SOPREMA to Host Building Envelope Clinic in San Francisco

SOPREMA Inc. will be hosting a Building Envelope Clinic in San Francisco on Oct. 16, 2015, for architects and consultants looking to further their knowledge, network and earn continuing education units. The clinic will be held at The Bentley Reserve, located at 301 Battery Street, San Francisco.

The Building Envelope Clinic will begin at 9:30 a.m. and conclude at 3:15 p.m. with a cocktail reception and prize raffle.

“We’re proud to be offering these clinics regionally to help support our consultants and architects,” says Sara Jonas, SOPREMA. “These courses continue to bring education to the forefront for our current partners, as well as those new to SOPREMA, while helping them to achieve credits to keep their accreditations.”

Courses offered during the Building Envelope Clinic include:

  • Proven and Durable: An Overview of SBS-Modified Bitumen
  • Wall Systems & Design (RCI/AIA Accredited Course)
  • Introduction to SENTINEL PVC
  • Below Grade Waterproofing (RCI/AIA Accredited Course)
  • PMMA/PMA Liquid Applied Roofing & Waterproofing Systems (RCI/AIA Accredited Course)

To RSVP, email jkendrick@soprema.us.

Garland Raises Close to $70,000 to Support the Boys & Girls Club of Cleveland

The Garland Co. Inc., a local employee-owned manufacturer of high-performance solutions for the commercial building envelope, raised more than $68,000 to support the Boys & Girls Club of Cleveland in its effort to inspire and enable at-risk youth to reach their full potential as productive, responsible, caring citizens.

The approximately 100 employees at Garland’s headquarters on East 91st Street in Cleveland dedicated the week of May 26-29 to raising money in support of the Boys & Girls Club through various fund-raising activities. Meanwhile, Garland’s sales representatives, who are located across the U.S., Canada and the U.K., joined in the cause, donating through an online fundraising site set up by the BGCC and also personally sending in donations.

At the end of the week, funds raised totaled more than $34,252. Inspired by the incredible generosity of its employees, Garland’s Board of Directors announced that the company would match the amount raised, bringing the total to $68,504—the most ever raised during a spirit week.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland was founded in 1954 and currently serves 8,000 youth in Cleveland’s inner-city neighborhoods, Cleveland Heights and East Cleveland. The clubs provide young people a safe place to learn and grow, ongoing relationships with caring adults, and life-enhancing programs and character development experiences.

“I am continued to be amazed year after year of the incredible generosity of our employees, both at corporate and in the field. This year in particular seemed to really pull at the heart strings of our employees as they were given an opportunity to make such a lasting impact on our local community,” says David Sokol, president of Garland Industries.

In addition to the financial contributions provided by Garland, its corporate employees will be volunteering over the next several months at the Boys & Girls Club on Broadway Avenue, not far from its corporate headquarters.

IMETCO Redesigns Website to Improve Navigation and Functionality

IMETCO redesigned its website, improving navigation and functionality throughout and creating a more user-friendly interface.

IMETCO redesigns website to improve navigation and functionality throughout and create a more user-friendly interface.

Innovative Metals Co. Inc. (IMETCO) redesigns website to improve navigation and functionality throughout and create a more user-friendly interface so customers can quickly and easily access technical product information and architectural details.

The sleek new design features a scrolling homepage with links to specifications and details, warranty and product literature requests as well as a growing library of project photos illustrating IMETCO’s wide range of capabilities as a building envelope solutions provider. There is also a navigation bar across the top of the website with links detailing IMETCO’s expansive line of products, services and additional resources.

“During the design process, we were determined to come up with a layout that highlights the beauty and versatility of metal. Additionally, we improved the functionality of the site so that we can continuously evolve this marketing tool moving forward,” explains Josh Younger, marketing specialist at IMETCO.

RCMA Accepts Abstracts for IRCC

The Roof Coatings Manufacturers Association (RCMA), Washington, D.C., is now accepting abstracts for its third biennial International Roof Coatings Conference (IRCC) program. The deadline for submission of abstracts is Oct. 1, 2015.

The 2016 IRCC will take place July 18-21 at the Sonesta Hotel Philadelphia. Offered in partnership with 11 industry organizations, the conference will feature networking opportunities, educational sessions, and other industry updates geared toward professionals involved in the roofing and building sciences industry.

