Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Today, we'll discuss the residential application (and types) of attic insulation. I do not endorse manufacturers, but felt the most common point of reference might be the "Pink Panther" and Owens Corning. They do a wonderful job in their fiberglass roof insulation division, and would like you to consider the following from them:
Homeowners prefer Owens Corning PINK FIBERGLAS™ Insulation 7 to 1 because it maintains insulating power over time. Since fiber glass does not absorb moisture, PINK insulation will not hold water, preventing permanent loss of R-value. When properly installed, PINK FIBERGLAS™ Insulation will not settle or deteriorate to maintain insulating value. The insulating materials in PINK FIBERGLAS™ Insulation are also noncombustible.
I prefer fiberglass attic insulation vs. cellulose (essentially shredded newspaper). The Cellulose is without question, the least expensive (by far), and in some cases CAN contain a firetardant, so I don't want my statements here to be "all encompassing", as that would be unfair.
However, you cannot get around the fact, that when cellulose is used, vermin love to nest in it, attic condensation causes it to compress and lose thermal value. I think everyone knows that insulation cannot perform if not for tiny pockets of encapsulated air. So, when it's wet, it loses a huge amount of thermal resistance capacity. Pretty easy so far?
Okay, there's also the fire hazard aspect. Should a fire break out in the attic, the untreated cellulose (newspaper) would act exactly as you'd expect it to (source of fuel). I've never seen anyone wrap their children in a highly flammable paper product when putting them to sleep. Horrible thought, but illustrative.
Fiberglass, or Owens Corning "Fiberglas" brand might be a very good option if you are in the market for attic iinsulation. If performance, not lowest cost, is your determining factor, I don't really see how anyone could compare the two.
As a side note, Owens Corning has actually trademarked the "pink" color, which is why you will never see a pink insulation that iws not Owens Corning. You can believe that Owens Corning is fiercely protective of it's brand with the insulation, and of course the "Pink Panther".
In my state of Florida, an R-30 is recommended, but benefit is recognized with additional insulation. Care should be taken not to obstruct the ventilation process, but your roofer (particularly if they are approved by Owens Corning)will be well aware not to block the soffit venting.
I've had the pleasure of interacting with corporate staff, find them very well trained, and a fine company to deal with. Fiberglass is fiberglass. You can make your own decision regarding who you buy it from. They are all readily available at your local home improvement centers.
So, I hope the above provides you the knowledge to safely, and effectively insulate your attic. Insulation is without question, the best edollar you can spend in home improvement. If you are a DIY person, it can be easily rolled out, but I can tell you the attic heat will come upon you rather swiftly, so please be VERY CONCERNED when subjecting yourself to elevated temperatures.
I would suggest you be well hydrated, have someone with you, and someone in the home to check on you every 15 minutes or so. SAFETY is our first concern, and then you can enjoy the reduction in energy cost.
Thank you to Owens Corning for the image.
As always, thanks for visiting, and keep looking "UP".
Robert R. "Ron" Solomon
Friday, December 24, 2010
I won't discuss roofing today, as it is the furthest thing from my mind.
Please know this little blog is a form of expression for me, and hopefully a reliable place where I can answer your questions absent of prejudice. Your cooperation and interest mean the world to me, and now that our introductory phase is over, will be addressing many specific topics in 2011.
Mrs. Solomon and I wish you, and your families a joyful and blessed Christmas.
Look around for the many blessings that surround you, praise them, and always keep looking "UP".
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Oil Sands, Tar Sands, Bitumen, Oil Sands Define, Oil Sands news
Oil sands are a mixture of sand, water, clay and a highly viscous, dark and tar like petroleum substance called bitumen.
Here are some facts about bitumen:
•comprises polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
•is soluble in carbon disulfide.
•is highly inflammable.
•has been used in construction from its earliest times.
•can be separated from oil sands.
•helps to extract synthetic oil.
Canada dominates the production of bitumen. In 2006, Canada’s daily production of crude bitumen averaged roughly 1.1 million barrels. The 2007 oil market outlook indicated by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers predicts a huge increase in its daily production to 4.4 million barrels by 2020.
Large reserves of oil sands, also called as tar sands, were discovered in Venezuela and Canada. There are about 1.7 trillion barrels of reserves in Athabasca Oil Sands (Canada) and 1.8 trillion barrels of extra heavy crude in the Venezuelan Orinoco oil sands. In fact, the oil sands account for around 66% of the world’s total oil reserves, according to the energy business reports published in 2008.
Oil Sands: Uses
Oil sands and bitumen have various uses. Some are:
Bitumen is used in construction
and maintenance of roads.
Bitumen is often used for waterproofing the rooftops of buildings.
Ever since oil prices soared in 2003, oil sands have been used to extract synthetic crude oil.
Oil Sands: Importance
Decades ago, oil sands were too costly and unprofitable to pursue but now it has emerged as a key commodity in international trade. Further, outputs from the Athabasca Oil Sands are highly in demand with the US and China. These two countries compete to gain a larger share of Canada’s oil sand outputs. The political and economic importance of oil sands is predicted to soar in proportion to its four fold increase in output by 2020.
Oil Sands: Extraction and Processing
Oil sands are usually extracted by surface mining, which involves the removal of soil and rock that cover the mineral deposits.
Originally, draglines, bucket wheel excavators and conveyer belts were used for mining and transporting oil sands deposits to the processing plants. Now this is done by power shovels and dump trucks. Strip mining method is also used to reduce the viscosity of the deposits.
After excavation of the oil sands, they are treated with caustic soda and hot water. This helps to break the clumps. It converts them into the liquid form so that the resulting substance or slurry can be sent for processing to extraction plants.
The demand for oil sands is bound to grow as the world is poised to pursue profitable ventures in every sector and industry.
This may sound excessively boring to you, but the fact is, we continue to use these hydrocarbons in roofing. I've never heard a sane argument to support it's use vs. synthetic reflective roof membrane. I welcome any scientist, engineer, physicist, or anyone else to give it a shot. The premise is frail at best. They depend upon an uninformed public to simply accept it, and consider it my responsibility to share information with you, absent of prejudice.
As a state certified roofer, and conservative environmentalist, I can (and will) successfully debate my position with anyone who wishes to give it a try.
Okay, I know everyone likes pictures and video, so this is one of the best I've ever seen, and I really hope you take a moment to soak up some "REALITY".
