Cause and Effect (or Robbing Peter to Pay Paul)

Energy savings analysis has been around for years. There are any number of Internet-based calculators, formulas and procedures for estimating the savings associated with products or actions undertaken to reduce or avoid energy usage. Energy savings is but one component of a much more comprehensive analytical process referred to as life cycle analysis or LCA. But LCA is not nearly so well-defined. Unlike energy savings analysis, which considers a limited number of variables that can be reasonably well defined and quantified, there is no uniform procedure for LCA.

There are some Internet-based calculators for LCA, but they range from being over-simplified to exceedingly complex; from being biased toward individual products or special interests to being overly generic and meaningless. Some approaches to LCA only consider short term direct financial burdens while others consider more indirect or subjective costs both upstream and downstream in the life of a product.

A mainly financial LCA approach for comparing roof systems might consider the following:

  • Installation – product cost, installation costs, tear-off costs, disposal costs, business disruption costs.
  • Long Term Durability – routine maintenance costs, roof replacement costs.
  • Repairs – roof repair costs, interior damage repair costs.
  • Energy Savings – estimated savings, rebates and incentives.
  • Warranty – cost premiums.

On the other hand, a highly comprehensive environmental-based approach might entail the evaluation of all material and energy inputs and outputs at every stage, from the creation of natural resources through extraction, manufacture, use, and demolition, and disposal of a product. Consider the complexity of the following extreme LCA flow example:

BANG ? Earth Appears ? Life Begins ? Dinosaurs/Other Creatures Appear ? Creatures Die/Turn Into Fossil Fuels ? Human Race Appears/Evolves ? Resources Extracted (fossil fuels, salt, etc.) ? Resources Transported to be Processed/Refined ? Process/Refine Raw Materials ? Process Components (film, scrim) ? Produce Product Components (membrane, rigid parts, etc.) ? Transport for Fabrication ? Fabricate and Assemble The Duro-Last® Cool Zone® Roofing System ? Deliver to Jobsite ? Installation ? Roof In Action (energy savings/heat island mitigation/global warming or cooling or both) ? End of Useful Life ? Removal/Disposal ? Recycle and/or Transport to Landfill ? 100,000 to 1 Million Years of Decay and Revert to Fossil Fuels, Salt, etc. ? Another BANG!? Or Re-Extraction?

Although this second example seems extreme or absurd, it makes the point that there can be limitless considerations in a comprehensive LCA. The difficulty comes in deciding how far to go and making fair and objective assumptions of all criteria at each stage in the life of the product or system. One of the best things LCA helps accomplish is identification of opportunities for improvement. The important thing to remember in addressing this continuous improvement process is to remember that every action has a reaction, so don’t rob Peter to pay Pa

Three Ways To Make A Roof Last Longer

Occasionally, we come across articles that we feel will be beneficial to our readers. John D’Annunzio has written a series of articles for FacilitiesNet discussing factors that determine roof longevity. Below is a brief description and link to each article.

Part 1: Proper Design Improves Roof Longevity

This first article discusses key components to proper design that include wind uplift calculations, drainage design, thermal factors, perimeter edge design, and existing building conditions. It also discusses the selection of materials and systems that are compatible with existing building conditions. Proper design should always focus on providing a long-term roofing system.

Part 2: Focus On Roofing Materials And Workmanship To Improve Longevity

The second installment explains that not all roof materials are the same and not all materials are suitable for all buildings. Applied materials should be new, free of all excess moisture, and manufactured in compliance with ASTM standards. Proper material storage at the project site is also required.

In addition, the roof is one of the only major building components that is partially or fully constructed on-site. A large percentage of premature roof failures occur due to improper workmanship.

Part 3: How Weather And Maintenance Impact Roof Longevity

Finally, the third article describes how applications of roofing materials in conditions not suitable to the material’s constraints (too hot, too cold, in wet weather) will contribute to premature failure.

No matter the roof type, all roofs require a certain level of attention. Roofs are exposed to the elements 24 hours a day, every day of the year. One of the most important reasons to implement an annual roof maintenance program is to extend the service life of the existing roof system.

