North American Cities Are Implementing Urban Heat Reduction Strategies, Including Cool Roofing

A survey of North American cities by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and the Global Cool Cities Alliance (GCCA) finds that confronting the challenges of extreme weather, adapting to a changing climate, and improving the health and resiliency of urban populations are driving cities to develop and implement strategies to reduce excess urban heat.

Nearly two-thirds of the cities surveyed cited local extreme weather events as a key reason for initiating urban heat island mitigation strategies. “U.S. cities are waking up to the growing threat of urban heat and employing a number of innovative approaches suited to their location and priorities,” said ACEEE researcher and report author Virginia Hewitt. “Our report will help local planners adapt these practices to even more communities across the country.”

ACEEE and GCCA surveyed 26 cities in the U.S. and Canada representing all of the major climate zones, geographies, and city sizes. Despite the diversity of the respondents, several common themes emerged. Local governments are “leading by example” by requiring use of “cool” technologies, such as reflective roofs on municipal buildings, lining city streets with shade trees, and raising public awareness. Additionally, more than half of the cities have some kind of requirement in place for reflective and vegetated roofing for private sector buildings. Almost every city had policies to increase tree canopy and manage storm water.

“Our report finds that by addressing their urban heat islands, cities are more effectively delivering core public health and safety services, making them attractive places to live, work, and play,” said Kurt Shickman, executive director of the Global Cool Cities Alliance.

The report includes case studies on how several cities have responded to urban heat, demonstrating the variety of strategies employed. In response to a study that found that Houston’s roofs and pavements can reach 160 F, the city now requires most flat roofs in the city to be reflective. After an extreme heat wave in 2008, Cincinnati lost much of its urban canopy, and instituted an aggressive forestry plan. Washington D.C., has instituted a wide suite of programs such as Green Alleys, which helps residents manage excess stormwater by replacing pavement with grass and trees, and requiring reflective roofs on all new buildings.

The survey also found that most city governments are not acting alone to reduce excess heat. States, neighboring jurisdictions, utilities, developers, contractors, and local building owners are collaborating to create incentives for communities to reduce urban heat and mainstream these practices.

“We recognized a number of years ago that keeping New York cooler was an important part of protecting public health and becoming more resilient. We started with cool-roof volunteer programs that raised awareness and understanding, while coating 5 million square feet of rooftops. These voluntary efforts led to the cool roof ordinance requiring investments in reflective roofs on certain buildings,” said Wendy Dessy of NYC Service.

Cities surveyed in the report include: Albuquerque, N.M.; Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Baltimore; Boston; Charlotte, N.C.; Chicago; Chula Vista, Calif.; Cincinnati; Dallas; Denver; Houston; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Louisville, Ky.; New Orleans; New York; Omaha, Neb.; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Portland, Ore.; Sacramento, Calif.; St. Louis, Mo.; Toronto; Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; and Washington, D.C.

View Cool Policies for Cool Cities: Best Practices for Mitigating Urban Heat Islands in North American Cities.

NRCA Updates Its Online Bookstore

The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) has updated its online NRCA Bookstore, designed to provide roofing professionals with quicker, easier access to all the association’s educational resources.

Launched in May, the NRCA Bookstore now has several new features including a Live Chat that will allow customers to obtain instant access with NRCA’s customer service team to get instant answer to questions about a product.

In addition, the bookstore offers:

  • Convenient search and sort functions
    New and useful product categories
    New releases and feature products
    A more user-friendly, intuitive design

For more information, visit the NRCA Bookstore.

IRE Early Space Draw Fills 82 Percent of 2015 Show Floor

Building off the buzz from the record-breaking show in February, the 2015 Int’l Roofing Expo (IRE) recently held its annual Early Space Draw, assigning 82 percent of the total show floor.

“Taking place three months prior to the general Space Draw, the Early Space Draw process allows exhibitors to secure the lowest possible booth rate and the best possible location on the show floor,” said Tracy Garcia, CEM, IRE Show Director. “Covering more than 84,900 net square feet, a total of 257 companies were assigned.”

Participating companies were pleased with being part of the Early Space Draw process. “TRUFAST is looking forward to exhibiting at IRE in 2015,” said Kara Boots, TRUFAST Marketing Brand Manager. “The show is an ideal platform for showcasing our expanded offering of commercial roofing fasteners and accessories.”

