Making Sense of EPDs: Harnessing Data for Better Product Selection

Photo: PIMA

Global interest in the relationship between climate change and the built environment has incentivized design professionals to give a closer examination to the environmental impacts associated with the manufacture of building materials. Building owners, developers, architects, designers, and builders are increasingly including carbon footprint and other specification criteria as major considerations in deciding between alternative products and construction methods. Access to verified information about different materials makes it possible for stakeholders to base decisions on measurable data and metrics.

In the same way that food labels provide consumers with consistent information on nutrition facts for different products, Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) are independently verified documents that present transparent information about the life cycle impacts of building products. EPDs provide stakeholders with uniformly developed information on building materials that are classified under the same product category. As an internationally recognized and standardized tool, the EPD has become a trusted source of vital information for building project decision makers. EPDs are now being used by all major green building rating systems globally and in North America, including LEED, BREEAM, and the Living Building Challenge.

As part of its advocacy for manufacturers and industry suppliers of rigid polyiso products in the United States and Canada, the Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association (PIMA) publishes EPDs for polyiso products on its website: These third-party verified and ISO-compliant declarations are regularly updated and describe the cradle-to-grave impacts resulting from the supply and transport of raw materials as well as the manufacture, transport, installation, replacement, and end-of-life disposal for polyiso products. Recent updates to the polyiso roof and wall insulation EPDs are now available for review along with an entirely new industry-wide EPD for high density (HD) polyiso cover boards.

The EPD report for polyiso roof insulation offers substantiated information about the energy savings benefits of using polyiso insulation throughout an assumed 75-year building service life, including accounting for the typical roof replacement project. The EPDs help to tell polyiso’s story of superior performance and highlight the product’s contributions to building energy efficiency. The polyiso EPDs also include documentation that confirms the low global warming potential (GWP) of the raw materials used to manufacture polyiso products, which makes polyiso insulation an ideal solution for projects specifying low-GWP products.

The positive environmental attributes of polyiso products include:

· High Return on Embodied Energy—the energy savings potential of polyiso roof and wall insulation over their typical life span is many times greater than the impacts associated with the initial energy required to produce, transport, install, maintain, and eventually remove and dispose of the products.

· Outstanding Thermal Efficiency—requires less total thickness and weight to deliver a specified R-value, reducing overall construction and installation costs, increasing usable building space and lowering loads on roof systems.

· Zero ODP, Low GWP—manufacturing members of PIMA use pentane, a zero-ozone depletion potential and low-global warming potential substance, as the blowing agent for polyiso products.

· Recycled Content—polyiso products are manufactured with raw materials that utilize recycled content (percentage of recycled content varies by product).

· Opportunity for Reuse—polyiso roof products can be reused throughout a building’s roof service life; to increase the transparency of the reports and to align with industry practice, the EPDs for polyiso roof insulation and HD cover boards assume the products will be replaced once during a building’s 75-year service life. .

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that the built environment accounts for 41 percent of our national energy consumption and nearly as much of our greenhouse gas emissions. With an eye toward conserving resources and mitigating the effects of climate change, the building industry has a responsibility to lead on the achievement of economy-wide sustainability goals by undertaking projects that reduce the environmental footprint of today’s buildings. Since every decision is only as good as the information it is based upon, EPDs play a critical role in reaching environmental goals and sustainability targets.

The polyiso industry has long been recognized as a leader in the development of innovative product solutions and an advocate for sustainable and energy-efficient construction. The publication of the recently completed EPD reports for polyiso roof and wall insulation as well as HD cover boards is only the latest chapter. The polyiso industry together with the roofing industry is uniquely positioned to bring about positive change through the replacement and upgrade of energy-efficient roof systems. Together with the performance advantages of selecting polyiso wall products as the continuous insulation solution for new construction projects, polyiso products deliver performance to any project – not matter its scope or the size of its sustainability aspirations.

PIMA’s latest EPDs can be found at

About PIMA

For more than 30 years, the Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association (PIMA) has served as the voice of the rigid polyiso industry, proactively advocating for safe, cost-effective, sustainable, and energy-efficient construction. Organized in 1987, PIMA is an association of polyiso manufacturers and industry suppliers. Polyiso is one of North America’s most widely-used and cost-effective insulation products. To learn more, visit

About the author: Marcin Pazera, Ph.D., is the Technical Director for Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association (PIMA). Dr. Pazera coordinates all technical-related activities at PIMA and serves as the primary technical liaison to organizations involved in the development of building standards. He holds a doctoral degree in mechanical engineering from Syracuse University and, over the course of his career, has worked in building science with a focus on evaluating energy and moisture performance of building materials and building enclosure systems.

Sustainable Roofing Doesn’t Just Benefit the Earth, It’s Good for Business

Energy efficiency has become a key focus in the roofing sector. This photo showcases solar panels on a spray foam roof, a combined solution that both creates and conserves energy in a structure. Photo: Huntsman Building Solutions

Not too long ago, sustainable roofing and building was simply a novel concept. Though achievable, it proved far from financially feasible for builders and developers who simply couldn’t command the pricing it then required, giving them little ability to offer it in any standardized way. However, the last two decades have been marked by substantial material advances as well as the dramatically increased adoption of those materials. Customer awareness and demand, in both the residential and commercial sides of the business, along with tax incentives, green building finance programs, corporate sustainability initiatives, certifications, and a dramatic shift in consumer awareness of environmental impacts and ways to reduce them, are all now contributing to improved ROI in earth-friendly roofing and structures.

Today, sustainable roofing and construction are far from unique. The financials have evolved and it’s now feasible from a budget perspective to build with materials that protect the environment. Not only that, it’s simply good for business in many ways. Here’s why.

Resilient Roofing Materials Are in Higher Demand

As storms and inclement weather conditions increase in both frequency and magnitude, demand for resilient roofing materials, for both re-roof and new construction applications, are growing dramatically.

