Posts Tagged ‘construction’
Twenty years ago, if you needed a commercial roofer, you pulled out your trusty phone book, called a few and hired one. But times have changed.
Unscrupulous roofers of all types, commercial roofers included, have made facility managers and business owners wary hiring commercial roofers to evaluate what roof work they may need. Some fear that a commercial roofer may try to talk them into buying materials or paying for work that isn’t necessary simply to make money.
Enter the roof consultant, a professional service that continues to gain popularity amongst facility managers and business owners from coast to coast. Roof consultants are third-party roofing experts that evaluate commercial roofs, from inspection and code compliance to determining the best materials and work necessary for a commercial roof.
Companies hire roofing consultants because they are unbiased, and provide independent, informed roofing advice without any outside influences that would cause them to advise facility managers or business owners to commit to any unnecessary repairs or materials. If your budget allows, they can be a great asset to a roofing project, as a roofing consultant will work with a commercial roofer to make sure your roofing project runs smoothly and stays on budget.
The decision to hire a roofing consultant is, of course, based on personal preference and is an option to consider. And before you embark on a big roofing adventure, it’s best to be informed of all your options. As always, feel free to call us here at Cole Roofing if you have any questions!
Despite America’s economic downturn, the green roofing industry is booming.
According to Toronto-based Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, the green roofing industry grew by a whopping 16.1 percent in 2009. The number is a result of a 2010 industry survey of its corporate members, which found that green, or vegetated, roofs account for an estimated 10 million square feet of the 4 billion square feet of flat roofing that is either built or replaced in North America each year.
While the growth of the green roofing industry may sound surprising at first, it makes perfect sense when considering the many financial benefits of green roofs, including lower utility bills (up to 30 percent, thanks to the insulating properties of vegetated roofs), roof life extension (green roofs protect roofs against the damaging effects of UV rays, temperature extremes, erosion as well as human and animal damage) and storm water management, which can often be a costly issue for facilities (green roofs can absorb up to 75 percent of rainfall).
Green roofs, of course, have a long list of environmental benefits as well, including mitigating the heat island effect, reducing toxic storm water runoff and providing a refuge for wildlife.
The survey also compiled a list of the top ten green roof cities. Eco-conscious Chicago came in at number one for the sixth year in a row, followed by Washington, DC at number two, Minneapolis at three and our own Baltimore at number four.
Want to help a non-profit organization you care about get in on the green roof action? There’s still time left to vote in our Green Roof Giveaway! Don’t forget to vote before you leave our site today!
Time for a pop quiz!
What’s the largest part of your facility—something that protects your employees, all of your equipment—but is rarely seen and oftentimes rarely thought of?
Answer? Your commercial roof!
If you’re a facility manager or business owner, you may or may not regularly think of your roof. If you do regularly think of your roof, you may already have a preventative maintenance plan. If you don’t, it’s time to start considering one.
Why? Regular commercial roofing maintenance can save you lots of trouble down the road, from costly emergency repairs and waterlogged ceilings to ruined furniture and slipping (and injured) employees.
Prevention is as important as quality roofing material and installation. Think of your commercial roof as a car. You can purchase the best new car money can buy, but if you don’t properly maintain it—with regular oil changes, tire rotations, break checks and more—the car will eventually break down. The same is true for commercial roofs. What’s more, without the proper professional maintenance checks, manufacturer warranties may be nullified.
Maintenance plans are usually not expensive, and often provide a very high ROI (return on investment). In fact, according to the National Roofing Contractors Association, preventive maintenance adds 30 to a whopping 100% extra service life to a commercial roofing system.
So give your roof a little preventative love! Trust us, it will love you back!
Sound too futuristic to be true? It’s not, thanks to vegetated roofing technology!
Brooklyn, New York, welcomed 21st-century urban farming with the 2009 opening of Eagle Street Rooftop Farms, a 6,000 square-foot organic vegetable farm located on a warehouse rooftop—yes, rooftop!— located in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood.
With sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline, the green roof was created by lifting 200,000 pounds of growing medium (a mix of compost, rock particulates and shale) over the course of two days. A two-inch roof base system made of polyethelene, a special drainage mat and retention and separation fabrics holds the growing medium (and all the produce!).
In its very first season, Eagle Street Rooftop Farms produced over 30 kinds of organic produce, which is sold at a local farmer’s market and delivered to nearby restaurants. The green roof farm also harvests fresh honey from two beehives that were installed amongst the greenery.
Beyond providing fresh, local herbs, vegetables and honey, the roof absorbs over 1.5 inches of rainfall, saving area waterways from significant stormwater runoff. It also helps lessen the large building’s carbon footprint, as well as its utility bills, by keeping the warehouse cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Eagle Street Rooftop Farms even provides farming volunteer opportunities for community members, from seeding to harvest.
We think it’s so cool that vegetated roofs are able to go above and beyond simply being green to actually providing for the community. Just think: If your organization wins a green roof, you might be able to involve your community as well!
The race for the largest solar roof in the U.S. is on!
In 2008, the Atlantic City Convention Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey, unveiled the nation’s largest solar roof—a a 2.36-megawatt system that produces approximately 26% of the center’s power.
But there’s about to be a new solar mayor in town: UK pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline recently announced it plans to build a massive 3.1-megawatt system atop its York, Pennsylvania distribution center. At over 350,000 square feet (about seven football fields) it will be the largest solar roof in the U.S, and produce all of the power for the large facility.
The project will cost an impressive $14 million, but GlaxoSmithKline will receive $4.1 million in federal tax credits, not to mention eliminate its $400,000 annual utility bill.
