Looking back at 2008, Kate Baumann, Marketing Director for Mule-Hide Products Co. Inc., said her company had “a very good year.” While Baumann said experts predict that, when the final numbers are in for 2008, new non-residential construction starts will be up just 5 percent in dollars - and down 10 percent in square footage - she believes commercial new construction and retrofit combined should be up. “We expect spending to be up 12 percent,” she said. “While residential is down, non-residential roofing has remained fairly strong, especially in the reroofing segment.”
Mule-Hide saw solid performance across the range of its product offerings. “Growth of TPO continues to be strong in reroofing and new construction,” Baumann said. “TPO is where the growth is. PVC held its own this year; it’s still a strong product. EPDM has been nice and steady; it’s a very mature market and continues to hold its share. Self-adhesive products continue to grow, including self-adhered mod bit and highly reflective cap sheets that are self-adhered; those products have shown some nice growth.”
Baumann expects the green movement to continue to build. “Flame-free and fume-free applications continue to gain in popularity,” she said. “Sustainable roofing is going to grow.” She credits the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and its LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program for helping to educate building owners, but noted that sometimes the payback can take a long time. That’s where tax credits and other programs can help. “Tax incentives continue to be drivers. In 2008 they came out with a tax credit for vegetative roofs.” She also cited the extension of the commercial solar tax credit, a residential solar tax credit, and a five-year extension for the deduction for energy-efficient changes to buildings as factors giving the green movement momentum.
“These drivers have a lot to do, even in a down economy, with the growth there,” she said. “Folks have been sitting and waiting to see about these tax incentives, and they did get extended - for at least a year, and eight years for solar. It’s important, and the government wants to support it.”
Vegetative roofs have also shown strong growth, according to Baumann, who pointed to Mule-Hide Living Roofs featuring GreenGrid, noting that 1.4 million square feet of GreenGrid have been installed since 2001.
“Vegetative roofs have been growing at a 30 percent annual growth rate,” she said. “We’ve seen some projects being delayed, and growth might slow below 30 percent, but the market is still growing - and growing strong.”