ERA Challenges LBNL Study about White Roofs

The Bethesda, Md.-based EPDM Roofing Association (ERA) is challenging a study released by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, Calif., which cites white roofs as the most “cost-effective” roofing option over a 50-year time span. The study, published in the March 2014 issue of Energy and Buildings, also calls for the phase-out of black roofs.

“Our members make both black and white roofing membranes. We strongly oppose any recommendation that irresponsibly promotes the use of one of our products over another based on faulty science. We question the validity of this study since it is based on a sample size of only 22 roofs, and we are challenging the conclusions that the authors draw from the data,” says Ellen Thorp, ERA’s associate executive director. “Due to the complexity of roof and building science, prescriptive requirements that limit design choices are not in the best interests of architects, design professionals or building owners.”

To help provide clarity regarding roofing-system choice and refute some errors in the study, ERA convened a panel of experts to review the LBNL science and its conclusions. A complete analysis can be found on the ERA website.

Overall, the LBNL study was marked by “a systematic failure to understand that roofs are systems, not a single component,” says Thomas W. Hutchinson, AIA, FRCI, RRC, principal of Hutchinson Design Group Ltd., Barrington, Ill., an internationally recognized expert on roof system design and a Roofing editorial advisor. “Additionally, the study completely ignored
ballasted EPDM systems that, in other studies, have proven to be the roof system that provides the greatest service life and energy savings. To suggest that a comparatively ‘new’ roofing material will have a longer service life than EPDM, a material proven to last over 30 years, is naïve.”

“Our members—Firestone Building Products, Carlisle SynTec Systems and Johns Manville—have a vested interest in providing accurate information to our customers,” Thorp adds. “Their knowledge is based on marketing, installing and maintaining thousands of roofing systems. We hope that architects, specifiers and roofing consultants will continue to rely on their field-based knowledge about the comparative costs and effectiveness of roofing systems, rather than on flawed science based on flimsy and biased data.”

Benjamin Mandel, a research assistant in the Heat Island Group at LBNL and an author of the LBNL study, recently responded to ERA’s remarks on Today’s Facility Manager’s website.
Read Mandel’s reaction at

Weather-resistant Barrier Market Will Grow

According to a new report, “Weather Resistant Barriers 2014”, from Malvern, Pa.-based Principia, total demand for weather-resistant barriers (WRBs), including building wraps, roofing underlayment, membranes, wrapped sheathing, rain screens, insulating board stock, spray polyurethane foam and building paper will grow at about 7 percent per year from about $3.7 billion in 2013 to $4.5 billion in 2016.

Multifunctional products are leading the growth in WRBs. These products have higher average growth rates and gross margins and represent about 45 percent of the industry’s total value, yet only account for 20 percent of the total volume. Code changes and installation efficiencies are the primary factors driving the product mix shift away from traditional barriers and wraps toward products that offer multiple functionalities.

Sue Ross, project manager for the report, comments: “Many new products have been recently launched by current industry suppliers, as well as new entrants. The new products and systems are designed to prevent air, vapor, water and thermal transmission from transferring across the building envelope, whether it’s inside-out or outside-in, thus reducing a building owner’s heating and cooling costs and improving the integrity and comfort of the building. Balancing energy transfer and moisture management within the building envelope has driven major changes in WRB material demand and will continue to drive product innovation.

“Many new WRB market entrants have roots in other product categories that are used in and around the building envelope and already have established distribution and contractor customers, including waterproofing and coatings, sheathing and panels, foamed insulation, roofing and roofing underlayment, and traditional wraps and membranes,” she continues. “Companies are combining several material technologies to form multifunctional products that are easier and faster to install and are going to market through established channels to take advantage of existing relationships and expand the value of their product portfolios.”

The report contains key market data, trends and strategic insight into all aspects of the business from supply through distribution to designers and end users. Principia conducted discussions with 600 industry participants, including contractors, architects, specifiers, building-envelope scientists, dealers, distributors and manufacturers to compile its comprehensive assessment.

Principia’s interactive Market Model and Forecasting Tool is included with the report. This tool allows subscribers to model hypothetical market performance based on their own assumptions of metrics, such as housing starts, commercial-construction growth, remodeling rate and material market share.

Global Spray Polyurethane Foam Market Expected to Grow

According to a new market report published by Transparency Market Research, “Spray Polyurethane Foam (Open-Cell, Closed-Cell and Others) Market for Residential Walls, Residential Roofing, Commercial Walls, Commercial Roofing and Other Applications – Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast, 2013 – 2019,” the global spray polyurethane foam market was valued at USD 1,135.3 million in 2012 and is expected to reach USD 1,823 million by 2019, growing at a CAGR of 7.0 percent from 2013-19. In terms of volume, spray polyurethane foam consumption was 473.5 kilo tons in 2012.

