IBHS Awards 15,000th FORTIFIED Home Designation

The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) recently awarded the 15,000th designation in its FORTIFIED Home program for resilient living to a home in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, which has a new roof funded by Strengthen Alabama Homes and installed by Habitat for Humanity Tuscaloosa. FORTIFIED is the national standard for construction that is resilient to severe weather and is part of a rapidly growing trend to build stronger homes across the country. Alabama currently leads the nation in FORTIFIED designated buildings and is home to nearly 80 percent of all FORTIFIED Homes.

“As homeowners across Alabama are keenly aware, severe weather disrupts lives, displaces families and drives financial loss,” said IBHS President and CEO Roy Wright. “For nearly three decades we’ve worked to identify solutions to help property owners prevent avoidable losses. In recent years, we’ve seen our FORTIFIED program and resilient building, in general, pick up momentum. The number of FORTIFIED Homes has more than doubled in the past two years, and Alabama’s Gulf Coast has been at the center of adopting these construction methods. With FORTIFIED now taking hold across the State it is fitting that the 15,000th home be dedicated here today.”

The State of Alabama first recognized IBHS’s building standards in 2009 by passing legislation requiring insurers to provide discounts for homes with a FORTIFIED designation. In 2016, Strengthen Alabama Homes began issuing grants to help homeowners retrofit roofs to the FORTIFIED standard. On Jan. 1, 2020, new state legislation became law ensuring every homeowner in Alabama is offered a FORTIFIED endorsement. Homeowners with this extra protection can now have their roof upgraded to FORTIFIED standards if it is being replaced due to a claim.

“For every home that is FORTIFIED, a family is safer, their lives are less disrupted from the effects of a destructive storm, a damaged roof is not filling up a landfill and the cost of wind insurance is lower,” said Alabama Insurance Commissioner Jim Ridling.  “Fortification keeps workers in their homes and at their jobs, allowing employers to maintain their productivity, thus reducing the storm’s impact on the local economy. Our collaboration with IBHS makes Alabama a safer place to live and work.”

Understanding the importance of helping people make their homes more resilient against severe weather, during the event State Farm announced a $150,000 contribution to support the Strengthen Alabama Homes program. According to State Farm’s counsel for Alabama, Steve Simkins, the company is excited to help Alabama homeowners gain the peace of mind that comes with a FORTIFIED Roof, and they are hopeful the donation will encourage other companies to support the program.

“FORTIFIED provides achievable property protection for any family,” stated Julie Shiyou-Woodard, President and CEO of Smart Home America. “Dedicated public-private partnerships between IBHS, State Farm, Smart Home America, Habitat for Humanity, the Department of Insurance, and many others, have allowed FORTIFIED to take root here (Alabama). Across the nation, we are all working to grow and integrate FORTIFIED and resilient construction at the community and state levels.”

Using the FORTIFIED Home standards as a guide, Habitat for Humanity has created its own resilience program for new construction and also partners with Strengthen Alabama Homes to retrofit homes, like the one designated today, to the FORTIFIED standards.

 “All of us at Habitat Tuscaloosa are excited about the opportunity to offer FORTIFIED Roofs to our homeowners,” added Habitat for Humanity of Tuscaloosa Executive Director Ellen Potts. “The additional safety and durability this adds to a home provides families with peace of mind. And, through discounts on their homeowners insurance, it will save them money over the long term.”

The 15,000th home in the FORTIFIED program was dedicated at a special ceremony held at the Tuscaloosa home. Jim Ridling, Commissioner, Alabama Department of Insurance; Brian Hastings, Director, Alabama Emergency Management Agency; Brian Powell, Director, Strengthen Alabama Homes; Steve Simkins, Counsel for Alabama, State Farm; Julie Shiyou-Woodard, President and CEO, Smart Home America; Ellen Potts, Executive Director, Habitat for Humanity of Tuscaloosa, were in attendance.

For more information about the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety or for tips and information about making your home more resilient visit www.disastersafety.org.

For more information, visitwww.fortifiedhome.org.

