simple solution, but also give people the detail they need.”

A GREEN ‘’HALO’ Dulux Trade has segmented its sustainability messages into a ‘Halo’ wheel to help specifiers go green

In terms of that detail, Dulux Trade’s Environmental Product Declaration can provide specifiers with a full life- cycle analysis of individual products. “If you asked me about the carbon footprint of a particular paint, we have third party trusted data so you can now model that yourself. That level of independ- ence is important, it’s not us marking our own homework.” An interesting and perhaps surprising fact thrown up by the life-cycle analysis was that the water footprint of water-based paint is actually less than that of solvent based paints.

Is the industry continuing to engage with the relevance of paint in contributing to sustainable goals? Howard says that most specifiers “appreciate the positive role that paints and coatings have, firstly in protect- ing the substrate to make it last longer.” He says that concerns about performance are as big a factor as paint’s inherent sustainability however: “They just want assurance that a product is good quality and will do the job, but doesn’t have a high environmental footprint.” He adds: “Things always centre around how much VOC content is in it.” He says that the wider sustainability issue of the robustness of the supply chain has come into focus recently at Dulux: “We have noticed a lot more pressure from specifiers around supply chain standards in the last three years. We now have BES 6001 because we were being asked those questions.” He adds: “This comes up partic- ularly on tenders and PQQs in the commercial sector.”

Performance claims

The final arbiter of quality in the construc- tion industry is whether products perform. However, with the first ‘green wave’ of eco products, there were examples of that performance not being up to scratch, says Howard. “There is a perception among maturer specifiers who perhaps got burned with the first generation of products that let them down. In some cases correctly and in other cases not, people felt that an eco product isn’t necessarily a better product, and they were paying more for something

WWW.ARCHITECTSDATAFILE.CO.UK which isn’t quite as good.”

He says that although the industry has moved on “a huge amount – you can get products which are just as good, and cheaper,” that journey “hasn’t happened quick enough for some people. It is a big concern for someone who loves sustain- ability, because you want people to view sustainable products as having higher, not lesser, quality.”

He admits a balance is necessary to achieve a commercially viable as well as sustainable solution – “the optimum will be somewhere in the middle – if you keep reducing the environmental impact it’s not always going to suit every environment.” He says product R&D at Dulux Trade “thinks about what are the most common scenarios and how can we best help people achieve them sustainably, otherwise it’s pushing all people towards a solution that might not work for them.” Water-based paint for exterior applica- tions doesn’t mean a compromise on performance – for example Weathershield Smooth Masonry is water-based and comes with a claim of 15 years “all weather protection.” And for exterior gloss, Weathershield Quick Dry Exterior Gloss lasts for six years. All colours in the Weathershield rain have been “optimised for lightfastness” which helps them look as good when they were applied, for a longer period of time.

While every product still contains some solvent, even those at the medium level are a big reduction on traditional paints, says Howard. However, he advises: “Watch out for

claims, we make sure all of ours are accredited, sometimes we are overcautious but we won’t mislead the market.” On cost, he says that Dulux Trade is aiming to “not penalise people” for buying water- based, so they can just “pick the product that’s right for them.”

Howard admits that moving painters to new products is a challenge: “They are conservative and time is their money – the risk is on them if they try a new product and it goes wrong, they have to pay to put it right. Unless they are forced to do it by a customer, they almost won’t have an opportunity to have a go.” He concludes: “They’ve been let down in the past perhaps by water-based glosses, and now that’s what they think every time they see a water-based product. There are always challenges but we are now in a position where you can rely on a water based product.”

ADF MAY 2017

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