And the solar fun doesn’t stop there: the pharmaceutical giant plans to start another three-megawatt system at its U.S. headquarters in Pittsburgh next year. The projects work towards GlaxoSmithKline’s goal of reducing its electricity usage 45% by 2015.
We don’t know about you, but the folks here at Cole Roofing could barely be more excited. As eco-conscious roofers, this is just the sort of healthy green competition we like to see. (It’s the green roofing version of football season!) Projects like this make headlines, which get people thinking about solar power and solar roofs. Let the competition begin!
If you’ve been keeping up with this blog, by now you’ve learned a great deal about the benefits of green (or “vegetated”) roofs: Stormwater runoff management, a reduction in the heat island effect, lower utility bills through natural insulation, protection from UV damage. The list goes on and on.
There’s no doubting their benefits, but what if you, either as a homeowner or a facility manager or owner, were mandated by law to have a vegetated roof?
Toronto—where stormwater runoff has been a longtime issue of concern—was the first North American city to require green roofs on new developments. Last year, the Toronto City Council passed a bylaw mandating that all new residential, commercial and institutional buildings with a gross floor area of at least 2,000 square meters (about 21,500 square feet) built after January 31, 2010, have a certain percentage of their roof green. (To see a chart of the city’s green roof coverage requirements, click here. The bylaw will extend to new industrial development in just a few months (all industrial buildings built after January 31, 2011).
The far away metropolis of Tokyo, where government officials are trying to reduce the city’s urban heat island effect, also mandates green roofs on new construction of a certain size. New buildings more than 1,000 square meters (about 10,700 square feet) must green at least 20% of its usable roof space.
What do you think of this? While there are many benefits of green roofs, do you think local governments should be mandating them by law?
To learn more about local government efforts to mandate vegetated roofs, check out this post from Clean Air Through Green Roofs
DIY (i.e. “Do It Yourself”) has finally hit the big time. And why not? We’re all looking to save money. And doing handiwork yourself instead of hiring a contractor is a great place to start.
However, no matter how talented you are when it comes to home repair, we all need to take certain safety precautions, especially when it comes to roofs. (We’d prefer you hire a roofer for your roofing needs, but we know some of you die-hard DIYers are going to do it anyway, so we want to keep you safe!)
Here are some helpful tips that will get you prepared and keep you safe: Read the rest of this entry »
When you think “Seattle,” what comes to mind? Grunge rock? Starbucks? The Seahawks?
Well, stop thinking flannel and start thinking green. Because the city of Seattle wants to go green in a major way by boosting the number of vegetated roofs within the eco-conscious metropolis.
A recently released report on the city’s green roofs tallied Seattle’s green roofs at 62, totaling some eight acres—about the equivalent of nine football fields. Although this may seem like an impressive amount, city officials want to significantly increase that number.
“That’s a pretty big chunk of land,” Seattle City Councilman Mike O’Brien told the Seattle Post Intelligencer last month . “[But] when you think about what’s possible in a city like Seattle, that’s just a drop in the bucket.”
Especially when compared to nearby Portland, Oregon, which currently has almost 12 acres of vegetated roofs (not counting the additional 15 acres of rooftop gardens), and has set a goal of a whopping 43 acres of green roofs by 2013.
We here at Cole Roofing are excited to hear of all the enthusiasm surrounding green roofs. Ten years ago, we would have never dreamed of cities vying for a competitive edge when it comes to vegetated roofs. Cities like Chicago and Atlanta may be green roof leaders for the time being, but it won’t be long until other U.S. cities catch up to them. We can’t wait to hear all about it, and help nearby Washington, D.C., and Baltimore jump in headfirst.
Would you go to a job interview without asking the interviewer what hours you’d work? Would you buy a car without researching it first? Would you book a long-awaited vacation without exploring a few different hotels?
Your answers? Most likely (hopefully!) no, no and no.
With every important decision—whether it’s a starting a new job, buying a new car or taking an important vacation—you do a little research. The same goes for hiring a roofer.
A roof is an important part of your house. It not only protects you, your family and your belongings from the elements, but it also affects your heating and cooling bills as well as your home’s carbon footprint. Hiring a roofer isn’t a decision you should take lightly. That’s why when you’re looking to hire one, it’s important to ask a few crucial questions.
Do you have references?
Don’t be shy about this. A good roofer will have at least a few happy customers glad to talk about the work they did for them. A roofer without references should raise a red flag that you should look elsewhere.
How long have you been in business?
Not to keep the new guys out in the cold, but you want a roofer with experience. Stick with the guys that have been doing it a while to save yourself potential headaches.
Are you bonded and insured?
If something goes wrong, you want the roofer to be responsible for damages, not you. Being bonded and insured ensures that you are covered on all fronts.
Are you a member of any national or local roofing associations?
Roofers that are members of a national and/or local roofing organization are a step above the rest.
Who will be getting permits and arranging and/or arranging for trash removal?
The roofing company is tasked with both obtaining any necessary permits as well as hauling old roofing material and any other construction debris. Skip any roofer that says you’re responsible for these big ticket items, and ask if there is an extra charge for trash removal.
Ask for a written quote, contract and payment terms.
At the end of the job, you want to pay the price you were originally quoted. Getting this, along with payment terms, will save you from unscrupulous roofing contractors that may leave you in a bad, not to mention expensive, situation.
Just a few quick and easy questions will get you on the road to a great roof that will last many years, and keep you far, far away from the nightmare contracting scenarios we all want to avoid.
We’ve told you a little about how great green roofs (also called vegetated roofs) are for the environment, and how they can add to employee well-being, but what about financial benefits?
After all, green roofs can be more expensive than traditional roofs. Can home and business owners get back their money? The answer: A resounding yes. Read the rest of this entry »