Spray polyurethane foam (SPF) is an effective substitute for traditional insulation materials. Higher efficiency and lower carbon footprint during production have been major factors driving the SPF market. In addition, increasing threat of energy crisis leading to stringent government regulations for energy-efficient structures is expected to further augment the market growth. Isocyanates employed in the production of SPF cause severe occupational health hazards including asthma which has been a major factor restraining growth of the SPF market. Volatility of raw material prices has also restrained the demand for SPF. Developing low cost bio-based SPF is expected to offer huge growth opportunities in the market.

Open-cell and closed-cell SPF together constitute over 90 percent of the global demand for SPF and the trend is expected to continue during the forecast period. Growing demand for residential applications in developed countries is expected to fuel demand for open-cell SPF. Other application segments include one component foam and high density SPF. Demand in other segment is driven by innovation and higher degree of customization.

Demand for SPF can be segregated into five major application segments: residential roofing, residential walls, commercial roofing, commercial wall and other niche applications. Residential roofing application dominates the global demand for SPF. Other application segments include medical equipment and transportation, among others.

North America followed by Asia Pacific dominates the global demand for SPF. Increasing industrial investment mainly in the developing economies of Asia Pacific is expected to drive demand for closed-cell SPF. Europe is expected to be the fastest growing region for SPF market during the forecast period. Stringent government regulations are expected to drive SPF market in the developed economies of North America and Europe.

Some of the major industry participants include BASF Corporation, Lapolla Industries Inc., NCFI Polyurethanes, Bayer MaterialScience, Icynene Inc., Premium Spray Products, CertainTeed Corporation, Rhino Linings Corporation, The Dow Chemical Company and Demilec among others.

This report segments the global spray polyurethane foam market as follows:

Spray Polyurethane Foam Market – Product Segment Analysis

    Open Cell
    Closed Cell
    Others (Including high density spray polyurethane foam, one component foam, etc.)

Spray Polyurethane Foam Market – Application Analysis

    Residential walls
    Residential roofing
    Commercial walls
    Commercial roofing
    Others (Including Medical, Telecom, Transportation, etc.)

Spray Polyurethane Foam Market – Regional Analysis

    North America
    Asia Pacific
    Rest of the World

Nations Roof and Flynn America LP Join The Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress

Nations Roof, Lithia Springs, Ga., and Flynn America LP, Kirkwood, Mo., have joined The Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress at the Governor level. Governor membership is reserved for those who commit $50,000 to the Alliance during a three- to five-year period. Nations Roof and Flynn America’s commitments entitle them to participate in the project task forces established to guide the Alliance’s agenda and to attend the semiannual meetings of the full Alliance. For more information or to join the Alliance, visit the Alliance’s website or contact Bennett Judson, the Alliance’s executive director, at (800) 323-9545, ext. 7513.

The Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress was established within the National Roofing Foundation (NRF) to create an endowment fund to serve as a highly focused resource for the roofing industry and its customers. The Alliance’s objectives are to conduct research and education projects that support high-quality programs for roofing contractors; ensure timely and forward-thinking industry responses to major economic and technological issues; and enhance the long-term viability and attractiveness of the industry to roofing workers. The Alliance also reaches out to the roofing community and its members and helps fund efforts dedicated to good works and charitable giving.

Design and Construction Leaders Commit to Resilience

Tuesday, for the first time, leaders of America’s design and construction industry, along with building owners and operators, have agreed to promote resilience in contemporary planning, building materials, design, construction and operational techniques to help make the nation’s aging infrastructure more safe and secure.

CEOs of almost 24 leading design and construction industry associations, with more than 700,000 members generating almost $1 trillion in GDP, used the occasion of “Building Safety Month” to issue a joint statement on resilience. The statement was unveiled at a press conference at the National Building Museum, where a new major exhibition titled Designing for Disaster presents design and building solutions for disaster mitigation.

“We recognize that natural and manmade hazards pose an increasing threat to the safety of the public and the vitality of our nation,” reads the statement, in part. “We further recognize that contemporary planning, building materials, design, construction and operational techniques can make our communities more resilient to these threats.”

The CEOs committed their design and construction sector organizations to significantly improve the resilience of the nation’s entire built environment through research into new materials, construction procedures, and other methods to improve the standard of practice. Among other things, they also committed the industry to educating itself through continuous learning; to advocating for effective land use policies; to responding to disasters alongside first responders; and to planning for future events, with a strategy for fast recovery.