RCMA’s 2016 conference partners include:

Roofing industry professionals, experts in building-envelope technologies and green-building fields, as well as researchers and those in the architectural community are welcome to submit their abstracts for consideration. Possible presentation topics include global market developments, sustainability and green-building practices, energy-cost-savings evaluations, roof-coatings formulation advancements, roof systems analysis and accelerated aging.

Those interested in presenting at the 2016 IRCC should visit RCMA’s website for more information and to download an abstract submission form.

Research Helps Industry Organizations Conclude Ballasted Roofs Provide Energy Savings

During the last decade, the roofing industry has been increasingly impacted by two strong forces: first, rising energy prices with no real end in sight, and, second, increasingly stringent building codes and regulations, designed to limit emissions, reduce energy use and mitigate the impact of urban heat islands.

The first definitive study to measure the energy-saving potential of ballasted roofs was done at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tenn., in 2007.

The first definitive study to measure the energy-saving potential of ballasted roofs was done at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tenn., in 2007. PHOTO: EPDM Roofing Association

The industry response has also been two-fold: In some instances, new products have been created, such as lower VOC adhesives, primers and sealants, self-adhering membranes and a wider variety of reflective membranes. At the same time, roofing professionals have taken a close look at some of the products that have been in use for a generation. Using rigorous science, they have tested these tried-and-true products to see how they measure up against the new standards. And in many cases, they’ve found that products that have been in use for decades are delivering great results in this new, energy-sensitive environment. Case in point: ballasted roofing, which has been available since the early 1970s, is turning out to be a great choice to meet 21st century needs.

2007 Study

The first definitive study to measure the energy-saving potential of ballasted roofs was done at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tenn., in 2007. Andre Desjarlais, ORNL’s group leader of Building Envelope Research, and his colleagues had just completed work in which “we had done a fairly substantial comparison of different cool roof technologies, both membrane types, as well as coatings,” Desjarlais says. At the request of EPDM manufacturers, working together at the newly founded EPDM Roofing Association (ERA), Bethesda, Md., as well as manufacturers within Waltham, Mass.-based SPRI, Desjarlais designed and implemented a second study to assess the performance of ballasted roofing. “We undertook a study to effectively expand what we had done earlier on coatings and membranes,” he says.

Other factors also encouraged ORNL to generate data about ballasted roofing. The California Energy Commission, Sacramento, had just revised its codes, essentially defining roofs with high reflectance and high emittance as the only choice of roofing membranes that would deliver high energy savings. Desjarlais believed this definition of a “cool roof” might be inaccurately limiting roofing choice by excluding other roofing materials, such as ballasted roofs, that would deliver comparable savings.

The California Energy Commission, Sacramento, had just revised its codes, essentially defining roofs with high reflectance and high emittance as the only choice of roofing membranes that would deliver high energy savings.

The California Energy Commission, Sacramento, had just revised its codes, essentially defining roofs with high reflectance and high emittance as the only choice of roofing membranes that would deliver high energy savings. PHOTO: EPDM Roofing Association

In addition, in Chicago, a new Chicago Energy Code was adopted as early as 2001 “with high reflectivity and emissivity requirements that limited severely building owners’ and managers’ roof system choices”, according to a paper presented in 2011 by Bill McHugh of the Chicago Roofing Contractors Association. At the roofing industry’s request, a reprieve was granted, giving the industry until 2009 to come up with products with a reflectivity of 0.25.

Faced with that 2009 deadline, the Chicagoland Roofing Council, Chicago Roofing Contractors Association and Rosemont, Ill.-based National Roofing Contractors Association began in 2001 to conduct research on products that would help to meet the city’s goal of creating a workable Urban Heat Island Effect Ordinance while giving building owners a wider choice of roofing products. As part of their effort, the industry coalition turned its attention to the energy-saving qualities of ballasted roofing and coordinated its work with the research at ORNL.

Desjarlais points out the concept of thermal mass having energy benefits has been accepted for years and has been a part of the early version of ASHRAE 90.1. “Thermally massive walls have a lower insulation requirement, so there was industry acceptance of the fact that using mass is a way of saving energy,” he says. “But we had a hard time translating that understanding from a wall to a roof. Whether you do that with a concrete block or a bunch of rocks doesn’t really matter. The metric is no different. Roofs or walls.”

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RCI Elects Board of Directors

RCI elected its 2015-16 board of directors at the Annual Meeting of Members during the RCI 30th International Convention and Trade Show in San Antonio.

