Black Roofs vs. White Roofs: Energy Information Sides With White Roofs

There are many misconceptions when it comes to the perceived benefits of black roofs compared with white roofs.

Those living in a northern climate may think that summertime energy savings realized with a white roof will be offset by the elimination of a beneficial heating gain that might occur with a black roof in the winter; that the heating benefit of a black roof is greater than the cooling benefit of a white roof. However, several factors make any potential wintertime heat gain from a black roof relatively immaterial:

  • The laws of physics dictate that hot air will always rise. Thus, any heat that is transferred to the interior of a building structure from the outside will remain at the top of the structure, providing minimal heating benefits to occupants below.
  • In all parts of North America in the winter, there are fewer hours of sunlight available to contribute to warm a building. In fact, in some areas, there is more than a six-hour difference between peak-summer and peak-winter sunlight. Plus, the angle of the sun is less direct, which also helps to minimize potential warming.
  • In many areas, roofs are covered with snow for much of the winter, turning them “white,” and eliminating any potential black roof heat gain.
  • The energy required to air condition a building in the summer is usually considerably greater than the energy to heat it in the winter, making the potential for summer energy cost savings much greater with a highly reflective white roof than winter savings with a heat absorbing black roof.

The A Through Z Of Associations Part 1

There are many associations that roofing manufacturers, contractors and other industry professionals can be involved with. Some are technical and engineering-oriented; others are sales and networking associations; and some deal with each of these aspects in the roofing and construction industries.

This is the first in a series of posts that will discuss the various associations that benefit roofing manufacturers, contractors, and other industry professionals.


Since 1857, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) has been a leading professional membership association for licensed architects, emerging professionals, and allied partners.
Each year, the AIA sponsors hundreds of continuing education programs to help architects maintain their licensure; sets the industry standard for Contract Documents with more than 100 forms and contracts used in the design and construction industry; provides countless web-based resources for emerging architecture professionals; helps members connect with one another in more than 20 knowledge communities, 300 local and state components, as well as several blogs; conducts market research and provides analysis of the economic factors that affect the business of architecture; and serves as an advocate for the architecture profession.


Founded in 1894, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) is a nonprofit technical organization whose 50,000 members influence the direction of heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC&R) technology by creating industry standards and recommended procedures and guidelines, as well as developing research, and writing technical information.

ASHRAE’s areas of expertise include:

• High-performance buildings
• Indoor air quality
Green building design
• Building codes and standards
Saving energy during blackouts
• Data center air conditioning and ventilation
• Health concerns such as Legionnaire’s disease and mold growth
Guidance for a safe environment during extraordinary events

The ASHRAE sets the energy code standards for various materials used in the roofing and construction industries, including insulation thickness and the R-value of a product.


The American Society for Quality (ASQ) is a leading authority on quality. This professional association advances learning, quality improvement, and knowledge exchange to improve business results, and to create better workplaces and communities worldwide.

The ASQ offers technologies, concepts, tools, and training to quality professionals and practitioners, along with everyday consumers, encouraging all to Make Good Great®.

Globally, the ASQ has formed relationships with other nonprofit organizations that have similar missions and principles. Its international strategic alliances help meet the quality needs of companies, individuals, and organizations worldwide.

Project of the Month: Merrick, Inc., Vadnais Heights, Minnesota

The Duro-Last roofing system has been installed on the Merrick, Inc. building in Vadnais Heights, Minnesota. The project was completed at the end of August 2008 and is the largest solar electric application in the state, with 525 solar panels installed that are expected to produce 130,000 kilowatts of electricity a year. Beneath the solar electric system, the building is protected by over 50,000 square feet of Duro-Last’s single-ply PVC roofing system.

Merrick’s prefabricated roofing system was manufactured at Duro-Last’s Sigourney, Iowa, facility and installed by authorized contractor Four Seasons Energy Efficient Roofing, Inc. of Marine on St. Croix, Minnesota. “Duro-Last’s white membrane was the ideal system for this installation because it is solar-ready. It’s easy to install, and because it’s prefabricated, I can be confident that Merrick won’t have to worry about leaks underneath the solar system,” said Darrell Schaapveld, owner of Four Seasons.

