Projects: Office

DPR Construction, Phoenix

Eighty-two Daylighting Systems were installed in the renovated 16,533-square-foot building.

Eighty-two Daylighting Systems were installed in the renovated 16,533-square-foot building.


Roofing contractor: Arithane Foam, Corona, Calif.
Architect/engineer: SmithGroupJJR, Phoenix
Daylighting systems distributor: Norcon Industries, Guadalupe, Ariz.

Roof Materials

Eighty-two Daylighting Systems were installed in the renovated 16,533-square-foot building, formerly an abandoned retail boutique at the corner of 44th Street and Van Buren in Phoenix.

“The use of the Daylighting Systems was an integral part of our sustainability and lighting energy savings plans for the renovated space,” says Dave Elrod, regional manager of DPR Construction, Phoenix. “The products are a cost-efficient solution to provide lighting since they nearly eliminate the need for artificial daytime lighting.”

In addition, the roof is composed of foam with an R-25 insulation value (approximately 4-inches thick) over plywood sheathing.

Daylighting systems manufacturer: Solatube International Inc.
Foam roofing manufacturer: Quik-Shield from SWD Urethane

Roof Report

DPR Construction is a national technical builder specializing in highly complex and sustainable projects. In less than 10 months, the design-build team researched, designed, permit-ted, and built a highly efficient and modern workplace with numerous innovative sustainability features.

In addition to natural daylighting, the office features an 87-foot zinc-clad solar chimney, which releases hot air from the building while drawing cooler air in; shower towers that act as evaporative coolers to regulate building temperatures; 87 operable windows designed to open and close automatically (based on indoor/outdoor temperatures); and two “vampire” shut-off switches to keep electrical devices (radios, cell-phone chargers, microwaves) from using plug energy when no one is in the office.

Access to the building was limited during construction. Spray foam roofing, which took about seven days to complete, had to be done in small quadrants because of the tight schedule as work was progressing in the other sections. The roofing workers were challenged by the barrel-shaped roof, which created footing difficulties, and the many penetrations that had to be flashed, including all PV support legs, Solatubes, skylights and HVAC penetrations. Work was completed in the middle of winter, so additional protections and efficiencies were required.

The circa-1972 building has been officially certified as a Net-Zero Energy Building by the Seattle-based International Living Future Institute through its Living Building Challenge program. It also has received LEED-NC Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, Washington, D.C.

PHOTOS: Ted Van Der Linden, DPR Construction

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Clues from the Universe Put Us on a Path to Career and Personal Happiness

I recently reconnected with an old friend, Michael. He and I met probably a decade ago while I was the editor of a green design and construction magazine and he held a leadership position in a sustainably focused association. I always appreciated Michael’s wisdom regarding the industry and life in general. Although he’s only a few years older than I, Michael is what I believe to be the definition of an “old soul”.

Michael and I changed jobs and at least two years had passed since we last chatted. It was social media—a LinkedIn anniversary notice about Michael’s consulting business—that reconnected us. I sent him a congratulatory message through LinkedIn, and he immediately called me. During the conversation, I learned Michael recently had been very ill. He spent weeks in the hospital, undergoing a battery of tests and worrying about his wife and children and their future. He believed his illness was a signal from the universe that he needed to make some changes in his life. When he recovered, Michael quit his job; moved his family across the country closer to their roots on the East Coast; and started his own environmental consulting firm, which has kept him busy doing what he loves. He is happier—and healthier—than he has ever been.

Michael said as he was lying in his hospital bed, he realized the universe had been sending him clues for a long time that he needed to make changes to his life, but he ignored them. “We can always talk ourselves out of something,” he told me. “There’s never enough time or money, and there are always responsibilities that seem to take precedence.” However, Michael thinks ignoring the universe and trudging forth ultimately resulted in his health issue, which was the wake-up call he needed to finally transform his life.

I’ve thought a lot about this conversation and was reminded of it again when I interviewed Bruce Diederich, president of Waukegan Roofing Co. Inc., Waukegan, Ill., for “Spotlight”. Waukegan Roofing is celebrating 100 years in business this year, an amazing feat for any company. Diederich, who has owned Waukegan Roofing for the past 16 years, started digging into the company’s past in anticipation of this year’s celebration. He discovered some astonishing coincidences in his own life and Waukegan Roofing’s history that—as Michael would say—suggest Diederich was destined to lead the company all along. I know it may sound unbelievable, but I think once you read “Spotlight” you too will find the coincidences and clues are difficult to ignore. These days, I’m making a conscious effort to recognize when the universe is telling me something. In fact, I now believe there’s a reason I spoke to these gentlemen recently.

