Architects say durability is the most important attribute for a “green” building product, according to a new industry survey commissioned by PPG Industries. It was followed by Energy Star compliance, life-cycle assessment, no- or low-VOC content and the ability to source products regionally.
Durability also is the most important attribute among building products in general, ranking slightly ahead of price. Product warranties, features and technical support also were named by approximately two in five architects.
James J. Bogdan, PPG manager, green building initiatives, for the company’s construction market team, said he was not surprised that architects consider durability a key sustainability factor. “We hear a lot of dialogue in the architect-engineer community about committing to a ‘century of ownership’ concept that encompasses a building’s design as well as its construction and operational lifetime. When you consider those factors, it’s no wonder that durability is at the top of the list when it comes to defining what makes a product good and what makes a product green,” he said.
The study also revealed that, among building-product manufacturers, Armstrong (37%) and USG (35%) are perceived most often as green building leaders. Kohler, Owens-Corning, DuPont, Johnson Controls and PPG are among other companies identified as green leaders by more than 20% of those surveyed. PPG was recognized as the green, or sustainability, leader in the glass and metal coatings categories by margins of 33% and eight percent respectively over the nearest competitors.
About 30% of respondents’ firms work on projects outside the U.S. The fastest-growing overseas markets are India and Dubai, which grew by 60% and 44% respectively since PPG conducted the same survey in 2006. China is down by 29% from 2006 but remains the second-largest source of foreign commissions, landing between Canada and Mexico. Firms with more than 100 people were the most likely to conduct business outside the U.S.
Architects said their most important sources of product information are manufacturers’ web sites (76%) and internet searches (59%). Nevertheless, responses showed that traditional resources such as manufacturers’ sales representatives (54%) and technical binders (46%) remain popular.