ELIMINATE PETROLEUM BASED ROOF SYSTEMS.
In the interim, I will wish you all a very happy and productive day. "Stand For Something", and always keep looking "UP".
Robert R. "Ron" Solomon
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
I can type 20 million words, but NOTHING will illustrate my point better than the video. PLEASE take 2 minutes to view it, and see where we're trying to go.
Energy Department Completes Cool Roof Installation on D.C. Headquarters Building to Save Money by Saving Energy
December 14, 2010
Secretary Steven Chu today announced the completion of a new cool roof installation on the Department of Energy's (DOE's) Headquarters West Building. There was no incremental cost to adding the cool roof as part of the roof replacement project and it will save taxpayers $2,000 every year in building energy costs. Cool roofs use lighter-colored roofing surfaces or special coatings to reflect more of the sun's heat, helping improve building efficiency, reduce cooling costs, and offset carbon emissions. The cool roof and increased insulation at the facility were installed as part of the federal government's commitment to lead by example in increasing energy efficiency, reducing carbon pollution and demonstrating the benefits of clean energy technologies.
The Department of Energy also released today a video with Secretary Chu that shows the installation of the roof and explains some of the benefits that come with this important technology. The video is available on the Energy Blog.
"The Department of Energy is leading by example, demonstrating how cool roofs can help achieve significant energy and cost savings. This is a simple, low-cost technology that can provide tremendous benefits for government, businesses and homeowners across the country," said Secretary Chu.
Earlier this year, Secretary Chu directed all Department of Energy offices to install cool roofs, whenever cost effective, when constructing a new roof or replacing an old one. The Department's new cool roof on the West Building covers approximately 25,000 square feet. In the spring, DOE will also install a cool roof on the Headquarters' South Building, covering approximately 66,000 square feet. As a result of the new cool roof installations on both buildings, taxpayers will save a total of $8,000 per year in energy costs.
Roofs and road pavement cover 50 to 65% of urban areas. Most traditional dark-colored roofing materials absorb 80 to 90% of incoming solar energy, increasing temperatures on the surface and in the case of roofing, heating the building, which in turn requires additional air conditioning. White or special "cool color" roofs absorb less than 50% of solar energy, reducing the roof temperature and decreasing the energy used in air conditioning.
A dark roof can reach temperatures above 180F on a hot day, while a cool roof can stay 50 degrees cooler. A study by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) found that using cool roofs and cool pavements in cities around the world can help reduce the demand for air conditioning, cool entire cities, and potentially cancel the heating effect of up to two years of worldwide carbon dioxide emissions.
Trying as hard as I can to save money for schools, universities, DOC, etc., but bureaucracy, not science, is my biggest challenge.
I will post a few more times before Christmas, but am always very thankful for those of you who visit with me here. Think positively, reject negativity in all forms, and keep looking "UP".
Robert R. "Ron" Solomon
Thursday, December 2, 2010
After three years of presentation, field trips, meetings, and debates, it appears I've been successful in the initial phase of changing petroleum based roofs on the schools in my district (11th. largest in the United States) to white synthetic single ply.
Why is that such big news Ron? Well it's big because it will save the district approximately 20% in energy cost, lower up front installed cost, and superior life cycle cost. It will eliminate the contaminants flowing from the roof (nitrogen and phosphorous) which inhibit microbial growth and wildlife.
Okay, I don't want to get heavy into my environmentalist mode, but all this advancement SAVES millions of dollars for the school district, and taxpayers.
Below, you will see comments by the district's Director of Construction, whom I have great respect for. He fought very hard, but he fought fair, and that's all a reasonable person can ask.
We're currently planning a warehouse roofing project at our Green Street Warehouse, that will incorporate a single-ply roof. If you don't mind reviewing the specification that we come up with, I'll send it to you before we make it final.
Folks, this is accomplished with absolutely no resources, only desire, and sheer will. I realize how abstract my excitement may appear, but it's an illustration of one person with a goal, accomplishing something on behalf of the many. I'd also like it to be a model for anyone who embarks upon a mission where others tell you "it's impossible". It isn't, and this is proof. You have to want it bad enough, and for the right reasons.
This is a major high school in my district using the old petroleum method. Is this something we need to change? Absolutely.
Energy modeling on a 200,000 sq. ft. compares white synthetic roof membrane over R-20 insulation, to modified bitumen in identical situatiion.
Term of the roof warranty is 30 years, and the model showed energy savings of $456,000.00, and a carbon reduction of 77,000 lbs.
The next photograph will show an actual 200,000 sq. ft. roof at BJ's Wholesale in Tampa, as a comparison.
Virtually all retailers have chosen the white synthetic for it's reflective properties and value. Clean water and energy reduction are a bonus. A BIG bonus.
The most difficult part of my advocacy is government structures where the money does not come from the building owner's pocket, but from the taxpayers. Wal-Mart, Target, BJ's, KMart, and many more see the multidimensional aspects, and specify them on all their stores.
Wal-Mart has been doing this for 10 years now, and I think we'll agree that if the largest private consumer of electricity in the United States uses it, it must be both serviceable, and a value.
Why doesn't the government see, what building owners see? You simply cannot argue in favor of petroleum. It can't be done.
The purpose of this post is to praise my school district, not to bury it.
I think that once we became comfortable with each other, and understood the common goal (the students and taxpayers), we were able to put aside all differences, and achieve on their behalf.
There is much work to be done with universities, department of corrections, etc., but this was very uplifting, as my victories are few and far between. But I cherish each of them on behalf of people who are better served as a result.
I know you cannot see the roof, so many people don't even acknowledge the most important component of a structure. Well, this is yet another visual for you, and it's very important you think about the simplicity of my statements.
As always, I am thankful you visit me here, and will work harder to bring interesting topics about, or related to, roof systems, and their effect on energy savings and the environment.
Thank you for caring about anything I have to say, and remember to keep looking "UP".
Robert R. "Ron" Solomon
Sunday, November 28, 2010
My dear friend, Mr. Songer forwarded this rather unique recycling effort. After I saw this, I regretted selling all 1,300 albums in my collection, when I could have roofed my home with them. I'm not real sure about the solar reflectance of black vinyl though.
I should think a single nail in the center of each album would exceed 120 mph wind tunnel testing withouit too much difficulty.
