InterviewDow sees $100m-plus US opportunity in new rooftop coatings

28 September 2010 21:16  [Source: ICIS news]

Dow sees US rooftop coatings growthBy Joseph Chang

NEW YORK (ICIS)--US major Dow Chemical sees huge market potential for its acrylic-based elastomeric coatings for thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) rooftops in the US, company executives said on Tuesday.

“Over the next few years, we see a $100m [€74m]-plus plus market opportunity for this product in the US,” said Javier Banos, strategic marketing manager of Dow Construction Chemicals, at a media event in New York.

“We estimate there is 5bn-10bn square feet [465m-930m square metres] of installed TPO rooftops in the US just waiting to be coated,” he added.

Dow is aiming to commercialise its 100% acrylic RHOPLEX EC-3100 technology for TPO rooftop coatings by early 2011, it said. The product is currently being tested by customers, who are primarily coatings formulators, said Banos.

Adding a layer of specialised white coating on flat or low-slope rooftops provides two main benefits. It extends the life of the roof and increases heat reflectivity, resulting in significant energy savings from the cooler roof, said Joseph Rokowski, group leader of research and development (R&D) with Dow Construction Chemicals.

“We estimate that in the summer months, a cool roof can cut the electricity load for air conditioning by 20-25%,” said Rokowski.

The reflective property of the coating comes from titanium dioxide (TiO2), which is already in the product, he noted.

The problem with previous TPO roof coatings is that they did not adhere well to TPO rooftops, he said.

“Roof coatings did not properly adhere to TPO membranes, so formulators have been unable to participate in the TPO-recoat market. This is a brand new market for our product,” said Rokowski.

TPO rooftops have rapidly gained market share in the US in the past decade because of their easy installation, durability and reflective properties, he said. They now have market share of between 20-25% for flat to low-slope rooftops in the US, according to Dow.

However, as they become weathered, the rooftops can crack, leak and pick up dirt, diminishing their usefulness and energy-saving properties.

“Elastomeric coatings are a cost-effective solution for repairing and preserving TPO rooftops,” said Rokowski.

An acrylic TPO rooftop coating can typically be applied around four years after the initial TPO rooftop installation, when the rooftop becomes sufficiently weathered. And the coating can last about five years before it needs to be re-applied, he said.

The cost of the product would be comparable to high-end specialty acrylic coatings, Rokowski said.

The market for elastomeric rooftop coatings has grown at over 5%/year over the past decade, and Banos said he expects similar growth rates in the future.

($1 = €0.74)

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By: Joseph Chang
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