Positive Responses to Negative Statements About PVC: Part 2

Negative Statement: “Chlorine is harmful to humans and should be banned. Therefore, PVC products should be banned since they are made using chlorine.”

The use of chlorine to purify drinking water has done more to improve the health of the human race than any other technological change in history. Seventy-five percent of life-saving medicines are based on chlorine chemistry. Chlorine is one of the components of vinyl that helps make it fire resistant. At number 17 on the Periodic Table of Elements, chlorine is one of the most abundant elements on the planet. It is not possible to eliminate an element such as chlorine that occurs naturally and so abundantly. And why would one want to eliminate something that has done so much to further the human race?

Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace, left the organization after 15 years because the environmental movement had abandoned science and logic in favor of emotion and sensationalism. Greenpeace calls vinyl the ‘poison plastic,” but Moore states that because of vinyl’s ease of maintenance and its ability to incorporate anti-microbial properties it is critical in fighting germs in hospitals.

Belief in junk science can lead to unintended consequences. In late 2000, Washington, D.C. switched from disinfecting drinking water with chlorine to disinfecting with chloramines, a combination of chlorine and ammonia. Suddenly, lead levels began to rise. It was determined that the ammonia made the water more corrosive, which increased the amount of lead leaching from the pipes into the water.

Another example of negative consequences caused by junk science: Peru eliminated chlorine from its drinking water in the early 1990’s. An outbreak of cholera (1 million cases resulting in 10,000 deaths) was exacerbated by this move and Peruvian officials have since returned to using chlorine for disinfection.

PVC manufacturing in the United States is tightly controlled and very safe. Once chlorine is processed into vinyl, it is chemically locked into the product more tightly than it is in salt, and no chlorine is emitted from the finished product. This is true for roofing systems and other building components that use PVC.

Next Month’s Negative Statement: “The movie Blue Vinyl gives real life examples that prove that PVCs are bad and people have been harmed by working or living around PVC factories.”

2008 Employees Of The Year

Warren Catoire - Technical Sales Coordinator
Warren Catoire - Technical Sales Coordinator
Ike Tatum - Warranty Services Crew Leader
Ike Tatum - Warranty Services Crew Leader

Duro-Last Roofing, Inc. recently announced Warren E. Catiore and Isaiah Tatum as the 2008 Employees of the Year.

Warren Catiore is the Technical Sales Coordinator based out of the Grants Pass, Oregon facility. Catiore was chosen as the September Employee of the Month, which made him eligible for Employee of the Year. Warren has been with Duro-Last for over 12 years and in his current position for the last 10, where he is responsible for in-house contractor training.

Tim Hart, Duro-Last Vice President of West Coast Operations, said, “Warren’s outstanding work ethic and commitment to excellence has been acknowledged by our customers, sales representatives, and his co workers. His excellent people skills have increased sales and helped to develop long-term relationships. This is one way of showing Warren our appreciation for his hard work and loyalty to Duro-Last.”

Isaiah Tatum is the Warranty Services Crew Leader based out of the Jackson, Mississippi facility. Chosen as the Employee of the Month for March, Isaiah is responsible for maintaining the safety of the crew while making warranty-related repairs to the Duro-Last roofing system.

“Isaiah has been on the warranty crew for over seven years and brings a great deal of experience with him”, said Charles Smith, Duro-Last Quality Assurance Regional Manager. “He displays teamwork that we value in all of our employees, and has shown his talents as a leader. We are honored to have him work with us.”

Employees of the Year are chosen from all of the Employees of the Month for every Duro-Last facility for that year. Two employees are then selected and are able to attend Duro-Last’s National Sales Seminar held in late January of each year. This year’s National Sales Seminar is being held in Dayton Beach, Florida, January 25 – 27, 2009.

The True Price Of High Performance

Oxymoron, n: a combination of contradictory words (such as sustainability costs more)

Contrary to popular wisdom, when it comes to the building and construction industry, profitability and sustainability go hand-in-hand. In fact, if a new building component doesn’t contribute to business profitability, it is not sustainable.

Sustainability, or high performance design, is often equated with “green design.” However, high performance design is about making financially smart building choices, not just being “green.” Consumers typically will not pay for something that is green unless there’s a financial benefit as well. Sustainability is good business sense first – green comes with it.

High performance building projects address issues related to the design, construction, maintenance, rehabilitation and eventual demolition of a building with an emphasis throughout the building’s lifecycle on using resources efficiently and preserving the global environment.

The profitability of high performance design must be considered for the entire life-cycle of a building, not simply the initial cost of construction. Typically, a roofing system with a low initial cost is a teaser that fails to consider all of the costs associated with the roof over its useful life. A long-lasting, high-performance system delivers a lower cost of ownership spread out over a longer period of time, requiring fewer repeated expenses related to maintenance, repair, and replacement. Plus, benefits such as energy savings can reduce life-cycle costs even further.

