Our theme for Duro-Last’s 2010 National Sales Seminar, Partners for a Strong Tomorrow, was, by many accounts, the perfect fit for this year’s event. At Duro-Last, we are extremely proud that the relationships we have with our customers are unlike any in the roofing industry.
Many of our contractor customers have been partnering with us since the beginning of Duro-Last more than 30 years ago. At our Tucson event, we were thrilled to recognize those companies who have won a decade’s-worth – two decades’-worth – or even more – of Duro-Last sales awards. With respect to business strength, all we had to do was look around the hotel ballroom to see the history of excellence represented there.
In 2009, 20 Duro-Last contractors had sales of $1 million or more – a remarkable achievement considering the state of the economy. Parsons Commercial Roofing from Waco, Texas, was our Contractor of the Year for the fourth consecutive year and topped the $7 million dollar level in Duro-Last sales for the third straight year. With this accomplishment, Parsons now has the most total sales of any Duro-Last contractor in history.
In the early years of Duro-Last, there were many days when we weren’t sure what tomorrow would bring. Then – just as now – we depended on the commitment and loyalty of our customers and independent sales representatives. And we have enjoyed tremendous sales growth throughout our history as a result.
A proverb says that a cord with three strands is not easily broken. When we consider our three strands – authorized contractors, independent sales representatives, and the Duro-Last corporation – the future looks like it will be filled with terrific tomorrows for all of us.
The Duro-Last 2011 National Sales Seminar will be back in Orlando – this time at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. We’re already in the planning stages to make next year’s event the best ever for our business partners: the world’s best roofing contractors!
Q: Isn’t PVC a major cause of dangerous toxic gases during accidental building fires?
A: Every organic substance that burns during accidental building fires is a source of toxic gases. In fact, the mix of gases produced from PVC combustion – carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, hydrogen chloride (HCI) and water – is very similar to those of all other organic materials. More importantly, vinyl’s inherent flame resistance properties actually play a beneficial role in mitigating the spread and strength of accidental building fires. Most rigid and flexible PVC will not burn alone without the application of heat from another source. Studies in Europe and the U.S. have shown that dioxin is present in all large-scale accidental fires, whether vinyl is present or not. PVC roofing membranes are a very small component of the mass of any building, and the smoke produced in a roof fire typically is external to the building.
Q: Isn’t PVC made from chlorine, one of the most dangerous substances on earth?
A: In its common elemental form (CI2 or dichlorine), chlorine is a poisonous, pale green gas about 2.5 times as dense as air. This is why the safe production, transportation, and handling of dichlorine is tightly regulated by government and vigilantly administered by industry through training and programs like Responsible Care. However, chlorine is also a naturally occurring element found throughout the oceans and rocks of the world, and it is an essential nutrient for plants, animals and humans. The chlorine used to make vinyl is derived from salt – both sea-water and land-based. Once chlorine is processed into vinyl, it is chemically locked into the product more tightly than it is in salt. Chlorine gas is never produced when PVC burns. When vinyl is recycled, landfilled or disposed of in a modern incinerator, no chlorine gas is released into the atmosphere. PVC roofing products are made from a very stable chlorine compound, and no chlorine is ever emitted from the finished product.
Reflectivity, or albedo, is the percentage of the sun’s energy that is reflected by a surface. Another important measurement of a roof membrane’s performance is emittance. Emittance deals with how effectively a surface releases heat; it is the percentage of absorbed energy that a material can radiate away.
Most authorities have concentrated on reflectivity as the prime measurement of energy performance of cool roofing. However, with even the most reflective materials some energy is absorbed, and if that absorbed energy is not released efficiently it can cause a roof to heat up.