“By reaching out across the design and construction industry spectrum, the alliance could play a significant role in addressing major national imperatives as we design, plan, and build the future,” says ASLA Executive Vice President and CEO Nancy C. Somerville, Hon. ASLA, Hon. AIA. “Resilience is at the heart of what landscape architects do. I applaud our partners and look forward to working with them for the common good.”

In addition to the American Society of Landscape Architects, here is a list of organizations signing onto the joint statement on resilience:

    American Council of Engineering Companies
    American Institute of Architects
    American Planning Association
    American Society of Civil Engineers
    American Society of Interior Designers
    American Society of Landscape Architects
    American Society of Plumbing Engineers
    Associated Builders and Contractors
    Associated General Contractors of America
    Building Owners and Managers Association
    International Code Council
    International Interior Design Association
    Lean Construction Institute
    National Association of Home Builders
    National Institute of Building Sciences International Facility Management Association
    National Society of Professional Engineers
    Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors
    Urban Land Institute
    U.S. Green Building Council

IBHS and FEMA Prepare Homes and Businesses for Natural Disasters

The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) recently joined with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the first National Prepare-A-Thon, which was designed to help home and business owners become better prepared for natural disasters.

“Research shows that communities, families and individuals who prepare in advance for possible disasters are better able to recover from them and adapt to new or changing conditions,” says Julie Rochman, IBHS president and CEO. “Communities around the country [held] Prepare-A-Thon events April 30. The time to act is now before disasters threaten. These events are perfect opportunities to learn how to make your home and business safer and stronger in the face of disasters.”

The first step in preparing for a disaster is knowing what risks you face. IBHS provides an interactive risk map on its website to help you identify your region’s risks by entering your ZIP Code.

“A critical part of preparedness is making sure your home or business is disaster-resistant. Strengthening your building will make it more likely it will be there when you return after a disaster. A stronger, safer building will sustain less damage, making your community more resilient and requiring less federal and state aid to recover,” states Rochman.

IBHS provides a wealth of information for home and business owners about how to protect your home and business against damage from tornadoes, wildfires, floods and hurricanes.

Equipment Leasing Shows New Business Volume Is Increasing

The Equipment Leasing and Finance Association’s (ELFA) Monthly Leasing and Finance Index (MLFI-25), which reports economic activity from 25 companies representing a cross section of the $827 billion equipment finance sector, showed their overall new business volume for March was $7 billion, up 3 percent from new business volume in March 2013. Month-over-month, new business volume was up 30 percent from February. Year to date, cumulative new business volume increased 6 percent compared to 2013.

Receivables over 30 days increased to 2.1 percent from 1.8 percent the previous month, and were up slightly from 2.0 percent during the same period in 2013. Charge-offs were down at a new all-time low of 0.2 percent from 0.4 percent the previous month.

Credit approvals totaled 77.8 percent in March, an increase from 75.3 percent the previous month. Sixty-five percent of participating organizations reported submitting more transactions for approval during March, an increase from 53 percent during February.

Finally, total headcount for equipment finance companies was up 4.4 percent year over year.

Separately, the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation’s Monthly Confidence Index (MCI-EFI) for April is 65.1, remaining at the highest index level in two years for the second consecutive month.

ELFA President and CEO William G. Sutton, CAE, said: “Equipment finance companies in almost all industry sectors are reporting a strong first quarter of the year. The March data showing new business volume clearly provides evidence of a strong first quarter looking back and a positive forecast for future activity. The Federal Reserve recently hinted at continuing a monetary policy that will promote a sustained low interest rate environment at least for the foreseeable future, which is giving the business community a reason to feel confident about the overall trajectory of the U.S. economy and make capital investments in their businesses. Credit quality metrics are mixed, with delinquencies edging upward counterbalanced by monthly losses reaching historic lows. Another positive sign for the industry is the trend toward increased hiring during the past 10 months.”

Brian J. Griffin, Senior Vice President, Leasing, MB Financial Bank, N.A., said, “The continued strong metrics measured by the MLFI-25 reflect the ongoing strength of the economy and, more specifically, the leasing industry. Of particular significance is the dramatic increase in new business volume from February, the record low charge-off percentage and the continued increase in headcount in the industry. If medium- and long-term rates can remain relatively stable, these results bode well for continued growth for the balance of the year.”

