The business of sustainability

Harnessing the power of powder to combat climate change

Daniela Vlad explains how the Powder Coatings business she leads uses innovation to help advance the greening of the construction industry. 

World Green Building Week is always a good reminder of the crucial role a company like ours can play in the greening of the construction industry.

Buildings are responsible for 39% of global carbon emissions – it’s the largest contributing sector to climate change – and it’s where the majority of AkzoNobel’s products are used. ​So, we quite literally make it our business to help cities and communities become more sustainable​.

That’s why we’ve set ourselves the ambition of reducing carbon emissions by 50% in 2030 and becoming carbon neutral by 2050. As the leader of AkzoNobel’s Powder Coatings business, I’m proud that the products we supply are inherently sustainable and their green credentials mean we continue to make a positive contribution to carbon neutral buildings and society at large.

We’re always looking to develop pioneering products and technologies to help meet the growing and ever-changing needs of our customers. I’m constantly amazed by the power of powder and what it can do. From helping to improve a building’s energy efficiency to creating more hygienic indoor environments, it’s a bit of a marvel.

For instance, we recently launched Interpon D AM – the first product of its kind in our architectural market segment which has antimicrobial technology, meaning that building interiors can now be given increased protection against microbes such as bacteria and mold. It follows last year’s launch of our antimicrobial Interpon AM range, which is typically used on surfaces in hygiene conscious environments such as hospitals, clinics, changing rooms, schools and public transport. It’s the kind of functionality we all rely on, given the world we currently live in.

Another product that would be right at home in any green building is Interpon ReFlex. It’s an ultra-reflective coating which is applied to the inside of commercial lighting fixtures. Because of the very high light reflectance designed into the product, the effective output of the fixture is increased by up to 30%, which translates into major energy savings.

We also offer a wide range of products that are applied to building exteriors and help to boost their green rating. A great example is Interpon D2525 ECO. 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. It was used on the Matrex building in Moscow, Russia. Which is an interesting case, because we supplied it in Black Onyx – a color that you’d traditionally expect to absorb heat.

These are just a few of the many examples that show how we’re not only innovating, but also having a direct impact on the people that use the products we coat. It makes me feel proud to be part of the sustainable ecosystem and I’m excited to see how we as AkzoNobel can continue to contribute to reducing carbon emissions to the benefit of future generations.