The United States has experienced a series of formidable weather events the past few years. Notably, the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season will long be remembered as one of the most prolific and disastrous on record, with Hurricane Maria’s decimation of Puerto Rico; Maria and Irma’s extensive damage incurred in the Virgin Islands; Hurricane Harvey’s brute strength, rainfall and destruction as a cyclone over Texas, Louisiana and the Tennessee and Ohio Valleys; and others. The same year, California’s years-long drought and heat wave continued, culminating in prolific destructive wildfires. In September 2018, the Southeast was hit with Hurricane Florence, which caused catastrophic damage and deaths in the Florida panhandle and the Carolinas, primarily as a result of freshwater flooding. In 2019, the longest running drought in California since the U.S. Drought Monitor began and lasted well into the spring. Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas with record-breaking maximum sustained winds of 185 mph then reached a Category 5. In the third quarter of this year, California’s wildfires wreaked record damage in the state and extended north, bringing severe damage in Oregon and Washington.

Roofing materials designed to provide the customer with a much better shot at withstanding harsh weather events such as these offer longer lifespans — one important determinant of sustainability — than those that don’t. As the industry shifts towards focusing on manufacturing and installing products with resilience capabilities, it will better meet customer demand while simultaneously encouraging the longevity of roofing products.

Consumers and Businesses Want to Reduce Environmental Impacts

Like many other types of products, construction materials and technologies have advanced tremendously over the past decade and become more sustainable. In roofing specifically, the environmental focus has shifted toward energy efficiency. As product advancements and benefits have grown, manufacturers have ramped up marketing, highlighting innovation and sustainability benefits. Undoubtedly, consumers, businesses and investors are now all increasingly calling for a meaningful reduction in the environmental impacts of their homes and structures, with roofing being a key component of this. Whether a manufacturer, contractor or builder, this demand across key audiences cannot be ignored if you want to run a successful business today.

Efficient Buildings Contribute to Energy Independence

The roofing and construction industries’ collective move toward energy-efficient building has been occurring over the past several years with significant momentum. Improved indoor comfort, reduced environmental footprint and long-term energy savings are regularly touted as legitimate benefits of energy efficient roofing. Yet there’s another aspect of this story not often discussed — energy independence. The direct link between roofing materials that conserve large amounts of energy, and therefore dramatically reduce fossil fuel use, is real and can be measured. However, a gap still exists in the average consumer’s understanding of this link. At the same time, there’s a strong national desire for energy independence.

If the industry comes together to better educate customers on the direct relationship between high-performance roofing materials and reduced fossil fuel burning, we can encourage energy independence as a core advantage. This will benefit customers, business, and the Earth, while encouraging a stronger roofing industry and overall economy.

Recycling Can Fuel Manufacturing

The use of recycled materials in the manufacturing of roofing materials is on the uptick, as seen across different material categories. One of the newer developments in recycled materials is the diversion of plastic water bottle waste, otherwise destined for landfills and the oceans, into the manufacturing of spray polyurethane foam roofing materials. One key result is that less of the harmful plastic will negatively impact our treasured marine species and our food sources. However, another is positive bottom line impacts to business as the waste has become a consistent material source for manufacturing.

While everyone is likely to agree that environmentally conscious roofing is the responsible choice for the Earth and future generations, it’s become much more than that. It’s now what customers want and it opens the door for new ways to source materials. Understanding the full scope of opportunities is paramount to not only remaining relevant, but to growing your roofing business.

About the author: Dave Feitl is VP Global Roofing and Western USA SPF Sales of Huntsman Building Solutions, a global provider of high-performance spray polyurethane foam and coatings. For more information, visit

Roofers Can Bring About the Solar Revolution in ‘Sunshine’ States and Beyond

Photos: GAF Energy

Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Florida are not often the first states that come to mind when discussing the future of solar energy. Many would think of California, the Golden State, with its sunny weather, mild climate, and new regulation mandating solar on all new construction starting in 2020. But at GAF Energy, a remarkable 50 percent of our growing sales opportunities currently come from Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Florida. While these states lag behind the likes of California, New York, and Arizona in installed solar capacity, they — and states like them —could stand to be some of the most critical players in the next growth phase of solar adoption.

California currently boasts over six million solar homes, demonstrating that there is a clear market for residential rooftop solar in the United States. California’s success serves as a harbinger for other states, even ones not known for their sunshine or progressive energy policies. It comes down to pure economics: the price of solar panels has dropped 99 percent in the last four decades. As solar energy becomes more and more affordable, more and more homeowners across the country are considering the financial and social benefits it can provide. Even residents of the South and Midwest — where electricity is cheap and solar rooftops are few and far between — are starting to show signs of embracing solar as a viable energy source for homes and businesses.

The state of Illinois, for example, is setting some aggressive renewable energy standards to boost solar adoption. More than 40 percent of the state’s electricity comes from coal today. The state plans to sunset many coal plants over the next two to five years, in many cases turning to solar instead. In 2017 the state implemented the Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA), which infused $230 million into solar power and mandated that 25 percent of electric power come from renewable sources by 2025.

By including solar as an offering, roofing contractors can increase customer satisfaction as they boost their bottom line.

In Pennsylvania, solar power is up 47-fold in the past decade, and wind energy has increased by more than 230 percent in that same time frame. And there are now more than 90,000 clean energy jobs across the state, up 60 percent in just five years. Moreover, a two-year planning process called “Finding Pennsylvania’s Solar Future” is just getting off the ground and aims to shift 10 percent of the state’s energy from non-renewables to in-state solar by 2030. Pennsylvania also ranked as one of the locations that offered the highest solar premiums when you are ready to sell your home, increasing the median home value 4.9 percent, or $8,589, when you compare a home with solar to one without. 

Finally, Florida is a prime solar environment: it is the “Sunshine State,” after all. As hardware costs have plummeted, financial tools that have helped grow solar in California and Arizona, like solar leases and power purchase agreements, have been prohibited under a law that forbids entities other than a utility from selling power in the state. Last year, however, the Public Service Commission approved the use of residential solar leases in the state on a limited basis, signaling that Florida homeowners could more readily and affordably elect to install solar on their rooftops. Florida locations like Miami have started to more seriously consider the need for climate mitigation and adaptation; renewable energy increasingly seems like a better idea as the city finds itself spending more and more money to battle sea-level rise each year.

