CONSTRUCTION CHEMICAL producers have been painfully aware of the impact the recession has had on this market since late 2008. Startling drops in orders of 30% or more hit earnings hard and pushed some into losses. Producers have been seeking signs of improvement and, although the picture is mixed, there seem to be some signs of recovery. Economic growth is returning, strongly in Asia, and should trigger a substantial uptick in demand. Here, price is of paramount importance, so companies hoping to sell high value-added products may struggle to gain traction. Yet all countries are under pressure to reduce carbon emissions and many developing nations are likely to improve building regulations and insist on adequate insulation and energy conservation. Market growth here is likely to be startling. By 2020 construction in developing nations is projected to more than double, to sales of $7 trillion (€4.83 trillion). Mature markets should post a still-impressive 35% gain to $4.2 trillion. This week we highlight many of the green construction materials the chemical industry is providing to improve energy efficiency. Persuading a conservative construction sector to try something new is no easy task, but initiatives such as the Bayer MaterialScience EcoCommercial program (see pages S1-S8) and BASF's demonstration house are great ways of selling innovative concepts.
Here is a Bayer promotional video about the EcoCommercial Building program: