An environmentally friendly wood coating is playing a key role in the design of one of the cleanest, greenest buildings on earth.

Built at a cost of $51 million (Australian) and brimming with technical innovations, the new 10-story Melbourne City Council building - known as CH2 - was recently awarded the first six star design rating from Autralia’s Green Building Council.

Sustainable technology had to be incorporated into every aspect of the design, including the building’s interior. Coatings and materials were chosen to help minimize indoor air pollution, and the building’s designers paid special attention to the furniture.

Like a lot of modern furniture, the workstations used by the 500-plus CH2 employees are made from medium density fiberboard (MDF). 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 - the designers turned to Akzo Nobel’s new Interpon Woodcote TE product line, developed by the company’s Powder Coatings business.

“Woodcote TE is a specially formulated coating which is environmentally sound and introduces no harmful emissions during or after application,” explains Guy Vissel, Akzo Nobel’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.”

The contract for the Melbourne building was the culmination of a project that 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 resulting 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.”

For more information about the CH2 project or powder coatings for MDF,