The Ohio BioProducts Innovation Center (OBIC) recently conducted a survey to assess development intent and potential future interest in biobased residential building products within Ohio and across the nation. The survey was designed to provide data that could project the potential for substituting biobased residential building products for their petroleum-based counterparts. Of particular interest were such materials as paint, foam sealant, fiberglass doors, garage doors, fiberglass windows, sofas, and countertops.
An interactive survey was developed by OBIC and implemented by Harris Interactive. Questions were structured to assess homeowner attitudes regarding green products and to determine willingness to pay more for building products that incorporate plant-based raw materials. The survey was sent to homeowners in Ohio and across the entire United States.
Participants were asked to rank their interest on types of green products. The top two interests in both the Ohio and U.S. polls were “green” products that save energy and “green” products that create less pollution. On the topic of cost, respondents indicated that they were occasionally or always willing to pay more for “green” products, 72 percent or 69 percent of the time (Ohio, U.S. respectively). Respondents were also asked if they were interested in making their homes “greener.” For 81 percent of Ohio and 76 percent of U.S. respondents, they indicated they were either somewhat or very interested in green products. The leading green products appeal to those who want to make their homes greener and save energy costs. Respondents ranked the remaining types of green products as those that create less pollution, those made from renewable resources, those that are recyclable, and those that are made from recycled materials.
“These results represent a significant opportunity for composite manufacturers in Ohio that can make interior or exterior building products using biobased resins,” says Joe Fox, director, Emerging & External Technologies at Ashland Inc. Fox and his colleagues worked closely with OBIC to develop and analyze the OBIC Material Flow project, which includes the survey.
The Material Flow project at OBIC is being funded by the Ohio Department of Development (ODOD) with the purpose of getting a clear picture of the potential biobased markets within the state. From the data collected through this and similarly structured surveys, Ohio’s leaders can be made aware of the opportunities available to the state’s chemical and polymer industries. Survey results can be directly applied to designing the programs and resource allocations that will position Ohio to be a leader in the growing biobased market and to create new wealth and jobs within the state.
According to Fox, information from the survey was useful for OBIC and Ashland to craft and deliver a joint presentation entitled, "Marketing of Green Composites," at Composites 2010 in Las Vegas in early February. This trade show is the largest composites show in North America. It also supported Ashland, OBIC, and six Ohio-based composite fabricators in submitting a proposal entitled, "Accelerating the Commercialization of Biobased Building Products" for a 2010 Ohio Third Frontier Advanced Materials grant through ODOD.
This survey also was performed in conjunction with the 2009 Soy Technology program, sponsored by the Ohio Soybean Council.
The Ohio BioProducts Innovation Center (OBIC) receives Wright Center funding by the Ohio Department of Development. OBIC focuses on enhancing Ohio’s leadership position in bioproduct commercialization. A novel market-pull model integrates academia in support of comprehensive supply chain collaborations across agriculture, specialty chemical and polymer industry sectors. For more information, visit www.bioproducts.osu.edu.
Ashland Performance Materials is a worldwide manufacturer and supplier of specialty chemicals and customized services to the building and construction, packaging and converting, transportation, marine and metal casting industries. As a technology leader in metal casting consumables and design services; unsaturated polyester and vinyl ester resins and gelcoats; and high-performance adhesives and specialty resins, Ashland has developed a line of biobased resins under its Envirez® brand.
Working with its partners across business, state and local governments, academia, and the non-profit sector, the Ohio Department of Development works to attract, create, grow, and retain businesses through competitive incentives and targeted investments. Engaged every day in marketing, innovating, investing, and collaborating, the Ohio Department of Development works at the speed of business to accelerate and support the teamwork that is absolutely necessary for success by providing financial, informational, and technical assistance to those making an investment in Ohio’s future.