"As Lloyd Alter points out at Treehugger, the vinyl records may not withstand heat very well, especially if they are in direct sunlight. But if the trees do the work of keeping the sun out, these old records should do an excellent job of keeping the rain out.
Not only that, but the records would make for a great conversation piece as you wait out those drenching Tennessee rainstorms.
What do you do with those stacks of of old, damaged or just plain bad vinyl records you came across at a garage sale or in your aunt's attic this summer? If you're Nashville musician Matt Glassmeyer, you use them as shingles for your porch roof.
Glassmeyer attached 350 damaged records to the frame of his deck roof, each with a single roofing nail.
As Lloyd Alter points out at Treehugger, the vinyl records may not withstand heat very well, especially if they are in direct sunlight. But if the trees do the work of keeping the sun out, these old records should do an excellent job of keeping the rain out.
Not only that, but the records would make for a great conversation piece as you wait out those drenching Tennessee rainstorms."
Okay, that's our fun for today, but I will have very exciting news prepared for my next post, and try to get it out today or tomorrow.
I appreciate the time you spend here, and thank you for caring. I will wish you a very happy day my friends, and remember to keep looking "UP".
Robert R. "Ron" Solomon
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
It is true that we are over regulated, and face many personalities within permitting jurisdictions. Those jurisdictions are individual to each city, county, and state, thus making it very difficult for any type of uniformity within the permitting process. Example: I recently spent a total of 70 hours working on a permit, and it can be enough to frustrate even Job.
Now that I've described what we face, I can tell you that permitting is simply a line item when adhering to procedure. We know that a NOC will be required, complete submittal package, MSDS, safety program (in English, and in Spanish), detailed proposal, notice to owner, insurance certificates, warranties, etc.
Instead of listing the check off items, and completing them in sequence, we seem to (forgive me) follow the "squeaky wheel" theory, and as a result, create confusion and mayhem when it absolutely does not have to happen. I will discuss "Left side of the line" principle in a separate post.
ALL this paperwork is exhaustive, but no matter how much you fight it, you will not win. Understanding that, you will find it is in everyone's best interest if you make the sequence uniform and efficient. It's not very important what you WANT to do, but what you HAVE to do, so grin and bear it.
This may seem penny ante to many of you, but while residential work does not require as much paperwork, the client LOVES to see a safety disc, product literature, a stamped envelope with the completed warranty which they sign, mail, and their warranty information has been recorded. Hey Ron, why don't we pile more paperwork on ourselves?
Well, I can tell you the reward from spending a little time on your clients will elevate you from "Terry Tarbucket", to a professional, and the client will feel secure knowing their best interest is at heart. If you simply regard each structure as if it were your own, you will succeed. If you want to scratch out a price on the bottom of a Burger King bag, you will fail. If you represent yourself as slovenly, the client will receive you that way.
I've written procedure and philosophy numerous times, but it takes a commitment by management to insure it's carried out. Without procedure, you will never be able to identify the source of problems, or corrections. While I'm on the topic, I might share that "Blaming" people is not relevant to anything except ego. As an administrator, you do not get paid to "Blame" people, but to "Solve Problems".
"Ron did it, Ron did it, Ron did it" seems kind of silly doesn't it? Do you think the client cares?
I am trying to impart a philosophy in business I've found very useful. If you want to rise above the competition, think ahead, and provide the items I've mentioned, or come up with your own version. If anyone would like to see a written roofing contractor procedure, I will be happy to provide it. After that, it's on you.
If anyone has a suggestion, or experience to share, it is welcome here.
I am deeply appreciative for the opportunity to share thought with you, and hopefully assist you in some way. Thank you for visiting, and always remember to keep looking "UP".
Robert R. "Ron" Solomon
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Thank you to Annie. Annie is in Australia, and moving to the United States (Texas), and renovating a home with many well thought out sustainability features, including roofing.
The theme will sort of be about tripping over dollars to pick up nickels. I have a couple of examples I've seen, that will put a very pensive look on your face. One reason you might find it interesting, is that you're paying for it.
But I did have an article come out in West Coast Roofing Contractors Association this month, and hopefully you will find it interesting:
Florida “Sustainable Schools”
By: “Ron” Robert R. Solomon
Dear Friends and Colleagues:
Each year, The Collins Center in Tallahassee receives nominations for the
nominations and sustainability efforts represent the most prestigious
environmental awards in the state. Though retired, I consider it my civic
responsibility to represent (independently) our skill discipline on issues of
immediate and long term need. I’m probably as “Old School” as just about
anyone, but given half a chance will choose a roof system that is
multidimensional (up front and life cycle cost, clean water, and energy
reduction) every time. Sometime, I even think about keeping water out of the
building while I’m at it.
Nominees include USGBC, State Agricultural Commission, SWFTMD, Wal-Mart,
and many representatives of local and state government throughout Florida.
I’ve been very fortunate to be named a judge several times, and evaluate the applications and place a numerical value which I submit to Tallahassee,
winners are chosen, and a very nice awards presentation follows.
people and judged without prejudice. That’s actually the hard part, because
one moment I see a huge Everglades restoration project, and the next is a
lady who is emphatic about using a clothes line. I review many fascinating
applications and initiatives, with some very small, and others vast in scope,
but each passionate regardless of scale.
Along with the application, there are many attachments and photos which
further illustrate the effort, and provide a more personal aspect. I’m sharing
these topics with you today because our discipline is interfaced with many
sustainable circuits. What in the world does that mean Ron? It means the
roof, HVAC, windows, etc. must work in concert for the structure to perform
as designed. I consider the roof to be the singular most important component
of any structure, yet the last to be addressed. Everyone likes nice landscaping
and paint, but since they can’t see the roof, it doesn’t exist. I’m trying to
inform as many decision makers as I can to change that.
Okay, let me step off my soap box and get to the schools. School districts,
schools, teachers, and students, all compete in several categories, and are
judged accordingly. Many of the projects were accomplished without
funding, and in many cases, generated revenue for the school. Some were
heavily funded (in one case $80,000.00), but were considered to be useful to
a broader audience (a solar car from Key West is an example).
proud to nominate them for next year’s competition. Winners receive a
check for $1,500.00, a plaque, and a proclamation signed by the Governor
(Sink or Scott?). But it’s the “achievement” they seem to covet most, and I
find that uplifting.
