As a native Floridian now living in Georgia, I have to tell you that having a named storm in early May really creeped me out. Not the studied weather guy here, but my predictions could not be any worse than the experts for the past few seasons, so what the hell. Could this be another 2005 in the tropics?
Fact is, by the time you read this the 2007 tropical storm season will be officially under way. That makes this a good time to get ready for what may come. If you do not live on or near the coast, you only need to make sure your supply lines are secure. Even a moderate hurricane could cause disruptions of some products should it hit a populous coastal area. If you make your living anywhere in the Southeast, you should pull out your natural disaster action plan and check your supplies and emergency equipment right away. Enough said; just do it.
Keep on ImprovingThere are countless individuals and organizations that influence the standards and codes you build roofs by every day. One very influential organization is the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). Founded in 1894, ASHRAE is an international organization of individuals with the mission of advancing HVACR to “serve humanity and promote a sustainable world through research, standards writing, publishing and continuing education.” One of the association’s standards, 90-1, “Energy Efficient Design of New Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings,” contains standards relating to the building envelope including the roofing system.
This month ASHRAE may consider a change to 90-1 that will increase roof insulation requirements on certain commercial buildings from an R-15 to R-20. This is a significant change in R-value, and it’s also significant because it was last changed nearly two decades ago. Seems to be right in line with the mood of the universe: do something to improve the energy efficiency of all construction and anything on wheels powered by fossil fuels.
There are a great many things that go into building a roof that performs well and delivers great energy efficiency. I would put a great design and a competent contractor ahead of most minimum standards such as those put forward by ASHRAE 90-1. The fact is, however, many states and local jurisdictions, as well as many architects and specifiers, have been calling for R-20 or better for years. But the ASHRAE standard does set the tone, and a great many standards point to it as the guide of choice. As the 90-1 standard rises, the industry is likely to follow.
The change, should it come up for a vote and be passed by ASHRAE, does address two needs, in my opinion. First of all, it does make a positive move to address the world’s need to curb energy usage. Secondly, it provides for incremental improvement in the design and installation of the roofing system. Our business tends to be driven so much by price, we should all cheer on efforts to make our products better so long as they provide a return on our clients’ investment. I believe this incremental increase in roof insulation value is a good proposition for our clients and for the roofing industry.
For more on the impact of the proposed changes for roofing contractors, see the article on page 60 of this issue. To get the latest on ASHRAE and 90-1 as this issue unfolds, log on to our Web site at www.roofingcontractor.com for periodic updates.