The use of building-integrated clean energy sources is expected to expand, a new survey of architectural firms suggests.
PPG Industries Inc. says its survey of architects found that respondents are almost evenly split on whether they have specified clean-energy generating elements, such as solar panels and mini wind turbines, for building projects. But while 42% of the respondents reported having done so, nearly three-quarters (74%) said they expect to do so in the future.
Photo by Zack Benson Photography; courtesy of PPG Industries Inc.
The color of sustainability: The exterior of the Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier in San Diego is finished with DURANAR® VARI-COOL® coatings by PPG. The coatings change color depending on the angle from which they are viewed, and are reported to reduce heat transfer into buildings compared to conventional metal coatings.
Most said they see new incentives and falling technology prices as major drivers of the trend, along with the positive sentiment associated with clean energy.
The survey commissioned by PPG also found that while the volume of work for U.S. architectural firms overseas has remained steady, they are completing more projects in China, Canada and the Middle East.
When asked to name the most important characteristics for green building product selection, architects cited product durability most often, followed by life-cycle assessment, product certification, and product “transparency.” When choosing a building-product manufacturer, they said product durability was the most critical feature, edging out customer responsiveness, product warranties, product features, and technical support.
Consistent with PPG’s last such survey in 2008, 30% of participating firms reported doing work outside the U.S., although the number of firms completing projects in China doubled from 15% to 30%, while firms with projects in Canada increased from 16% to 27% and in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) the share rose from 8% to 22%. Elsewhere, 14% of firms reported projects in India, followed by 13% in Saudi Arabia and 12% in the UK.
Manufacturer websites (86%) remain the primary source of product information for architects. Search-engine use (72%) was next and has more than doubled since 2006. Traditional sources of product information such as manufacturer representatives (63%) and printed binders (43%) remain popular as well.
Other survey findings included the following.
- PPG was named by 25% of responding architects as a “top” green building company. Category leaders were Armstrong at 43% and, at 38 percent each, Lutron Lighting, Owens-Corning and USG.
- Among architectural glass manufacturers, PPG was named by 42% of respondents as a sustainability leader, ahead of Pilkington/NSG (11%) and Viracon (10/%). PPG also was named as the most preferred architectural glass brand (49/%), followed by Viracon (17%) and Oldcastle (12%).
- PPG was the second most frequently identified brand for leadership in coatings sustainability (14%), trailing only KYNAR 500® coatings (45%). Among the most preferred exterior fluoropolymer coatings brands, PPG was second (6%) and DURANAR® coatings fourth (3%).
- PPG Pittsburgh Paints® brand was mentioned by 5% of responding architects as a sustainability leader for paint, making it third in that category. PPG Porter Paints® joined a number of paint brands at 1% awareness.
- PPG was the fifth most recognized brand (with unaided awareness) in the building-products industry, behind USG, Armstrong, Kawneer, and CertainTeed.
The online survey was completed by 686 qualified architects, producing ±3.7 percent accuracy at the 95% confidence level. It reached a representative cross-section of U.S. architects by firm size, geography, job 1title, and years of experience.