Greenbuild 2009: One for the Generations

The brown and dusty environs of Phoenix became lush – at least for a few days last week – as Greenbuild 2009 brought its verdant footprint to the Phoenix C.C. (that’s Convention Center). The annual sustainable construction fest attracted a reported 25,000+ visitors who strolled through two exhibit halls packed with 1800 booths festooned with asparagus and lime and shamrock – and every shade of green in between. Duro-Last was one of them, and we presented our cool roofing and broader sustainability messages.

Waiting for the exhibit hall to open on Wednesday morning, November 11, 2009.
Waiting for the exhibit hall to open on Wednesday morning, November 11, 2009.

Most of my time was spent with representatives from the multitude of media outlets that serve the construction and facilities markets. Trade shows provide selling opportunities for those folks as well, and as I buy advertising for Duro-Last, I often feel like a meatloaf sandwich at a wolf convention – there’s no escape.

My informal observation was that the green part of the construction/facilities biz is doing well – or at least showing life. Traffic was strong throughout exhibit hours, even up to when things closed down late Thursday afternoon. And clearly, many exhibitors had spent serious money on their presence – size, shape, sophistication, and staff – to attract buyers to their booths. Can an investment in attending Greenbuild – to either exhibit or be exhibited to – foretell an up tick in our corner of the economy? Many would say yes, especially given that green construction products and practices are becoming easier to cost justify.

My non-scientific study also involved a casual interview with the trash police. I managed to sneak away from the media reps on one occasion for a surreptitious saunter around the show floor and spoke to some college architecture students who were monitoring the trash receptacles. They were ensuring that garbage was separated properly (organics from non-organics, etc.) before being disposed of.

Two young ladies in architecture programs at the universities of Idaho and Southern California were tending one bin. I didn’t get their names or photos, unfortunately. I did get their perceptions of the proceedings, and a couple of comments stood out.

First, they seemed pleasantly surprised that this event had attracted people from all generations. They apparently expected that a show with a green focus would be the province of the young, and perhaps not as relevant for those who have been steeped in more traditional construction practices.

Second, they said it was fairly easy for them to discern those exhibitors and attendees who had a clear commitment to sustainability and those who were merely trying to capitalize on the “green” trend.

I don’t know if they saw a connection between the two – e.g., it’s primarily baby boomers who are just riding along on the green bandwagon. Regardless: it’s clear from the stunning growth of the Greenbuild event – not to mention the enthusiasm of the architecture students – that sustainable building practices are going to be a cornerstone of the facilities world for the foreseeable future.

Is Roofing Part of Your Energy Management Strategy? Part 5

Regulatory Mandates

The obvious benefits of cool roofing systems have resulted in many federal, state, and local government initiatives designed to encourage or mandate their use.

Below is brief overview of Federal Energy Management Policy and Mandates. The full overview can be found here.

National Energy Conservation Policy Act (NECPA)

Signed into law in 1978, NECPA serves as the underlying authority for Federal energy management goals and requirements. It is regularly updated and amended by subsequent laws and regulations and is the foundation of most current energy requirements.

Section 543 of NECPA required a reduction in Btu/GSF of 20 percent by 2000, life-cycle cost methods and procedures, budget treatment for energy conservation measures, incentives for Federal facility energy managers, reporting requirements, new technology demonstrations, and agency surveys of energy-saving potential.

Section 102 of EPAct 2005 re-established energy reduction requirement for Federal buildings. The requirement uses a base year of fiscal year (FY) 2003 and requires reductions of 2 percent per year in energy use per square foot, leading to a 20 percent reduction in FY 2015.

In 2007, President George Bush signed Executive Order 13423, strengthening Federal environmental, energy, and transportation management. Section 2 of the Order set more challenging goals than EPAct 2005, requiring a 3 percent reduction in energy intensity per year and leading to a 30 percent reduction in 2015 compared to the base FY of 2003.

Also in 2007, President Bush signed the Energy Security and Independence Act of 2007 (EISA). EISA adopts the energy intensity reduction goals of Executive Order 13423 beginning in FY 2008 with a 9 percent reduction and increasing to a 30 percent reduction in FY 2015.

Click the links below for more detailed information.

Energy Policy Act of 1992

Executive Order 13221

Energy Policy Act of 2005

Executive Order 13423

Energy Independence & Security Act of 2007

Cool Roofing is a Win-Win Energy Management Strategy

Most building owners don’t need regulation to recognize a good thing when they see it. Even without regulatory mandates, PVC and TPO cool roofing systems have been the fastest growing commercial systems in America since the late 1990s. Many utility companies now offer rebates for using reflective roofing systems. These rebates – which can amount to several thousand dollars on large roof installations – are offered nationwide, not just in southern climates.

Best of all, cool roofing is a rare example where there are really no cost or performance tradeoffs for selecting an energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly system. The best single-ply cool roofing systems protect buildings from the rain, sleet, and snow just as well, or better, than alternative dark-surface roofing systems, and they can also play an important part in the energy management strategies of smart building owners and managers.