I’d be more than happy to forward a complete list if anyone would like to see
your children’s respective schools, or school district. These kids get out in
the dirt, clean waterways, plant and harvest, collect tons of recyclable
debris, and work harder than many adults I know. Below is a link for anyone
who values the “hands on” involvement of children in actual environmental
settings. Believe me, it’s very personal when I have to review a class of
kindergartners with disabilities, and be objective. I know this sounds corny,
but each of them are champions, whom I consider benefactors of society.
You have wonderful children, doing great things, and you should be proud of
them. I am.
We all know how tough things are, and money is tight, but if you can spare a
couple of bucks for these kids, it will be put to good use.
sustainability as it pertains to roofing, energy, and clean water. This is what I do each day, of my own volition. Please understand I respect each and
every member of the WCRCA, do not promote one manufacturer over
another, or participate in anything that would preclude anyone from fair
You are welcome to contact me at: RobertRSolomon@aol.com for additional
information, and I’ll be happy to help.
Today is a good day to keep looking "UP"
Robert R. Ron" Solomon
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Kevin's mat system is reported on his blog today, and I would encourage any of you considering vegetative roofing to contact him. It could not happen to a nicer man, or family.
Friday, October 29, 2010Green Roof Hurricane Uplift Testing 120 MPH for 3 Long Minutes
We started off today referring to the Green Roof Wind Uplift Test duration as "until failure".
At least it looked as though the test would proceed until the mat failed.
After all, the MetroVerde Green Roof had been sitting in the hot Florida sun, non-irrigated, 1" thick layer of engineered soil for 18 months at the University of Florida.
We are going into our fifth week of zero precipitation (no rain).
The plants looked brown.
The panel was fixed at a 3/12 slope just feet away from the large hurricane simulator.
The plants looked vulnerable. The engineered soil just waiting to be blown off the mat along with plants.
The large diesel engines fired up and the turbines spun.
50 MPH for one minute - a little dust blew off the roof.
70 MPH for a minute plus - not much happened.
90 MPH and the dust around the base of the testing platform flew and the plants bent backwards - almost parallel to the roof slope. Shingles on a shed 300' away began flapping.
We were all amazed, having seen other green roofs under hurricane tests blow away, soil and plants...
We took a break and looked at the panel. A small amount of the engineered soil had blown off the mat.
The 120 MPH for over three minutes.
The dead, brown material blew off the plants - like a good pruning. Even the large, tender Echeveria was still there, albeit leaning a little.
The nodding garlic - Allium canadense was beautiful.
The plant roots were so intertwined in the mat that 80% of the engineered soil remained.
Successful. The first Florida Designed Green Roof Panel to pass the 120 MPH wind tunnel test.
Please see video and additional technical descriptions on his blog, at:
That's two very uplifting stories for me to share, and I hope you are energized by both of them.
Okay, for those of you with children, I will now share my semi-hilarious jokes:
1.) Why don't Vampires bite Snowmen? Frostbite.
2.) Do Zombies eat popcorn with their fingers? No. The fingers are eaten separately.
Mary is concerned enough about recycling, and environmental efforts related to it, that she contacted me through "Sustainable Florida". I will let her message speak for itself:
I feel blessed to have met you over the phone on October 28, 2010! Thanks so much for our conversation. I look forward to being able to speak with you further, as well as trying to figure out ways we can combine our goals and energies on projects we both have interest in.
I want to begin by giving you information regarding that amazing young man, Andrew (Andy) Wolfe of the Largo/Seminole area. I 'discovered' Andy when I read about him in the St.Petersburg Times , March 14, 2010 article entitled, "Green Acres in the City". I want to give you Andy's contact information:
Freedom Farm (name he has given the space he utilizes at his Father's home), 727-439-4885, ....he is on myspace.com/tasteoffreedomfarm. Andy gives 'tours' on Saturday mornings, by appointment.
The article discussed the yard now being occupied with 16 ducks, 16 chickens, 400 tilapia, and seven beehives. He built a greenhouse, started a garden, and planted four citrus trees.
He recently (October 4, 2010) was a guest speaker at the Discussion Group I founded and moderate at the Seminole Public Library - campus of St.Petersburg College, Seminole, Fl. I told a Biology professor that Andy would be speaking. That professor told the instructor of ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE about Andy's presentation. She requested permission to bring her class of fifteen Env. Science students to hear Andy.
I want to offer you a synopsis of Andy's presentation (for which he had written note cards and practiced the night before to make sure he had enough to say):
ANDY'S WORDS....(in rough draft):
"We are pursuing sustainability. Our ties to industrial society cannot be broken quickly. I have noticed we are willing to spend a great deal of money for our comfort levels. Regarding this pursuit of comfort, there is a quote from Thomas Jefferson that says..."we want that which never was and never will be."(rough quotation). Andy went on to say that the act of trying to provide for yourself has more tangible rewards. He is trying to convert an urban homestead. He said, "What has been my hardest challenge?" Ans. gardening. His watering method? capturing rain water. He prepared for his project(s) by taking a permaculture course...which teaches you to observe. EXAMPLE: Andy observed his ducks love to eat flies. So, he caught flies to give them to his ducks. He got rid of his fly problem by doing this.
"Pollution is simply an untapped resource." To rehabilitate his sandy soil, he learned how to develop worm castings (poop). He uses a 55-gal. drum to collect rain water. The drum is on the roof of the home. He utilizes a gutter system. Andy's question: "Why are we so willing to pay for things we can get for free?"
He collects food for his tilapia (they are vegetarians) by catching duckweed in local lakes. (Duckweed multiplies three times in 36 hours.)
Andy's comment, "I have a lot in common with third-world countries. We both have no money."
Why did Andy install a tilapia pond? It replaced a grass lawn that required both labor and water to maintain. Andy suggested we work with Mother Nature. He created a hydroponics system over the tilapia pond. The coleus did not like it. Mint....loves it. He sells his yard clippings.
Andy said, "The biggest mistake of my life? When I looked around in the U.S. to see how we are doing things. I actually needed to observe how things are done in third-world countries. They use one part portland and three parts sand." Andy started with 20 tilapia. He now has 400 tilapia! He started with 7 beehives. He now has 28 beehives. He hopes to have 100 hives in 2011. He pays people who have at least three acres of property to host his beehives. He explained that the reason he recently got stung by the bees was because he was mistakenly tending them on a cloudy day. (They're "cranky" on a cloudy day.)