The MLFI-25 is the only index that reflects capex, or the volume of commercial equipment financed in the U.S. The MLFI-25 is released globally at 8 a.m. Eastern time from Washington, D.C., each month on the day before the U.S. Department of Commerce releases the durable goods report. The MLFI-25 is a financial indicator that complements the durable goods report and other economic indexes, including the Institute for Supply Management Index, which reports economic activity in the manufacturing sector. Together with the MLFI-25 these reports provide a complete view of the status of productive assets in the U.S. economy: equipment produced, acquired and financed.

The MLFI-25 is a time series that reflects two years of business activity for the 25 companies currently participating in the survey.

ERA Recommends EPA Base Procurement Guidelines on Assessed Risk

The EPDM Roofing Association (ERA) is recommending that the EPA base proposed environmental performance guidelines on “assessed risk” of referenced chemicals, rather than on the concept of “intrinsic hazard”. In comments to the EPA on its proposed Draft Guidelines for Product Environmental Performance Standards & Ecolabels for Voluntary Use in Federal Procurement, ERA stated, “The concept of “intrinsic hazard” as used in the draft neglects the importance of overall risk assessment as the best approach to identifying potential and actual environmental or human health danger of a product. Taken as a whole, the potential for product exclusion within broad hazard-based protocols may be significant for many segments of the building material industry.”

The ERA comments cite a broad range of widely used building products that could be excluded from the marketplace if the proposed guidelines are implemented.

“We applaud the EPA for incorporating the expertise of impacted industries as they establish environmental standards,” said Ellen Thorp, Associate Executive Director, EPDM Roofing Association. “It’s vitally important that we review all of the consequences – intended and unintended – of these proposed guidelines. Roofing professionals who have extensive field experience with these products can provide uniquely valuable input.”

ERA further praised the EPA for incorporating “consideration of all viewpoints, the requirement for timely response to objections, the opportunity for appeal, and transparency in the development and communication process” in the draft guidelines. ERA underscored that these principles need to be emphasized in green standards development: “Only by doing so can we move green construction from the boutique privilege of a few to the mainstream of the built environment.”

The complete text of ERA’s comments on the Draft Guidelines for Product Environmental Performance Standards & Ecolabels for Voluntary Use in Federal Procurement is below.

ERA Comments Submitted to the EPA on April 24, 2014

The EPDM Roofing Association is the national trade association that represents EPDM roof membrane manufacturers and suppliers to the industry. ERA advances the use of sustainable EPDM roofing systems, while also providing technical and research support to the public and construction industry.

ERA appreciates and supports the development of forward looking standards grounded in the key principles of modern consensus processes. Given the importance of the burgeoning number of proposed green and/or healthy building guidelines and standards, the principles outlined in the EPA draft go a long way to ensuring progress that can be measurable and achievable by the nation’s building industry. The consideration of all viewpoints, the requirement for timely response to objections, the opportunity for appeal, and transparency in the development and communication process, are all key elements of the Draft Guidelines. Without a doubt, these principles need to be emphasized in green standards development, where true consensus processes have too often been ignored or compromised. Only by doing so can we move green construction from the boutique privilege of a few to the mainstream of the built environment.

The only area of concern we wish to comment on involves the concept of “intrinsic hazard” as described in the Section II, # 13, and Footnote 9 of the draft. The concept of “intrinsic hazard” as used in the draft neglects the importance of overall risk assessment as the best approach to identifying potential and actual environmental or human health danger of a product.

Taken as a whole, the potential for product exclusion within broad hazard-based protocols may be significant for many segments of the building material industry. As an example, Healthy Product Declarations (HPDs) for many building envelope products will likely include the disclosure of at least one ingredient alleged to be hazardous by one or more of the “authoritative” lists. The following is a listing of a number of these building envelope products, the alleged hazardous materials they may contain, and the reference list from which the alleged hazard is identified.
• Thermoplastic Roofing Membranes: Titanium Dioxide (California Prop 65)
• Rubber Roofing Membranes: Carbon Black (California Prop 65)
• Asphaltic Roofing and Waterproofing Products: Bitumen (California Prop 65)
• “Cool” (Reflective) Roof Coatings: Titanium Dioxide (California Prop 65)
• Fiber Insulation: Wood Dust (California Prop 65)
• Foam Insulation: Halogenated Fire Retardants (San Antonio Protocol)

This listing helps illustrate our serious concern about possible misuse of standards that are not focused on risk but rather the existence of hazard to make a use or not use decision. Knowledgeable chemists realize that many of these ingredients, like TiO2, wood dust or carbon black in roofing materials will likely never affect building occupants. But how will building designers respond to HPDs or similar hazard-based protocols that contain hazard warnings about cool roof coatings, wood, carbon black, and the like? They will now be possession of information stating the products they plan to specify contain ingredients potentially hazardous to the health of the clients. In short, if HPDs or similar protocols flag every building product as hazardous, their relevancy and usefulness will be lost.

