Roofing contractors have traditionally relied on price, preferred materials and high-quality service to differentiate themselves from competitors in their markets.

Those that also incorporate energy efficiency and environmentally-friendly products into their offerings are going beyond the norm and setting them-selves up for future success, according to John Geary and Richard Ruppert — two returning presenters at the 2016 International Roofing Expo.

IRE Session FR06
Title: Greenbucks: Cool Cash for Sustainable Roofing Systems
Speaker: John Geary, vice president, marketing, Firestone Building Products; Richard Ruppert, architectural services manager, Firestone Building Products
Date: Friday, Feb. 19, 7:45 a.m.-9:15 a.m.
Room: W105B

Geary and Ruppert, both from Firestone Building Products, will help contractors understand the procedure and benefits of adding sustainability features to their business model with their Friday session, “Greenbucks: Cool Cash for Sustainable Roofing Systems.”

Building owners and specifiers are increasingly demanding that sustain-able solutions are available, not just for the roof, but for the entire building envelope. And though it may vary by region, greater emphasis on sustain-ability is being implemented in building regulations and energy codes around the country.

“With the proliferation of these new codes and the continued expectation for energy efficiency, we have actually seen less emphasis on standardized building performance certification programs,” said Geary, vice president of marketing for Firestone Building Products. “Issues of environmental responsibility are becoming just a normal practice.”

Accordingly, manufacturers have responded to these demands by introducing innovative products and systems that meet these high performance thermal, reflectivity and low VOC requirements.

The presentation will focus primarily on commercial roofing, but Ruppert said many of the concepts, such as environmental responsibility, efficient installation, maximized durability and continued service also apply to residential roofing.

“Our objective is to show contractors how they can help their customers to set up their roofing priorities to deliver maximum value for their investment,” he said.

Both presenters said they intend to give contractors a working knowledge of insulation, attachment methods and adhesives; an understanding of the importance of assembly components to meet thermal performance and codes; and an introduction to recent changes in warranties, insurance coverage and codes. 

Staying Ahead

Though some contractors may brush off sustainability as a ‘feel-good’ buzzword, it has been a factor in many markets for decades and is showing no signs of slowing down, according to the presenters.

“Sustainability has become a way of life for roofing professionals,” Geary explained. “You can see it in the products that roofing contractors choose and the amount of documentation that is required to confirm they are complying with specifications.”

Today, roofing contractors need to be more knowledgeable of environmental concerns and how to minimize the impact of their installations. Numerous regions and even municipalities have adopted standards even more demanding than the prevailing code. The savvy contractor is ahead of the game because of their knowledge of products, systems and services that meet these more stringent standards. In addition to setting themselves apart in their respective markets, these contractors can also secure additional opportunities to install upgraded materials and earn repeat service work.

“Today’s decision makers are more sophisticated than ever,” Geary explained. “Not only do they insist on the best value to accomplish their financial goals, but many companies are also setting environmental goals, as well. The contractors that can most effectively balance initial investment while minimizing operating costs and meeting environmental stewardship objectives definitely have an edge.”

According to the presenters, contractors are also becoming increasingly creative with building owners that want to consider the roof as a revenue producing asset, rather than just a necessity. They’re recommending engineered daylighting solutions that let the sunshine into the building through the roof. This not only enhances the quality of life for the occupants, but building owners can reap the rewards of significantly reduced energy costs associated with electric fixture lighting.

Rooftop terraces in urban areas are also becoming an attraction that not only increases the value of a property, but also includes storm-water management solutions such as vegetative roofing systems. This further relieves pressure on over-taxed, aging sewer structures.

“Win-win situations like these give progressive contractors new ways to show their unique services to customers,” Geary said. “High performance roofs don’t happen by accident, but with proper design, quality materials and experienced craftsmanship they can offer owners peace of mind and contractors repeat business.”

John Geary, vice president of marketing for Firestone Building Products, is committed to listening to the voice of the customer in order to deliver and enhance the company’s innovative portfolio of existing and new building products.

Rick Ruppert is a registered architect who brings his vast experience to Firestone Building Products with a focus on topics concerning the building envelope and developing resources for the design community.