InterviewDow Construction Chemicals to focus on sustainability

08 September 2009 23:17  [Source: ICIS news]

By Joseph Chang

NEW YORK (ICIS news)--The new Dow Construction Chemicals business unit will focus on providing sustainable building materials to the construction industry, a senior executive said on Tuesday.

“We see sustainability as one of the mega-drivers of this business,” said Colin Gouveia, commercial director of Dow Construction Chemicals (DCC).

“Customers are demanding energy efficient and sustainable building materials with low VOC [volatile organic compound] content,” he added.

Earlier on Tuesday, Dow Chemical announced the launch of DCC, a stand-alone business unit comprised of legacy Rohm and Haas businesses as well as those of Dow Wolff Cellulosics.

One area where DCC sees big growth is in cool roofs or white roofs – coated white rooftops that reflect sunlight and can cool a house or building, thereby reducing the need for air conditioning and improving energy efficiency.

“The Obama administration has highlighted this as an important tool to reduce energy usage. We make the binders for these elastomeric roof coatings and technologies to boost dirt resistance,” Gouveia said.

“These roof coatings also extend the life of the roof,” he added.

Another area of opportunity is in formaldehyde-free building materials, according to Gouveia.

“Many customers are looking for replacements for formaldehyde-based building products," he said. “We are putting a great deal of research effort behind formaldehyde-free products.”

The market for green building materials is growing faster than the overall construction materials market, which continues to struggle, Gouveia said.

“The construction industry remains challenged. North American residential construction has stabilised and is bouncing along the bottom. But commercial construction typically lags residential by 9-12 months, so there is still downward pressure,” he said.

“By the end of 2010 we see both segments recovered and moving forward,” he added.

On a positive note, the commercial director said he is seeing a good recovery in Asia, especially in China and India.

Plus, Gouveia said he is hopeful that the US economic stimulus plan will have a positive impact on the construction sector towards the end of the year.

“There are modest signs of a recovery and a feeling that things will pick up, but there’s been no major impact yet,” he said.

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By: Joseph Chang
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