Nowadays, sustainability affects every aspect of life, even down to the design and application of the paint in your home – something Sarah Trowse, our customer sustainability business partner, is an expert at. After 17 years in the Architectural Coatings (AC) business, she’s learned a thing or two about sustainability and is dedicated to promoting our increasingly popular sustainably advantaged architectural coatings. Join Sarah as she explains how we are involved in the concepts of green buildings and the exciting innovations in our AC business she helps drive.
From Questions to Action
Sarah has long been immersed in sustainability. In her previous role as commercial specification lead for the UK, many architect interactions revolved around key questions about the future of construction: "How do we ensure we construct the most sustainable buildings? How can we minimize environmental impact while considering the well-being of the inhabitants?"
Sustainability quickly became a cornerstone of her professional discussions, ultimately leading Sarah to be appointed as a customer sustainability business partner, for our AC business globally.
"I collaborate with business leaders and teams to understand the impact of sustainability on our customers and how we can help them achieve their sustainability goals."
Sarah's main responsibility involves identifying customer demands and market drivers to determine the best path we as a company can take to fulfill these needs.
Green Buildings: Maximizing Sustainability and Well-Being
A concept that aligns with the AC market's needs is "green buildings." Sarah explains that the objectives of such structures are to "minimize environmental impact and maximize benefits for the occupants."
When designing green buildings, various factors are considered, including resources, materials, local biodiversity, land usage, and its connectivity to other infrastructure elements like roads and transportation. Green buildings rating and certifications, such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) in the U.S. and BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Method) in Europe, require evidence to prove that an integrated design process has been adopted to make sure the buildings are environmentally responsible. More recently, building designs have evolved to consider the impact on occupants wellbeing, with more buildings striving to achieve WELL Building Standard certification.
According to Sarah, it's crucial to look beyond the immediate impact of applying paint.
We focus on minimizing the overall impact of our products throughout the building's entire lifecycle. When we talk to clients, we aim to demonstrate that our product can provide long-lasting surface protection, reducing the need to repaint frequently.
Cleaner Air = Better Living
Another crucial aspect Sarah highlights is the influence of materials on indoor air quality. "We must constantly consider how to optimize indoor air quality for building inhabitants."
One of the products in our portfolio addressing this challenge is JOHNSTONE’S TRADE™ Air Pure, designed to actively improve indoor air quality. Air Pure is a water-based minimal volatile organic compounds (VOC) paint that contains an additive to purify indoor air by neutralizing formaldehyde from indoor spaces. Sarah explains:
This is particularly important because low-quality indoor air can have a range of negative impacts on the physical health of building occupants, including tiredness and reduced concentration. As a coatings manufacturer, we can provide a solution to this.
An example which perfectly illustrates the results of PPG’s innovative efforts is the use of Air Pure in the Royal College of Physicians (a.k.a. 'The Spine'), Liverpool, UK.
According to Robert Hopkins, AHR regional director, upon selecting the paints that were to be used for The Spine, the team was looking for water-based options that would have minimal negative impact on occupants. “By using Air Pure, we’re optimising the air quality within the building, contributing to the general wellbeing, and also limiting the impact on the environment.”
Painting a Brighter and Greener Future
Sarah points out that lately, the presence of natural light in modern living spaces has become a priority for most people. She also adds that this is something that can be enhanced through the right choice of paint. It is essential to consider how paint interacts with the light after it has been applied.
An innovative solution from our portfolio that Sarah mentions in this context is Johnstone’s Trade Perfect Matt, which provides "a smooth finish that complements the influx of light."
The distinctive characteristics of Air Pure and Perfect Matt are supported by third-party-verified certifications, such as BRE Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) and Indoor Air Comfort.
Lately, the AC market has also witnessed "a real shift towards recognizing the need for more renewable and recycled materials within the green building schemes." A recent innovation launched in the French market aims to address this particular challenge. SEIGNEURIE™ Evolutex Bas Carbone is new bio-based formulation using ingredients of plant origin and recycled materials.
What makes Sarah passionate about her work is that our products not only protect and beautify but also have a long-term positive impact on the quality of life for homeowners and building occupants. Whenever possible, she spreads the message of how crucial a well-selected finish and color choice is for creating the best possible living environment for many years to come.
I am very proud to be part of a company that lives by its purpose to ‘protect and beautify’ and remains focused on contributing positively to the wellbeing of generations to come.