GAF Introduces Community Matters Social Impact Initiative

GAF launched a new social impact initiative called GAF Community Matters to strengthen and support the communities it serves. GAF has renewed its partnerships with several non-profit organizations as a part of this effort, committing more than $6 million in financial and in-kind donations in 2020 to help neighbors, create disaster resiliency and build community — including materials to roof over 1,500 homes.

“GAF is committed to protecting what matters most, not only through our products, but as neighbors and partners in the communities where we live and work,” said Jim Schnepper, President of GAF. “Our partners within GAF’s new Community Matters initiative will help us amplify our collective impact together; bringing meaningful change to our communities in new and exciting ways.”

According to the company, GAF is committing its expertise, products and financial resources to help power the potential of the communities in which it operates, and to aid people that are in need every day and during critical times of disaster. GAF is working in partnership with leading organizations, including the following:

  • Habitat for Humanity is a global nonprofit housing organization working in local communities across all 50 states in the U.S. and in more than 70 countries around the world. GAF has established a unique Community Contractor Program with Habitat that donates roofing materials and connects local Habitat organizations with independent contractors enrolled in GAF’s certified contractor program to address a critical need for safe, decent and affordable housing. Today, GAF is proud to be among Habitat’s generous partners, supporting the installation of over 2,000 roofs since 2011.
  • Team Rubicon serves communities by mobilizing veterans to continue their service, leveraging their skills and experience to help people prepare, respond, and recover from disasters and humanitarian crises. GAF aims to shorten the road to recovery for communities hit by disasters, particularly for low-attention disasters that do not receive significant resources, and will help train at least 100 GAF employees as volunteers for Team Rubicon deployment in 2020. To date, GAF has helped support nearly 4,000 volunteer disaster response deployments with Team Rubicon.
  • Good360 is a global leader in product philanthropy, and partners with socially responsible companies to source highly needed goods and distribute them through its network of diverse nonprofits that support people in need. GAF will donate roofing materials and other supplies to help Good360 address the long-term needs of communities recovering from disasters. In 2019, GAF provided 56 truckloads of roofing materials to Good360, which were distributed to approximately 20 non-profit partners nationwide to roof more than 600 properties.
  • Project for Public Spaces is dedicated to helping people create and sustain public spaces that build strong communities. GAF is investing in the development of physical spaces where community members can come together in areas that are home to GAF manufacturing operations. GAF will also continue working with Project for Public Spaces, GAF employees, service organizations and local governments to address the distinctive needs in communities where GAF’s plants and headquarters are located.

Further expanding its commitment to these partners through the GAF Community Matters initiative builds on existing efforts to improve communities and connect experts with nonprofits who need their skills. As part of these efforts, employees will also have expanded opportunities to get involved from volunteer time off to connecting them with causes that are close to them, including an employee relief fund. 

For more information about GAF’s social impact efforts, please visit www.gaf.com/communitymatters.

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).

GAF Introduces Roofing Shingle Warranty With No Wind Limit

On January 10, GAF officially announced the nationwide launch of Timberline HDZ shingles featuring LayerLock technology, which mechanically fuses the common bond in to offer a larger nailing area. The company also announced that roofing contractors can now also offer homeowners a GAF WindProven limited wind warranty, the first wind warranty for roofing shingles with no maximum wind speed limit, when installing GAF shingles with LayerLock technology and four qualifying GAF accessories.

“Roofing contractors have been asking for new ways to help accelerate and grow their business, and we’re excited to introduce technology that can make their jobs faster and easier with Timberline HDZ shingles,” said Jim Schnepper, president of GAF. “This represents some of the most exciting innovation in the roofing industry today, backed by the quality and reliability homeowners have trusted for more than 130 years with GAF.” 

According to the company, LayerLock technology mechanically fuses the common bond to offer a new StrikeZone nailing area is up to 600 percent larger than that of Timberline HD shingles, resulting in increased nailing accuracy and faster installation versus Timberline HD. Timberline HDZ offersdual-phase shingle-to-shingle seal with Dura Grip sealant and an asphalt-to-asphalt monolithic bond for durability, strength and powerful wind uplift performance. The product is also fully compatible with Timberline HD roofing shingles.