Recently, a contractor called to say that he was going to change his approach to selling roofing after a building owner said that the Duro-Last roof was the least expensive roof he had ever bought. It seems that the building owner was a banker who calculated that the Duro-Last roof was costing him 30% less per year in maintenance, repairs and frequent replacements than the modified bitumen roofs that he had always used before.

A smart investment because it costs less over its life span, a high performance roofing system is the ideal choice for sustainable facilities.

Project of the Month: Beacon House, Marquette, Michigan

Duro-Last Roofing®, Inc. recently donated over 4,500 square feet of roofing membrane to Beacon House in Marquette, Michigan. Beacon House is an independent organization that provides lodging and other support services in a “home-like” environment for patients, their caregivers, and family members traveling to Marquette County for medical treatment.

Beacon House was contacted by Trevor Wagester, Associate Sales Representative for Duro-Last, when he heard about what the Beacon House is calling their “Extreme Makeover” campaign, and their need for a new roof. “Beacon House is sustained solely by the generosity of businesses, foundations, and guest donations,” he said. “We hope that others will follow in helping Beacon House with the many improvements that they need.”

Four roofing contractors in Michigan came together to help with the cause. Local Roofing of L’Anse, Lake State Roofing, Inc. of Iron Mountain, and Great Lakes Roofing of Sault Sainte Marie all donated their time to help install the roof. Pellow Roofing and Sales of Marquette coordinated the ordering of the roof, removed the rock ballast, and provided the crane as well as the labor for the installation and addition roofing materials. All of the roof installers worked together as a team with the single goal of getting the roof installed.

“Our prayers have literally been answered,” said Marcy Griffen, Executive Director for Beacon House. “We will no longer need to worry about our roof leaking when the big storms of the Upper Peninsula roll in. We are so grateful to Duro-Last and all the roofing companies coming together to help us.”

The highly-reflective white membrane will deliver energy cost savings to the Beacon House as well as provide the facility with a virtually maintenance-free, leak-proof roofing system. Backed by a 15-year full warranty, the Beacon House doesn’t have to worry about anything but caring for patients and their family members.

What Attributes Of A Duro-Last® Roof Can Help With LEED® Ratings?

The U.S. Green Building Council has developed the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Rating System to help in the design and construction of buildings that have minimum negative impact on occupants and the environment. LEED provides standards for choosing products based on environmental attributes. LEED does not certify materials or products.

So what are the attributes of a Duro-Last roof that can help with soon-to-be enacted changes to LEED-NC ratings?



ENERGY STAR® labeled product with a Solar Reflectance Index equal to or greater than 78 (Duro-Last is 110) Sustainable Sites Credits 7.2
Exceeds ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2007 Energy & Atmosphere Credit 1
Extend the lifecycle of an existing structure, reduce the load on air conditioning units, and reduce a buildings impact on the environment. Materials & Resources Credits 1.1 & 1.2
Custom prefabrication eliminates waste at the jobsite, scrap and trim are 100% recyclable, with four manufacturing facilities requiring less than 500 miles of shipping. Materials & Resources Credits 2.1 – 2.2, 4.1 – 4.2, 5.1 – 5.2
Two-way vent system keeps negative air pressures and condensation in check, high reflectivity keeps building cooler. Indoor Environmental Quality Credits 2 and 7.1

All in all, Duro-Last Cool Zone® can help with obtaining 13 – 31 points toward the minimum LEED certification of 40 – 49 points.

Positive Responses to Negative Statements About PVC: Part 1

Recently there have been renewed criticisms of vinyl building products by some activists who have traditionally taken an anti-PVC stand. In this post and others to follow we’ll address some of these negative statements with facts about the use of vinyl building materials.

Statement: “The USGBC report concluded that PVCs are bad.”

The facts: This statement is a reaction to The US Green Building Council’s Technical and Scientific Advisory Committee‘s (TSAC) February 2007 report: Assessment of the Technical Basis for a PVC-Related Materials Credit for PVC.

In reality, the TSAC PVC Task Group reaffirmed their conclusions from the earlier draft report that PVC should not be considered for a negative credit in the LEED rating system. According to USGBC’s president, “TSAC’s report identified critical gaps in our understanding of how materials impact our health and environment.” TSAC’s conclusions on PVC’s environmental impact state that awarding a LEED credit for avoiding PVC’s would be a “blunt instrument” that could “steer decision makers toward using materials that are worse on most environmental impacts.”

The report was not intended to determine which alternative is “best” in any application, only whether PVC is consistently among the worst alternatives. Only four categories of products were reviewed in the study: siding, pipe, resilient flooring, and window frames. To generalize any findings and apply them to all vinyl products would be a misrepresentation of the information. Human health analysis focused on what may happen if end-of-life PVC burns accidentally in landfills or backyard. But it did not consider the same potential with other materials compared in the analysis. By its own admission, the report states that “Health impacts from exposure to dioxin emissions from accidental landfill fires and barrel burning of PVC and other materials are highly uncertain for a variety of reasons.”