Bring in the Roofers

Despite all this great growth in the industry, at the end of the day, no one really needs to put solar on their rooftop, unless, say, they live far off the grid. You can easily and painlessly get power from the grid via your electric company. Humans are creatures of inertia and habit; even many of those inclined to do the right thing and/or save money with solar will put it off indefinitely.

However, every homeowner will need to replace their roof at some point. Turns out, the best time to install rooftop solar is when you are replacing your roof. If you have a roofer install the solar, it becomes one project, one crew, one warranty — and the solar can even help pay for itself, and the roof, over time. How? Homeowners can save money on electric bills by generating clean, renewable energy on their roof. Any excess electricity produced is sent back into the electrical grid for a bill credit, meaning solar can be even more financially rewarding in states with net metering policies. Given all of these benefits, going solar during a re-roofing project just makes sense.

For a roofer, including a solar offering with every new roof will create opportunities to capture a wider set of clients, even in states where solar hasn’t traditionally flourished. By offering solar to those who may have been shopping only for solar but could benefit from a bundled offer, roofers introduce an attractive financial concept to the homeowner, on that also benefits communities and the planet to boot. Furthermore, not only will a roofer make their customers happier by including solar as an offering, but they can also boost their bottom line. A solar attachment rate of just one in four new roofing jobs could increase a roofer’s top and bottom lines by 20-25 percent.

Roofing and solar are at a convergence point: roofers are now able to offer a comprehensive solar roofing product and are the best equipped to sell and install it on a home. By bringing roofers into the equation now, we’re ensuring the same person already on the roof to install shingles is the one installing solar, genuinely protecting what matters most inside the home.

Changing the conversation between roofer and homeowner about what a re-roof means requires changing the entire game, and the impacts have the potential to be immense. Roofers will future-proof their businesses by adding an in-demand product that saves their customers money. The benefits of solar should be front and center in any sales appointment — one project, where roofing installation experts are the ones helping customers save money.

Energy From Every Roof

Solar economics and policy are changing across the country, opening new markets and expanding business opportunities, and the roofing industry must correspondingly adapt. Rooftop solar should be a roofer’s domain. By growing with the solar market and offering bundled re-roof plus solar packages, roofers can bring the benefits of solar to homeowners in states that not only have solar mandates, such as California, but also nontraditional states such as Florida, Pennsylvania, and Illinois. Roof replacement is the perfect time to go solar, and now is the perfect time to start integrating solar with roof replacements. By seizing this opportunity, roofers can begin powering homes across the country, one roof at a time. 

About the author: Martin DeBono is the President of GAF Energy. He previously headed SunPower’s residential North American business and global commercial business and served as President of SunPower Capital. He has held sales and marketing positions at various high technology companies including Cisco, Siebel, Insightful and Pure Networks. DeBono is a decorated naval submarine officer and holds degrees from the University of North Carolina (BS) and Harvard University (MBA).

California’s Alternative-Energy Paradigm Could Mean Opportunities for Roofing Contractors

Photos: PetersenDean Roofing & Solar

The importance of solar energy to provide renewable energy options and protect the health of our environment is a national movement that got a big boost in California recently. The state government adopted new policies to establish a more progressive foundation for the use of solar power in residential buildings as part and parcel of its pioneering “net-zero” mission.

While California is at the leading edge of solar energy production, other states such as Colorado, New Jersey and Virginia are not far behind. So, whether roofing companies are working in California or somewhere else in the country — especially the so-called “sunshine states” — it would be smart for them to better understand the state-of-the-art technologies as well as nuts-and-bolts mechanics of high-performance solar energy systems.

Solar Energy Systems on Every New Home

Of most interest to roofers in California is a far-reaching energy policy adopted earlier this year by the California Energy Commission requiring that solar photovoltaic (PV) electric systems be installed on virtually every new residential dwelling built in the state starting in 2020. “California is about to take a quantum leap in energy standards,” stated Robert Raymer, technical director for the California Building Industry Association. “No other state in the nation mandates solar, and we are about to take that leap.”

For California’s roofing industry, this pro-solar policy could open the door for significant new business opportunities as home builders prepare for the 2020 implementation.

California’s 2019 Building Energy Efficiency Standards requires that all residential structures install solar energy systems beginning in 2020. Photos: PetersenDean Roofing & Solar

California has been a leading proponent of solar power for the past decade with its goal of reaching net-zero energy usage by 2045. Committed to the long-term use of solar power, the California Energy Commission took a major step toward achieving that goal, and beyond, by adopting a policy in May of this year that will make solar energy systems standard on virtually every new home built in California starting in 2020.

California’s net-zero mission dates to 2007 when the Energy Commission adopted the goal aimed at making homebuilding so efficient “newly constructed buildings can be net zero energy by 2020 for residences and by 2030 for commercial buildings.” Under this policy, solar energy was considered one component of building more energy efficient homes — but was not required.

Now, the new solar mandate, officially called the 2019 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, requires that all houses, condos and apartment buildings up to three stories which secure building permits after January 1, 2020, install solar energy systems. The new CEC policy focuses on four key areas: smart residential photovoltaic systems; updated thermal envelope standards (preventing heat transfer from the interior to exterior and vice versa); residential and nonresidential ventilation requirements; and nonresidential lighting requirements. The standards also encourage demand-responsive technologies such as heat pump water heaters, improvements to a building’s thermal envelope to enhance comfort and energy savings by inclusion of high-performance insulation and windows.

“Under these new standards, buildings will perform better than ever, and at the same time they contribute to a reliable grid,” explains CEC Commissioner Andrew McAllister, who is the commission’s lead on energy efficiency. “The buildings that Californians buy and live in will operate very efficiently while generating their own clean energy. They will cost less to operate, have healthy indoor air and provide a platform for ‘smart’ technologies that will propel the state even further down the road to a low emissions future.”