According to David Ellis, Vice President of Residential at GAF, third-party time and motion studies comparing HD and HDZ installation show that HDZ installs 30 percent faster with up to 99.9 percent nailing accuracy. “The takeaways here are accuracy and productivity,” Ellis noted. “Those are the two things that contractors care about the most. With the WindProven warranty, it speaks to the homeowner about the things they care most about: strength, durability and wind performance. You put those things together and you have a great product that contractors and homeowners are going to love.”

According to Ellis, the product has been installed since March in a pilot market in the Southeast, and feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. “HDZ and LayerLock are engineered for performance, and we have done it in a very elegant way,” Ellis said. “It makes sense to the contractors. They get it, and they now have a different value proposition in the home with LayerLock and the WindProven warranty that others can’t offer.”

GAF Timberline HDZ shingles will be on display for a national audience for the first time at the 2020 International Roofing Expo from February 4-6 in Dallas, Texas. For more information, visit www.gaf.com/layerlock

Shingles Feature Mechanically Fused Common Bond, Larger Nailing Area

GAF launches Timberline HDZ shingles, powered by new and innovative LayerLock technology. According to the manufacturer, LayerLock technology mechanically fuses the common bond in Timberline HDZ shingles to offer: 

  • Up to 99.9 percent nailing accuracy thanks to the new StrikeZone nailing area, which is up to 600 percent larger vs. Timberline HD shingles
  • Up to 30 percent faster nail fastening during installation vs. Timberline HD shingles 
  • Dual-phase shingle-to-shingle seal with Dura Grip sealant and StrikeZone nailing area, and an asphalt-to-asphalt monolithic bond for durability, strength and powerful wind uplift performance 
  • Compatibility with Timberline HD roofing shingles

 “Roofing contractors have been asking for new ways to help accelerate and grow their business, and we’re excited to introduce technology that can make their jobs faster and easier with Timberline HDZ shingles,” said Jim Schnepper, President of GAF. “This represents some of the most exciting innovation in the roofing industry today, backed by the quality and reliability homeowners have trusted for more than 130 years with GAF.” 

Roofing contractors can now also offer homeowners a GAF WindProven limited wind warranty, the first wind warranty for roofing shingles with no maximum wind speed limit, when installing GAF shingles with LayerLock technology and four qualifying GAF accessories. For information on qualifying GAF roofing accessories, please visit www.gaf.com/LRS

GAF Timberline HDZ shingles will be on display for a national audience for the first time at the 2020 International Roofing Expo from February 4-6 in Dallas, Texas. Conference attendees can visit GAF at booth 4404 and the neighboring GAF CARE Corner for live demonstrations, or go online at www.gaf.com/layerlock to learn more. 

For more information, visit www.gaf.com

GAF Announces Plans to Open New Plant in Pennsylvania

GAF announced plans to open a new polyisocyanurate manufacturing plant in New Columbia, Pennsylvania, that is expected to create at least 35 skilled manufacturing and office jobs. This will be GAF’s fourth ISO plant, joining Cedar City, Utah; Gainseville, Texas; and Statesboro, Georgia. The targeted date for production to begin is 2021.

The new plant will exclusively manufacture polyisocyanurate, a rigid foam board insulation. EnergyGuard Polyiso Insulation board is made of glass fiber-reinforced cellulosic felt facers bonded to a core of isocyanurate foam. According to the manufacturer, EnergyGuard Polyiso Roof Insulation is lighter than most other insulating products offering comparable thermal resistance; it is as much as five times lighter in weight than many other materials with the same R-value.

Across the United States, GAF strives to positively impact the communities where employees and contractors live and work. GAF chose to build a second plant in the New Columbia area because of the talented workforce, excellent rail service, proximity to an interstate highway and its customer base in the Northeast. Adding the fourth ISO plant is part of the company’s larger efforts to create a brighter, more sustainable future for its consumers and associates.