There is another measurement, called the solar reflectance index (SRI), that is beginning to get some attention. SRI combines reflectivity and emittance to measure a roofs overall ability to reject solar heat. The calculation of this index is defined by ASTM E 1980-01 and is based on some rather complicated math that includes values for solar absorptance, solar flux, thermal emissivity, the Stefan Boltzmann constant, and various other coefficients. Standard black (reflectivity 5%, emittance 90%) has an index of 0, and standard white (reflectivity 80%, emittance 90%) has an index of 100. Very hot materials can actually have negative values and very cool materials can have values greater than 100.
When all is said and done, a specific value can be calculated for any roofing product. Materials with the highest SRIs are the coolest choices for roofing.
Here is a sampling of products measured by Lawrence Berkeley Labs:
If PVC and all of its products and components disappeared tomorrow would extremist organizations like Greenpeace be satisfied? Definitely not. The activists are not just anti-PVC – they are anti-plastic and anti-chemical. That affects a lot more than just PVC. Take a look at the pyramid below, originally posted on the Greenpeace web site, that shows their ranking of the “safety” of plastics, from least (top) to most (bottom).
For an objective view of PVC roofing material safety, download the Q&A document, PVC Roofing Systems: Benefits & Issues from the Duro-Last web site. We also regularly post articles on this blog regarding PVC issues.
Greenpeace’s plans are to start at the top and work down. If the activists can’t attack plastics directly they change their tactics and attack the components that go into final plastic products. Some components they like to draw attention to are chlorine, plasticizers, stabilizers, fire retardants and UV inhibitors.
If they attack any of these components they attack every single plastic in existence – plus thousands of other lifesaving products and processes. Here’s just a sampling of what would cease to exist in their present form if “just” chlorine were eliminated:
Helmets & hardhats
Silicon memory chips
IV tubing & bags
There are thousands of other products and processes that have expanded and improved human existence that are threatened. So, if anyone thinks they have a competitive advantage by fueling the fires of junk science activists against their competitors, think again. Today’s competitive advantage could become tomorrow’s dead pharaoh buried under the pyramid.
Q: Who says PVC materials are safe and/or environmentally benign?
A: The following are among the many organizations that have conducted scientific studies and life cycle assessments on PVC that have arrived at neutral or positive conclusions regarding the comparative health, safety and/or environmental sustainability of PVC production, installation, use and disposal:
Q: What about concerns that PVC production results in deadly emissions of dioxin, ethylene dichloride and vinyl chloride, causing health problems among PVC workers and nearby communities?
A: According to the EPA, since adoption of a closed-loop manufacturing process in the mid-1970s vinyl chloride emissions in vinyl plants have been reduced by 99 percent and dioxin emissions from all sources have been reduced by 92 percent. During the same time frame, PVC production in the U.S. more than tripled. In 1997, CDC reported that the PVC industry had “almost completely eliminated worker exposures to vinyl chloride” as well as the incidence of cancer and other illnesses caused by exposure. More recent studies by ATSDR and others have shown that dioxin levels and the incidence of cancer in communities near PVC production facilities are no higher than the national average.
This may sound odd, but the weather conditions in Saginaw Michigan at this time of year are less than desirable. Here at the Duro-Last World Headquarters in Saginaw, the average high temperature in December is just 35 degrees. The trees are typically bare, and when there isn’t snow on the ground, all we get to see is yellowed and dead grass and empty farm fields. Due to our northern location there are just nine hours of daylight here in December and even fewer for our more northern brothers and sisters in Canada. Conversely, Miami has 10½ hours of daylight in December and Houston has 10
Bill Paul has been with Duro-Last® for 10 years with the last three as the Government Sales Manager. Bill works out of the Jackson, Mississippi office where he is responsible for GSA, State of Texas and State of Ohio contracts and price schedules, and projects sold under these contracts. Since Duro-Last is named as the prime contractor for government projects sold under these contracts, most of his time is spent working with Duro-Last contractors and sales reps to develop new government business and manage current projects.
Prior to his current position, Bill was a regional sales manager responsible for the Jackson sales office as well as sales reps in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. While in that position, Bill worked closely with the Duro-Last GSA contact person while applying for and eventually receiving the Duro-Last GSA contract. Previous to that he was a sales manager where he was responsible for the Jackson sales office, shipping, and order processing, as well as sales reps in the Southern United States.
