. This helps to create smooth application and touch-up, and it enhances drying time so that the second coat can be applied within one hour of the first coat. And custom thickeners make it possible to apply fewer coats on a job than with regular paints, saving a contractor time and money. "Only having to apply two coats of paint, even on dark colors, will give premium painters a fast turnaround," says Spillane.
The level of VOCs in Aura is less than 50 grams per liter, and tinting with new Benjamin Moore waterborne colorants, the Affinity Color Collection, adds no additional VOCs. Although Aura is available in any of Benjamin Moore's 3,300 colors, the Affinity Color Collection was created specifically for Aura. Affinity also features ColorLock Technology, and all 144 colors in the collection compliment each other. "You can use any color, in any sheen, in any room," says Spillane. The idea is that no matter what colors you choose to combine, they will be coordinated every time.
In September of this year, Aura was officially launched on the West Coast through contractor events and a road show, starting in California where paint guidelines are the strictest. "We went to the West Coast because of new VOC regulations formulated in California," says Spillane. "Aura meets all the requirements in California and exceeds the regulations in many other states."
It will take the rest of the year to launch Aura on the West Coast alone. "It requires our retailers to have new, special tinting equipment that we worked with the manufacturer to develop," Spillane says. Field personnel will install the equipment and train store employees to use them.
The paint itself can be applied to virtually any indoor substrate using brushes and rollers that are made for low-VOC products. Right now, Aura is available in matte, eggshell or satin. A semigloss and interior/exterior high-gloss will come on the market in 2007, which is also when Aura will be launched to the rest of the U.S. and Canada.
"It is very easy to work with," Spillane says. "I think anyone who uses it will see a significant difference when they use it."