One of the cleanest, greenest buildings on Earth has officially opened in Australia, with Akzo Nobel having made an important contribution to its environmentally conscious design.


Built at a cost of AUD 51 million and brimming with technical innovations, the new 10-story Melbourne City Council building – known as CH2 – has been awarded the first six star design rating from the country’s Green Building Council.

Because sustainable technology had to be incorporated into every aspect of the design, when it came to equipping the interior, the green approach was applied with vigor to ensure the creation of the ultimate healthy working environment. As a result, selected coatings and materials were chosen to help minimize indoor air pollution, which included paying special attention to the furniture.

So when the decision was made to use powder coatings on the workstation surfaces – a coating not traditionally used on wood products due to the heat involved during the curing process –Akzo Nobel quickly became involved.

In common with a lot of modern furniture, the workstations used by the 500+ CH2 employees are made from medium-density fiberboard (MDF). They were coated using the new Interpon Woodcote TE product line developed by the company’s Powder Coatings business, which was recognized for its superior application and performance properties.

“Woodcote TE is a specially formulated coating that is solvent-free and introduces no harmful emissions during or after application,” explains Guy Vissel, the company’s Powder Coatings marketing manager in Australia. “We’ve been working on powder coatings for MDF for a number of years and have been able to draw on a lot of global expertise during the development of this new product line, which is starting to attract a lot of attention.”

The contract for the Melbourne building was the culmination of a revolutionary project, which involved Woodcote TE being used in the creation of a new powder-coated MDF system called Opalz™. Devised by powder coatings customer Decorative Imaging, the innovative system involves the use of MDF panels supplied by Carter Holt Harvey, with a company called Formway Furniture using Opalz to produce the ergonomically designed workstations now found in CH2.

“The traditional coating for this type of application is solventborne polyurethane,” adds Vissel. “But Woodcote TE, which has been on the market for less than a year, now offers an attractive and durable surface finish with the added benefit of being perfectly suited to environmentally conscious design.

“With the Melbourne project having caught the imagination of a lot of people, especially in Australia, we hope that it will help to generate a lot more interest in our product.”

Akzo Nobel achieved global sales in coatings of 5.56 billion in 2005 and leading market positions in nearly all its coatings businesses. The company’s extensive portfolio includes decorative paints; products for industrial applications such as powder, wood, coil and specialty coatings; automotive refinishes; marine, protective and aerospace coatings; and coatings related products such as wood and building adhesives.