A Through Z of Associations: Part 5

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


The Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is a multi-program science and technology laboratory managed for the U.S. Department of Energy by UT-Battelle, LLC. Scientists and engineers at ORNL conduct basic and applied research and development to create scientific knowledge and technological solutions that strengthen the nation’s leadership in key areas of science; increase the availability of clean, abundant energy; to restore and protect the environment; and contribute to national security.

The ORNL has also completed in-depth research studies on the reflectivity of PVC roofing systems, and is currently studying vegetative systems along with collecting field data on the corrosion factors that affect ACQ treated lumber.


RCI, Incorporated (RCI) is an international association of professional consultants, architects, and engineers who specialize in the specification and design of roofing, waterproofing, and exterior wall systems.

Since 1983, RCI members have offered design, repair planning, quality observance, legal testimony, and general roof management services. The 2006 inclusion of waterproofing and exterior walls in its mission and service scope reflects the understanding that roofing issues often influence the entire building envelope. Increasingly, RCI members are called upon to address building-wide concerns from below-grade to rooftop.


The Roofing Industry Committee of Weather Issues, Inc. (RICOWI) was established in 1990 as a nonprofit organization to identify and address important technical issues related to the cause of wind damage.

In 1996, RICOWI was incorporated as a nonprofit corporation devoted to research and education on wind issues. After reviewing the need for similar education and research in the areas of hail, energy-efficiency, and durability effects, the organization’s objectives were broadened in 1999 to include other weather topics, and “Wind” in RICOWI’s name was changed to “Weather” to reflect the expanded scope. RICOWI is assisted by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Is Roofing Part of Your Energy Management Strategy? Part 4

Single-Ply Cool Roofing Systems

Many single-ply roofing systems have become popular in commercial applications due to their long-term performance, easy maintenance, and life-cycle cost benefits. Some of them have emerged as the best long-term cool roofing options. Their common attribute: high reflectivity.

  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) single-ply roofing systems have the best track record of long-term performance among white single-ply cool roofing systems. The first white PVC systems were installed in Germany during the 1960s, and their overall performance and life cycle cost benefits made these early systems popular in Europe during the 1970s and ’80s.
  • Chlorosulfonated polyethylene (CSPE) single-plies were the earliest widespread white roofing systems in the U.S., introduced in the 1970s under the Hypalon® brand. Although effective as a cool roofing system, Hypalon has not achieved the same commercial success as PVC, EPDM and other single-plies.
  • More recent cool roofing single-ply developments include the introduction of thermoplastic polyolefins (TPOs) and certain new co-polymer alloys (CPAs) during the late 1980s and 1990s.

Today, many single-ply roofing systems are available in white, including EPDM and modified bitumen, but PVC and TPO systems are the most popular and best-performing in terms of long-term reflectance. The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) has identified the PVC/TPO thermoplastic single-ply category as the fastest growing roofing sector in America for several years. The coolest among these systems typically have solar reflectance ranging from 70 percent to 85 percent.

Installing a single-ply cool roofing system can save energy and money for building owners all over the United States.

The Cool Roof Rating Council was created to develop accurate and credible methods for evaluating and labeling the solar reflectance and thermal emittance of roofing products. The CRRC’s web site enables you to search for rated products as you investigate roofing systems that will help make your building as energy-efficient as possible.

In our final installment we will discuss Regulatory Incentives and Mandates.

Factors To Consider When Purchasing A Roofing System: Environmental Impact

You must consider many factors when your roof needs to be replaced or when you are constructing a building that requires a new roof. Reviewing these factors will help you to make the wisest roofing choice and get the best long-term value for your investment.

There’s a lot to cover in a discussion of the environmental issues surrounding roofing selections, so we’re dividing it up into two posts.

Environmental Impact – Part A

Today’s society calls for more products that are environmentally-friendly, and that drive extends to commercial construction products, including roofing systems. Several factors have a bearing on a system’s environmental impact.

When researching roofing systems, investigate the materials that are used in their production. During the past several years, PVC building materials have been scrutinized perhaps more than any other, largely due to production issues that date back more than 30 years. In fact, a recent USGBC report indicated that on the whole, PVC is as benign as other construction products, and in some cases may be the most environmentally-friendly option.

Many PVC single-ply membranes are also lightweight and can often be installed over existing roofing systems, eliminating costly and landfilling tear-offs and requiring less fuel to transport to the job site than other heavier materials.

Some roofing systems benefit not only the external environment, but the internal environment as well, contributing to better indoor air quality and occupant comfort. With optimized insulation and venting, some systems can also relieve positive air pressure to keep indoor air cleaner.

When researching roofing systems, learn what happens to manufacturing scrap as well as the system itself after the end of its useful life. Some roofing manufacturers recycle scrap into other commercial products like flooring, expansion joints, walkpads, etc. Furthermore, manufacturers like Duro-Last® have implemented recycling programs for PVC roof membranes after their useful roofing lives. Such programs keep waste out of landfills and reduce the need for virgin feedstock used in a number of construction products, including new roofing membranes.

In our next installment of Factors To Consider When Purchasing A Roofing System, we will discuss the energy aspects of roofing: reflectivity, emissivity, and the solar reflectance index.