My New Year’s Resolution: I am going to cheer!
In the face of what will likely be the toughest year of this recessionary cycle for many of us in the roofing industry, I plan on celebrating all the good things we have in our future. If we have to deal with “less” in 2010, then the least we can do is to cheer for the things that will make our work and lives better in the coming years.
To begin with, I delight in the thought that business is going to get better. Banks will go back to lending and a great many demands for roofing services and products will return in abundance. Do not know when that is going to happen, but it will. In the meantime, I look forward to it with great anticipation.
I say, “Hip-hip hooray!” for the future of asphalt roofing. Asphalt roofing manufacturers are rolling out new products and initiatives that will keep the king of steep-slope roofing on top for a long time. Nothing is forever, but recent additions of more highly-reflective shingle styles and colors should help make asphalt roofing more acceptable to a consuming public demanding a more energy-efficient structure. Advances in polymer technologies should continue to make asphalt roofing lighter and longer-lasting.
Expect to see asphalt roofing manufacturers take a huge leap forward as stewards of the environment as they support asphalt shingle recycling. Asphalt roofing should be able to demonstrate not only that it is part of an energy-efficient building envelope, but that it is more sustainable than ever before and is recyclable. Recycling shingles will emerge as a great business opportunity for roofing contractors who seize the day and jump ahead of competition in their home markets.
Other systems such as metal are already recyclable, sustainable, and provide the reflectivity owners demand. But it is often difficult for metal to compete head-to-head with asphalt roofing due to its wide availability and at a price point that, even with record-high asphalt prices, is difficult to match. For those who do choose metal roofing, I stand up and cheer! We are blessed in the roofing industry to offer products from such a broad palette. And the future is certainly bright for metal roofing as new products and systems are right around the corner, including computer-integrated jobsite fabrication and the growing demand for building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) solar systems, which are easily added to standing-seam metal roofing.
While solar systems may be a relatively small piece of the average roofing contractor’s sales, it is hard to imagine anything other than continuing growth into the foreseeable future. We will soon see an emergence of solar shingles and tile that integrate directly into asphalt and concrete systems. Solar systems in our future are going to be less expensive for consumers, more readily available, and easier for roofing contractors to install. And thank goodness for skylights! Demand for the addition of natural light to built spaces of all types is great news for the future of the roofing industry.
All this without even mentioning the pent-up demand that swells behind the recession that will arguably make 2010 a tough year for many in our industry and others. Hear, hear!