Paints and coatings add more than color to green buildings

“This World Green Building Week is, for me, about sharing the message of inclusivity,” says Wijnand Bruinsma, Director of Sustainability at AkzoNobel. “Building for everyone. It’s such a down-to-earth theme that invites us all – individual people, companies and communities – to go on a sustainability journey together.”

AkzoNobel is an industry leader, active in 150 countries, offering paints and coatings for all types of building projects. A wide-range of products can be used anywhere from brand new, green-certified high-rises in major cities to renovated residential buildings in remote areas.

“The ambition to Paint the Future lies at the heart of everything we do,” says Bruinsma. “As a company, we focus on three key sustainability topics: climate, circularity and health well-being."

“For such a thin layer, some of our paints and coatings play an important role in green buildings. Some paints and coatings can reduce buildings’ carbon footprint, both in the construction and use phases. Some can make buildings more circular. And others can improve the well-being of people spending time in buildings – here I’m referring to products like our Dulux Forest Breath Anti-virus which protects against several viruses and types of bacteria or Coral Well-being Protection Anti-Mosquito which repels disease-carrying mosquitos in Brazil.

“You might be surprised to learn that paint can do these things. We tend to think of paint as primarily for making surfaces look nice or protecting them from the elements. But a number of our products can do so much more – at AkzoNobel, we think of them as having ‘superpowers’. Building for everyone means putting these superpowers into everyone’s hands.” 

Sustainable solutions for everyone

Bruinsma says that improving the sustainability of the whole built environment takes a range of solutions for both new and existing buildings. That encompasses commercial, industrial and residential buildings in different environments all around the world.

In many cases, sustainable solutions also bring financial benefits to applicators, owners and building users. Bruinsma says: “AkzoNobel’s cool chemistry products reflect the sun’s energy, reducing the energy needed to cool buildings in the summer. That not only reduces the building’s energy consumption and carbon footprint, it also reduces the energy bill – now that’s what I would call a superpower.”

Many architects and specifiers looking for green building certifications find the company’s low-emitting products helpful in improving air quality. Other innovative solutions – like the cool chemistry products mentioned above – help reduce the heat island effect in urban areas. And environmental product declarations offer material transparency to customers comparing product options.


Collaboration is key

“Sustainability and green buildings are now everybody’s business,” says Bruinsma. “That’s why we invite all our partners in the value chain to jointly develop and implement new solutions to decarbonize buildings, increase circularity and improve well-being.”

The ENVISION project is one such example of ongoing AkzoNobel collaborations. It’s a nine-partner effort to capture solar heat from all parts of a building that’s been nominated for a European Sustainable Energy award from the European Commission. Or the company teaming up with a large waste collection and recycling company to make Dulux Evolve, a professional quality paint made with 35% recycled paint content.

Adds Bruinsma: “Our 24-hour Collaborative Sustainability Challenge 2022 is another example – allowing us to ‘hack the system’ together with our strategic partners. Part of our Paint the Future approach, the idea behind it is to collectively achieve our targets faster through collaborative innovation.”

“We’re fully aware that the only way to reach our targets is through collaboration,” Bruinsma says. “Two of AkzoNobel’s ambitions for 2030 are directly linked to sustainable buildings: 50% of revenue from sustainable solutions and 50% carbon footprint reduction in the whole value chain – a target that’s been validated by the Science Based Targets initiative.”


Have a sustainable solution you think AkzoNobel will be interested in?

“This is my personal invitation to collaborate with us at AkzoNobel,” says Bruinsma. “Join us on the journey to make buildings greener and more sustainable – send us an e-mail to”

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