A Through Z of Associations: Part 6

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


The Single Ply Roofing Industry (SPRI) is a recognized technical and statistical authority on single-plies, representing sheet membrane and related component suppliers in the commercial roofing industry. SPRI provides a forum that enables members to collectively focus their expertise and efforts on critical industry issues. By acting as a trade organization, the group can effectively improve product quality, installation techniques, workforce training, and other issues common to the industry.

Since 1981, SPRI has been a resource for building owners, architects, engineers, specifiers, contractors, and maintenance personnel, providing information about commercial roofing components and systems.


The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is a nonprofit organization that certifies sustainable businesses, homes, hospitals, schools, and neighborhoods. USGBC is dedicated to expanding green building practices and education through its LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System™.

The LEED system is a voluntary, consensus-based national rating system for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings. LEED addresses all building types and emphasizes state-of-the-art strategies in five areas: sustainable site development, water savings, energy-efficiency, materials and resource selection, and indoor environmental quality.

LEED Accredited Professionals (LEED APs) have demonstrated an understanding of green building techniques, the LEED Green Building Rating System, and the certification process.


Founded in 1982, the Vinyl Institute (VI) is a U.S. trade association representing the leading manufacturers of vinyl, vinyl chloride monomer, vinyl additives and modifiers, and vinyl packaging materials.

VI advocates the responsible manufacture of vinyl resins; life-cycle management of vinyl products; and the promotion of the value of vinyl to society. The VI has produced a number of publications addressing the environmental aspects of vinyl products, including roofing systems. Environmental Profile: Vinyl Roofing Membranes is available at this link.

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.

The A Through Z of Associations: Part 4

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 fourth in a series of posts that discuss associations related to the roofing industry.


The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBL or Berkeley Lab) was founded in 1931 by Ernest Orlando Lawrence, a UC Berkeley physicist who won the 1939 Nobel Prize in physics for his invention of the cyclotron. It was Lawrence’s belief that scientific research is best done through teams of individuals with different fields of expertise, working together. His teamwork concept is a Berkeley Lab legacy that continues today.

The Berkeley Lab is a member of the national laboratory system supported by the U.S. Department of Energy through its Office of Science. It is managed by the University of California (UC) and is charged with conducting unclassified research across a wide range of scientific disciplines.

Berkeley Lab developments have resulted in billions of dollars in savings for lighting, windows, and other energy-efficient technologies such as roofing systems.

The lab provides a wide variety of research that is relevant to “cool” roofs and the urban heat island effect, giving building owners important information they can use to select the right roofing system for their building.


Established in 1886, the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) is one of the construction industry’s oldest trade associations and a voice for professional roofing contractors worldwide.

The NRCA offers roofing industry information for roofing professionals, including technical information, special reports, insurance and safety information, and the latest industry news.

The NRCA also provides a wide range of information and services to help home owners and building owners make informed decisions about replacing and maintaining their roofing systems.


Established in 1979 by the NRCA as a separately funded organization, the National Roofing Legal Resource Center (NRLRC) acts as a legal advocate for roofing contractors throughout the United States.

Issues such as contract language, employee relations, regulatory compliance, payment provisions, insurance coverage, and codes and standards can threaten a company’s profitability and even its existence. The NRLRC provides contractors with assistance in resolving such legal issues, ultimately saving them time and attorneys’ fees.

Is Roofing Part of Your Energy Management Strategy? Part 1

With the continuing volatility of oil and gas prices, two things have become increasingly important to the owners and managers of buildings of all shapes, sizes and locations: energy management and cool roofing. And yet, the two are seldom discussed as related issues. If you ask a building owner or manager about their energy management strategies, chances are they’ll mention a variety of “high-tech” solutions for improving building automation, systems interoperability, and the energy efficiency of their lighting, office equipment, security systems, and the biggest electricity consumer of all – air conditioning. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that $40 billion is spent annually to air condition commercial buildings, which is one-sixth of all electricity consumed in the United States.

Important as these high-tech solutions are, the enormous energy savings potential from smart “low-tech” roofing decisions are typically regarded as a traditional “building envelope” issue. But smart roofing decisions can reduce annual air conditioning consumption by 10 to 40 percent, depending on location, building design, climate, and other factors. This not only reduces air conditioning loads and utility bills, but can also allow facilities to downsize their air conditioning equipment considerably.

The Cool Roofing Trend

Roofing can contribute to energy efficiency in two ways – proper insulation, and reflective surfaces. Thermal roofing insulation became a major consideration during the oil embargoes of the 1970s. Proper insulation helps keep warm air in during the winter and out during the summer. Insulation needs vary from climate to climate, and most local building codes today mandate minimum roofing R-values – a material’s ability to resist heat flow.

