Painting the town green-er

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A $1 million R&D prize in Industrial Research Ltd’s (IRL) What’s Your Problem New Zealand? competition will be used to help locally-owned Resene make its green paints even greener.

Professor Peter Gluckman, chief science advisor to the Prime Minister, awarded Resene the winning prize in Industrial Research Ltd’s (IRL) What’s Your Problem New Zealand? competition recently.

The prize has earned Resene up to $1 million in IRL R&D services, which will be used to develop premium water-borne paints based on resins made from up to 80% sustainable ingredients, breaking the long-term reliance on gas and oil for high performance paints.

These resins would have international applicability, and are Resene’s answer to the sustainability gap in the market and the increasing pressures on oil-based raw materials.

Resene managing director Nick Nightingale says this competition presented an amazing opportunity for Resene to team its commercial experience with world-leading science and revolutionise an industry.

“We’re committed to sustainable developments and we took a bold idea to the judges and showed them how it can be realised with IRL,” Mr Nightingale says.

“Over fifty years ago, Resene turned the paint industry on its head with the development of New Zealand’s first water-borne paint.

“Since then we’ve achieved a milestone of 10 years of Environmental Choice certification, launched the world first PaintWise paint recovery service, developed a highly successful environmental choice product range and implemented many other sustainable initiatives.

“But we never intended to stop there, and our entry in the What’s Your Problem New Zealand? competition is testament to that,” he says.

“A large percentage of our research and development budget is spent on developing water-borne products to replace solvent-borne ones, and the water-borne enamels that we pioneered in 1996 now easily outsell traditional enamels,” Mr Nightingale says.

“While water-borne products are considerably more expensive to produce than the solvent-borne ones, they’re offered to our customers at the same price to encourage them to purchase products that have less environmental impact.”

“Results show that demand continues to support Resene’s philosophy of providing products and services that combine environmental benefits with ease of use and performance,” he says.

Resene has a long history of introducing innovative sustainable technologies to the paint market, with recent releases such as Resene Cool Colours and non-VOC tinters.

Resene’s Cool Colour technology, for example, improves the performance of the paint by enabling it to reflect heat that would normally be absorbed. This increases the paint’s life span, and reduces the need for air cooling in the building in the summer months.