I know it won’t always be easy to ascertain what the clues are telling me or how exactly to follow them but, based on Michael and Bruce Diederich’s experiences, I’m open to the possibilities.

The Stars Align as Waukegan Roofing Celebrates 100 Years in Business

Waukegan Roofing Co. Inc., Waukegan, Ill., is celebrating 100 years in business in 2014.

Waukegan Roofing Co. Inc., Waukegan, Ill., is celebrating 100 years in business in 2014.

The universe seems to be telling Bruce Diederich he is following the right path. Diederich is president of Waukegan Roofing Co. Inc., located in Waukegan, Ill., a suburb 32-miles north of Chicago. As the roofing-contracting firm enters its 100th year in business, it’s difficult to ignore the coincidences Diederich, who has owned the company for 16 years, has uncovered while researching Waukegan Roofing’s long history.

One hundred years ago, M.C. DeThorne established Waukegan Roofing on Philippa Avenue in Waukegan. Although Waukegan Roofing no longer is located on Philippa Avenue, Diederich is grooming his son Philip to someday take over the business. Strange? It gets better: DeThorne included his company’s telephone number—1625—on advertisements discovered by a local historian. Today, Waukegan Roofing’s phone number is (847) 623-1625.

An early location of Waukegan Roofing.

An early location of Waukegan Roofing.

If that isn’t enough, it seems as though Diederich was always meant to own a roofing business. His father owned a shingles-only roofing-contracting firm for 32 years. While he was growing up, Diederich worked for the company but opted to sell roofing materials instead and went to work for Bradco Supply, now Beloit, Wis.-based ABC Supply Co. Inc. Diederich happened to sell materials to Waukegan Roofing, which at that time was owned by Ed and Dave Hiner. The Hiners’ father had bought Waukegan Roofing from the DeThorne family in 1951. When Ed Hiner mentioned in 1998 they were planning to retire, Diederich pulled $5 out of his pocket and jokingly told Ed not to sell before he could speak to his youngest brother who was interested in returning to roofing. The next day Dave Hiner invited Diederich for coffee.

“We were parked next to each other and Dave opened his trunk and said, ‘Ed and I want you to buy our company. Here are the last 10 years of financials,’” Diederich recalls. “I put them in my car and called my wife, telling her she’d never believe what just occurred. She thought they were really serious and urged me to call our attorney and accountant. Thirty days later, I owned Waukegan Roofing.”

Owner Bruce Diederich credits his 55 union employees with his company’s success.

Owner Bruce Diederich credits his 55 union employees with his company’s success.

The Hiners had followed DeThorne’s lead and focused their business on low-slope commercial and industrial roofs. Diederich realized he could offer his shingle heritage to the business. “I looked around and there were all these retail centers being built and they all had a shingle-mansard roof of some form,” he says. “I approached Waukegan Roofing’s top-five contracts and asked what they thought about me starting a shingle division. Every one of them said it would be a great idea because they could come to Waukegan Roofing for everything, not just the flat part of the roof.”

Waukegan Roofing’s shingle division has been very successful since Diederich established it in 1998. Today, the firm constructs all types of low- and steep-slope roofs, along with roof-related sheet metal. In addition, in 2007, Diederich started a commercial service and maintenance division, which kept Waukegan Roofing busy through the economic downturn and benefitted the company’s growth overall.

Waukegan Roofing constructs all types of low- and steep-slope roofs, along with roof-related sheet metal, as well as operates a commercial service and maintenance division.

Waukegan Roofing constructs all types of low- and steep-slope roofs, along with roof-related sheet metal, as well as operates a commercial service and maintenance division.

Diederich credits his 55 union employees with his company’s success. “We stick by them through thick and thin,” he says. “We just believe in the people who work for the firm and in the quality of the product we put out. Our motto is ‘Installing roofs you can rely on’, and we believe in that wholeheartedly.”

All the clues that Diederich’s chosen profession was meant to be are there, and he agrees his life has come full circle—from working in his dad’s roofing business to helming a successful roofing contracting company of his own into its 100th year. “People ask me whether I regret buying a roofing company and I say, ‘Yeah, I wish I would’ve done it 10 years earlier’,” he chuckles.


Bruce Diederich is immediate past president of the Chicago Roofing Contractors Association. He also is an active member of the Midwest Roofing Contractors Association and National Roofing Contractors Association.