Andy spoke about previous water treatment in which local water companies used to use chlorine in the system year-round. He said they caused carcinogenic substances. Now, they only use chlorine once a year.
Andy said, "Growing projects......bring a community together." He befriended his neighbors to acquire their support of his efforts. He said, many of them have now initiated gardens, too.
Andy said, "When you're learning something, you make a lot of mistakes." I felt that was a very useful comment for the college students to hear!
Robert, this might very well be one of the longest e-mails you have ever received. I believe it is the longest one I have ever written. I am, obviously, very motivated by Andy Wolfe and the attitude and determination he exudes. Naturally, his wife deserves credit, too.....as does Andy's father (who has changed many of his ideas as a result of all these projects).
I didn't want to forward this to your wife, Christie (hope I spelled her name correctly) and you had not yet provided your home (or preferred address) to me. Hope this method of sending this information meets with your approval.
Your New Friend,
Here we discuss technical roofing issues, as well as positive thought. This is why I felt compelled to share Mary's very uplifting message. Thank you Mary, and I hope you continue to visit, or request specific topics.
As always, thank you for visiting with me, and keep looking "UP".
Robert R. "Ron" Solomon
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
I apologize for letting a personal campaign affect my writing, as I have far too many topics of interest to discuss, and writing time is scarce due to my very intense schedule. Negativity takes a great deal of energy to expose, yet little to create. This is what we're up against.
I will be focused on sustainability issues for a couple of days, but will get back to providing useful roofing information over the weekend. Which roofs are best for cistern use? What are the harmful contaminants, and how do I guard against them? Can I water my fruits and vegetables with water collected from my roof?, etc.
Thanks for spending time with me today, and keep looking "UP".
Robert R. "Ron" Solomon
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Tomorrow, I'll be embarking on what will surely be a monumental journey. I will be punished for bringing detailed information to you which illustrates common "scams" that cost you hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars.
The FBI is involved, and many people are squirming beneath the light of truth. Others who have tried to expose them have been exposed to death threats, full time surveillance, and anything you can dream of.
The ones who have come before me deserve all the credit, as I've only been researching the topic for 4 years. YOU WILL BE SHOCKED, and that's a guarantee. I can work day and night on these wrongdoings, but cannot solve the problem alone. This is why I've joined about 5 others in the United States who selflessly give of themselves on your behalf.
Roofing professionals can be of the highest moral character, and I respect them for it. But we have a few manufacturers, and consultants, who do not feature open, fair, competition, and seek to use alternative sales methods which are not in your best interest.
As always, I will simply provide the data in it's entirety, and you will be in charge of whatever level you wish to pursue it. If at all. But I am certain of this: Charging taxpayers twice the price of equal products is wrong. Locking out competition is wrong. Exclusivity is wrong.
These issues are easily solved, and after I describe what is going on, we will discuss how we can stop it. Here, we discuss modern roofing technology, sustainability, taxpayer value, and inclusiveness of all people.
Tomorrow will make you angry, but I hope it invokes action. You deserve a much better return on your tax dollars, and roofing investments. I am bracing for backlash from the perpetrators, but I'm not the one under investigation by the FBI.
Thank you so much for visiting, and for those who've embraced what we do here. Bless you.
Enjoy your day, and remember to keep looking "UP".
Robert R. "Ron" Solomon
Friday, October 22, 2010
I know, "Ron, we don't need you to tell us about anything except roofing". But, I happen to admire the brilliant business anchor Mr. Neil Cavuto, and his words seemed to describe why so many contractors are distracted, and forget how important our "word" is. I hope you find merit in his very straightforward comments. Friends, this is Mr. Neil Cavuto:
Secret to Success
Monday, June 18, 2007
By Neil Cavuto
This is just me talking here, but you want to know the secret to getting ahead? I mean, the real secret?
It has nothing to do with talent. Nothing to do with connections.
I'm not saying those things don't help, but here's what clinches it: Keeping your word. Doing what you say.
I know it sounds simplistic, but I'll tell you what, a lot of people don't keep their word.
Contractors who don't show up when they say they will.
Companies that don't honor guarantees when they swore they would.
Car salesmen who suddenly forget promises made when they insisted they would not.
I don't know about you, but I'd gladly pay more — maybe not a lot more — but more for someone who does what he says.
Sadly, few do or certainly a lot fewer than when my dad was alive. He used to say his word was his bond and a handshake his contract.
Simpler times, I suppose, but more honorable times, when we appreciated others' time.
So here's my own nickel and dime advice to any contractor — any worker — in any business:
You say you're coming at 2 p.m., come at 2 p.m.
You can't make it, phone to say you can't make it.
Give an estimate. Stick to the estimate.
It's called common courtesy. It's also called service. People remember you for it. And think twice about ever dealing with you if you lie about it.
From here, we will work forward, assuming all are on board with this basic premise. It will help explain my reasoning and thought process in future posts. You will see that I am not sympathetic to techniques, or arrangements, that are contrary to an honest approach.
Tomorrow, I'll have a direct roofing topic, but felt compelled to share these thoughts with you. If anyone is ever offended by my comments, you may email me, and I will forward my home number, so you and I can speak directly. I will immediately retract any comments that are not accurate, but request you base your point on science or public record. Fair?
Your time and kind consideration are always appreciated here. Keep looking "UP".
Robert R. "Ron" Solomon
Thursday, October 21, 2010
This is but ONE example of a trend all over this country(and abroad). We are laying off educators, lack basic necessities, and are cutting relevant programs. This is not an isolated case, because that would be unfair. You will see further examples for you to evaluate, but I don't want to inundate you with the avalanche of documented cases. ANYONE with a computer has the same access I do.
If you are angry, good. You should be. My only responsibility here is to accurately present information for you to consider, nothing more.
As I viewed the clip, my mind went to the decent people who readily volunteer their time, and resources, to assist children. Taking that away, and negating all the good work, is (in my opinion) sinful and absent of conscience.
Soon, I will share with you, how to eliminate this ...............well, you fill in the blank. Like I said, you make the decision. Ms. Janet Campbell does a masterful job of presenting the issue in it's entirety. She is linked under "Trusted
Of the groups listed, "Green" roofs were Vegetative, and White Single Ply. White asphalt shingles, and white modified bitumen, are not "Green", and add to "Heat Islands".