A more recent trend has been the phenomenal growth of “cool roofing” – the use of white or light-colored roof surfaces that reflect solar energy and keep building relatively cooler in summer months. Although the overall market for commercial low-sloped (flat, or nearly flat) roofing has been stagnant in recent years, demand for cool roofing systems has continued to grow strongly. More than just a sensible, long-term, “green” building design solution, cool roofing is considered by many scientists, industry experts, and government officials to be an effective means of addressing critical national energy efficiency and environmental challenges.

In our next installment we will discuss: How Cool Roofing Works.

The A Through Z Of Associations Part 3

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


The Cool Roof Rating Council (CRRC) was created in 1998 to develop accurate and credible methods for evaluating and labeling the solar reflectance and thermal emittance (radiative properties) of roofing products and to disseminate the information to all interested parties.

The CRRC is incorporated as a nonprofit educational organization to: implement and communicate fair, accurate, and credible radiative energy performance rating systems for roof surfaces; support research into energy-related radiative properties of roofing surfaces, including durability of those properties; and provide education and objective support to parties interested in understanding and comparing various roofing options.

At the core of the CRRC is its Product Rating Program, in which roofing manufacturers can label various roof surface products with radiative property values rated under a program administered by the CRRC.


The Construction Specifiers Institute (CSI) is a national association dedicated to creating standards and formats to improve construction documents and project delivery. Members include specifiers, architects, engineers, contractors, and building materials suppliers.

CSI is known in the industry for its strict certification programs for professionals seeking to improve their knowledge of accurate and concise construction documents.


The International Code Council (ICC) was established in 1994 as a membership association dedicated to building safety and fire prevention, and to developing the codes used in the residential and commercial construction industries. Most U.S. cities, counties, and states that adopt codes choose the International Codes developed by the International Code Council.

The following organizations founded the ICC: Building Officials and Code Administrators International, Inc. (BOCA), International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO), and Southern Building Code Congress International, Inc. (SBCCI), who had developed three separate sets of model codes used regionally throughout the United States. These groups then formed the International Code Council and a single set of codes was created without regional limitations.

The A Through Z Of Associations Part 2

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

ASTM International

ASTM International (ASTM) is one of the largest voluntary standards development organizations in the world; a source for technical standards for materials, products, systems, and services. ASTM International standards play an important role in the information infrastructure that guides design, manufacturing, and trade in the global economy.

ASTM International, originally known as the American Society for Testing and Materials, was formed over a century ago, when a group of engineers and scientists got together to address frequent rail breaks in the burgeoning railroad industry. Their work led to standardization on the steel used in rail construction, ultimately improving railroad safety for the public. As the century progressed and new industrial, governmental, and environmental developments created new standardization requirements, ASTM implemented consensus standards that have made products and services safer, better, and more cost-effective.

Today, ASTM continues to address the standardization needs of the global marketplace, including the roofing industry. ASTM is at the forefront in the use of innovative technology to help its members do standards development work, while also increasing the accessibility of ASTM International standards to the world.


A newly established and separately funded organization by the NRCA, the Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing (CEIR), is dedicated to promoting the development and use of environmentally-responsible roofing systems.

The center’s core purpose is to establish a forum that will draw together the entire roofing industry into the common cause of advancing and increasing the knowledge base of environmentally-friendly, high-performance roofing systems.

The CEIR attempts to advance innovative solutions to energy and environmental challenges with the belief that the spirit of collaboration is a critical ingredient of innovation.


The Chemical Film and Fabrics Association (CFFA) is an international trade association representing manufacturers of polymer-based fabric and film products, used in the building and construction, automotive, fashion, and many other industries.

The organization was established in 1927 to: educate consumers on the uses and benefits of chemical fabrics and film; encourage the development and adoption of product standards and specifications; conduct technical and scientific investigations; and collect and distribute industry statistics and trends to CFFA members.

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.

Greenbuild 2008

You could say that some vendors were “green” with envy after they saw the rooftop garden and photovoltaic installation photos that were displayed at the Duro-Last booth during the U.S. Green Building Council’s Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, which took place in Boston, November 18-20.

More than 27,000 attendees visited the 700+ exhibitors that filled the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center with a sea of green booths and “sustainability” displays.

According to Drew Ballensky, General Manager at the Duro-Last Sigourney, Iowa Plant, there was a tremendous amount of interest at the Duro-Last booth. Much interest was from rooftop garden manufacturers looking for a waterproofing system to use under their vegetative systems.

“Duro-Last is increasingly becoming the roofing choice under rooftop gardens and solar applications,” he said.

“The high level of interest at the show in vegetative and solar systems drew many people to the DL booth. These visitors were interested in a sustainable membrane system that would complement an investment in environmentally-friendly rooftop garden and PV applications. The Duro-Last Cool Zone® roofing system is a great fit in these situations.”

Other booth visitors were attracted because of the Cool Zone system’s high reflectivity and emissivity levels, which can help building owners save money on cooling costs.

As another successful Greenbuild Expo comes to a close, we look forward to the 2009 event, which will take place November 11-13 in Phoenix, Arizona. Undoubtedly, the interest in green construction and sustainable building practices will continue to grow, and Duro-Last is excited to be a key part of this important trend.