A grid-connected residential energy storage system that synergistically combines solar and energy storage can greatly reduce a homeowner’s operational reliance on the local electric utility. Photos: PetersenDean Roofing & Solar

With the new standards in place, more advanced solar products and roofing systems will become the norm as consumers expect optimum performance and maximum savings from their solar investments. Based on a 30-year mortgage, the Energy Commission estimates that although the new standards could add about $40 to a residential homeowner’s average monthly payment, they will save consumers $80 on monthly heating, cooling and lighting bills.

“With this adoption, the California Energy Commission has struck a fair balance between reducing greenhouse gas emissions while simultaneously limiting increased construction costs,” explains California Building Industry Association CEO and President Dan Dunmoyer. “This set of cost-effective standards ensures homebuyers will recoup their money over the life of the dwelling.”

SB 700 Boosts Storage Battery Use

California’s most recent pro-solar policy, SB 700, was signed into law by California Gov. Jerry Brown in September and promises to give use of solar energy another big boost in the state. The new measure extends California’s Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) for an additional five years, from the current January 1, 2021 expiration date until January 1, 2026. SGIP provides substantial rebates to homeowners through the state Public Utilities Commission for the installation of energy storage systems that save solar power for use during off hours such as evenings and cloudy days, or during utility blackouts.

This extension should also add to the demand for new and retrofit solar systems — a boost that could benefit roofing companies which also install solar panels.

Understanding this potential, PetersenDean Roofing & Solar is at the forefront of storage battery technology as a key component of our solar energy systems. To this end, we have partnered with SolarEdge, a global leader in PV inverters, power optimizers, and module-level monitoring services, and LG Chem, the world’s largest lithium-ion battery manufacturer. With this partnership in place, our company has made a major leap towards utilizing state-of-the-art storage battery technology as part of the solar packages we offer to our builder customers and home owners.

High-performance storage systems such as lithium ion batteries also dramatically increase the homeowner’s independence from utilities and the associated challenges related to stability and rate increases with lower energy costs. A grid-connected residential energy storage system that synergistically combines solar and energy storage can greatly reduce a homeowner’s operational reliance on the local electric utility. Simply put, modern batteries make it possible for homeowners to use stored solar energy not only during the night and possible blackouts, but during peak demand times when utility rates are at their highest, thus keeping their monthly utility bills lower.

On a macro level, storage battery technology offers electric utilities the opportunity to create a smarter power grid that, among other benefits, can give the utility better control over managing peak demand and thus reduce the need for new, extremely costly generation plants to cover that demand. Considering all the changes required by utilities and regulatory agencies as these entities respond to the new energy age, this transformational storage technology provides energy producers more creative ways to connect with home builders and home owners, giving them greater control over their efforts to save money and help our environment by using more renewable energy.

This also creates huge potential. The market research firm IHS Markit states that energy storage is considered critical to enabling power delivery systems that are heavily reliant on renewable energy, and batteries will play an important role in this transition. According to Grid-Connected Energy Storage Market Tracker by IHS Markit, 130 gigawatt hours (GWh) of battery energy storage will likely be installed worldwide between 2018 and 2025.

Need For Education

Continuing education is critical. As alternative-energy policies such as those adopted by California become more prevalent in states across the country, builders and their planners/architects must be in tune with the changing demands and requirements of structural design and implementation that optimize the performance of solar as well as other non-polluting energy producing systems.

“There is a lack of awareness and technical expertise with respect to creating cost-effective net zero energy communities,” explains Judi G. Schweitzer MRED, AMDP, CALGreen CAC, founder and owner of Orange County, California-basedSchweitzer & Associates. An energy consultant for the state as well as major residential developers, Schweitzer states emphatically that one of the top priorities to achieving optimum performance is education.

Whatever aspect of solar energy production in which a roofing company or other vendor may be involved, ongoing education is key to knowledge and success. To assist roofing companies with education and information, the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA)hosts as part of its website The Rooftop Solar Resource ( This site serves as a comprehensive resource for homeowners, business owners, building managers and consumers looking for information regarding solar rooftops, as well as a resource for contractors, suppliers, architects, designers and consultants seeking more information regarding the technical aspects of rooftop solar installations.

Nevertheless, while much has been written and says about solar energy and its benefits, education about system design and proper installation is at best, lagging. For example, we are still amazed as we do our on-the-ground assessments how many residential solar panel systems are improperly designed and installed, such as not orienting solar panels for maximum exposure to the sun.

Along with orientation, Schweitzer points out that the size of a solar PV system will depend on such factors as the location of a home and its relative climate zone. Obviously, solar panels will perform better on homes located in sunbelt states, but even in these regions, design and installation are critical to performance. One other point that falls under education: Something as basic as the correct color of a roof can improve the performance of a solar energy system. Combining a PV system with a so-called cool roof — usually white or light colored — can boost the performance of a solar system by as much as 10 percent. When it comes to the wise production of energy, every percentage point counts.

About the Author: Gary Liardon is president of the Consumer Group Nationwide at PetersenDean Roofing & Solar, a full-service roofing and solar company based in Fremont, California that employs 3,000 workers and operates in 11 states. For more information, visit

Cool Roofs in Northern Climates Provide More Bang for the Buck Than We Thought

Electricity demand in Washington, D.C., plotted against daily high temperature. Source: Weather Underground, PJM Interconnection (PJME).

(Figure 1) Electricity demand in Washington, D.C., plotted against daily high temperature. Source: Weather Underground, PJM Interconnection (PJME).

The energy savings from cool, reflective, roofs have long made them the go-to roof choice in warmer and temperate climates here in the United States. Both ASHRAE and the International Energy Conservation Code have included roof surface reflectivity requirements for a number of years. About half of all new flat roofs installed in the country are highly reflective and in some product categories white options outsell dark ones by a substantial margin. It is hard to argue with the notion that, where it is warm, the roofs should be white. While the building-level impacts of cool roofs in cool climates has been covered in the past, very little has been written about the broader economic benefits of cooler buildings and cities. When we include the economic impacts of factors like improved health, air quality, and energy savings, the case for cool roofs in cool climates looks even better.