As a result, we recommend that Section II, #13 be revised as follows:
“Product environmental criteria focus on the assessed risks of chemicals, and require safer substitutes to the extent possible, considering existing data and availability of functional alternatives.9”

In addition, we recommend that Footnote 9 also be revised to support risk assessment rather than hazard identification: “A risk-based approach, grounded in Green Chemistry principles, can reduce the use of hazardous substances, and lower overall risk to people and the environment. Key to this focus is an understanding of the actual risks of chemicals in terms of effect levels and exposure pathways, as well as the availability of safer alternatives.”

We thank you for the opportunity to provide these comments, and we look forward to the formal release of these guidelines.

Center PV Taskforce Seeking Comments on PV Racking and Attachment Criteria for Effective Asphalt Shingle Roof System Integration

The Center PV Taskforce is releasing the second public draft of PV Racking and Attachment Criteria for Effective Asphalt Shingle Roof System Integration for a final round of public comment.

The Center PV Taskforce will accept public comments until 5 p.m. ET on Friday, May 30, 2014. Directions for submitting comments can be found below.

The document is intended to enhance collaboration between key stakeholders from the solar and roofing industries and accelerate the deployment of rooftop integrated solar. Members of the solar industry and other interested parties are encouraged to submit comments and engage the Taskforce in future stakeholder discussions. Taskforce members also will accept comments from the at-large community and consider those comments within internal stakeholder discussions.

Directions for submitting public comments:

    Download a copy of PV Racking and Attachment Criteria for Effective Asphalt Shingle Roof System Integration.
    All comments must be submitted no later than 5 p.m. ET on Friday, May 30, 2014.
    All comments must be submitted using the Center PV Taskforce online survey form. Access the survey form.
    Additional details can be found on the first page of the criteria document.

    If you have questions, please contact Jim Kirby at

    The Taskforce looks forward to working with you to achieve higher quality combined solar energy roofing systems.

2012 Fatal Work Injuries Are Second Lowest Reported Since 1992

The final count of fatal work injuries in the United States in 2012 was 4,628, up from 4,383 preliminarily reported in August 2013. The final 2012 total was the second-lowest annual total recorded since the fatal injury census was first conducted in 1992. The overall fatal work injury rate for the United States in 2012 was 3.4 fatal injuries per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, down slightly from the final rate of 3.5 reported for 2011.

The final fatal work injury rate for 2012 is the lowest rate published by the program since the conversion to hours-based rates in 2006. The final 2012 numbers reflect updates to the 2012 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) file made after the release of preliminary results in August 2013. Revisions and additions to the 2012 CFOI counts result from the identification of new cases and the revision of existing cases based on source documents received after the release of preliminary results. A table summarizing the results of the update process appears on the next page.

Among the changes resulting from the updates:

  • The total number of contractors fatally injured on the job in 2012 rose to 715 fatalities after updates were included. Contract workers accounted for over 15 percent of all fatal work injuries in 2012. For more information, see the
    table on contractor data.
  • Roadway incidents were higher by 109 cases (or 10 percent) from the preliminary count, increasing the total number of fatal work-related roadway incidents in 2012 to 1,153 cases. The final 2012 total represented a 5-percent increase over the final 2011 count.
  • The number of fatal work injuries involving Hispanic workers was higher by 40 fatalities after updates were added, bringing the total number of fatally injured Hispanic workers to 748. That total was about the same as the 2011 total (749), but the fatality rate for Hispanic workers declined to 3.7 per 100,000 FTE workers in 2012, down from 4.0 in 2011.
  • Work-related suicides increased by 24 cases to a total of 249 after updates were added. Workplace homicides were higher by 12 cases after the updates, raising the workplace homicide total in 2012 to 475 cases.
  • In the private transportation and warehousing sector, fatal injuries increased by 9 percent from the preliminary count, led by a net increase of 44 cases in the truck transportation sector.
  • A net increase of 31 fatal work injuries in the private construction sector led to a revised count of 806 for that sector. The 2012 total was an increase of 9 percent over the 2011 total and represented the first increase in fatal work injuries in private construction since 2006.

Overall, 36 states revised their counts upward as a result of the update process. CFOI has compiled an annual count of all fatal work injuries occurring in the U.S. since 1992 by using diverse data sources to identify, verify and profile fatal work injuries. For more information, see Chapter 9 of the BLS Handbook of Methods.