For more information, visit www.GAF.com

A New Roof Now Protects Priceless Literature at the Yiddish Book Center

The Yiddish Book Center was designed to resemble a shtetl, or traditional Jewish town. The complex features multiple steep-slope roof sections with distinctive double rooflines. Photos: Joshua Narkawicz

The Yiddish Book Center is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to preserve and celebrate Yiddish and modern Jewish literature and culture. Located in Amherst, Massachusetts, the Center is a repository for historic works of literature and art, and it hosts various educational and cultural programs throughout the year to share them with others. The complex that houses the Yiddish Book Center was designed to resemble a shtetl, or traditional Jewish town common in Eastern Europe before World War II. The effect is achieved by incorporating multiple steep-slope roof sections with distinctive double rooflines, all topped by cedar shakes. But when the natural cedar shake roof system began to fail, the priceless works of art and literature were suddenly at risk.

Administrators reached out to Tech Roofing Service Inc., Chicopee, Massachusetts, to repair the leaks and assess the condition of the roof, which included several interlocking steep-slope and low-slope sections. Tech Roofing, founded in 1975, focuses primarily on commercial projects and prides itself on its ability to install a wide variety of systems.

Joshua Narkawicz, vice president of Tech Roofing, says the company thrives on jobs with multiple scopes of work. “We like complex jobs,” he says. “Those are the ones we love. We’re not afraid of anything — the more difficult, the better.”

As Tech Roofing repaired the leaks, Narkawicz realized the roof was nearing the end of its service life. Tech Roofing crew members handled preventive maintenance issues while they worked with the Yiddish Book Center to develop a plan and a budget to replace the entire roof system.

Formulating the Plan

“Two years ago, we started to develop a game plan of what the end stage was going to be on re-roofing,” Narkawicz says. Working with the client and the original architect, the team explored re-roofing with wood shakes, as well as various options for synthetic shake roofing. Narkawicz worked with his local supplier, Beacon Roofing Supply’s branch in Chicopee, Massachusetts, to obtain samples of various synthetic shake products. The goal was to find the product that would most closely mimic the look of real cedar shake while providing a longer service life with fewer maintenance issues. “They ended up deciding to go with the DaVinci Multi-Width Shake product in Tahoe.”

Tech Roofing replaced all of the steep-slope and low-slope roofing on the project, installing custom-fabricated copper flashing and drip edge.

The schedule would be a daunting one, as the job would have to be sandwiched in during a summer break period, with work beginning right after a major event in mid-July and wrapping up before the end of August. “They still had some classes being conducted over the summer, so were kind of playing hopscotch,” Narkawicz notes. “There were four buildings we had to kind of jump around to work on.”

The removal of the existing steep-slope roof was the first step. “We ended up tearing off the existing wood shakes and breather vent,” Narkawicz says. “There was 30-pound felt beneath every layer. We tore everything off, down to the existing tongue-and-groove, which was in beautiful shape.”

As one crew did the tear-off work, a second crew installed custom fabricated copper drip edge and applied Grace Ice & Water Shield to dry in each section before the end of the day. The roofing crew then started installing the synthetic shake roofing tiles.

“Guys were falling back and setting the DaVinci starter courses over the custom fabricated copper drip edges,” Narkawicz explains. “We then started snapping lines and installing the DaVinci Multi-Width Shake. They chose a 9-inch exposure, and it has a multi-width pattern, so they range from 4 inches to 6 inches to 8 inches, and are staggered to get the desired look.”

The synthetic shake tiles were installed using a nail gun and 1-5/8-inch coiled ring shank nails. “There are marks on each shake that determine precisely where the nails should go,” says Narkawicz.

Administrators wanted to find a synthetic shake product that would closely mimic the look of natural cedar shake while providing a longer service life. They chose DaVinci Multi-Width Shake in Tahoe.

With the hut-shaped roofs bunched closely together, the courses had to line up perfectly, so crews were meticulous in the installation process, checking it carefully against the other sections as work proceeded.

At the horizontal break at the mid-roof, it was like starting the roof installation all over again. “That break was purely an aesthetic feature,” says Narkawicz. “We got the shingles up underneath there as high as we could. There was an existing head flashing there, and we sealed it in with copper ring shank nails as the counterflashing went over it. Then we started on the next tier, installing another copper drip edge and starter course, just like we were starting a separate roof.”

Some of the steep-slope roofs had a small section of flat roofing at the peak, while others had ridges where GAF Cobra ridge vent was installed. “DaVinci has pre-molded ridge caps, and we used those on the hips and on the ridge for a uniform look,” says Narkawicz. “They were actually really easy to install.”