The Benefits of Cool Roofs Go Way Beyond the Building

The building-level impacts of cool roofs are a central part of the discussion about whether they should be used in cold climates. However, it is also important to recognize the substantial co-benefits that come from installing cool roofs in terms of healthier and more comfortable people, improved productivity, better air quality, and increased economic prosperity. While the economic benefits of cool roofs are substantial, they may not always be fully included in a building owner’s roof buying decision.

How much cooler could our cities become if we added more reflective roofs? In a comprehensive review on this topic, Santamouris 2012 found that when a global increase of the city’s albedo is considered, the expected mean decrease of the average ambient temperature is close to 0.5°F (0.3°C) per 0.1 increase in reflectivity, while the corresponding average decrease of the peak ambient temperature is close to 1.6°F (0.9°C). The cooling impact of reflective roofs in certain neighborhoods could be significantly better, though. A study of Chicago by Notre Dame University found that installing reflective roofs cooled city surfaces by around 3.5 to 5.5°F (2-3°C), but surfaces in the downtown core cooled by 12.5 to 14.5°F (7-8°C).

Cool Cities Are Energy Savers

We have started to better understand and quantify the impact in cities that are able to get a degree or two of cooling. The most obvious benefit is that cooler cities demand less energy on hot days. The graph in Figure 1 plots electricity demand in

Lowering the temperature of cities can bring a multitude of benefits. Source: Global Cool Cities Alliance.

(Figure 2) Lowering the temperature of cities can bring a multitude of benefits. Source: Global Cool Cities Alliance.

Washington, D.C., against the maximum temperature every day for 5 years (2010–2015). The graph’s shape looks very similar to plots from other cities with high penetrations of air conditioning units. Demand for electricity climbs rapidly above about 80°F. When the maximum temperature is 90°F, the city requires 21 percent more electricity, on average, than on 80°F days. At 95°F, demand has spiked by nearly 40 percent over the 80°F baseline. Charges for peak electricity demand are a major expense for commercial and industrial building operators and, in seventeen states, for homeowners as well. Further, peaking demand is often met by less efficient, more expensive, and dirtier power plants that worsen air quality. At worst, peak demand can cause productivity-killing service interruptions or brownouts.

Cooler Cities Are Healthier Places

Heat is a potent but silent killer. On average, heat kills more people than any other natural disaster, and heat-related deaths tend to be underreported. In 2015, Scientific American reported that 9 out of the 10 deadliest heat events in history have occurred since 2000 and have led to nearly 130,000 deaths. Cities on dangerously hot days experience 7 percent to 14 percent spikes in mortality from all causes.

Heat stress and stroke are only the tip of the pyramid of heat health impacts. Heat puts significant additional stress on people already suffering from diseases of the heart, lungs, kidneys, and/or diabetes. A recent study finds that every 1.5°F increase in temperatures will kill 5.4 more people per 100,000 people every year.

Installing cool roofs or vegetation can lead to a meaningful reduction in heat deaths by making the daytime weather conditions more tolerable. There are a number of studies estimating the impact of increasing urban reflectivity and vegetative cover on weather conditions. Kalkstein 2012 and Vanos 2013 looked at past heat waves in 4 U.S. cities and modeled the impact of increasing reflectivity by 0.1 (the estimated equivalent of switching about 25 percent of roofs from dark to light colors) and vegetative cover by 10 percent. Though the sample sizes are too small to draw sweeping conclusions, the studies found that cities making these modest changes could shift weather into less dangerous conditions and reduce mortality by 6 percent to 7 percent.

Cooler Cities Are Engines of Economic Growth

The health, air quality, and energy benefits of modest increases in urban roof reflectivity could generate billions of dollars of

An infrared scan of Sacramento, Calif., shows the range of surface temperatures in the area. Source: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories.

(Figure 3) An infrared scan of Sacramento, Calif., shows the range of surface temperatures in the area. Source: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories.

economic prosperity for our cities. A study of 1,700 cities published in the Journal Nature Climate Change found that changing only 20 percent of a city’s roofs and half of its pavement to cool options could save up to 12 times what they cost to install and maintain, and reduce air temperatures by about 1.5°F (0.8°C). For the average city, such an outcome would generate over a $1 billion in net economic benefits. Best of all, adding cool roofs to between 20 and 30 percent of urban buildings is a very realistic target if existing urban heat island mitigation policy best practices are adopted.

Cool Roof Performance in Cold Climates: In Brief

As positive as cool roofs are for cities in cool climates, they first have to be a high-performing choice for the building itself. What do we know about net energy savings in cool climates with higher heating load? This question was the subject of “There is Evidence Cool Roofs Provide Benefits to Buildings in Climate Zones 4-8” in the November/December 2016 issue of Roofing that summarized the newest science and field studies that show that reflective roofs provide net energy benefits and favorable heat flux impacts on roofs in cold climates. In short, the newest research from Columbia, Princeton and others demonstrates that the size of the “winter heating penalty” is significantly less than many had thought and shows net reductions in annual energy use when cool roofs are used, even with roof insulation levels as high as R48.

Real Cool Roofs in Cold Climates: The Target Survey

It is not just the science that supports the use of reflective roofs in cold climates. The strong and steady growth of cool roofing in northern markets over the last decade or two is also a good indication that reflective roofs are a high-performance option in those areas. For almost 20 years, Target Corporation has installed reflective PVC membranes on nearly all of its stores in the

Studies estimate that modest increases in urban roof reflectivity could generate billions of dollars of economic prosperity for cities. Pictured here is the roof on the Cricket Club in Toronto. Photo: Steve Pataki

Studies estimate that modest increases in urban roof reflectivity could generate billions of dollars of economic prosperity for cities. Pictured here is the roof on the Cricket Club in Toronto. Photo: Steve Pataki

United States and Canada. The membranes are usually installed over a steel deck with no vapor retarder. Target and manufacturer Sika Corporation undertook a field study of 26 roofs on randomly chosen stores located in ASHRAE Climate Zones 4-6 including Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Washington, and Wisconsin. The roofs were 10-14 years old at the time of the survey. None of the 51 total roof sample cuts were made across these roofs showed signs of condensation damage. A more detailed accounting of the study by representatives of Target Corporation and Sika Sarnafil published in Building Enclosure includes this important paragraph from authors Michael Fenner, Michael DiPietro and Stanley Graveline:

“Specific operational and other costs are confidential information and cannot be disclosed. However, it can be stated unequivocally that although the magnitude varies, Target has experienced net energy savings from the use of cool roofs in all but the most extreme climates. Although the savings in northern states are clearly less than those achieved in southern locations, experience over approximately two decades has validated the ongoing use of cool roofs across the entire real estate portfolio. Even in climates with lengthy heating seasons, overall cooling costs exceed heating costs in Target’s facilities.”