The Duro-Last roofing system is an excellent sustainability choice. The white membrane’s high reflectivity benefits the building in rooftop areas where sunlight is not being collected by the solar panels. Because every Duro-Last roof is factory-prefabricated, less on-site waste is produced during installation.

The Duro-Last-plus-solar roofing assembly complements the buildings many other sustainable building features. Among them: a geothermal energy system under the parking lot, powered by the rooftop solar panels, will provide both heating and cooling; every room will have occupancy sensors to control electrical usage; the building will have energy-efficient insulation and windows throughout, maximizing natural light.

According to Duro-Last Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Steve Ruth, “This installation reinforces our leadership in the sustainable roofing market. The Duro-Last roofing system is increasingly being installed throughout the United States as the waterproofing membrane of choice for solar, vegetative, and other ‘green’ building applications.”

Green Dictionary

Carbon Footprint – a measure of the amount of carbon dioxide produced by a person, organization, or location at a given time.

Cool Roof – a roof that reflects the sun’s heat and emits absorbed radiation back into the atmosphere.

Closed-loop process – an environmentally friendly production system in which any industrial output is capable of being recycled to create another product.

ENERGY STAR® – a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices.

Greenwashing – the practice of promoting environmentally friendly programs to deflect attention from an organization’s environmentally unfriendly or less savory activities.

Green building – the practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and deconstruction.

ISO 1400 – addresses various aspects of environmental management. The first two standards, ISO 14001:2004 and ISO 14004:2004 deal with environmental management systems (EMS). ISO 14001:2204 provides the requirements for an EMS and ISO 14004:2004 gives general EMS guidelines.

Post-consumer recycled content – material from products that were used by consumers or businesses and would otherwise be discarded as waste.

Post-consumer waste – materials or finished products that have served their intended use and have been diverted or recovered from waste destined for disposal, having completed their lives as consumer items.

Recycled content – made from materials that would otherwise have been discarded. Items are made totally or partially from material destined for disposal or recovered from industrial activities-like aluminum soda cans or newspaper. Also, can be items that are rebuilt or remanufactured from used products such as toner cartridges or computers.

Recycling – to treat or process (used or waste materials) so as to make suitable for reuse.

Reuse – to use again, especially after salvaging or special treatment or processing.

Sustainability – meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.


Duro-Last Finalizing Plans For 2009 National Sales Seminar

Duro-Last Roofing, Inc. will hold its 2009 National Sales Seminar January 25-27 at the Hilton Daytona Beach Ocean Walk Village in Daytona Beach, Florida. This annual event honors authorized Duro-Last roofing contractors for their sales achievements during the previous year, and includes several educational sessions that cover a variety of roofing and business management topics. This year’s Seminar will also feature guest speakers Jim Pancero, Paul Montelongo, and Mark Scharenbroich. All are noted presenters and authors, and have extensive corporate training experience.

The theme of the 2009 Sales Seminar is Above & Beyond, which captures the spirit of Duro-Last’s contractor network. In a year with multiple national economic challenges, many of them in the construction area, our contractors have continued to demonstrate a solid commitment both to Duro-Last sales opportunities and to providing exceptional service to their customers. We take great pride in honoring them at this event.

In recent years, one of the most popular Seminar activities has been the Roofers’ Challenge, in which small contractor installation teams compete against one another to see which team can install a Duro-Last roof the fastest and with the highest quality. To prepare for this event, Duro-Last authorized contractor Damschroder Construction, LLC of Fremont, Ohio, is conducting its own roofer’s challenge. The best Damschroder two-man installation team will receive a free trip to the Duro-Last Sales Seminar to compete against teams from all over the United States. Owner Dave Damschroder clearly takes the Duro-Last Roofers’ Challenge seriously: “We see this as a great opportunity to encourage our installers to realize their important part in the big picture of building customer satisfaction while having a great experience at the Seminar!”

We’re looking forward to seeing Dave, his crew, and hundreds of other Duro-Last contractors in Daytona in January.