Designing cost-effective, long-term, environmentally friendly solutions to commercial roof problems is the goal of Ecology Roof Systems Inc., and it strives to build on its reputation with every project.

Designing cost-effective, long-term, environmentally friendly solutions to commercial roof problems is the goal of Ecology Roof Systems Inc., and it strives to build on its reputation with every project.

The private company located in Fullerton, Calif., deals with manufactured wood products as well as wholesale roofing, siding and insulation.

William A. Pfeifer, president of Ecology Roof Systems, said the company was founded on commercial and industrial work, most of it retrofit. Only 5 percent of the company’s business is in new construction.

Pfeifer, 59, formed Ecology Roof Systems in 1988. The company currently has 16 employees across the United States, and it is expanding its business each day.

“Myself and several other people were working for another company and we felt there was a growing need for cleaner, more environmentally friendly roofing systems that was not being addressed by the current field of manufacturers,” Pfeifer told Roofing Contractor. “Over the years, we have been able to acquire several environmentally friendly technologies that enable us to bring a specialized, focused set of solutions to the marketplace.”

William A. Pfeifer, president of Ecology Roof Systems, said the company was founded on commercial and industrial work, most of it retrofit.

Filling a Need

Pfeifer and his company have brought new products to the forefront of their approach to the roofing industry. One example is the Elvaloy sheeting that Ecology Roof Systems acquired in 1995.

“Elvaloy is a DuPont compound that when added to PVC sheeting eliminates the need for additional plasticizers and renders the sheet virtually impervious to ponding water and the damaging effects of ultraviolet light,” Pfeifer said. “Other manufacturers have this technology, but most install their sheet with mechanical fasteners or adhere the sheet directly over insulation or recover board.”

While Ecology Roof Systems can employ these procedures, its approach has been to use several sub-plies of asphalt or SBS-modified asphalt felt underneath the Elvaloy sheet to add redundancy to the system.

“This approach eliminates the need to rely on only one lap or one seam to avoid leaks,” Pfeifer said.

Another example is the range of polyurea coatings that Ecology Roof Systems acquired in 2006.

“These products are 100 percent solids and have a cure time of less than 30 minutes, and in some cases less than two minutes.”

Pfeifer said the advantage this technology brings to the customer is increased productivity and superior performance.

“Polyurea products are impervious to ponding water and ultraviolet light, as well as a wide variety of chemicals and solvents,” said Pfeifer, noting both the technologies are Energy Star approved and Cool Roof Ratings Council certified.

Workers spray an Eco-Shield white reflective wall coating on a rooftop.

Notable Projects

Pfeifer said he is proud of Ecology Roof Systems’ past projects, including significant work for the following:
  • Sony Studios, Culver City, Calif.: “Here the emphasis was on speedy, low-odor, Energy Star-approved replacement systems for the sound stages and administrative buildings,” Pfeifer said. “A variety of different cold-applied SBS-modified systems were chosen. All of these projects included significant energy-efficient insulation upgrades and all of them received white reflective coatings resulting in significant energy rebates.”
  • Knouse Foods, Peach Glen, Pa.: “Our Elvaloy technology was used on numerous locations throughout Pennsylvania,” Pfeifer said. “All of the projects included significant energy-efficient insulation upgrades.”
  • Honda Motors, Marysville, Ohio: “The Honda people needed our polyurea technology to stop the leaks and lower the temperature in one of their metal buildings,” Pfeifer said. “Standard roofing and/or coating solutions were unworkable because the standing seam metal roof could not stand the weight of a new roof and acrylic coatings could not achieve a proper bond or hold up under the ponding water present in many areas where the leaks were located. We first sealed all of the fastener penetrations and mechanical equipment flashings and then installed our polyurea coating. The temperature differential was dramatic (over 20 degrees Fahrenheit), and there have been no leaks since we finished the project last year.”

 A cold-applied SBS modified bitumen coating is put down on a roof.

Expertise on the Job

Pfeifer said the expertise his company brings to the customer is not only knowing what types of solutions will work for a given problem, but also what will not work.

“Before we can provide solutions for our customers we need to thoroughly understand the dimensions of the problem,” Pfeifer said. “To make this determination, we must understand the desires of the customer. Does he own the building? Is the customer looking for a long-term solution or a solution just good enough to put the building up for sale? Are fire ratings and/or wind uplift important for the project?  Does the customer want to increase the energy efficiency of the building?”

Ecology Roof Systems needs to have a clear picture of the actual physical conditions in play before moving forward.

“Core cuttings are taken to determine the actual roof system construction,” Pfeifer said. “If the roof system is insulated, we will probably recommend an infrared scan to determine the amount of wet insulation present.”

Pfeifer said access to the roof area, the amount of roof top equipment, the hours available for work to take place, and the sensitivity to odors and noise are also considerations that must be factored into any solution.

“We must also determine the budget available for the project, the time frame involved, and the warranty period desired,” he said. “Armed with all of the above information, we can assemble a range of options for the customer. When the choices are narrowed to the customer’s satisfaction, specifications can be drawn up for competitive bidding.”

These aerial photos of recent projects by Ecology Roof Systems show buildings with cold-applied SBS-modified roofing systems with a white reflective coating.

Working With Contractors

Pfeifer said another crucial set of decisions regarding the number and types of contractors the company wants bidding the project is paramount.

“All of the contractors we work with must be licensed, bonded, insured, and have been in business for at least five years,” Pfeifer said. “The larger the project, the greater the need for bonding capacity and contractor capability.

With regard to safety precautions, Pfeifer said he requires that all of his contractors follow all of the standard safety procedures recommended by OSHA, and the local trade associations, including the NRCA.

And what about the future?

“The most notable item for the summer of 2009 is our decision to significantly expand our sales force to satisfy market demand,” Pfeifer said. “We want to improve every day.”