It is increasingly clear that installing cool roofs is the definition of “doing well by doing good.” Even in cold areas, a properly built roof system with a reflective surface is a high-performance option that delivers value for building owners while making hugely positive contributions to the neighborhoods and cities they occupy.

Spray Polyurethane Foam and Photovoltaic Roofing Systems

Spray polyurethane foam and photovoltaic systems are increasingly utilized together as
a joint solution for energy savings. With the continued push toward sustainability and growing
movements, like net-zero-energy construction, SPF and PV systems are a logical combined solution for the generation of renewable energy, the conservation of heating and cooling energy, and the elimination of the structure’s dependence on fossil-fuel-consuming electricity sources. Regardless of whether net-zero energy is the end goal, SPF and PV combined in roofing can be quite effective for many structures. Here are some considerations when looking to join these two powerful systems on the roof of a building.


Installation of PV systems on SPF roofing will inevitably create additional foot traffic. It is important to protect heavily trafficked areas with additional coating and granules or walk pads.

Installation of PV systems on SPF roofing will inevitably create additional foot traffic. It is important to protect heavily trafficked areas with additional coating and granules or walk pads.

Rooftop PV systems can vary significantly in size. Large-footprint buildings can employ PV systems rated from 50 kilowatts to 1,000 kW or larger while residential rooftop PV systems are commonly 3 kW to 5 kW.

Rooftop PV systems may be installed on racks or adhered directly to the roof surface. When looking to combine PV with SPF, it is generally not advised to adhere or place the PV panels directly onto the roof surface. Solar heat and water can accumulate between the PV and roof coating which could negatively impact coating performance. Moreover, panels applied directly to a low-slope roof will not be properly aligned with the sun to achieve optimal performance.

Non-penetrating rack systems may be placed directly on a rooftop and held in place with ballast. Racks may also be installed with penetrating supports that require flashings. Each type provides advantages and disadvantages. For example, ballasted racks may block water flow and affect drainage while penetrations require leak- and maintenance-prone flashings. SPF is unique in that it easily self-flashes around penetrating supports.


PV cells are the basic unit used to convert light to electricity. Many PV cells are bundled together to make a PV panel, or module. PV panels are grouped electrically to create a PV string. Depending on the system size, two or more strings are combined to create a PV array.

The dominant type of PV panel used with SPF roofing is cSi, or crystalline silicon. cSi is a typically rigid panel with a glass and metal frame and may be applied, unlike other dominant PV panel types, via rack installation methods.

A PV system includes many components in addition to the panels. Components include racks, rails, rooftop attachment devices, grounding systems, wiring and wiring harnesses, combiner boxes, inverter(s) and connection to the main electrical panel. Components may also include control modules and storage batteries for off-grid PV system installations.


Photovoltaic panels must be handled and maintained with caution. Electricity is produced when a single panel is exposed to light; however, because a panel is not part of a circuit, that electricity will not flow until the circuit is complete. A worker may complete the circuit by connecting the two wires from the backside of a PV panel.

When maintaining a PV system, it may become necessary at some point to disconnect or remove an individual panel from a string or an array. The whole system must be shutdown properly as a precautionary measure to prevent shocks from occurring to workers and arcing between electrical connections. This “shutdown” procedure must be followed with precision as part of a lock-out/tag-out program. This procedure is provided by the inverter manufacturer. Under no circumstances should SPF contractors ever disconnect or decommission a PV panel or system unless they are trained and qualified to do so.


Photovoltaic panels convert approximately 15 to 20 percent of light to electricity, leaving the remaining unconverted energy to be released as heat. Additionally, PV panels are more effective when their temperature drops. It is for these reasons that the majority of rooftop PV systems are installed to encourage airflow under panels, which reduces the temperature of the panels, improves conversion efficiency and releases heat effectively. Photovoltaic panels installed 4 to 5 inches above the roof will not change the temperature of the roof and, instead, provide shade to the surface of that roof. This additional shade may extend the life of SPF roof coatings.


PV panels add weight to a rooftop and this must be factored into the design and installation. Existing structures should be analyzed by a structural engineer to determine if the additional weight of the PV system is acceptable.

Rack-mounted arrays with penetrating attachments are fairly lightweight at 2 to 3 pounds per square foot, and ballasted arrays add 4 to 6 pounds per square foot. However, with the latter, more ballast is utilized at the perimeters and corners of a PV array. Thus, localized loading from ballast may reach as high as 12 to 17 pounds per square foot, which must be considered. Most SPF roofing systems have a compressive strength of 40 to 60 psi.

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A New Report Finds Sustainable Roofs Deliver Millions in Benefits to ‘Roof Aware’ Cities

“Roof Awareness” has come a long way during the years. It used to be that people only thought about their roofs when something went wrong. Building owners then started realizing that making smart choices about the roof could save money on energy costs. Roofs are now seen as essential platforms for cities to meet energy-efficiency and renewable-energy goals, to improve the health and quality of residents’ lives, and to achieve social equity. A new effort to better quantify those benefits and costs shows cities with good roof awareness are reaping millions in economic benefits.

TABLE 1: Summary of cost-benefit analysis results (NOTE: There is no internal rate of return, simply payback, or benefit-to-cost ratio for rooftop PV because we all rooftop PV systems are financed with a PPA [so there is no upfront cost to DGS]).

TABLE 1: Summary of cost-benefit analysis results (NOTE: There is no internal rate of return, simply payback, or benefit-to-cost ratio for rooftop PV because we all rooftop PV systems are financed with a PPA [so there is no upfront cost to DGS]).