Fall Hazard Control: Part 3 Prevention

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. In the previous post we discussed elimination. We will discuss protection in a subsequent post.

Constructability techniques that address fall prevention need to be identified in the planning or design phase of a project’s life cycle but can also be implemented at later stages. The reliance on equipment and physical installations as opposed to work process planning allows fall prevention consideration to take place throughout a facility’s life cycle.

Here are some examples of fall prevention techniques that have gained wide acceptance:

  • Extensive use by all the trades of mobile elevating work platforms and telescopic scaffolding
  • Crane-suspended baskets and suspended scaffolding are now recognized as being inherently safer than reliance on personal fall protection equipment
  • Bringing the work to the worker who is located in a guarded work location surrounded by railing has many productivity and safety advantages
  • The use of warning lines for low-sloped roofing personnel is a significant life saver, if measures have been taken to equip the six-foot area adjacent to the fall hazard with a more substantial method of protection
  • The use of perimeter netting around the edges is becoming more common especially on foreign projects
  • Barricades of all kinds provide protection by preventing exposure to edges or openings and can remain behind to be used for future applications
  • Self-adjusting lanyards (basically horizontal lifelines) are especially flexible in their ability to limit access to perimeter hazards.

The passive nature of fall prevention systems is dependent on adequate inspection and maintenance to preserve their effectiveness, as is an understanding of the fine line between prevention and protection.

The next post in this series will discuss recent regulatory changes that recognize prevention systems and the differences in their anchorage requirements.

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.

Made to Move: Single ply roofing systems provide strong defense against leaks

By Dana Howell

Damschroder Roofing LLC

This article is reprinted with permission from Properties Magazine.

Does your building have a flat roof that has been a constant problem? Do you find yourself making what seems to be never ending repairs to your flat roof? Are you convinced that there is no flat roof out there that doesn’t leak? Do you find yourself asking the question why would anyone construct a building with a flat roof? All these questions/concerns are legitimate flat roof questions.

Let’s start at the beginning. Why would you build a structure with a flat roof? There are actually many reasons, but the main reason is space. A flat roof supported by columns gives you a much larger floor plan, typically seen in banquet halls, strip malls and warehouses.

Now we understand one reason these structures are built, but what causes them to be a constant problem keeping them from leaking? Again, there are many factors, but at this time I would like to focus on just one: movement. Any time you have temperatures that fluctuate as they do in the Midwest, you will experience movement. With this being said, if your flat roof is not able to withstand movement you experience failure. This is why splitting and cracking can often be seen.

A great solution to this problem was the invention of single ply roofing. Single ply roofs are roofs that protect a building through one layer of roofing membrane as opposed to the old multi-layers of tar felt and gravel. Two popular types of single ply roofing in our region include rubber (EPDM) and roofing materials containing plastic compounds such as PVC’s (Poly Vinyl Chloride). These membranes are able to move more freely to take on the expansion and contraction often seen in large buildings.

The trend in flat roofing is clearly moving toward the single ply roofing systems over the multiple ply. Single ply roofing has been on the increase for many years while multiple ply roofs have been seeing a significant decrease in the market shard of flat roofing.

Rubber was the dominant single ply during the 1960s through the mid 1980s. Rubber is installed several different ways. Some are installed by overlapping the sheets of rubber and covering them with river rock called ballast. Others are glued or screwed to the deck. The seams are then glued together with the hope of providing a long lasting water proofing solution. The major problem associated with rubber roofs is de-lamination. De-lamination is the breaking down of the glue or adhesive that holds the sheets of rubber together.

Heat welded roofs are made of plastic compounds such as PVC. Heat welded roofing systems are the fastest growing portion of the single ply roofing industry. The welding together of PVC sheets at the seams provides a permanent and stronger bond than glues or tapes. The Duro-last Corporation in Saginaw, Michigan actually pre-welds sheets of membrane up to 2,500 square feet in their factory, thus most of the seams of a deck sheet are welded under ideal conditions.

