If you still do not believe there is an emerging market for “green” and “sustainable” roofing, you really have to start paying better attention to current events. Throughout 2006, we witnessed report after report on the dangers of global warming and humankind’s activities that are exacerbating the problem. This all culminated in the February 2007 release of the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations. The report, the fourth in a series of assessments since 1990, was the first to assert with near certainty that carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping greenhouse gases from human activities have been the main causes of warming since 1950.
If you have not seen or heard about the findings of this report, you may want to take some time to study it. Details may be found online at www.ipcc.ch. Whether you believe human activity is the cause or not, this report is convincing in its portrait of global warming as an ongoing trend and asserts that things we do as stewards of the planet going forward may have a dramatic impact on the future of the environment.
For decades the roofing industry has worked hard to deliver more efficient and sustainable coverings for buildings of all types. Recent years have brought on a tremendous amount of growth in new products and systems designed to provide better-insulated and highly reflective roofing systems. And growth of the garden roofing industry, still small and in it’s infancy in this country, has been phenomenal.
Some of these roofing systems can aid in the reduction of greenhouse gases on a number of levels, and not just by making buildings more energy efficient. They also render cooler footprints on the landscape. We have the technology to build these roofs today, and our clients are waking up to the need to specify them.
Embrace ChangeI realize this is not the first time you are hearing this from me, but I firmly believe these trends are great news for our industry if we react in a positive way. If you do not presently offer green roofing and insulation solutions to your clients, you may be putting your roofing business’ future at risk.
I believe the tide has shifted. Savvy building owners increasingly have the expectation that roofing contractors will offer green solutions. Not that many years ago, those same building owners might have thought you an innovator or said you were ahead of your time. Like so many things in our fast-paced world, changes that used to take years now seem to happen right before our eyes.
While I am at it, let me offer a word to those of you working on the residential side of our industry. Most of the green products being put forward from our industry are designed for the low-slope, commercial owner. You might be surprised to suddenly find homeowners receptive to products that are more environmentally friendly and energy efficient. It would be better to walk in prepared to address these needs than to come up short on answers. Or worse, see the work go to a competing contractor who can provide them.