With that change in role comes new challenges for evaluating what type of roof makes sense for building owners and cities alike. There are well-developed building models and field studies that give us great insight into how sustainable roofing—that is, reflective, vegetated or solar roofs—saves energy and energy costs. But there is not a single tool that could evaluate all the benefits that accrue from good roofing choices beyond energy savings, such as better health, enhanced air quality, greater stormwater management and improved social conditions. Until now, that is.

A recently released report—the “Affordable Housing Smart Roof Report”—from Washington, D.C.-based Capital E, a firm dedicated to accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy, now allows city officials and owners of affordable housing developments to see and calculate the full lifetime costs and benefits of roof decisions. “This is the first model that helps the user puta dollar value on the various benefits of sustainable roofing options. We see this as a great tool for contractors looking to quantify the full benefits of sustainable roofing for their potential clients. It will also help city officials to enact policies that recognize the value of smarter roofing that may not be directly visible on the building owner’s books,” says Keith Glassbrook, a Capital E senior analyst and one of the lead developers of the new model.

TABLE 2: Present value summary of costs and benefits for the three technologies on all low-slope DGS roofs (NOTE: All PV is financed with a PPA so there is no upfront cost to DGS; results may not sum due to rounding).

TABLE 2: Present value summary of costs and benefits for the three technologies on all low-slope DGS roofs (NOTE: All PV is financed with a PPA so there is no upfront cost to DGS; results may not sum due to rounding).

Building the Tool

Rather than reinventing the wheel, Capital E identified existing tools, models and methods from the huge base of existing science for each item in its cost-benefit analysis. The model integrates these individual, detailed components into a form that is accessible and easy to use for non-scientists and that provides straightforward results in dollars per square foot.

The model is an extension of an analysis undertaken for the Washington, D.C., Department of General Services (DGS) as part of its Smart Roofs Initiative. The initiative is designed to help Washington achieve its aspirations to become the greenest, healthiest, most equitable city in the U.S. by using the roofs of city-owned buildings more thoughtfully. DGS owns and controls more than 400 buildings in Washington, including office buildings, schools and hospitals. The city is using this portfolio (28 million square feet of buildings with approximately $62 million in annual energy expenditures) to drive deep improvements in energy efficiency and achieve other objectives.

Like a growing number of cities, Washington, D.C., is committed to using its roofs to deploy photovoltaic panels to generate electricity, cool roofs to reflect sunlight and reduce unwanted heat gain in summer, and green roofs to cut stormwater runoff that results in water pollution and requires construction of expensive water-treatment plants and other grey infrastructure. Tommy Wells, a former councilmember and current director of the District Department of the Environment, summarized the reasons in the Smart Roof cost-benefit report’s press release: “Past research shows that ‘smart’ roof strategies that reduce extreme temperatures in buildings can literally save lives. This new report provides additional justification for cool, green, and solar roofing solutions by showing that they also make compelling financial sense as we work to make D.C. a healthier and more sustainable city.”

Washington has been among the most advanced cities in the nation in deploying sustainable roof technologies. But because there was no established methodology for quantifying the full cost and benefits—including health benefits—for any of these technologies, Washington to date had not been able to quantify the full costs and benefits of these roof choices or compare the merits of each to make informed decisions about which technologies to deploy and at what scale. The analysis undertaken by Capital E to remedy this issue concluded that DGS’ Smart Roofs program can deliver between $47 and $335 million in benefits to the city over 40 years, depending on the roof technology chosen.

More Analysis

A parallel analysis was funded by the New York-based JPB Foundation, which seeks to enhance the quality of life in the U.S. by creating opportunities for those in poverty, promoting pioneering medical research, and enriching and sustaining the environment. JPB Foundation launched its analysis based on the success of this initial analysis by DGS. This time, the model was adapted to evaluate actual affordable-housing buildings in Baltimore; Los Angeles; Philadelphia; and Washington, D.C. The sample buildings, which were part of the National Housing Trust, Washington, or Columbia, Md.-based Enterprise Community Partners Inc.’s portfolios, included steep- and low-slope roofs, high- and low-rise structures, as well as some attached row houses. The project team for this study included the National Housing Trust; Washington-based American Institute of Architects; Washington-based Global Cool Cities Alliance; Enterprise Community Partners; and U.S. Green Building Council, Washington. In each city and building type evaluated, the model found sustainable roofs would generate more benefits than they cost (first cost and maintenance) and would, in some cases, have an immediate payback.

The results were variable by building and city but they confirmed that sustainable roofing was the superior economic choice compared to traditional dark roofs in the cities studied.

The JPB Foundation analysis shows there is no one-size-fits-all solution to maximize value with sustainable roofing. For example, green roofs made the most sense in Washington, D.C., because of the city’s stormwater rules. On the building in Baltimore, cool roofs were the best choice. The results were variable by building and city but they confirmed that sustainable roofing was the superior economic choice compared to traditional dark roofs in the cities studied.

A second phase is currently underway by JPB Foundation to extend the model to large areas of cities to capture the impact of sustainable roofs at a community scale, as well as other technologies, such as reflective pavements, and to better quantify some of the social benefits of cooler, more enjoyable surroundings.

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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EPDs Provide a New Level of Environmental Transparency to Building Products

The sustainability movement has impacted the building industry in many ways. Today’s architects, owners and occupants have much greater expectations for the environmental performance of the buildings they design, operate and dwell in. Part of this expectation is focused on the components that make up the building. For example, did the wood come from responsibly harvested forests? Is the metal made of recycled material? Do the paint and interior finishes contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs)?

An Environmental Product Declaration, or EPD, is developed by applying a Product Category Rule, or PCR. PCRs are developed, maintained and warehoused by program operators. Examples of program operators include ASTM, CSA, ICC-ES, Environdec and UL Environment. Program operators also verify that an EPD and its associated life-cycle assessment conform with ISO 14025 and the ISO 14040 series. PCR development is commonly a collaborative effort between industry associations, manufacturers, and/or others.