For more information, call Damschroder Roofing LLC at 888-307-2785 or visit

How to Find a Reputable Roofing Contractor

The answer may not be as hard as you think. Here are a few possibilities to consider:

  1. Check the telephone directory’s yellow pages. Browse the “roofing” section for the names of local people you can call for an estimate. Sometimes the ads will have specific information about the person, such as location, hours of operation, whether they accept credit card payments, and whether they provide free estimates. Call two or three contractors, so you can have a better chance to hire the right contractor for the job.
  2. Contact the Better Business Bureau. While this organization will not provide a list of names for you to call, it can give you an indication of someone’s response to complaints so that you get an idea of his or her character and reputation.
  3. Contact local roofer-related organizations. There may be roofer or construction groups in your area that can tell you what to look for in a roofing contractor, and perhaps recommend a few names.
  4. Ask building supply stores. Often they keep a list of roofers they recommend to pass along to people who are looking for consulting or hands-on help with building projects.
  5. Building companies and roofing contractors increasingly have a web presence. A good contractor web site will have photos of projects they’ve done as well as testimonials from satisfied customers.
  6. Ask for referrals. Wherever you get the name of a possible roofer for your project, follow up by contacting his references. You may even want to take a glance at the contractor’s workmanship on previous projects, if the building owner will allow access to the roof.
  7. Pay in portions. Never pay in full for a roofing job before completion of the project. You can pay a portion if you really want to, but agree to this with the contractor up front.

According to the National Roofing Contractors Association most rooftop problems are caused by installation workmanship, not material failure. Your roofing system is certainly the most critical part of your building when it comes to watertight protection, and you should make sure to hire a contractor who can be trusted to install the system correctly and stand behind their work.

Fall Hazard Control: Part 1

The construction industry has historically addressed safety concerns primarily as a behavioral issue, with each stage of a project determining the specific hazards that might be encountered during that stage. For example, the construction phase of a facilities life cycle would typically have different workers and hazards than the operations phase, etc. As facility owners become more aware of the soaring cost of workplace injuries and are held more accountable for all phases of a project life cycle, enlightened organizations are acknowledging that certain hazards are indeed present throughout all phases of a project or facilities life cycle.

“Constructability” is a project management technique that reviews a project’s processes from start to finish, during the pre-construction phase. As the chart shows, the cumulative value of constructability (the curved line) increases over time, particularly during the latter stages of a building’s O&M phase and renovation phase.

Fall hazard control is increasingly recognized as uniquely able to prevent significant potential injury cost. When implemented and planned into the design of facilities as part of a constructability analysis, it will spread its value across all phases of a building’s life cycle.

A core concept in the use of constructability to address fall hazard control is an understanding of the hierarchy of preference of controls. This refers to the overall value and effectiveness of the three types of fall hazard control: elimination, prevention, and protection from the effects of a fall.

Here are a couple of examples of how fall hazard control might be included in a constructability analysis:

  • The installation of strategically-placed fixed anchorage points (that can be used for both fall prevention and fall protection) can reduce costs throughout ALL phases of a building’s life cycle.
  • Properly designed parapet walls (minimally 39 inches in height and enclosing the entire rooftop) is ultimately the most effective way of reducing potential fall hazards by enabling fall prevention for all future work or equipment repairs and additions.

Over the course of the next three posts we will discuss each of the three types of fall hazard control; here is a brief overview:


This is the first and most effective line of defense against falls from heights. To do it requires a careful assessment of the workplace and the work itself. The “who, what, when, where, why, how, and how much” of each exposure is considered. This pre-consideration of the work and site often not only leads to eliminating the hazard altogether but also identifies alternative approaches to the work that can measurably enhance productivity.


The second line of defense and often the most realistic when fall hazards cannot be entirely eliminated, is prevention. This also requires assessment of the workplace and work process. It involves making changes to the workplace so as to preclude the need to rely on the worker’s behavior and personal protection equipment to prevent falls.


Protection from the effects of a fall is the last line of defense. It should be considered only after determining that the fall hazard cannot be eliminated or the possibility of falling prevented. This is the domain of fall protection and calls for equipment such as safety nets or harnesses, lanyards, shock absorbers, fall arresters, lifelines, and anchorage connectors.