After the steep-slope work was completed, work began on the low-slope sections. Tapered insulation was installed and topped with a 60-mil fully adhered EPDM roof system from Carlisle. Tech Roofing crews also rebuilt a small cupola, which was sided with rough cedar planks.

Overcoming Challenges

Challenges on the project included not only the compressed schedule but tricky logistics at the jobsite. Crews had to work closely with the Yiddish Book Center to make sure work did not affect ongoing classes. Narkawicz credits Ollie Schmith, the building and grounds supervisor, for helping coordinate the schedule. “He was phenomenal,” Narkawicz says.

The property is bordered by an apple orchard and has streams running through it, so access to some roof areas was difficult. There are also several elevation changes, and the back of the building features a landscaped terrace.

“We had to make sure the roof was set up correctly with the crane,” Narkawicz states. “We also had two scissor lifts on site, as well as a shingle buggy — the Equipter. The Equipter was huge for the tear-off because of the distances we had to travel to the dumpsters, which had to be located at the edge of the site.”

The project featured a multi-pronged safety plan. On the flat roof, crews used stanchions with a warning line and a safety monitor. During the steep-slope installation, crew members did some of the work from lifts, while other areas were scaffolded. Workers on the sloped sections were tied off at all times. “The guys would have ropes and harnesses,” explains Narkawicz. “We used planks and brackets for the removal, and we would have the shingle buggy down at the bottom to catch the debris. When we started going back up, we had the scissor lifts at the bottom with the material, and the guys did the first 5 feet or so working from the scissor lifts.”

Rainy weather made the schedule even tougher, and crews worked on weekends to keep the project on track. Narkawicz credits the teamwork of his company’s multi-talented crews for the successful outcome of the project.

“It was a great project overall, and a great client to work for,” Narkawicz says. “It just demonstrates the expertise of all the guys. We did the carpentry work, the sheet metal, the installs, the ripping. That’s a huge part of our company — we all do everything as one.”

TEAM

Roofing Contractor: Tech Roofing Service Inc., Chicopee, Massachusetts, https://techroofing.com

MATERIALS

Synthetic Shake: DaVinci Multi-Width Shake in Tahoe, DaVinci Roofscapes, https://www.davinciroofscapes.com

Underlayment: Grace Ice & Water Shield, GCP Applied Technologies, https://gcpat.com/en

Ridge Vent: Cobra Ridge Vent, GAF, www.gaf.com

EPDM Roof System: 60-mil EPDM, CarlisleSynTec, www.carlislesyntec.com

GAF Energy Aims to Transform the Residential Solar Industry

Photo: GAF Energy

Earlier this year, Standard Industries launched GAF Energy, a new company with a lofty goal: revolutionizing residential rooftop solar. Working in tandem with GAF, GAF Energy is driving the adoption of integrated and affordable rooftop solar solutions across GAF’s established distribution network. The business model is designed to tap into the strength of GAF’s network of more than 6,000 certified roofing contractors to offer homeowners a comprehensive and economical approach to solar installation.

“We’ve created GAF Energy to take on roof-integrated solar and bring it to the next level,” says Martin DeBono, president of GAF Energy. “By leveraging GAF’s roofing expertise with GAF Energy’s solar expertise, we’ve created a solar kit designed specifically for roofers and their customers during the re-roof and roof construction process.”

The company believes that by standardizing these integrated solar solutions, they can be more easily installed on residential roof replacements and new construction projects. “By putting everything in a kit, we really simplify the process for a roofer,” DeBono says. “In fact, our target roofing contractor is someone who has never done solar.”

Connecting With Contractors

GAF Energy is currently working with GAF sales teams to identify contractors with residential sales teams that would be good candidates for adopting solar. Initially, the company is focusing on nine states, with plans to expand nationwide. The nine states are California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Rhode Island. Key factors in the consideration of these markets included the climate, the price of electricity, and state and local programs for utility rebates and incentives.

