While price and style are key elements in the equation for selecting countertops, durability is increasingly important. From maintenance to replacement frequency, the durability of countertops impacts budgets and sustainability goals. “Price and style can be trumped by durability, especially in our sector where turnover and wear can be greater than in traditional multifamily properties,” says John Iannuzzo, vice president of Campus Living Villages USA, the American division of an international student housing company that manages 38,000 beds on 47 university campuses. “When building new properties or making upgrades, we select natural or man-made materials that share [our environmental sensitivity] while being able to stand up to heavy use.”

Choosing a product that does not have to be replaced as often can in turn contribute to a “greener” way of life. Recently, Campus Living installed granite countertops at its newest property, The Cottages of Lubbock at Texas Tech University, a 241-unit student property. “Not only has granite become a highly-requested material that provides a sleek and modern look, but it also offers the durability and longevity necessitated by our student populations,” Iannuzzo says.

In addition to granite, other countertop materials offer durability and sustainability. For one, Wilsonart’s new AEON enhanced performance technology has improved the durability of laminate countertops, making them up to three times more wear resistant than the industry standard, the company claims.

Another option: Cosentino’s ECO countertop collection is made of 75 percent recycled content composed of post-industrial or post-consumer materials and is bound by an environmentally-friendly resin that comes in part from corn oil. The product is priced similarly to granite. —Jennifer Popovec

1. Custom Counters: With the DuPont Corian custom color program, personalized kitchen and bath countertops are available in virtually any color, texture, shape, and finish. From the deepest blue in a beloved Renoir to the plush scarlet of a favorite cashmere scarf, retailers will work side-by-side with customers to understand color choices and embellishments, such as a solid surface or a countertop with added particulates. For more information, call DuPont Corian at 800-426-7426 or visit www.countertops.dupont.com.

2. Pleasing Palette: Cambria has expanded its palette of quartz countertops to 64 colors. Ten of the new colors will be included in Cambria’s Quarry Collection including Aragon, with warm creams and caramels, a hint of red berries, and grey veining; and Blackwood, a rich black with subtle caramel fossils and blue pearls. Six new Desert Collection colors include Devon, a blue-grey similar to natural concrete; and Minai, a deep, rich black with vibrant mirror chips. For more information, call Cambria at 866-226-2742 or visit www.CambriaUSA.com.

3. Soothing Shades: The four new colors in the DuPont Zodiaq Terra Collection—licorice, wintergreen, coriander, and flax—contain at least 25 percent post-consumer recycled glass content. The colors were inspired by shades that help renew flagging spirits. The entire collection earns developers LEED points through the U.S. Green Building Council rating system. For more information, call DuPont Zodiaq at 877-229-3935 or visit www.countertops.dupont.com.

4. Glossed Over: Wilsonart’s new AEON enhanced performance technology has improved the durability of laminate countertops. The technology deposits super-tough aluminum oxide particles in layers within the overlay sheet for enhanced resistance to scratching, scuffing, and marring. EON surfaces are up to three times more wear resistant than the industry standard and five times more scratch resistant than previous gloss-finish laminates. For more information, call Wilsonart at 800-433-3222 or visit www.wilsonartcontract.com.

5. Visual Drama: Formica Group’s 180fx is a new collection that replicates the look and true scale of a natural granite slab without the repetition of pattern found in conventional laminates. The new technology allows the laminate pattern to capture all the visual drama of a full granite slab with striking color variations and veining of real granite. The collection is available in nine colors. For more information, call Formica Group at 800-367-6422 or visit www.formica180fx.com.