Tomorrow, I'll start another riveting poll that will no doubt capture your imagination.
The winner of the poll (Mr. Kevin Songer) receives a 2011 Corvette (and payment book).
Thanks to everyone for playing along.
Also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my lovely wife Christy. I depend upon her sweetness to balance out my angst, and that's a tall order folks. It's sort of like living inside a pinball machine.
First, let's understand the relationship between the roofing contractor and the roofing material manufacturer. In order to be an "Approved Applicator" for almost all major roofing material manufacturers, you will be required to successfully complete three projects using their products.
The contractor is required to request inspections (startup, in progress, and completion). Assuming the projects are done according to specification and achieved a level of competence, you will then become an "Approved Applicator" of their material, and qualify for manufacturer warranties for your client.
All set? At this point, you are an Approved Applicator, and sign an Approved Applicator Agreement, and receive certification. Great Ron, why do you sign an "agreement"? The agreement stipulates the contractor is responsible for roof repairs (leaks) for a period of two years. After two years, the manufacturer becomes the "Guarantor" for the balance of the warranty.
Most roofing specifications are very clear when they demand a two year contractor's guarantee, and (varies) a twenty year manufacturer's warranty. It is not relevant if a contractor offers a 3,4,5, etc. year guarantee, as it is a moot point. It's a sales trickery thing, giving a false impression. Regardless of what the contractor says, he is only on the hook for two years.
I'll discuss warranty vs. guarantee, and their respective definitions another day. The only thing you need to understand here is who is the "Guarantor". Your contractor can be out of business tomorrow, so his guarantee would be worthless. I see it every day. Can I get a show of hands?
We'll talk briefly about types of warranties, and I am very serious about what I'm trying to impart here. All warranties are "Limited Warranties", and contain stipulations the owner must adhere to. The owner must maintain the roof system in a reasonable manner, and report any leaks within a 24-48 hour time frame, which is both reasonable and fair.
I'm sure a few people said NO to my limited warranty statement, and said "what about No Dollar Limit warranties"? Here is something I regard as gospel: NEVER install, or specify, a roof system that does not have a "No Dollar Limit" warranty, commonly referred to as an "NDL". It means the owner will not be out of pocket for roof repairs or replacement throughout the term of the warranty. PLEASE digest that. However, by definition, it is a "Limited Warranty".
The owner is not served by entry level (15 yr.) warranties. There is great VALUE in choosing a mid level roof system, and achieving a 20 year warranty. The upgrade allows the owner to keep many thousands of dollars in the bank for an additional 5 years. That can be a very significant sum of money, for a slight up front cost. NDL warranties are not prorated.
"NDL" warranties are offered by all major manufacturers, and in many cases are backed by surety's, or bonding companies. Top notch manufacturers like GAF, Firestone, Carlisle, DOW, Sarnafil, etc. have the financial resources to back up vast numbers of applications. I encourage you to take a moment to research the financial status, before enlisting a specialty, or "boutique" material manufacturer for obvious reasons.
The firms I mentioned above are representative, not exclusive, as there are many other firms too numerous to list in this space. Johns Manville is a fine company, and on it goes. I don't normally like to share personal observations, but I do not install roof systems that are not readily available from LOCAL SUPPLY HOUSES. This is important should you run short on material, and are holding up a job.
Tomorrow, I will discuss the relationship between all parties when installing a roof (architect, consultant, permit jurisdiction, etc.) and how it may apply to your specific project. It is critical all parties work in concert, and while that doesn't always happen, I can help reduce the grief.
I would like to introduce two dear friends of mine who are outstanding core individuals, and am proud to be associated with.
Mr. Laurence (Larry) P. Dickie, AIA, CP - Principal Consultant - Rimkus Consulting Group, Inc.
http://www.rimkus.com/ Tampa, Florida.
Larry and I have worked together for many years, and I've found him to be exceptionally skilled, and more importantly, a man of his word. Larry's handshake is as good as any contract as far as I'm concerned.
Ms. Janet C. (for Coral) Campbell, an extremely capable architect located in San Francisco, Calif. I enjoy an outrageous rapport with Janet, and we have open conversations on many topics. Janet is probably the top crusader in this country as it pertains to consumer fraud being perpetrated by unscrupulous roofing material manufacturers, and I'm proud of her. Very proud.
Please be enlightened by what she has to say, and ILLUSTRATE. It will arm you, and make you ask why? Hopefully, you will be motivated to ask your school district if they are involved in these practices. Find Janet at:
Or, you can just type in Roofing Scam Targeting Schools, and you will be astonished.
I am overwhelmed by the many people who care what I have to say, and will do my very best to offer accurate, and useable information, to make your roofing experience more palatable.
How dry do you want to be today?
Keep looking "UP" my friends.
Robert R. "Ron" Solomon
Monday, October 18, 2010
Sounds crazy doesn't it? Well, I think it can be done, and will prove how.
It gets very hot here in Florida, and I am trying to illustrate the value of "Cool Roofs" vs. petroleum based (mainly modified bitumen or built up roofing), and how it affects YOUR taxpayer dollars. You will probably grow tired of my constant comparisons, but I think it's something you need to know, and must know.
How hot is too hot on death row?
In a lawsuit, Florida inmates say lack of fans or air conditioners is cruel and unusual punishment.
Warren Richey (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
Is lack of cool air in hot prisons cruel and unusual punishment?
Cast your vote.
Florida's summers are notoriously long and hot and humid, but apparently nowhere in the state are they longer or hotter or more humid than in a six-by-nine-foot cell on Death Row.
A federal judge in Jacksonville is being asked to consider whether the state's decision not to provide air conditioning - or even fans - in its prisons amounts to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of US constitutional safeguards.
It is an issue that arises most frequently in Southern states, where high summer temperatures can make prison life nearly unbearable.
There are no clearly established standards as to how much heat and humidity prisoners must endure before officials take special remedial action. Last summer, two inmates at the New Jersey State Prison in Trenton died of heat-related causes during a heat wave that boosted cell temperatures into the 100s.
The American Correctional Association suggests summertime temperatures inside prisons should range from 66 to 80 degrees F. But the vast majority of US prisons are not air conditioned and prison officials set their own standards.