The roof-integrated solar kit is designed to function as part of the roof system and be aesthetically pleasing. Photo: GAF Energy

If contractors seem like they will be a good fit, GAF Energy sets up a multi-pronged training program, which includes classroom training and training in the field for both salespeople and installers. “We have full day of classroom sales training with a professional sales trainer,” DeBono explains. “After contractors complete the sales training in the classroom, we provide field resources for in-home sales training and on-the-roof training. We have field resources that we send out with roofing contractors’ salespeople into the field. Once we have a successful sale, we also provide on-the-roof training for the first installation. All of that is done just for being part of the GAF contractor network because it is our belief that we need to enable a new generation of roofers to sell and install solar.”

According to DeBono, GAF Energy is then able to provide all of the services that roofers typically do not have, including electrical services, design services, and connection services. “If the roofing contractors have the wherewithal to continue the project with the electrical and the design, we’re happy to enable that, but what we’ve found is that roofing contractors like GAF Energy to do that. We work with the roofing contractors and their customers to determine which services we provide and which services the roofer provides. It really lowers the barrier for adoption for both the roofing contractor and the homeowner.”

Contractors are already selling and installing the system. “We launched the company in January, we conducted our first sales training sessions in February, and we’ve already received our first purchase orders,” DeBono notes.

The Solar Kit

The GAF Energy solar roofing kit arrives at the home complete with everything needed for installation, including the integrated photovoltaics (PV), flashings, all of the power and electronics that are necessary, along with the hardware.

The system itself screws into the deck and is flashed in a method similar to a skylight installation. Power electronics plug into each other below the system and out of sight, and leads are connected to the inverter, which can be installed by the roofing contractor or GAF Energy.

The GAF Energy solar roofing kit arrives at the home complete with everything needed for installation. It is flashed in a method similar to a skylight installation. Photo: GAF Energy

The kit — and the business model — are designed to provide synergy with the roofing contractor. “It is our firm belief that the roof is the domain of the roofing contractor,” says DeBono. “You do not want anybody other than a roofing contractor working on your roof. As part of the Standard Industries family, we were founded to tap into this market, but we have a strong heritage from GAF, so we completely subscribe to that. We built a solar offering explicitly for roofers. First and foremost, if the roof is not a waterproof barrier for your home, it’s a failure, and we would never allow that to happen.”

The kit is also designed to be aesthetically appealing. “It is a truly roof-integrated solar system — the solar becomes the roof,” DeBono says. “It’s lower profile to the roof, and it simply looks better. The roof being one of the largest influencers on the physical appearance of one’s house, and the house being one of the largest assets a homeowner owns, homeowners don’t want to put anything ugly on their roof. By making it beautiful, we immediately eliminate the objections of those folks who say ‘I don’t want solar on my roof because it’s ugly.’”

Value for Homeowners

The relationship with GAF Energy is designed to benefit the homeowner as well as the contractor. “The value for the homeowners is they have a local contact who sells and installs our system and will be there if there is ever an issue, and they are working hand-in-hand with a manufacturer to provide an unparalleled level of support,” DeBono says. “The solar kit is covered by the same warranty as the roof. It’s backed by a waterproof guarantee from Standard Industries, which has been around for over 130 years.”

Photo: GAF Energy

DeBono believes that for most customers, the decision to add solar comes down to the bottom line. “The primary reason people go solar is to save money,” says DeBono. “There is this vision that people go solar because they are green. But the tipping point to go solar is really about saving money. As we roll this program out, we’ve been focusing on the nine states that offer the best savings.”

DeBono notes the sales cycle for his company’s solar system is about the same as that for a re-roof. “It’s definitely not longer,” he says. “The reason for that is it’s a very simple sale. With our system, we are turning your roof from a static asset into an energy-generating asset that saves you money every month. The only increase in the sales cycle may be the matter of 15 minutes or 20 minutes in the home where we explain it to the customer. What’s critical about our model — remember we have our heritage as a roofing company — is our approach is perfectly compatible with the way roofing contractors sell and do business today.”

Customers calling for a new roof might be good candidates for solar, whether they know it or not. According to DeBono, contractors handling calls about a roofing estimate first check Google maps to determine if the location will be compatible with a solar application. If so, the discussion could lead to adding the solar kit: “The contractor might say, ‘In the same time frame it will take us to put in your new roof, we can make it a solar roof. Instead of this great asset that lasts for 25 years and keeps you warm and dry, you can have a great asset that lasts for 25 years, keeps you warm and dry — and oh, by the way, it generates electricity every day and saves you money every month.’ We’re seeing that people are really interested in that value proposition.”

