LANDSCAPING & EXTERNAL WORKS Turning a greener shade

James Parker spoke to Peter Howard of Dulux Trade to find out how the firm is attempting to get a clear message to specifiers to drive use of sustainable paint alternatives, and whether the industry is on board

nation of factors, but for many specifiers and clients, using more sustainable solutions remains a key focus. Dulux Trade is trying hard to clearly communicate to the industry the variety of benefits that more sustainable paints can offer to help them transition to greener options without compromising on performance. With paints having had something of a poor reputation in the past on issues such as solvents and associated VOCs, persuad- ing the doubters can be a challenge, with the risk of the debate being rather one- dimensional. In his role as marketing manager at Dulux’s parent company AkzoNobel, Peter Howard has his work cut on broadening the issue, such as making a strong case for paint’s durability, as well as encouraging recycling, and reassuring people that ‘greener’ doesn’t mean ‘inferior’ when it comes to performance. As part of this effort, Dulux Trade has developed a new set of marketing messages called Halo, which captures all of the key messages around paint sustainability into a seven-segmented colour wheel (see page 78). Says Peter, “It’s a response to frequently asked questions from customers and where we see things moving as well.”

T Broader-brush sustainability

One of the key messages, that of durability, also ties into architects’ desire to provide buildings which are flexible and/or multi-use for a long life, which is a perhaps under- appreciated sustainability factor. Says Howard, “If you’re looking for a long-stand- ing finish then we can help.” He adds: “More and more buildings are multi-use, whether it’s in the domestic or commercial sector.” Dulux Trade has established specialist ranges for decorating exteriors whether wood or masonry which can help extend their life, withstanding the elements and maintaining their looks for up to 15 years.

A couple of other elements within Dulux ADF MAY 2017

he true meaning of sustainability can be hard to pin down, and perhaps will necessarily always be a combi-

Trade’s sustainability ‘Halo’ revolve around cutting waste, such as helping specifiers get a project ‘right first time’ so that they do not have to repaint. Part of this is selecting colours using a useful visualisation app, as according to Howard, “colour choices can be quite challenging for architects and interior designers”.

Howard adds that recycling and reuse is

his “personal bugbear,” explaining that despite concerted industry efforts to persuade painters and decorators, 78 million plastic tubs and 50 million metal tins end up in landfill every year – “that’s despite many different merchants offering recycling services.”

He does put some of the blame for this on specifiers however, saying “contractors aren’t being asked to by the specifier; if architects demand it, it will happen.” This is despite the added benefit with water-based products that once they are dry in the can, they can be recycled. “Whether it’s an archi- tect or interior designer, we’d love them to put ‘use can recycling’ in their specifica- tions. Just that one sentence will drive the numbers. Under one per cent of cans get recycled, despite us always promoting it.” Another strand of ‘getting it right first time’ is ensuring that paints comply where required with environmental ratings systems, but auditing all finishes used on a project on their environmental compliance can be complex, says Howard. “Some of the most common questions we get are whether a product is BREEAM or LEED compliant, and no matter how many times we publish the information it always seems to get lost.”

Carbon & life cycle

‘True’ sustainability is often seen as carbon reduction, and Howard says while it remains a core concern for specifiers, moving the industry over to water-based paints is challenging: “Our simple message is that water-based products have a much lower carbon footprint than solvents, plus they dry quicker and have other benefits. We are desperate to try and move people over. We are trying to firstly, give people a


Despite industry efforts to persuade painters and decorators, 78 million plastic tubs and 50 million metal tins end up in landfill every year Peter Howard, Dulux Trade


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