Architects Say Durability is Key Green Attribute

May 19, 2009

Architects say durability is the most important attribute for a green building product, according to a recent survey commissioned by PPG Industries. In the rankings, durability was followed by Energy Star compliance, life-cycle assessment, no- or low-volatile organic compound 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, says he is 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 explains.

Architects say their most important sources of product information are manufacturers’ Web sites (76 percent) and Internet searches (59 percent), according to the survey results. Responses showed that traditional resources such as manufacturers’ sales representatives (54 percent) and technical binders (46 percent) remain popular as well.

The study also revealed that, among building-product manufacturers, Armstrong (37 percent) and USG (35 percent) 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 percent of those surveyed.

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.