With a background as a nuclear engineer, submarine officer in the Navy, and six years in the solar industry, DeBono believes the roofing industry is the key to expanding the rooftop solar market. “We at GAF Energy have this mission: energy from every roof,” he says. “And when you look at the size of the roofing industry compared to the size of the solar industry, if you really want to accomplish energy from every roof, it has to be done from a roofing platform.”

For more information about GAF Energy, visit www.gaf.energy.

Contractor Has the Right Prescription for Medical Office Building

Texas Traditions Roofing installed the metal and TPO roofs on the Pflugerville Parkway Medical Office Building, as well as the metal wall panels, soffit, fascia, gutters and downspouts. Photos: Texas Traditions Roofing

The Pflugerville Parkway Medical Office Building features a metal roof, a TPO roof, metal wall panels, soffit, fascia, gutters and downspouts. The new construction project was perfect for Texas Traditions Roofing, which prides itself on its versatility and quality craftsmanship.

Headquartered in Georgetown, Texas, the company handles a variety of commercial and residential work. “Residentially we do replacements and custom home new construction,” says Michael Pickel, estimator, Texas Traditions. “On the commercial side, we do mostly new construction, but we also do commercial repair and replacement as well.”

Pickel was the estimator on the project, but he feels the term “estimate” doesn’t begin to cover what his job entails. “We want to be the experts and provide all of the information for the general contractor, rather than just throwing an estimate at them,” he says. “We take that responsibility very seriously, whether it’s residential or commercial. We don’t necessarily like the word ‘estimate’ because it sounds like you’re guessing and just hoping it’s right. We understand that commercial new construction involves an estimate, but what we try to do is just be very specific and clearly define what we’re going to be doing, how we’re going to be doing it, and what the manufacturer and what the NRCA recommends us to do. That way nothing is incorrect, it’s not going to leak, obviously, and you have the backing of the manufacturer because it was installed properly.”

Multiple Systems

The scopes of work included two sections of metal roofing — a peaked section in the middle of the main roof and a shed roof off to one side of the building. A TPO roof system was applied over the main roof on either side of the metal roof in the center. “We started with the metal roofing panels on the top first, and then worked our way down to the lower section on the side,” Pickel notes. “Shortly after that, we came back and installed the TPO roof. It was pretty open, so it was fairly easy to put that down.”

The low-slope roof sections were covered with a 60-mil TPO system manufactured by GAF. Photos: Texas Traditions Roofing

The metal roof system manufactured by Sheffield Metals features 1.5-inch Snaplock 450 Panels in Ash Grey. Approximately 4,000 square feet of roof panels were installed over two layers of 2.2-inch polyiso insulation, which was mechanically attached. The underlayment used was Viking Armor from Viking Barriers.

The 6,000-square-foot low-slope roof was topped with a 60-mil TPO system manufactured by GAF. First, two layers of 2.2-inch polysio were mechanically attached to reach R-25. A tapered insulation system was then fully adhered across the entire roof to ensure proper drainage.

The safety plan utilized a Raptor safety cart, which was lifted to the roof with a SkyTrak. “The Raptor system was either on the left or right side of the roof, depending what side we were working on,” Pickel says. “Any time workers were on the roof, they were tied off.”

After the roofs were completed, the focus shifted to the wall panels. Berridge Vee Panels in Charcoal Grey were installed using a man lift. “We put Z-purlins down horizontally over the vapor barrier,” notes Pickel. “Then we installed the 1-inch, four-by-four mineral wool insulation, and attached our panels over that.”

Metal crews also installed 11-inch fascia across the entire edge of the roof, including both the metal and TPO sections. “There are some tricks involved with that because it was a fully tapered TPO system, so your height differences can vary,” Pickel explains. “Making sure the fascia wrapped smooth and properly, and was the proper height, was a little tricky.”

Gutters were not originally specified, but they were added at the suggestion of Texas Traditions. “We talked to the G.C. about talking to the owner because we felt they were going to want gutters,” Pickel recalls. “They came back to us and said they wanted gutters, so we issued a change order for it.”