The following are members of the board:

  • President: Jean-Guy Levaque, RRC, RRO, Halsall Associates, Burlington, Ontario, Canada
  • First vice president: Robért Hinojosa, RRC, RWC, REWC, RBEC, RRO, PE, CDT; RJH and Associates Inc., Miramar Beach, Fla.
  • Second vice president: Michael L. Williams, RRC, RWC, RRO; Building Envelope Consulting LLC, Leesburg, Va.
  • Secretary/treasurer: Michael E. Clark, RRC, RWC, REWC, RBEC, RRO, PE, CSRP; Michael E. Clark & Associates Inc., Macon, Ga.
  • Immediate past president: Sidney I. Hankins, III, RRC, AIA, Roof Design and Consulting Services Inc., Knoxville, Tenn.
  • Executive vice president and CEO: James R. Birdsong, RCI, Raleigh, N.C.
  • Region I director: Markian Duma, Mtn View Corp., Pine Island, N.Y.
  • Region II director: Scott M. Hinesley, RRC, PE; REI Engineers, Charlotte, N.C.
  • Region III director: Raymond A. Makiejus, RRC, RRO, Flood Testing Laboratories Inc., Chicago, Ill.
  • Region IV director: Steven C. Drennan, Conley Group Inc., Irving, Texas
  • Region V director: Michael Gardner, RRC, RRO; Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates Inc., Lakewood, Colo.
  • Region VI director: Paul Kompauer, PEng, Calysta Consulting, Abbotsford, BC, Canada
  • Region VII director: Edward A. Sheridan, RRC, REWC, RWC, RBEC, PEng; Fishburn/Sheridan & Associates Ltd., Ottawa, ON, Canada

179D and Other Expired Tax Deductions Are Extended

On Friday, Dec. 19, 2014, President Obama signed into law the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014 (HR 5771). This officially extends the section 179D Tax Deduction along with over 50 other expired incentives for individuals and businesses retroactively through the end of 2014.

The Tax Increase and Prevention Act is simply a one-year extension to section 179D Tax Deduction and does not make any technical changes to the 179D Tax Deduction. The following is a clarification of the use of the 179D Tax Deduction and the applicability moving forward.

    In the private sector the 179D Tax Deduction will now be available for projects placed in service from Jan. 1, 2006 to Dec. 31, 2014.

    For public sector designers and contractors looking to have government/public buildings allocate the deduction to their companies, the 179D Tax Deduction will be available for open amendable tax years which for most companies will include projects placed in service from 2011 through Dec. 31, 2014.

    Baseline requirements for the qualification of 179D Tax Deduction will remain 2001 ASHRAE 90.1.

    The qualifying criteria and benefit will remain the same for the 179D Tax Deduction: Buildings will be able to qualify for a maximum of $1.80 per square foot if they achieve a 50 percent reduction in energy cost savings. Partial deductions are still available for lighting, HVAC and building envelope at $0.60 per square foot per category of qualification. The qualifying energy cost savings percentages remain at 25 percent for lighting, 15 percent for HVAC and 10 percent for building envelope.

    179D Tax Deductions under the interim lighting rule are still available for a maximum benefit of $0.60 per square foot and could range between $0.30-$0.60 per square foot for lighting power densities reduction between 25 to 40 percent respectively. Bi-Level switching will still be required when certifying lighting projects under the interim lighting rule.

    No changes were made to the type of building owners who can allocate the 179D Tax Deduction to designers and contractors. The 179D will still be able to be allocated by government owned buildings only. Private owners, non-profits, tribes, etc., will not be able to allocate the 179D Tax Deduction.

    An allocation letter is still required for government/ public agencies to allocate the 179D Tax Deduction to designers and contractors. No changes have been made to the structure or requirement of the 179D Tax Deduction allocation letter.

If you have any projects or a commercial building that you would like reviewed for feasibility of 179D Tax Deduction qualification, visit Walker Reid Strategies.

Do Your Past Commercial Projects Qualify for an Unused Tax Deduction?

IRS Section 179D has permitted qualifying buildings to receive tax deductions for energy efficiency since 2006. In general, roofing professionals have been unaware of this tax break and, as a result, have not taken advantage of it. Here’s a look at the 179D tax deduction, some reasons why it has been overlooked, and, most importantly, whether there is still time for you or your clients to retroactively claim Section 179D.

WHAT IS 179D?

