Architects consider durability the most important attribute for any building product, including “green” products, according to a new industry survey commissioned by PPG Industries. In weighing green building products, architects sought durability first, followed by Energy Star compliance, life-cycle assessment, no- or low-VOC content, and the ability to source products regionally. For building products in general, durability ranked ahead of price. Two in five architects also named product warranties, features and technical support among their priorities.
James J. Bogdan, PPG manager, green building initiatives, for the company’s construction market team, said he was not surprised that architects considered 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,” Bogdan said. “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.”
Among building-product manufacturers, Armstrong (37 percent) and USG (35 percent) were perceived most often as green building leaders. More than 20 percent of respondents also identified Kohler, Owens-Corning, DuPont, Johnson Controls and PPG as green leaders.
PPG was recognized as the green, or sustainability, leader in the glass and metal coatings categories by margins of 33 percent and 8 percent respectively over the nearest competitors.
About 30 percent of respondents’ firms work on projects outside the United States. The fastest-growing overseas markets are India and Dubai, which grew by 60 percent and 44 percent respectively since PPG conducted the same survey in 2006. China is down by 29 percent 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 United States.
Architects said their most important sources of product information are manufacturers’ Web sites (76 percent) and Internet searches (59 percent). Nevertheless, responses showed that traditional resources such as manufacturers’ sales representatives (54 percent) and technical binders (46 percent) remain popular.
The online survey was completed by 612 qualified architects, producing ±3.9 percent accuracy at the 95-percent confidence level. It reached a representative cross-section of U.S. architects by firm size, geography, job title and years of experience.