The company installed 6-inch box gutters and four-by-four downspouts matching the metal roof.

A Challenging Schedule

The jobsite was relatively open, accessible and easy to navigate, so some typical problems that can crop up with new construction projects weren’t a big issue. The HVAC units were installed on a pad within a fenced-in area on the ground, minimizing roof penetrations as well as foot traffic on the roof. Crews were able to focus on doing the job right — and doing it safely. “Installation-wise, it wasn’t too tricky,” Pickel notes. “We just had to ensure that everything was installed to the manufacturer’s requirements.”

Manpower and scheduling posed the toughest hurdles, notes Pickel, but the general contractor, Lott Brothers of Austin, Texas, did a great job of keeping everyone on the same page. “We had weekly mandatory meetings that were set up by the G.C., and it was very helpful for us and other trades as well,” Pickel says. “Having to coordinate multiple trips is very common with new construction, unfortunately, but it’s great that we are able to do so much work. We did everything down to the gutters and downspouts — the full system — but it takes a lot of coordination and scheduling of the crews, especially when you have other jobs as well.”

One advantage of the multiple scopes of work was that Texas Traditions crews didn’t have to worry about coordinating transition details with crews from other companies. “It’s also nice for the owner,” Pickel adds. “If they have any issues or if they have any questions, they know the roofer did every bit of the metal on this job, and all of the TPO roof, and they know who to contact.”

Versatility is one of the company’s strengths, and for that Pickel credits the experience of the company’s owners, including his father, co-owner Mike Pickel, who has more than 30 years of experience in the construction industry, including 20 years working for a general contractor.

“He understands the complexity of coordinating multiple trades because he did it for so long from a G.C. perspective,” Pickel says. “His ability to know what needs to be done when allows us to be more effective and more efficient with our time. It allows us to be the expert in front of a general contractor because he was a general contractor. He worked with superintendents. He worked with multiple trades. His ability, knowledge and expertise within our company allows us to be the roofing expert.”

Texas Traditions strives to make the best use of that wealth of knowledge. “Each job is treated with care,” Pickel says. “It’s treated with expertise because it’s not just another job — it’s someone’s home, it’s someone’s office. We do apartment complexes, we do office buildings, we do residential homes, we do churches. Mike treats it with care, and it trickles down to everyone else to treat it with care as well.”

TEAM

Architect: Tim Brown Architecture, Austin, Texas, www.timbrownarch.com

General Contractor: Lott Brothers Construction, Austin, Texas, www.lottbrothers.com

Roofing Contractor: Texas Traditions Roofing, Georgetown, Texas, www.texastraditionsroofing.com

MATERIALS

Low-Slope Roof: 60-mil TPO, GAF, www.GAF.com

Metal Roof Panels: Snaplock 450 Panels, Sheffield Metals, www.sheffieldmetals.com

Underlayment: Viking Armor High-Temp, Viking Barriers, www.vikingbarriers.com

Metal Soffit Panels: FWP non-vented Soffit Panels, Sheffield Metals

Metal Wall Panels: Berridge Vee Panels, www.berridge.com

GAF Restarts Glass Mat Plant in Shafter, California

GAF, a Standard Industries company, announced the restart of its glass mat plant in Shafter, California, following a multi-million dollar upgrade to the facility. The plant produces a fiberglass substrate called glass mat, a key component in manufacturing rooftop shingles, which are also produced by GAF in Shafter.

“We are thrilled to bring the glass mat plant at our Shafter facility back online to support increasing demand for high-quality roofing solutions,” said Jim Schnepper, President of GAF. “We have been proud members of the Shafter community for many years, and are pleased to continue investing in our people and the places where they work and live to help drive the roofing industry forward.”

“As an employer in Shafter, we could not be happier to support our community and our talented team as the glass mat plant begins to operate at full capacity once again,” said Nigel Abraham, Shafter General Manager, GAF. “This represents our commitment to our community and our customers, and we are excited to play a bigger role in our local economy and the roofing industry.”

For more information, visit: https://www.gaf.com/en-us/roofing-products/residential-roofing-products and www.gaf.com.

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