FACTS about Public Roofing Procurement, and Oversight. Copyright 2010 by Robert R. Solomon

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"Reality Of Roofing" Videos

I apologize for my lack of postings this month, but I've been very busy with research, and civic engagements. Today, I'll make this roofing stuff look like "Channel 3 Playhouse", by illustrating the types of roofing I've been discussing with you, so you can further grasp the products and installations to exemplify my "Multidimensional" theme of certain systems, vs. the "singular" theme of other materials.

At the onset, let's understand one thing:  ALL roof systems repel water by their respective design processes.  But I ask the question "What else does it do?"

This first video illustrates the "Torch", or "Open Flame" installation of modified bitumen (petroleum).  After you've reviewed all the videos, perhaps I will have illustrated topics you should be asking of your respective Public sectors (schools, universities, hospitals, etc.).  Okay, let's get up on the roof, and try to think about doing all this on a 95+ degree day, so we can "humanize" roofers, and their work environment.

The propane torch is heating up the bitumen contained in the roll itself.  The bitumen is designed to "flow", and secure it to the insulation system.  I will point out that any torch applied modified bitumen rolls MUST INCLUDE A NON-FLAMMABLE SECOND LAYER OF INSULATION.  That increases labor, and cost, because you cannot torch directly to closed cell insulation (polyisocyanurate), as it will melt, or catch on fire.

This man is torching a 100 sq. ft. roll of modified, weighing approximately 100 lbs. per 100 sq. ft., and is very laborious as you would imagine.  The "white granules" achieve very little in terms of solar reflection with an SRI of approximately .27 (same as asphalt shingles), and will not qualify for any "LEED" project, or energy incentive.  The sun's radiant energy essentially "sees" these roof systems as "black", and they reach very high surface temperatures (180 degrees F. is not uncommon), and hold that heat well into the evening.  Modified bitumen roof systems DO keep a building dry, but are dangerous, costly, environmentally unfriendly, due to copious amounts of nitrogen and phosphorous they deposit into storm water.  Very inefficient in terms of energy costs.

Now, I would like you to pretend you're here in modern times with me, and not stuck in the "horse and buggy" days, like those in the videos. 

While the gentlemen in the previous videos may seem very passionate (read: comfort zone), I think you may find a bit more value and clarity, in what Physicist, Nobel Laureate, and Secretary of Energy, Dr. Steven Chu has to say about it.

Click this link for the greatest roofing statements ever:  http://blog.energy.gov/blog/2010/12/14/cool-roofs-easy-upgrade

I see where I have visitors from very hot climates, similar to the climate here in Florida.  But then again, most of the earth's populations do live in hotter climates.  If you live in the Arctic Circle, you probably don't have much need for anything except fire, and a helicopter. 

Everything I write, or provide here, is for YOU.  That is how I maintain my enthusiasm, and will continue to provide the "Reality of Roofing" to those who desperately need it.  For all the damage asphalt roofing does, it should be front page news, but since roofing is the most boring topic on earth, just isn't approached on the level I share with you here.

I would like to thank you for visiting with me today, reject negativity, and keep looking "UP".

Much Respect,

Robert R. "Ron" Solomon
CCC1325620  Florida

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

"Where The Oil Goes"

I wanted to take a moment today to illustrate the makeup of a barrel of oil, and how it's used.

Of course, the oil goes to a refinery, and the portion of material used in roofing products is called "Residuum".

You will see it also described as "Asphalt Base". In the United States, we consume asphalt products in two major applications.

1.) Road Building : 80%
2.) Roofing Products : 20%

Of course, they both have similar radiant absorption properties, and it is simply impossible to defy laws of physics, and expect it to not get hot. This is where most people who are laymen regarding the roofing discipline are (in my opinion) being misled. Most of you probably think that white shingles, or white modified bitumen is reflective, but in reality, has a very low SRI of approximately .25.

Ron, it's white, so why doesn't it "reflect"? Well it does, but very, very little. But it's the radiant absorption, or "heat gain" that is generally (conditions vary slightly) twice that of ambient temperature. So on a nice hot day here in Florida, at 95 degrees (assume all measurements to be Fahrenheit), the roof can easily, I repeat easily, attain surface temperatures in excess of 180 degrees.

The roof surface stays hot well into the evening, and a heat island effect of between 6-8 degrees higher than surrounding areas is typical. I keep trying to come up with new ways to say this, but petroleum based roofs are singular in dimension, get very hot, create a huge demand on energy, are unsafe, and contaminate water supplies by introducing large amounts of nitrogen andf phosphorous into our tributaries.

Okay, enough of that for now, but there is a reason why huge retailers (Wal-Mart being the best example) do not use petroleum based roof systems. Can you imagine the monthly energy bill for a Wal-Mart Super Center at 250,000 sq. ft.? You may believe Wal-Mart is alert, and cares a great deal about a 20% energy reduction. I cannot comprehend the dollar value when multiplied by all their stores, but they sure can.

Is your City Council smarter than Wal-Mart? Nope.
County Commission? Nope.
Congress? Of course not.
Senate? No way.

This is simply "Common Sense", and while our Secretary of Energy supports it, no governing agencies adopt it. The people who actually have to pay the bills care about it, and use white synthetic thermoplastic, and save money. The government uses oil, and loses money.