“SOPREMA is glad to be back at the 2015 Int’l Roofing Expo,” said Jason Hazen, SOPREMA Marketing Director. “By exhibiting we are confident we will connect with many qualified leads.”

Exhibiting companies who were assigned booth space include Carlisle SynTec Systems, TAMKO Building Products, Firestone Building Products, Royal Adhesives & Sealants, ABC Supply Co., GAF, Polyglass USA, Owens Corning, Metalforming, New Tech Machinery, Air Vent, Garlock Equipment Company and Englert, with inquiries and booth reservations coming in daily.

Exhibitors returning to the show after an absence of a year or more include Van Mark, Boral Roofing, Furman Insurance, Henry Co., Isaiah Industries, Rillito River, Vermont Slate, Southeastern Metals, US Ply, and Union Corrugating.

Also participating in Early Space Draw were first-time exhibitors, including Nissan, ABS Safety and EVERROOF.

“Our members are really excited about the 2015 show,” said Bill Good, Executive Vice President of NRCA, the show’s official sponsor. “The number of companies committing to booth space this far in advance of the show is quite impressive.”

The 2015 International Roofing Expo will be held February 24-26, 2015, in Halls B-D at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.

Companies interested in exhibiting can still apply for booth space. The Booth Contract, Floor Plan, Sponsorships and the Exhibitor Flyer can be accessed by visiting the show’s website.

For more information, companies beginning with the letters A-H should contact Darrin Cayton at (972) 536-6360; I-Z should contact Stephanie Garcia at (972) 536-6381. General sales questions should be directed to Steve Schlange, Sales Manager, at (972) 536-6386.

Sen. Cardin Reintroduces Bill to Increase Employment and Improve the Energy-Efficiency of Commercial Building Roofs

U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), has reintroduced the “Energy-Efficient Cool Roofs Jobs Act,” S. 2388, which would boost job creation in the construction industry and significantly increase the energy efficiency of buildings throughout the U.S., lowering energy costs and saving money. The bill would improve investment returns on building energy-efficiency improvements by shortening the tax depreciation period for the installation of new roofs on existing buildings that meet certain thermal performance and “cool roof” requirements.

“We don’t need to choose between good jobs and helping the environment; we can do both with the same policy,” said Senator Cardin. “Cool Roofs provides an opportunity to reduce energy consumption and add nearly 40,000 jobs to a sector of our economy that still has not felt the full effect of our emergent recovery. It’s no wonder this bill, which provides incentives to install energy efficient roofs and simplifies the tax code, has such broad support across industries and labor.”

S. 2388 is co-sponsored by Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.). Sen. Cardin also filed the Energy-Efficient Cool Roofs Jobs Act as an amendment (S. Admt 3186) to the EXPIRE Act (S. 2260). U.S. Reps. Tom Reed (R-NY) and Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) have introduced a companion bill in the House (H.R. 4740).

The bill reduces the depreciation period for commercial roof retrofits, lowering the current 39-year depreciation period in the current tax code to a 20-year depreciation period for energy-efficient cool roof systems. To qualify, roofs must include systems with insulation that meets or exceeds the ASHRAE Standard 189.1-2011, a model green building standard, and have a cool roof surface in climate zones one through five.

“Congress recognizes the value of commercial building roofs in terms of both national energy policy and providing an incentive for owners to increase the thermal performance of their buildings,” said Jared O. Blum, president, Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association (PIMA), a supporter of the bill. “Most buildings in this country were built before modern energy codes were in place, so upgrading the performance of those buildings with more energy efficient roofs can save lots of money.

“The legislation also offers a more fair treatment of roofs under the tax depreciation system. As currently structured, the tax code has created a disincentive for building owners to upgrade their roofs,” added Blum.

The Energy-Efficient Cool Roofs Jobs Act has attracted a wide range of supporters, including PIMA. The bill would create nearly 40,000 new jobs among roofing contractors and manufacturers; add $1 billion of taxable annual revenue in the construction sector; make the tax code simpler and more equitable for small businesses of all types; reduce U.S. energy consumption and save small businesses millions of dollars in energy costs; and reduce carbon emissions by 800,000 metric tons—an amount equal to the emissions of 153,000 cars. Additional supporters include:

Alliance to Save Energy
American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy
Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association
Associated Builders and Contractors
Building Owners and Managers Association
Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing
Environmental and Energy Study Institute
Global Cool Cities Alliance
Institute for Market Transformation
Joint Roofing Industry Labor and Management Committee
National Roofing Contractors Association
NAIOP: The Commercial Real Estate Development Association
Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance
United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers

A significant opportunity to increase building energy efficiency lies within the commercial roofing sector. Waterproof membranes on commercial low-slope roofs (i.e., flat roofs) last, on average, 17 years. When these membranes are replaced, building owners could add a reasonable amount of insulation and substitute a white roof surface (i.e., a cool or reflective roof) for the traditional dark colored roof surface, a practice that would save $12.2 billion in energy costs in just the first ten years. The annual savings after ten years would be $2.4 billion. This activity would also avoid and offset 147 million tons of CO2 emissions, an amount that is equal to the annual emissions of 38 coal fired power plants.

NRCA Supports Commercial Roof Depreciation Legislation

The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) strongly supports bipartisan legislation introduced in Congress on May 22 to reform the outdated depreciation schedule for commercial roofs. This legislation, which replaces the current 39-year depreciation schedule with a 20-year schedule, will remove an obstacle in the tax code that limits economic growth in the roofing industry, thus facilitating the creation of an estimated 40,000 new jobs among roofing contractors and manufacturers. It also will benefit millions of small businesses nationwide and advance energy efficiency within the commercial building sector.

NRCA wishes to commend Reps. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) and Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) for sponsoring the House bill (H.R. 4740) and Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) for authoring the companion legislation (S. 2388) in the Senate. NRCA looks forward to working with these and other lawmakers to enact this legislation as the congressional tax-writing committees consider possible changes in tax policy that will help grow the economy and create jobs.

There has been a need for depreciation reform since the depreciation schedule for nonresidential property was increased from 15 to 39 years between 1981 and 1993. The average life span of most commercial roofs is only 17 years, according to a study by Ducker Worldwide. This has caused building owners to delay the full replacement of older, failing roofs in favor of limited, piecemeal repairs. Moreover, building owners who install new roofs before the current 39-year schedule has elapsed are required to depreciate roofs at different schedules, causing paperwork burdens for businesses.

This legislation will rectify this problem by providing the 20-year depreciation schedule for commercial roof retrofits that meet a benchmark energy-efficiency standard. Depreciation reform for energy-efficient commercial roofs will provide significant energy, environmental and economic benefits by reducing energy costs for businesses of all types that install new roofs.

Depreciation reform for commercial roofs enjoys the support of numerous business, labor and energy efficiency groups, including the National Roofing Contractors Association; United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers; and the Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association. For more information, please contact NRCA’s vice president of government relations Duane Musser, or manager of federal affairs Andrew Felz at (202) 546-7584.

METALCON Heads to Denver, Exhibitors Are Optimistic

METALCON International is heading to Denver for the first time and it’s a good thing … signs are that construction business is definitely improving.

METALCON, scheduled for Oct. 1-3 at the Colorado Convention Center, annually attracts thousands of attendees looking to learn more about metal: contractors, architects, specifiers, roofers, designers, developers and suppliers from more than 50 countries.
METALCON’s first-ever visit to Denver allows manufacturers and suppliers with offices in the Rocky Mountains to reach out to thousands of potential customers. According to the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp., Denver’s employment growth was more than 1 percent higher than the national average.

“Metro Denver will have quite a strong employment growth in three leading sectors of our economy in 2014—natural resources and construction (8 percent), professional and business services (4.3 percent) and education and healthcare services (3.5 percent),” says Patty Silverstein, chief economist for the Metro Denver EDC. “Growth in these industries sends positive ripple effect through other areas of our economy.”

That can only be good news for METALCON exhibitors and attendees.

Clay Trapp, Sales Representative for DECRA Roofing Systems in the Denver area is looking forward to his first METALCON. “I’ve been with DECRA for only a few months, so this is a great opportunity for me,” Trapp says. “We’ve got some good partnerships in the area.” DECRA manufactures a range of stone-coated metal roofing shingles. Most of the work for DECRA in the area is in the residential segment.

For AMSI Supply of Douglasville, Ga., the opportunity to visit a new venue should lead to a boost in business. “We do a fairly decent amount of business in the Rockies,” says David Trefzger, general manager at AMSI. “Still, most of our business is east of the Mississippi River. We hope to have another good show at METALCON, generate some new business.”