The Florida lawsuit, filed on behalf of some 300 death-row inmates at the Union Correctional Institution southwest of Jacksonville, says the prison's own temperature logs demonstrate conditions that pose a danger to the health of the prisoners.
"During July and August, the recorded temperatures in the cell area during the day are almost always in excess of 90 degrees F, frequently exceed 100 degrees, and have been as high as 110 degrees," the suit says.
Two death-row inmates, Jim Chandler and William Kelley, complain in the suit that excessive heat has left them feeling sick and dizzy. They say prison rules bar them from affixing pieces of cloth and cardboard to their cell walls to deflect air from wall-based blowers toward their bunks. And they say that recent installation of metal security screening over their cell bars is further reducing the minimal air flow.
"We are not necessarily saying this building has to be air conditioned. We are just saying that air temperatures are too high and something needs to be done to correct that," says Randall Berg, a Miami lawyer who filed the suit on the inmates' behalf. "The state is housing inmates under conditions that are barbaric and causing them severe health problems."
Prison officials say that long hot summers are a fact of life in Florida. C.J. Drake, a spokesman for the Florida Department of Corrections, says that the two complaining inmates are longtime death-row residents, with Mr. Kelley arriving in 1984 and Mr. Chandler arriving in 1981.
"They haven't acclimated themselves to the heat after 16 and 19 years on death row?" Mr. Drake asks. "They are only now complaining about the heat?"
Drake says the lawsuit is based on inaccurate or incomplete temperature data and that prison officials are prepared to demonstrate in court that conditions at the prison are acceptable.
He says officials took temperature readings two weeks ago and found that when outside temperatures were 98 degrees, temperatures on Death Row were 86.9 degrees. Later that same day, officials recorded outside temperatures of 100.5 degrees and inside temperatures of 88.8 degrees.
Prison officials stress that inmates have access in their cells to water and that if they become ill from excessive heat they will be taken to the prison infirmary, which is air conditioned.
They add that there is no historical evidence of inmates suffering substantial medical problems related to excessive heat. "All they have is inmates complaining that it is too hot," Drake says.
Fred Markham knows a thing or two about prisons, having spent 27 years behind prison bars in Texas. Mr. Markham, who now works for Prison Legal News in Seattle, says Texas prisons are not air conditioned, but most provide fans. Even so, summers are difficult.
"You sit in the cell and you sweat, hour after hour," Markham says. "I've seen fistfights over who would get to sleep on the floor because the concrete was cooler."
"If you are locked in that cell for 23 hours a day it gets pretty ... intolerable because you are only showering every second or third day. So there are a lot of baths taken out of the toilet. I've done it thousands of times."
Markham says prison officials who keep their inmates cooler are likely to experience fewer problem inmates than those who let them broil. He says fans would be a welcome addition in most prisons, but "try to get a state legislature to kick down $1 million to buy fans for prisoners ... not in this universe."
Inmate-rights experts say prison officials are afforded wide discretion in running their facilities, such as setting budget priorities that may exclude air conditioning and even the purchase of fans.
But these specialists stress that prisons must provide a humane and safe atmosphere. If prison officials deliberately seek to use excessive heat as a form of additional punishment, they say, that could rise to the level of cruel and unusual punishment.
"Many prison officials and members of the public have lost sight of what an astonishing punishment the loss of liberty is," says Jamie Felner, a prisoner-rights specialist at Human Rights Watch in New York.
Many prisoner-rights experts stress that, at some point, most prisoners will be released and rejoin society. "If we don't do anything for them while they are in prison, they are just going to come out angry individuals," says Kara Gotsch of the American Civil Liberties Union's National Prison Project. "That is not the kind of person you want to live next to."
First, I would like us to set aside our differences, and not get drawn into what prisoners deserve, and what they don't deserve. We'll grow old debating, and sharing opinions on that, but this blog is based on science and fact, so we'll continue.
Why are the prisons hot in the first place? They're hot because the DOC specifies modified bitumen roofs, and many buildings do not ventilate well. As I've said before, these roofs greatly amplify ambient temperature readings. I'm going to get blue in the face, but YOU CANNOT INSTALL PETROLEUM BASED ROOFS IN THE VICIOUS FLORIDA SUN, AND NOT EXPECT THEM TO BE HOT!!!
The DOC's solution was not to do the very obvious by installing "Cool Roofs" for far less money than they spend on "Hot" roofs, but they are spending $750,000.oo dollars to teach inmates how to install....Ready?..........Solar Panels!
It is not uncommon for the DOC to direct purchase materials and have the inmates install them, but I can't tell you how many times I've been called in to clean up the mess of unskilled workmen. Friends, I've gone to prisons where the material was laying flat on the ground, melted, and completely ruined. The roofing portion was a criss cross of backward seams, laps, etc.
So, for that effort, YOU received:
1.) The material YOU purchased had to be removed from the site and deposited into a landfill.
2.) The roof YOU paid for had to be completely removed (a very difficult task), and deposited into a landfill.
3.) Purchase brand new material.
4.) Pay for a professional, licensed, contractor to do it correctly.
Now, I can't blame the inmates, because roofing with 450 degree asphalt, or a propane torch, in the Florida sun, might not be the best source of motivation. Did I mention each roll of modified weighs 100 lbs.?
I am working every day to change what I feel to be a barbaric, inhumane, and unsafe environment for humans to earn a living, or in this case "pass time". Countless millions of dollars are being wasted by increased energy demands we are CREATING, when it really doesn't have to be that way. This is what it looks like in real life, and I dare someone to say "foot traffic" or "redundancy of plies".
These workmen do not have ice water coursing through their veins, and I am offended by those who don't hesitate to put them in such a dangerous environment. You think that's a "cool roof" because it's white, don't you? That thing is so full of petroleum it's sickening, and ABSORBS heat, not REFLECT it.
If anyone from the DOC wishes to contact me, I would be more than happy to solve these problems. Because I can.Enjoy your day, and keep looking "UP".
Robert R. "Ron" Solomon
Saturday, October 16, 2010
To me (and I will further explain why), it is beyond irresponsible for any governmental agency, or department, on any level, not to understand this principle. Yet, I see the same outdated, "cookie cutter" roofing specifications, as I saw in the 70's. Who builds structures made of oil? Doesn't that just sound silly?