I invite you to make an appointment with a school board member in your district, and ask "why?" Their pensive stare will not amuse you. I'm one person, and I'm challenging government agencies to justify this heinous waste of taxpayer money.

When we run out of fresh water, it will be too late. And to think we actually "PAID" a premium for the contamination, when we didn't have to, is the absolute definition of "irresponsible". If you would like this point shared with a decision maker in your jurisdiction, simply send me a name and email address, and I will do it for you.

Thank you once again for visiting with me today. Reject negativity, and keep looking "UP".


Robert R. "Ron" Solomon

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

"Uninformed Contractors & Consultants"

This is an example of an uninformed contractor, pretending to know something about "Sustainability", and quite frankly was disturbed by his comments, as if this was a great accomplishment, when quite the opposite was true.

"We reroofed a school this summer in South Florida, 80,000 sf. Original roof was BUR asphalt and gravel. Replaced this with Soprema's Soprastar, torch applied modified bitumen. This cap sheet has the highest Solar Reflectance after three years than other modified cap sheets, granular or coated. It's the aged SRI that's important, because what good is a white roof that turns tobacco stained. But anyway, this school is identical to another school in the same county. Both of these schools are cooled by 2 chillers. The newly reroofed school has only had to turn on one chiller since the reroof. The other school has had to use 2 chillers. We also gave the School District over $32,000.00 in rebate from FPL after the reroof.

So, the effects on the HVAC system are substantial, at least in the beginning. The big question is will it remain white? Will the owner see the advantage / importance of having a maintenance program on his new roof, so he can keep reaping the benefits?"

My reply:

You didn't do anyone any favors with your "Soprastar". There is no rational explanation for approving such an expenditure. None. Tell us about all that petroleum we consumed on a product without 3 year testing.

Miami-Dade says it was only approved 06/10/09, so there is no 3 year testing as far as they're concerned.

CRRC says this:
Soprastar Bright White Modified Bitumen: Initial SRI 0.78 Projected 3 year SRI 0.66

The .78 barely hits an acceptable reflectivity of, you guessed it .78 (page 95 LEED V2.2.). The .66 is three year aging (real or projected). A white TPO far surpasses that dismal performance.

For a school district no less. How much of a premium for NO additional benefit do you think you caused the taxpayers in that county? Did that even cross your mind?

I know you are happy to get an energy "Rebate" of $32,000.00 for them, but that money isn't free. The taxpayers ate that, AND the HUGE upcharge. I'll bet the "Soprastar" easily cancelled out the rebate. Easily.

Seriously, you could have given them an .080 TPO, 30 year NDL instead of using a "Boutique" manufacturer like Soprema, for LESS MONEY!!. Let me guess, they also listed "Siplast". You rarely see one without the other.

I get so tired of watching this scenario play out in our schools. No private owner would ever consider a huge cost increase like that. They don't do it because it doesn't make sense. Some consultant or salesman was responsible for that, and I'd really like them to explain why, but that won't happen.

I am very curious how you plan to "maintain" the magical "flakes" on Soprastar.

Also curious about the wind speed warranty you gave the school district. Let me guess, 54 mph?

I'm glad you got a job, but at what cost?

You want to see how our schools are getting ripped off by roofing material salesmen? Just check here http://schoolroofingscam.blogspot.com/ , and it's in black and white. I know you paid a lot more for the material than you would have paid from a manufacturer that competes fairly. GAF, Johns-Manville, Firestone?

Thanks for telling us about Soprema's super great product. I'm holding my tongue, because I know the exact scenario, and I despise it. Now you've piqued my curiosity, and I'll do a little more research and report back.


Initial :

Solar Reflectance 0.78 Weathered:Pending
Thermal Emittance 0.89 Weathered:Pending

The "flakes" will create an irregular surface, and trap even more contaminant, and I have no idea how you restore reflectivity to a modified, as they are new to the market.

At least you can easily clean a TPO.

Please tell us how much you paid for the smooth modified per roll, and the Soprastar per roll, and I think this conversation will be over.

Now, I know that may seem a bit confrontational, but in here, I give you substantiated facts, not idle chatter. These are the misconceptions I face each day, because a great number of consultants will say, or do, anything for a dollar, and it's that simple.

If you think for one moment, a consultant cares about a taxpayer, you are sadly mistaken. I just think they don't care, and maybe I'm asking too much of them. Most roof consultants are failed roofing contractors. They couldn't run their own company, yet are intelligent enough to tell others how to do it.

Forgive my rather elevated tone today, but it really aggravates me that our government, and schools in particular, allow this horrific "Sales Model" to be perpetuated.

I'm trying my bloody best to restore honor and integrity into my chosen discipline, but it's like facing a 300' tidal wave. I am absolutely overwhelmed by what has become almost a vertical climb, and I'm ashamed.

Perhaps tomorrow will be the day things change? But after saying that to myself for 8 years, am beginning to lose hope. It doesn't make me less enthusiastic, but my skin is not made of titanium, and sometime it gets to me. Regardless, I don't get paid for ripping off school districts, and I hope by now, you know I am deeply committed to you, the TAXPAYER.

The sun will shine tomorrow, and of that, I am certain.

Alright my friends, I am thankful for the time you spend here, and remember to ALWAYS keep looking "UP".


Robert R. "Ron" Solomon

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