AMSI’s business in the Rocky Mountains is approximately 60 percent in the commercial market, 25 percent for government projects and the remainder in residential. AMSI Supply manufactures metal roofing components: roofing clips, bearing plates, measuring, cutting and seaming tools and much more.

“We’ve identified the Rockies as one of our seven important regions because of the weather there, metal roofing is user-friendly there, it sheds snow,” says David Rowe, Director of Product Management-Building Envelope at Englert Inc., a manufacturer and supplier of standing seam metal roofing. “Are we looking forward to METALCON being in our backyard? You bet!” Rowe says of Englert’s roofing projects in the Rocky Mountains, about 80 percent are commercial with the remaining 20 percent residential projects.

Not everyone exhibiting at METALCON has tapped into the Rocky Mountain market. Franklin Manufacturing Inc., a global leader in high quality hydraulic steel fabrication equipment based in Russellville, Ala., is looking for new customers. “We haven’t done a whole lot of business in that area,” says Dale Moore, sales and project development at FMI. “That’s one of the reasons we wanted to make sure we were at this show. Plus we’ve made every METALCON the last umpteen years.”

Moore believes his potential customers would rather put their hands on FMI products than watch a video online. “I have no doubt that a first-time show in Denver will be a very good one,” Moore says. “We’re very upbeat about this show.”

Polyiso Industry Praises Proposal for Reduction in U.S. Carbon Emissions

This week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a draft proposal under Section 111 (d) of the Clean Air Act calling for greenhouse-gas emissions reduction of 30 percent by 2030. The new rule is geared to cut carbon-dioxide emissions from coal- and gas-fired power plants across the United States by providing states with a flexible menu of policy options for compliance.

“The proposed regulation from the EPA and the White House provide the tipping point in coalescing this country’s already strong technical capabilities to lower our carbon output,” said Jared Blum, president, Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association (PIMA). “It is PIMA’s strong belief that energy efficiency in buildings can achieve much of what needs to be done.””

According to the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, America’s total annual energy consumption in 2013 was 5.0 percent below 2007 levels. This long-term trend was in part prompted by the economic downturn of 2008-2009, but as economic growth has returned, energy use is not growing at a commensurate rate, and today our economy is far more energy-efficient than before.

“Our military, industrial and scientific leaders have requested that our government provide an actionable path forward. The 111(d) proposal is one such path that deserves broad business support,” added Blum.

A significant opportunity to increase building energy efficiency lies within the commercial roofing sector. Waterproof membranes on commercial low-slope roofs (flat roofs) last, on average, 17 years. When these membranes are replaced, building owners could add a reasonable amount of insulation, a practice that would save $12.2 billion in energy costs in just the first ten years. The annual savings after ten years would be $2.4 billion. This activity would also avoid 105 million tons of CO2 emissions, an amount that is equal to the annual emissions of 27 coal-fired power plants.

This Week: NRCA and United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers Jointly Support National Safety Stand-Down

This is a joint statement attributable to William Good, executive vice president of the National Roofing Contractors Association, and Kinsey M. Robinson, international president of the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers

On behalf of the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers (UURWAW) and National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), we would like to voice our support for the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction, organized by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), taking place throughout the U.S. from June 2-6, 2014.

The latest statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show 65 workers in the roofing industry died in 2012 from falls that occurred as they were doing their jobs. Those numbers are not just cold statistics but reflect 65 families that have been changed forever by the loss of a loved on—a spouse, father, mother, son or daughter whose death has left a void in the hearts of family and friends.

The National Safety Stand-Down is an effort to focus company and worker attention on the significance of fall hazards in construction and emphasize the importance of effectively implementing fall-protection systems on every project. NRCA and UURWAW encourage their members and all involved in the roofing industry to participate in the National Safety Stand-Down by delivering focused fall-protection awareness toolbox talks at the start of each day during that week and throughout the year. Special materials have been developed by UURWAW and NRCA for this purpose that can be accessed on our websites and printed for use each day.

Let’s pledge to continue the efforts to increase awareness of fall hazards, not just that week but throughout the year so all workers are safe performing the critical, quality work they do and are able to go home to their families each day!

Equipment Leasing and Finance Industry Confidence at Two-Year High for Third Consecutive Month

The Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation (the Foundation) has released the May 2014 Monthly Confidence Index for the Equipment Finance Industry (MCI-EFI). Designed to collect leadership data, the index reports a qualitative assessment of the prevailing business conditions and expectations for the future as reported by key executives from the $827 billion equipment finance sector. Overall, confidence in the equipment finance market is 65.4, relatively unchanged from 65.1 last month, peaking at the highest index level in two years for the third consecutive month.