Previous to Duro-Last, Bill received an MBA from Tulane University and worked in sales management for the Ford Motor Company Glass Division where he worked with independent glass distributors and window and door manufacturers to grow the business.
Bill enjoys the daily challenges of working with contractors to develop new government business as well as manage the 60+ government projects that are in progress at any time.
“I enjoy the challenges of working with our contractors and our government customers to sell the Duro-Last system.” I think the customer service that we offer our customers is the best in the industry, and every day it’s our goal to make it just a little better,” said Bill.
The theme of the upcoming Seminar is Partners for a Strong Tomorrow. “Partnership” is a word that has long described the bond between Duro-Last and each contractor that sells and installs our roofing system. We’re proud to claim that it’s much more than a “manufacturer-customer” relationship.
Our National Sales Seminar is intended to strengthen and celebrate that partnership. This annual event honors authorized Duro-Last roofing contractors for their sales achievements during the previous year, and provides a forum for the exchange of ideas that can improve business operations, gain product proficiency, expand market opportunities, and drive sales success.
Since our beginning, Duro-Last has recognized the value of community involvement. So, in conjunction with our Seminar theme, we will be recognizing contractors who have been active in making the world healthier, safer, stronger – in short, a better place to live for everyone. We’re calling our program “Partners in Goodwill,” and it will be our privilege to pay tribute to these exemplary citizens during our event.
Another unique feature of the 2010 Seminar will be our “Rooftops of Tomorrow” exhibition. We are pleased to be able to welcome several companies who will demonstrate their photovoltaic and vegetative roofing systems to Seminar guests.
Although ongoing economic challenges confront the construction industry, Duro-Last contractors continue to demonstrate a solid commitment to our business and to providing exceptional value and service to their customers. We take great pride in honoring them at this event.
Noted roofing authority, Richard L. Fricklas, discusses PVC roofing in Buildings Magazine’s December 2009 Newsletter.
For the last year, attention seems to be more on cool roofing, LEED, and vegetated roofs rather than what the roofing system is made of or what it can do. Maybe because current roofing systems are all well established, so they’re no longer newsworthy? Several claims are being made as to which manufacturer has lowest carbon footprint and which products are truly recyclable.
Safety is a fundamental quality work process and workforce behavior for any successful organization. Duro-Last itself has a corporate safety philosophy that emphasizes “fall prevention” as opposed to “fall protection.” This not only improves the safety of our employees but results in a higher quality installation and often reduces time on a customer’s roof.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), was created in 1971 after President Richard Nixon signed the Occupational Safety and Health Act. According to OSHA, falls are the leading cause of work fatalities in the construction industry. Recently, federal and state OSHA programs across the country have targeted rooftop work as a special emphasis due to the increased fatality and injury rate from rooftops and ladders. Penalties for violations range from $0 to $70,000 each, depending how likely the violation is to result in serious harm to employees.
OSHA provides both employers and employees with the education needed to create a fall prevention plan. OSHA has created an information booklet titled Fall Protection in Construction that provides a generic overview of particular standards-related topics regarding fall protection.
Regarding low-sloped roofs specifically, each employee shall be protected from falling by:
Safety net systems
Personal fall arrest systems, or a combination of a warning line system and guardrail system
Warning line system and safety net system
Warning line system and personal fall arrest system, or
Warning line system and safety monitoring system
OSHA offers another publication titled Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines to assist employers and employees in developing effective safety and health programs. This guideline identifies four general elements that are critical in developing a successful safety and health management program:
Management commitment and employee involvement
Hazard prevention and control
Safety and health training
OSHA also offers a free and confidential onsite consultation which includes an appraisal of all mechanical systems, physical work practices, and environmental hazards of the workplace and all aspects of the employer’s present job safety and health program.