The upshot: When considered over their entire lifespan, products made of PVC are no worse and may be better than alternatives that have not been tested.

In our next installment, we’ll look at this statement: PVC products are made using chlorine and chlorine is bad. Environmentalists are right to want to eliminate chlorine from the face of the earth.

Black Roofs vs. White Roofs: Energy Information Sides With White Roofs

There are many misconceptions when it comes to the perceived benefits of black roofs compared with white roofs.

Those living in a northern climate may think that summertime energy savings realized with a white roof will be offset by the elimination of a beneficial heating gain that might occur with a black roof in the winter; that the heating benefit of a black roof is greater than the cooling benefit of a white roof. However, several factors make any potential wintertime heat gain from a black roof relatively immaterial:

  • The laws of physics dictate that hot air will always rise. Thus, any heat that is transferred to the interior of a building structure from the outside will remain at the top of the structure, providing minimal heating benefits to occupants below.
  • In all parts of North America in the winter, there are fewer hours of sunlight available to contribute to warm a building. In fact, in some areas, there is more than a six-hour difference between peak-summer and peak-winter sunlight. Plus, the angle of the sun is less direct, which also helps to minimize potential warming.
  • In many areas, roofs are covered with snow for much of the winter, turning them “white,” and eliminating any potential black roof heat gain.
  • The energy required to air condition a building in the summer is usually considerably greater than the energy to heat it in the winter, making the potential for summer energy cost savings much greater with a highly reflective white roof than winter savings with a heat absorbing black roof.

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.

Project of the Month: Merrick, Inc., Vadnais Heights, Minnesota

The Duro-Last roofing system has been installed on the Merrick, Inc. building in Vadnais Heights, Minnesota. The project was completed at the end of August 2008 and is the largest solar electric application in the state, with 525 solar panels installed that are expected to produce 130,000 kilowatts of electricity a year. Beneath the solar electric system, the building is protected by over 50,000 square feet of Duro-Last’s single-ply PVC roofing system.

Merrick’s prefabricated roofing system was manufactured at Duro-Last’s Sigourney, Iowa, facility and installed by authorized contractor Four Seasons Energy Efficient Roofing, Inc. of Marine on St. Croix, Minnesota. “Duro-Last’s white membrane was the ideal system for this installation because it is solar-ready. It’s easy to install, and because it’s prefabricated, I can be confident that Merrick won’t have to worry about leaks underneath the solar system,” said Darrell Schaapveld, owner of Four Seasons.

The Duro-Last roofing system is an excellent sustainability choice. The white membrane’s high reflectivity benefits the building in rooftop areas where sunlight is not being collected by the solar panels. Because every Duro-Last roof is factory-prefabricated, less on-site waste is produced during installation.

The Duro-Last-plus-solar roofing assembly complements the buildings many other sustainable building features. Among them: a geothermal energy system under the parking lot, powered by the rooftop solar panels, will provide both heating and cooling; every room will have occupancy sensors to control electrical usage; the building will have energy-efficient insulation and windows throughout, maximizing natural light.

According to Duro-Last Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Steve Ruth, “This installation reinforces our leadership in the sustainable roofing market. The Duro-Last roofing system is increasingly being installed throughout the United States as the waterproofing membrane of choice for solar, vegetative, and other ‘green’ building applications.”

Green Dictionary

Carbon Footprint – a measure of the amount of carbon dioxide produced by a person, organization, or location at a given time.

Cool Roof – a roof that reflects the sun’s heat and emits absorbed radiation back into the atmosphere.

Closed-loop process – an environmentally friendly production system in which any industrial output is capable of being recycled to create another product.

ENERGY STAR® – a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices.

Greenwashing – the practice of promoting environmentally friendly programs to deflect attention from an organization’s environmentally unfriendly or less savory activities.

Green building – the practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and deconstruction.

ISO 1400 – addresses various aspects of environmental management. The first two standards, ISO 14001:2004 and ISO 14004:2004 deal with environmental management systems (EMS). ISO 14001:2204 provides the requirements for an EMS and ISO 14004:2004 gives general EMS guidelines.

Post-consumer recycled content – material from products that were used by consumers or businesses and would otherwise be discarded as waste.

Post-consumer waste – materials or finished products that have served their intended use and have been diverted or recovered from waste destined for disposal, having completed their lives as consumer items.

Recycled content – made from materials that would otherwise have been discarded. Items are made totally or partially from material destined for disposal or recovered from industrial activities-like aluminum soda cans or newspaper. Also, can be items that are rebuilt or remanufactured from used products such as toner cartridges or computers.

Recycling – to treat or process (used or waste materials) so as to make suitable for reuse.

Reuse – to use again, especially after salvaging or special treatment or processing.

Sustainability – meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Sources: dictionary.com; usgs.gov; iso.org; epa.gov; dictionary.bnet.com; coolroofs.org