I decided to do a side by side comparison between a white reflective synthetic roof, and a white modified bitumen roof over R-20 insulation, and a warranty term of 30 years. The energy model (200,000 sq. ft.) revealed a carbon reduction of 77,000 lbs., and an amazing $456,000.00 in energy savings (Courtesy: Carlisle Syntec).
The example was to replicate the general size of a High School, so I could provide a visual. Folks, that's almost a half million of YOUR tax dollars spent without the slightest benefit. None. Now imagine the size of your school district, and multiply. Rather staggering isn't it? Now, repeat this process with prisons, universities, and all governmental structures. Keeping in mind the average energy savings of non-petroleum roofs is 20% (other factors also influence that number).
I am a conservative environmentalist (spotting one is like seeing the Abominable Snowman) seeking maximum benefit of taxpayer dollars, and pursue this with enthusiasm on your behalf.
Where I am retired, independent of monetary influence or having to "go along" with the game, they are not. Please understand I have only friends in the commercial roofing discipline, and understand they have a common responsibility: To provide work, nourish their employees, so they can provide for their families. An incredible task for anyone in business, and I pray for their success.
They need WORK, and it would be cruel of me to criticize anyone for addressing commodities of immediate need. But, if government would get it's head out of the sand, my colleagues would just as easily comply. They cannot complain, or they will be ostracized. FACT.
Okay, that's enough of the shrill tone, but I would encourage anyone who gives a whit about tax dollars to ask your local, state, or federal government "why".
I've had the privilege of speaking to Dr. Steven Chu, Physicist, Nobel Laureate, Former Director Lawrence Berkely Laboratories, and now U.S. Secretary of Energy. Secretary Chu supports exactly what I'm saying here about white reflective roof systems.
Quoting Dr. Chu:
"Professor Steven Chu, the US Energy Secretary, said the unusual proposal would mean homes in hot countries would save energy and money on air conditioning by deflecting the sun's rays.
Thank you for visiting with me today, and keep looking "UP".
Friday, October 15, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
MANY people are confused by, or have little knowledge regarding solar radiation, and the energy demand it creates. This is "Low Hanging Fruit" friends, so let's deal with that first.
The number ONE issue I face when discussing this topic is that all white roofs are "Cool Roofs". I speak to Professors, Architects, Engineers, and Government "Officials" who debate the esoteric, and ignore one of the most principle rules of physics: "Solar Radiation". Cool Roofs are almost exclusively measured by their ability to reflect solar radiation.
Please bear with me here, because I really need you to understand the following: Petroleum based roofing products (asphalt shingles, modified bitumen, and built up roofing) ABSORB the sun's energy, and retain it well into the evening.
But Ron, I've got white asphalt shingles on my home, so I've got a "Cool Roof", right? The answer is NO. The sun "sees" all petroleum products as "black", and your shingles may reach temperatures up to 100 degrees (assume all measurements to be Fahrenheit) hotter than ambient temperatore.
Example: If you change from a black asphalt shingle roof to a white asphalt shingle roof, you will not qualify for any energy rebates. The white granules embedded in asphalt shingles have very little reflective value. I don't care if the granules were made of chrome, your roof will be hot.
This energy absorption creates a roof surface temperature approaching 180 degrees, and greatly stresses attic insulation, and is a strong influence on your average energy consumption. For those of you who may be ambitious, try to touch them on a hot day. Now that's kind of like your Mother telling you not to touch the stove, but doing it anyway. Mom gets the Bactine, and you shout "blow it, it burns".
This is where you will say, "I live in a very cold climate", so why should I care? In your area, you may have more heating days than cooling days. So you would benefit from it, but most of the country (and world) do not live in that environment. I'll get into more regional discussions at a later date.
The best measure of a material's ability to reflect radiant energy is it's "Solar Reflectance Index" (SRI). Asphalt shingles rate very low at about .27, but I'll get into the SRI a bit later as I don't want to overload you with data. I will show you where to go, and you will see the published statistics. I do not feature EnergyStar in my assessments, as they allow manufacturers to publish their own statistics, and many times the manufacturer even owns the testing laboratory. How's that for a "Fun Fact"?
More on Heat Island Effect in the next post.
Have a happy, and productive day. Always remember to keep looking "UP".
Robert R. "Ron" Solomon
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Retired after 37 years in the commercial roofing discipline at the highest level, a licensed Roofing Consultant, and State Certified Roofing Contractor (Florida CCC1325620). I've been directly involved in the successful completion of over 70 public schools, and a great number of high profile commercial and industrial facilities.
I've had the great joy, and honor of being a nominee, a finalist, and judge (3 times) for the Governor's "Sustainable Florida" and "Sustainable Schools" programs, which are considered the premier sustainability achievements in my state.
The basis of my advocacy is to inform you, and let you make decisions based upon science, public record, extensive research, and your specific need. The idea is to separate the grain from the chaff, and maximize your roofing investment. Fair?
I do not sell anything, do not represent anyone other than myself, nor do I receive/accept monetary or personal advancement scenarios. This is the only way I can reasonably expect you to believe my statements to be free of influence. Along the way, I may share some experiences (good and bad) which you may identify with, or in some cases avoid altogether.
While these topics may be vast in terms of money involved, I do not take myself too seriously, and don't want to portray something I am not. I'll try to keep this page upbeat and positive, as that's my nature.
I will not participate in anything that is not inclusive of ALL people, as I find that beneath me, and frankly, beneath you. You will soon learn my aversion to "Proprietary Specifications", or "Sole Source" contracting, as nothing good ever happens there. Especially when it further burdens taxpayers.
Please know I am open to constructive criticism, and welcome comments based upon science or record. I'm aware I cannot be "all things to all people", and may offend someone with my directness, but I hope a direct approach is why you're here. I know many people who will tell you exactly what you want to hear, but I'm not interested in sacrificing my integrity to make it happen.
MANY of you will be interested in roof water catchment devices, material selection, and safety. Over 400,000 people in New Zealand alone depend on the roof as their only source of water, and we'll try hard to bring that into perspective.
By Oct. 18, I will post very specific questions, answers, concerns, and articles to get us started.
My goal is to earn your trust, and provide the information you seek.
"The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible"
Thanks for spending time with me today, and don't forget to look "UP".
Robert R. "Ron" Solomon
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