Enacted under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, Congress added Section 179D as an “energy efficient commercial building deduction”. It was intended to serve as an incentive for the public and private sector to build energy-efficient buildings. Overall, the provision allows for a tax deduction of up to $1.80 per square foot for buildings that meet certain energy-usage reduction criteria. More importantly, the section allows for a “partial deduction” of $0.60 per square foot for three individual categories: interior lighting; HVAC and hot-water systems; and building envelope, including the roof.

A variety of different factors go into determining whether the roof system will meet the energy-savings criteria. In the northern climate zones, roofing systems with increased insulation values, as well as vegetative roofing systems, are going to have potential to exceed the energy-saving criteria of 179D. In southern climate zones (which typically include Florida, Texas and southern portions of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and New Mexico), cool roofs and insulated systems typically are good candidates to qualify for the energy-saving targets established in 179D. So why have relatively few roofing contractors made use of the provision? At least part of the answer has to do with how the provision was introduced and the lack of expertise available at the time to provide the necessary third-party verification.

For a building envelope to qualify for the deduction, the IRS requires a software simulation to model the annual energy cost savings for the building compared to a theoretical reference building. This study has to be completed and inspected by an independent engineer. However, when the tax provision was initially enacted in 2006, there wasn’t a single firm in the nation that was structured to offer this IRS-required service.

To make the tax incentive more accessible, the IRS developed a simplified “energy analysis,” referred to as the “Interim Rule” for partially qualifying lighting improvements. This adjustment proved effective for the lighting industry whose contractors and engineers quickly developed the necessary verification services to demonstrate compliance with the provision’s requirements.

While lighting contractors benefitted from the new tax code, contractors who worked on the building envelope were left outside. When Section 179D was introduced, the building envelope had to produce a nearly 17 percent reduction of combined energy use from the building’s HVAC and lighting systems. This proved to be a difficult target and, in 2008, the IRS issued a notice that reduced the requirements to 10 percent with the hope of stimulating use of the 179D incentive in the building envelope industries.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

Once the lower 10 percent threshold was permitted by the IRS, engineers and tax specialists recognized the benefits that had been available to other industries were now accessible to roofing contractors. While a few roofing companies have benefitted from millions of dollars in tax savings through Section 179D, many millions of dollars remain unclaimed by roofing companies that have installed new roof systems.

Private and government buildings that meet the criteria are eligible for the tax incentive. To date, most of the tax deductions have originated from government-owned buildings. Congress recognized that government entities cannot themselves benefit from tax deductions, so they allowed the deductions to be allocated to the designer or contractor of the energy-efficient system.

RETROACTIVE OPPORTUNITY

The provisions for Section 179D were in effect from 2006 through the end of 2013. Congress approved extensions in 2006 and then again in 2008 and there is bipartisan support to continue the extension through 2015 at least, although legislation to do so is still pending. (See “The Future of Section 17D”, below.) This means current and future qualifying projects seem likely to be eligible to claim this tax break.

Here’s the important part: For work completed before 2014, there is still an opportunity to claim the tax break but time is running out.

For public projects, a study can be performed for pre-2014 projects to see if you can receive the government-allocated deduction. However, the IRS only allows you to amend open tax years, generally three years from the filing date, so it is better not to wait.

For private projects, the building owner can claim deductions in the current tax year, meaning no amendment is necessary for eligible buildings all the way back to 2006. While you may not directly benefit from this tax deduction, it can be useful information for your commercial clients and may help with bidding future projects, assuming the tax deduction is extended.

The Section 179D tax deduction has been historically underused by roofing contractors. To change this, the IRS has modified the requirements to make it more viable. Also, the industry now has the third-party engineering firms required to verify eligibility. Bottom line: There are still opportunities for contractors who have performed energy-saving roof installations to realize significant tax savings.

THE FUTURE OF SECTION 179D

Section 179D is included in the Senate Finance Committee’s EXPIRE Bill. It includes a two-year extension, as well as expands the deduction to the designers of nonprofits. The House Ways and Means Committee held a series of hearings about tax extenders this year. Chairman Camp of Ways and Means had indicated it was unlikely he would extend as many provisions as the Senate EXPIRE Bill. To help support Section 179D, review a Suggested Letter written by Energy Tax Savers Inc., a provider of Energy Policy Act tax services. You can personalize and send the letter to your representatives and members of the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means committees, as well as tweet your support with suggested Twitter handles and hashtags.