When asked about the outlook for the future, MCI survey respondent, Valerie Hayes Jester, President, Brandywine Capital Associates, Inc., said, “We have experienced a transaction flow that appears to be returning to a more normal state after the winter slowdown. Companies seem to be getting back on track and ordering equipment that should have been delivered in the first quarter. I am still concerned with the longer term effects of the many changes in our healthcare system as well as still undetermined tax policies that have great impact on small businesses.”

May 2014 Survey Results:
The overall MCI-EFI is 65.4, relatively unchanged from the April index.

When asked to assess their business conditions over the next four months, 31.4% of executives responding said they believe business conditions will improve over the next four months, down from 37% in April. 68.6% of respondents believe business conditions will remain the same over the next four months, up from 60% in April. No one believes business conditions will worsen, down from 2.9% the previous month.

34.3% of survey respondents believe demand for leases and loans to fund capital expenditures (capex) will increase over the next four months, down from 37% in April. 65.7% believe demand will “remain the same” during the same four-month time period, up from 60% the previous month. No one believes demand will decline, down from 2.9% who believed so in April.

28.6% of executives expect more access to capital to fund equipment acquisitions over the next four months, unchanged from April. 71.4% of survey respondents indicate they expect the “same” access to capital to fund business, and no one expects “less” access to capital, also both unchanged from the previous month.

When asked, 40% of the executives reported they expect to hire more employees over the next four months, an increase from 37% in April. 51.4% expect no change in headcount over the next four months, down from 60% last month. 8.6% expect fewer employees, up from 2.9% who expected fewer employees in April.

2.9% of the leadership evaluates the current U.S. economy as “excellent,” 91.4% of the leadership evaluates the current U.S. economy as “fair,” and 5.7% rate it as “poor,” all unchanged from April.

37% of the survey respondents believe that U.S. economic conditions will get “better” over the next six months, an increase from 34.3% who believed so in April. 62.9% of survey respondents indicate they believe the U.S. economy will “stay the same” over the next six months, unchanged from April. No one believes economic conditions in the U.S. will worsen over the next six months, a decrease from 2.9% who believed so last month.

In May, 45.7% of respondents indicate they believe their company will increase spending on business development activities during the next six months, an increase from 40% in April. 54.3% believe there will be “no change” in business development spending, a decrease from 60% last month. No one believes there will be a decrease in spending, unchanged from last month.

Survey results are posted on the Foundation website, included in the Foundation Forecast newsletter and included in press releases. Survey respondent demographics and additional information about the MCI are also available at the link above.

IBHS Encourages Hurricane Preparation Despite Predictions of a Quiet Year

With the NOAA Climate Prediction Center announcing its forecast of a normal to below-normal Atlantic hurricane season recently, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) urges residents not to let predictions keep them from preparing for the season.

“Early-season predictions do not always come to fruition,” said Julie Rochman, president and CEO of IBHS. “In fact, the 2012 season was initially forecast to be below-average, partially because of a predicted El Nino event. The El Nino did not develop as expected, and the season was extremely busy, with 19 named storms and 10 hurricanes, including Sandy, which slammed several Northeast states.”

It only takes one hurricane to significantly damage an entire region. Hurricane Andrew was the first storm during the 1992 season, which resulted in devastating damage to south Florida.

While the Gulf and Atlantic states are the most at risk of damage from a tropical system, hurricanes and tropical storms can travel far inland, causing high winds, heavy rain and tornadoes in areas not expecting the damage. Hurricane Hugo, which struck 25 years ago in South Carolina, maintained high winds all the way inland to Charlotte, North Carolina, and caused damage in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and Connecticut. More recently, Hurricane Ike made landfall in 2008 on the Texas coast and traveled all the way to Ohio, where it caused $1 billion in damage.

IBHS encourages residents to be prepared, and start their hurricane protection efforts now. A variety of resources on strengthening buildings against the high winds and wind-driven rain of tropical systems, including the following:

5 Ways to Protect Your Home From Water Damage During Hurricane Season
Keeping a Roof Over Your Head: Hurricane Season Ready
Business Emergency Preparedness for Hurricane Season
Getting the Roof Right Animation Video
Building a Continuous Load Path Animation Video