ICONICA: America’s best kept secret for sustainable architecture

Elevating sustainable architecture with cutting-edge surface coatings by Dave Heflin

The introduction of the Inflation Reduction Act promises to be a gamechanger for the US economy, providing the catalyst for a new era within design and construction.

The contribution of the built environment towards carbon emissions, and other forms of environmental impact, is well documented. This is now set to change, however, as the issue of sustainability comes into sharp focus. There is a growing sense that we need to act with greater urgency to halt climate change and to achieve carbon neutrality, a development that has profound implications for the way buildings are designed and built.

The focus of the industry is now shifting towards building designs that offer greater longevity, in a way that maximizes the value of every input. This can be achieved in countless ways, with surface coatings performing an unexpected yet powerful role on this journey.

Green buildings in high demand

Buildings with stronger sustainability credentials are proving increasingly popular and are fast becoming the norm rather than the exception. Investors face heightened scrutiny around the environmental impact of their activities; hence this is becoming a major priority for them. There is also a compelling commercial logic to green buildings; as occupiers tend to favor sustainable buildings, they command a premium within the rental market.

In a highly competitive market, independent accreditation schemes like LEED® provide an objective framework for healthy, efficient, and cost saving green buildings. Better ratings immeasurably enhance the perception of a building and its desirability on multiple levels - but what does all this have to do with surface coatings?

Well, we at Axalta have recently launched ICONICA, a collection of Alesta® Super Durable powder coatings that contribute towards the LEED certification scoring process. Opting for an LEED certified surface solution is one way to enhance the environmental credentials of a project, adding significant value in the process.

The rise of powder

While liquid coatings have historically been a mainstay within the US market, a growing emphasis on sustainability is underlining the value of powder coatings. The absence of harmful chemicals within powder coatings is presenting them as a valid alternative to liquid alternatives in many cases. Super Durable powder coatings such as those within the ICONICA collection provide many of the same performance benefits, but with a much lower environmental impact.

The value in offering powder coatings alongside our existing range of proven liquid coatings is that we can offer a complete package to the market to accommodate the full range of requirements. The journey towards more sustainable building designs is a transition, and through the breadth of our product range we can make this as seamless as possible, offering the best of both worlds from a solutions perspective.

Aesthetics matter

While we are all familiar with the expression, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover,’ it is impossible to entirely discount the role of aesthetics and their impact in shaping perceptions of a project – for better or for worse.

For us, the ICONICA collection is a major statement of intent for the US market, our flagship range of powder coatings which displays the full aesthetic possibilities of powder. Premium aesthetics enhance the strength of a building or project brand and should therefore be treated with the importance this deserves. Our ICONICA collection supports this aim on two key levels.

Firstly, the Super Durable and scratch-resistant properties of the coatings maintain premium aesthetics for longer. Other less durable coatings are subject to degradation over time, which can severely undermine the appearance of a building and the strength of its brand overall. It makes sense, then, that solutions which offer greater aesthetic longevity can give an added edge in the marketplace.

Color and design preferences evolve over time, which makes it important to have a solid understanding of what is driving the market. The better we grasp the ‘why’ behind the design, the better the outcomes we will achieve in terms of designs that can withstand the test of time. Our ICONICA collection is the outcome of extensive research by our in-house team of color experts, who have a paralleled insight into the sociological trends underpinning the use of color. Featuring a carefully curated palette of forty colors, which are available in both powder and Ceranamel™ E7000-SD AAMA 2604-compliant liquid coating technology, the collection serves as an indispensable guide for selecting the right colors to meet your requirements, bridging the gap between outstanding aesthetics and exceptional performance.

A trusted partner for your global aspirations

As the world becomes more globalized, having an international reach is more critical than ever. We have a successful track record of working with US-based architects and designers on a variety of projects all over the world. The benefit of our global footprint is that we can work with US-based architectural firms to gain a deeper understanding of their business while leveraging our local market insights to make the most impactful design recommendations.

With the US release of ICONICA, and the recent global launch of our SupraAnodic range, we are continuing to uplevel our offer for the US market, so that it can derive the full benefit of our global expertise in surface coatings while reaping the environmental, performance and aesthetic advantages that these can offer. The availability of our ICONICA collections in both powder and liquid form ensures we can offer our customers the both worlds from a Total Solutions perspective, as they progress on their sustainability journey.

The success of our solutions around the world positions us as a credible partner for any major architectural project and through our range of tools and educational resources, we can help customers to unleash the full environmental potential of surface coatings on the road to net-zero.

About the ICONICA collection

The ICONICA collection of Alesta® Super Durable powder coatings comprises a palette of 40 key colors and finishes which capture the essence of our time. These are supported by research carried out by Axalta’s team of colour experts and its in-depth understanding of the global built environment landscape. Such findings provide architects and designers with clear, actionable insights to help inform designs that can withstand the test of time.

For more information on ICONICA, visit: