Much has happened in the industry and in our lives in this country and around the world in the decade gone by. The news of September 11, 2001 was the beginning of a news cycle that was rich with bad news. I say “rich” because in the news business, “If it bleeds it leads” — bad news is gold. News of wars and economies have dominated, and the news has been mostly awful.

Well, I may be a journalist by accident but I am not a newsman. I strain to find the silver lining. After the past 10 years it is no wonder I went from single-vision to bifocals to ‘graduated’ lens’; squinting at times to find that glimmer of good in a world full of negative vibes.

Recently I picked up some news that I could have seen without the aid of my specs. It was decidedly good, if not obvious news. The news was, basically, that we will see significant growth in the roofing industry in the coming years. I say obviously because we have nowhere to go but up, but it is nice coming from a trusty source.

The news came with the release of a study by The Freedonia Group, Cleveland, Ohio titledRoofing – US Industry Study with Forecasts for 2015 & 2020. The study states, “Gains through 2015 will represent a turnaround from the decline experienced between 2005 and 2010, driven by a rebound in building construction expenditures from a low 2010 base.”

The study predicts U.S. demand will rise 5.7 percent annually through 2015 to 263 million squares in 2015 valued at $24.4 billion. The great news, and I pray Freedonia is right on this one, is the new residential market will see more than 20 percent annual gains. Granted, the base is very low and that will not get us back to 2004 levels, but “20 percent gains” is a good thing in any business model.

Beyond the numbers, the study predicts that environmentally friendly roofing systems will support demand as owners seek to reduce their exposure to high energy costs as well as minimizing the urban heat island effect. Another trend the study points to is the continuing rise in demand for laminated asphalt shingles. The segment, which accounted for 40 percent of shingle demand in 2000 is projected to grow to 85 percent in 2015. The study goes on to state that the trend is spurred by laminated shingles’ superior aesthetic and performance qualities. Interestingly, however, a note is made that this increase will constrain replacement demand as these products can have lifespans more than twice that of conventional asphalt shingles.

The full report, Study #2814, is available for $5,100 from The Freedonia Group. Check it out here -  or e-mail