The beginning of the 21st Century has seen some fairly dramatic changes and events that will lay the foundation for what the roofing industry will look like over this century. Gone are the days where a rooftop is viewed, simply for its exterior waterproofing cap-sheet, shingle, tile or metal surface. The thought of simply re-roofing with the cheapest material possible to outlast the next several years worth of wind and rain is becoming a distant past. As a leading roofing contractor in Los Angeles and Orange County that has installed thousands of high quality roofing systems for many decades, Chandler's Roofing attempts to stay ahead of the innovation curve by keeping a finger on the pulse of the consumer and the roofing industry in general. What we know to be true is this, there is a roofing renaissance occurring right before our very eyes and the 21st Century building owner, along with young roofing innovators and improved manufacturing processes in roofing are leading the charge. The 21st Century roof will be viewed more than ever before as a functioning system (a true asset) for the building, helping to produce energy while reducing consumption, expanding the properties insulation value, and improving the amount and content of storm damage run-off. A 21st Century roofing system will far outlast the most common roofs of the previous centuries with an improved cradle-to-grave cycle. And when it finally becomes time to re-roof, the systems will be recycled back into other products rather than being buried in our local landfills. Many of these roofing systems exist today and will continue to improve both in cost and application, while newer materials are actively being developed. One thing is certain, the 21st Century property owner is more educated than ever when it comes to their roofing purchase and they have more information at their fingertips to make an informed and educated decision than ever before. A 21st Century roof will not simply be the out-of-sight and out-of-mind feature of the property that your Father or Grandfather dealt with only when it rained. The modern roofing system will be an asset, with more aesthetically pleasing options and demands than ever. Let's take a look at what exists today and where the trends in roofing systems are going:
Solar Technology - As energy costs from fossil fuels continue to rise and solar technology continues to advance while coming down in cost, more and more property owners will integrate solar into their roofing systems. Since the roof of a structure captures the majority of the sunlight throughout the day and is often the most unused space of a building, the rooftop becomes the natural location for the solar panels. The solar movement will have a direct impact on what a roofing contractor in the 21st Century looks like as well as what other system components will be developed by roofing manufacturers as they race to capitalize on solar growth.
Material Science Improvement - Asphalt based materials, which still control the lions share of the roofing market will see a steady decline over this century as newer, less expensive and longer lasting materials become more readily available. Prominent asphalt roofing manufacturers will advance their archaic manufacturing processes, while diversifying into newer materials. This transition will be forced by the laws of supply and demand as well as regulatory constraints. The refining process is more advanced than ever, thus leaving less and less asphalt or bitumen at the end of the refining cycle. The roofing manufacturers compete with asphalt road pavers for this supply. Combined with the rising cost of oil and greater regulatory demands for water use and you can see that the old days of hot-mop, built-up and asphalt roofing are numbered. Newer systems and manufacturing process formulations such as single-ply TPO, PVC, polymers, metal and future recycled formulations will become more and more common and carry a stronger thermal emittance value.
Insulation a Part of the System - Greater insulation in the roofing system helps maintain a more ambient temperature in the building. This leads to less heating and cooling required throughout the year. As peak energy costs continue to rise, insulation such as rigid polyiso insulation board, will see stronger specification both in the commercial and residential roofing space and more people will look to improve their attic ventilation at the time of re-roofing.
Reflectivity Ratings - White, or light colored cool roofs which carry a higher reflectivity rating than darker roofs, will continue to capture market share as concerns over global warming and rising energy costs remain. As Energy Secretary Steven Chu pointed out in 2010, "Cool roofs are one of the quickest and lowest cost ways we can reduce our global carbon emissions and begin the hard work of slowing climate change."
Green Roofs - Not characterized simply by the "green" movement, these green roofs are true rooftop gardens with soil and native foliage. Green roofs carry a high insulation value, help reduce storm water run-off, reduce the "heat-island" effect and actually help protect the waterproofing surface of the roof by covering it from damaging UV rays. In congested, urban landscapes, where property values continue to rise and parks become less and less available, building owners will look to their unused roof for natural green space.
Application Technology - Just as other industries, as materials advance, so to will the estimating and installation process. To some degree, the human aspect of installing and maintaining a roofing system may always remain, but advancements in technology will help to limit errors, reduce liabilities, lower human resource costs and improve roofing system specifications. The 21st Century will see newer measurement applications, more streamlined roof monitoring systems, roofing robotics during installation and more factory prefabricated materials rather than field fabricated systems.
Commercial to Residential - Cool roof regulations which have been more stringent on the commercial side, will begin to be enforced on the residential side such as Title 24 in California. New, more advanced systems that typically penetrate the market on the commercial side of the roofing industry first, will also be incorporated on the residential side making residential homes more advanced and energy efficient as ever.
The basis for these changes and new technologies will all be driven by a new generation of property owner, manufacturer and roofing contractor, the X and Y Generations. These same younger generations are leading the charge in robotics, IT development, media advancement, international distribution and overall communication around the globe. Combined with necessary cost reductions to energy production and a greater focus on sustainability and the future begins to look promising for continued change and advancement of a 21st Century Roofing Renaissance.
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This post was written by Trevor Leeds - President of Chandler's Roofing
Posted on 01/22/2014 at 12:00:00 AM