Green building is a bit of a trendy topic these days, explains Rinske van Heiningen, AkzoNobel’s Director of Sustainability. Almost everyone in the industry is looking for solutions to make buildings more sustainable.
This is a great opportunity for AkzoNobel, because many of our products are used in the buildings and infrastructure sector. We focus in particular on delivering benefits to our customers, society and the environment. Overall, building and construction is responsible for around 39% of global energy-related carbon emissions. If no action is taken to improve energy efficiency in the building sector, energy demand is expected to rise by 50% by 2050. In order to limit global temperature rise to 2°C (as set out in the Paris Agreement), we need to achieve an estimated 77% reduction in total carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the building sector by 2050, compared with today’s level.
INNOVATION IS KEY
In an effort to tackle many of the environmental issues we currently face – such as high energy use, climate change, waste and pollution – there’s been an upsurge in demand for new and highly efficient techniques and a new way of working; being circular. One thing’s for sure, everyone in the industry is increasingly looking to their suppliers for innovative solutions.
As an industry leader in developing products and technologies that are helping to create more green buildings, our product innovations can play a vital role to in making cities and communities more sustainable.
POWDER COATING TECHNOLOGY
A great example is Interpon D2525 ECO, the trusted powder coating technology for green building. It contains a reflective pigment which deflects infrared light (and thus the sun’s heat), from any substrate that it coats, helping to lessen the urban heat island effect. Its unrivalled performance and durability also help to significantly add to a building’s lifecycle. Powder coatings are in themselves a sustainable coatings solution. In architectural applications, powder coatings often only require a single coat, underlining their leading process efficiency. There is very low wastage of powder, as oversprayed product can be reclaimed and reused. In addition, powder coatings are VOC-free, making them a more sustainable alternative to liquid coatings.
Interpon D2525 ECO refers to our heat reflective powder coating, specifically formulated for the Architectural market to reflect heat away from the aluminium window frame or facade, resulting in a reduction of energy consumption by reducing the need to cool the building. Interpon D X-Pro is one of our latest innovations for the architectural market. We have added this highly sought-after functionality to our architectural powder coatings range, in both standard durability and super durability. Products coated with Interpon D X-Pro are less susceptible to abrasions during handling, transportation and assembly, minimising the need for touch up on site.
We offer a number of on-trend colours and shades in our Interpon D2525 ECO coatings range, including black. Creating a black heat reflective coating is a special challenge, as the colour has an extremely low reflectance value.
Through our technology, the black available in our Interpon D2525 ECO is six times more reflective than standard black coatings. The colour has an impact on solar reflectance. Light colours are more reflective, whereas darker colours absorb solar energy. In our Interpon D 2525 ECO range, we designed solar reflective, on-trend colours in both lighter and darker shades for architectural facades to keep buildings cooler, without compromising on the aesthetics that architects and specifiers are looking for.
Another product making a big impact is our Dulux Weathershield range of exterior paints. Reformulated in 2017 and backed by years of careful research, it’s formulated with our revolutionary KeepCool technology. This means as well as providing ultimate protection outside, it can also keep interior temperatures up to 5°C cooler. It does this by deflecting up to 85% more UV rays than other conventional exterior paints.
When it comes to the impact of colour on the efficiency of Dulux Weathershield with KeepCool, normally KeepCool is better with whites and off whites than with dark colours.
You might have experienced that white surfaces feel much cooler than dark ones. However, by using special pigments in KeepCool dark colours we can dramatically reduce this difference and have good KeepCool performance.
Staying inside, Dulux Forest Breath doesn’t just look good on interior walls, it can clean the air inside your home as well. It contains plant-based ingredients that help to effectively purify harmful air pollutants. And it’s 99.99% anti-bacterial, which helps to create a healthy home environment. When it comes to the question; is the Forest Breath technology ever likely to be available for exterior walls? The answer depends on which aspects of Forest Breath.
It is to be expected that in the future more biobased paints will be developed, but currently the price is too high to make it a commodity. In addition Forest Breath is about interior clean air, which makes sense for a room that you paint. In the case of exterior coatings, it is important to paint whole areas, otherwise the effect is limited (one house in a city does not have impact on the exterior air quality while four painted walls in a room do).
COLLABORATION IS THE WAY FORWARD
One thing we do realise, is that we don’t always have the answer – because paint can’t always do everything on its own. That’s why we partnered with industry leaders and startups to move forward. A recent example is our involvement in the EU’s ENVISION research consortium, which aims to deliver a concept for harvesting solar energy from all surfaces of a building. A solution for absorbing near-infrared light (NIR) via special panels already exists, but these panels are only available in one colour – black. So our coatings experts are developing technology which can capture heat using lighter and brighter colours.
This technology has already been successfully demonstrated at a test location of the consortium and is currently being applied at an existing building in the Netherlands. We will reveal more information in the coming months.
The ENVISION project is part of Horizon 2020, the biggest ever EU research and innovation programme. The project aims to demonstrate a full renovation concept which invisibly harvests energy from all available surfaces.
Our work with ENVISION highlights the importance of thinking sustainably much earlier in the process where building materials are concerned. In our case, it’s about being sustainable and circular in our supply chain. We are also working on improving water-based products so that we can convert solvent based trims and woodcare to water-based ones (our current waterway programme).
I must admit, it is really exciting to be involved in the green building sector. The challenge is a very real one, but the demand is high and our ambition is clear. We will continue to develop products and technologies that have a positive impact.
People, Planet, Paint.