An EPD is developed by applying a Product Category Rule. PCRs are developed, maintained and warehoused by program operators. Examples of program operators include ASTM, CSA, ICC-ES, Environdec and UL Environment. Program operators also verify that an EPD and its associated life-cycle assessment conform with ISO 14025 and the ISO 14040 series. PCR development is commonly a collaborative effort between industry associations, manufacturers, and/or others. IMAGE: Quantis US

Information technology has encouraged and facilitated this increased demand for in-depth data about building components and systems. People have become accustomed to being able to gather exhaustive information about the products they buy through extensive labeling or online research.

In response to the growing demand for environmental product information, building component manufacturers have begun rolling out environmental product declarations, or EPDs.

It’s a term now commonly heard, but what are they? EPDs are often spoken in the same breath as things like LCA (life-cycle assessment), PCRs (product category rules) and many other TLAs (three-letter acronyms). The fact is they are all related and are part of an ongoing effort to provide as much transparency as possible about what goes into the products that go in and on a building.

“An EPD is a specific document that informs the reader about the environmental performance of a product,” explains Sarah Mandlebaum, life-cycle analyst with Quantis US, the Boston-based branch of the global sustainability consulting firm Quantis. “It balances the need for credible and thorough information with the need to make such information reasonably understandable. The information provided in the document is based on a life-cycle assessment, or LCA, of the product, which documents the environmental impacts of that product from ‘cradle to grave.’ This includes impacts from material production, manufacturing, transportation, use and disposal of the product. An EPD is simply a standardized way of communicating the outcomes of such an assessment.”

The concept of product LCAs has been around for some time and has often been looked at as a way of determining the sustainability of a particular product by establishing the full scope of its environmental footprint. The basic idea is to closely catalog everything that goes into a product throughout its entire life. That means the energy, raw materials, and emissions associated with sourcing its materials, manufacturing it, transporting it, installing it and, ultimately, removing and disposing of it. In the end, an LCA results in a dizzying amount of data that can be difficult to translate or put in any context. EPDs are one way to help provide context and help put LCA data to use.

“The summary of environmental impact data in the form of an EPD can be analogous to a nutrition label on food,” says Scott Kriner, LEED AP, technical director of the Metal Construction Association (MCA), Chicago. “There is plenty of information on the label, but the information itself is meaningless unless one is focused on one area. An LCA determines the water, energy and waste involved in the extraction of raw materials, the manufacturing process, the transportation to a job site and the reclamation of waste at the end of the useful life of a product. With that data in hand, the various environmental impact categories can be determined and an EPD can be developed to summarize the environmental impact information.”

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The Growing Solar Industry Demands Certified Solar Roofing Professionals Complete Installations

During my 35 years in the roofing industry and seven years as a solar photovoltaic (PV) professional, I have noticed several issues that often arise during rooftop PV installations.

  • It is important to spend time with customers, ensuring they are educated and informed prior to choosing a PV system for their project.
  • Installers must understand and implement proper safety practices for rooftop work. Often, roof-mounted PV installations are best completed by individuals who have experience with the hazard exposures of roofing environments.
  • Quality products that fulfill the applications’ needs and specifications must be installed.
  • Attention to installation details is often overlooked, yet is a fundamental aspect of successful solar installations.
  • Customer satisfaction is best achieved with frequent communication, like regular progress reports and follow-ups.
  • The dynamics of today’s solar market require diversification, qualification and excellent service to meet PV project demands.

The Certified Solar Roofing Professional (CSRP) credential is overseen by Rosemont, Ill.-based Roof Integrated Solar Energy, or RISE. RISE evaluates and certifies solar roofing professionals for knowledge about critical roof system construction and maintenance practices necessary to support successful rooftop solar-energy installations. Achieving the CSRP credential matched our company philosophy of ensuring a roof-mounted PV installation will not adversely affect a roof system’s performance.

As a member of the first group who earned the CSRP credential, I clearly understood the potential benefits to my company and, more importantly, what this would mean to my customers. I believe becoming a RISE CSRP, and being recognized by an independent organization, provides credibility and a competitive advantage in the growing and demanding PV marketplace. The additional training and education needed to achieve and maintain the CSRP credential is specific to the related tasks involved in rooftop solar installation.

The CSRP credential helps assure homeowners, business owners, architects and developers that their new PV project is up to the task. These owners expect and deserve to know that all aspects of the project (solar, roofing, electrical, design and several other important factors) are being addressed to achieve a successful integration of their PV and roofing systems. By choosing a CSRP, they are assured their projects will be handled by the most capable professionals.

Once earned, there are several requirements to maintain the CSRP credential. These include continuing education to keep up with the latest in PV and roofing technologies, as well as engaging in other professional activities, such as presenting at industry trade shows or other public forums.

Meeting these requirements continues to enhance my career. It also affirms to our customers that I am well-informed about the fast changing solar industry, including best business practices, application methods and technologies. Therefore, I’m very capable of meeting their expectations and demands. Maintaining my CSRP credential also helps me contribute more directly to my company’s success by keeping other employees informed.

There are a lot of so-called solar professionals out there who do not have the proper credentials, experience or knowledge to properly install a PV system. They may inadvertently negatively affect a customer’s roof performance and service life, as well as the performance of the PV system.

We recently have experienced an increase in calls for roof repair services. When we first visit these projects, it is immediately evident an installer failed to properly integrate the roof, waterproofing and electrical details when installing the solar PV system. Unfortunately, I have seen leaks, fires and inoperable systems—all of which harm the roofing and solar industry’s reputation. A CSRP could have helped address these issues for the customer upfront and thus avoided incurring additional expenses above the original installation, as well as other economic losses from an inoperable PV system.

Calling a CSRP puts you on the right path to a quality installation. Often, it is said good business practices go a long way, and I have found this to be spot on. I have always been proud of the work my company provides its customers. And earning my CSRP credential fostered a stronger desire to reach for higher standards in the roofing and solar industry. I am looking forward to providing rooftop PV services and representing the CSRP program for many years to come. I know that by being a CSRP, I am ensuring my customer’s roof installations will continue doing their primary job: protecting buildings from the elements.

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Become a Certified Solar Roofing Professional today!