Will Climategate Freeze Up Cool Roofing Sales?

In case you haven’t seen it in the news recently, another conspiracy and cover-up has been discovered and is being referred to as “Climategate.” It seems there has been some manipulation of the database of historical temperature data that has been used to support the concept of global warming. A string of emails between scientists has been uncovered that indicates there has been some manipulation and/or deletion of data that did not support global warming theories, bringing into question the validity of graphs and studies that suggest the earth is warming because of human activities.

So what does this have to do with cool roofing? Can cool roofing really influence global climate? Energy Secretary Steven Chu thinks so. Some studies have shown that cool roofing can indeed help reduce urban heat islands. This may be true, but given the recent buzz noted above, is the data in those studies also suspect?

There may be some influence on urban heat islands from cool roofs, but the real and practical proven influence cool roofing has is on energy usage. Science isn’t even necessary to prove to building owners that cool roofing reduces air conditioning needs. All that a building owner needs to do is open his or her July utility bill.

Savings in summer electricity use for air conditioning is real, and even if there is some heating penalty (the idea that white roofs will prevent a building from warming up in winter), that penalty is almost always less than the benefits from reduced cooling loads.

Fall Hazard Control: Part 2 Elimination

In our introductory post about this topic we discussed how fall hazard control – and corresponding cost control – is increasingly being considered in constructability analyses. “Constructability” is a project management technique that reviews a building project from start to finish, during the pre-construction phase.

We also introduced the three types of fall hazard control: elimination, prevention, and protection. We will discuss prevention and protection in subsequent posts.

Elimination is the first and most effective line of defense against falls from heights. It essentially means that potential hazards should be designed out of facilities while “on the drawing board” – that is, during a constructability analysis.

As the chart indicates, the ability to influence cost is at its highest during the conceptual planning and design phases of the project.

Effective use of fall hazard elimination techniques relies heavily upon the knowledge and experience gained from past projects as well as accessing insights from operations and maintenance staff, designers, construction personnel, and the workers themselves.

When properly planned, large-size projects have the greatest potential to eliminate substantial elevated (such as rooftop) work hazard exposures.

The type of roofing system selected for a building – whether new construction or retrofit – can also help in this regard. An easily-installed, pre-manufactured roofing system reduces the number of installer hours on the rooftop, “eliminating” exposure hours. Other methods include remote control or automated installation.

A roofing system that requires minimal maintenance over its life cycle also eliminates rooftop worker exposure hours.

Largest Duro-Last Installation in Canada

For many commercial roofing systems, the challenges of Ontario’s winters mean “wait until spring” for installation, because they cannot effectively be installed in sub-freezing temperatures or during weeks of lake-effect snow storms.

This situation was confronting Olympia Tile & Stone, a Toronto-based manufacturer and distributor of ceramic, porcelain, and natural stone tiles.

Olympia’s main office and flagship showroom facility was covered with an aging and deteriorating roofing system, and leaks had begun to occur, disrupting business operations.

Olympia needed an immediate fix. A built-up roof (BUR) was on the building, and initially, the company wanted to replace it with another BUR.

Guycan Aluminum, Ltd. was the roofing contractor called in to do the job. As project plans moved forward, it became clear that a winter installation would be necessary. According to Guycan Marketing and Sales Manager Sean Claveria, “with a built-up system, we would have needed to postpone the project until spring when the snow and ice melts. Olympia Tile could not afford to wait because the current roof wouldn’t withstand another winter season. Leaks were already causing damage to their product inventory.”

Guycan and Olympia began to consider alternatives, and the single-ply Duro-Last roofing system was discussed. Guycan is an authorized Duro-Last contractor.

Alber Crimi, Olympia’s Facility manager, had heard about Duro-Last from a former colleague. “After his recommendation, we started comparing the cost of the Duro-Last system with the built-up option,” said Crimi. “Once we included the value of Duro-Last’s 15-year warranty and the fact that our maintenance problems would be gone, it became an easy choice.”

Guycan began the project in November of 2008 and despite challenging weather conditions, including cold temperatures, high winds and record snowfall; Guycan was able to install the new 50-mil Duro-Last roofing system in 28 working days.

“The Duro-Last membrane stayed flexible and easy to work with throughout the whole installation process,” said Claveria. “And because the system was manufactured in Duro-Last’s factory to fit the roof, we were able to install the Olympia project relatively quickly.”

The job was completed in February 2009 and, at 12,000 square meters (130,000 square feet), is the largest Duro-Last installation in Canada.

Winter weather in Ontario clearly presents many roofing challenges, but “we’re able to overcome them with the Duro-Last system,” concluded Claveria. “It’s a great year-round solution for our customers.”

During Installation
Completed Project

Duro-Last® Roofing, Inc. Honored with Oregon Governor’s Sustainability Award

Duro-Last® Roofing, Inc’s., Grants Pass, Oregon facility was honored on April 22, 2010 at the Future Energy Conference for the company’s commitment to sustainable business practices. Duro-Last was one of seven Oregon companies and non-profit organizations that were chosen as leaders in sustainability in the state.

“We are honored to be recognized by a state that has very high sustainability standards,” said Tim Hart, Vice President of West Coast Operations for Duro-Last. “Our roofing system is highly reflective, which translates to energy savings for our building owner customers. We’re also proud to have a recycling program in place. We recycle 100% of the scrap we generate during production. Plus, we take back our roofs – some installed more than 20 years ago – and we also accept vinyl material from other businesses in Southern Oregon.”

Vinyl collected in Grants Pass is shipped back to Duro-Last headquarters in Saginaw, Michigan, where a subsidiary re-processes it into commercial flooring systems, expansion joints and other products.

“To date we have installed 40 million square feet of energy-efficient, recyclable roofs in the state of Oregon,” Hart concluded.

“Today we can see how the private sector and public sector alike understand that sustainability means jobs, a cleaner environment and stronger communities. These efforts generate enthusiasm for sustainability in ways that help us bridge Oregon’s urban-rural divide”, Secretary of State and Sustainability Board Chair Kate Brown said.

Tim Hart (right) accepting award from Oregon State Treasurer Ted Wheeler on behalf of Duro-Last.