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

Friday, January 11, 2019

The future of affordable solar collection.


Years ago, I wrote about carbon nanotubes and graphene, as it pertains to solar collection devices.    


I wrote the piece in 2011, so have fun finding  the "then and now' developments.

I believe the following may remove the one obstacle between wide public acceptance, and affordability.  It will also eliminate staggering government subsidies.


Try to imagine your roof space as a solar collector, and at the cost of ordinary house paint!  Think of people in third world countries whose lives would be dramatically improved.

It could be applied to every exterior surface, and I find that remarkable.


Sheets of Solar Cells that can be Printed with a Domestic Printer Researchers at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) have developed an inexpensive solar cell that can be painted or printed on flexible plastic sheets. 

"The process is simple,? said lead researcher and author Somenath Mitra, PhD, professor and acting chair of NJIT's Department of Chemistry and Environmental Sciences. 

"Someday homeowners will even be able to print sheets of these solar cells with inexpensive homebased inkjet printers. Consumers can then slap the finished product on a wall, roof or billboard to create their own power stations." 

"Fullerene single wall carbon nanotube complex for polymer bulk heterojunction photovoltaic cells," featured as the June 21, 2007 cover story of the Journal of Materials Chemistry published by the Royal Society of Chemistry, details the process. The Society, based at Oxford University, is the British equivalent of the American Chemical Society. 

Harvesting energy directly from abundant solar radiation using solar cells is increasingly emerging as a major component of future global energy strategy, said Mitra. Yet, when it comes to harnessing renewable energy, challenges remain. 

Expensive, large ­scale infrastructures such as wind mills or dams are necessary to drive renewable energy sources, such as wind or hydroelectric power plants. 

Purified silicon, also used for making computer chips, is a core material for fabricating conventional solar cells. However, the processing of a material such as purified silicon is beyond the reach of most consumers. 

"Developing organic solar cells from polymers, however, is a cheap and potentially simpler alternative," said Mitra. "We foresee a great deal of interest in our work because solar cells can be inexpensively printed or simply painted on exterior building walls and/or roof tops. 

Imagine some day driving in your hybrid car with a solar panel painted on the roof, which is producing electricity to drive the engine. The opportunities are endless. 

The science goes something like this. When sunlight falls on an organic solar cell, the energy generates positive and negative charges. If the charges can be separated and sent to different electrodes, then a current flows. If not, the energy is wasted.

Link cells electronically and the cells form what is called a panel, like the ones currently seen on most rooftops. The size of both the cell and panels vary. Written by AZoBuild Jul 19 2007 Sheets of Solar Cells that can be Printed with a Domestic Printer 

URL: https://www.azobuild.com/news.aspx?newsID=4124 P 1/2 

Panels have no size limits. The solar cell developed at NJIT uses a carbon nanotubes complex, which by the way, is a molecular configuration of carbon in a cylindrical shape. 

The name is derived from the tube's miniscule size. Scientists estimate nanotubes to be 50,000 times smaller than a human hair. Nevertheless, just one nanotube can conduct current better than any conventional electrical wire. 

"Actually, nanotubes are significantly better conductors than copper," Mitra added. Mitra and his research team took the carbon nanotubes and combined them with tiny carbon Buckyballs (known as fullerenes) to form snake­like structures. Buckyballs trap electrons, although they can't make electrons flow. 

Add sunlight to excite the polymers, and the buckyballs will grab the electrons. Nanotubes, behaving like copper wires, will then be able to make the electrons or current flow. "Using this unique combination in an organic solar cell recipe can enhance the efficiency of future painted ­on solar cells," said Mitra. "Someday, I hope to see this process become an inexpensive energy alternative for households around the world." 


I've always said a roof must be "multidimensional", and possess properties that compliment structures in other ways. 

Radiant energy, clean water runoff, and absence of petroleum are but a few examples.

Reject negativity in all forms, and always remember to keep looking "UP".

Much Respect.

Robert R. "Ron" Solomon
Public Procurement Analyst
Licensed Contractor
State Certification CCC 1325620
Licensed Consultant

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Administrators are not State Certified Contractors, or Consultants, so stop the horrible roofing decisions like you are an expert in the field. WE are experts, not you.


"Do Tremco, and Garland roofs last twice as long"?  

Of course not.  Every major manufacturer I've listed (below) offer warranted 20 and 30 year roof systems (labor and material).  I know Firestone offers a 30 year puncture, hail, and wind resistance warranty because I've purchased them.

I'm sure the other "Majors" do too.  A FRACTION of what the Tremco, Garland, Simon, "Warranties" would cost.  A dramatic illustration is shown below.

ANY SCHOOL that purchases a roof through a Purchasing Cooperative, is paying approximately 40% too much.  It is a stone cold scam.

NO roofing contractor on earth will go into a competitive bid process with Tremco, Garland, or Simon.  Never gonna happen.

Why?  Because the contractor isn't ignorant, and neither is the owner.  People who own buildings are not (generally speaking) stupid.  Are you with me?

Why doesn't WalMart, Target, ProLogis (largest owners of retail space in the world), major Grocery chains, use them if they're so competitive? 

I wrote a piece called "Are you smarter than WalMart" if you'd like to use the search box.

I've roofed many properties for these people, and they are well informed..  Not so in the public sector who run it through a committee, board, or some other non-credentialed  group. 

Frankly, am offended by their arrogance.

Wild claims of material  superiority is a sales ploy, and nothing more.  I know a company that preys upon retirees here in Florida (mobile homes).  Selling them the lowest grade material, for a super premium price.  

That is not a joke, and have witnessed it.  I'll spare the perpetrators for a moment, unless someone wants me to fully expose the scam.  Savaging the elderly exposes deep character flaws like you are imagining right now.

Back to the "Our roofs last twice as long":

According to whom?  According to what parameters?  What side by side comparison? Show us.  I know one manufacturer who actually owns the testing laboratory that certifies their own material.  What?  They do a lot of public work by the way.

 Simply put, the claim is false, and they know it.  Garland actually refers to Tremco as a "Bad Apple".  Funny, Garland doesn't even make half the material they sell, and neither does Tremco.  All claims of "Superior Product" are false, like most blanket claims are.

 I'm surprised another manufacture hasn't sued them for such preposterous, unsubstantiated, claims.  All I want to see is the data, and will post it here.  Don't hold your breath.   

Stand by while I eat my delicious sandwich with iced tea (unsweetened).  Okay, break time is over, and feel nourished. Back to the incessant rambling.  

It's time to put on your thinking caps.


Question:  If Tremco, and Garland are putting 10 yr. roofs on schools, does that mean a competitors roof only lasts 5 yrs.?  

Any school District I've ever seen insisted on a 20 yr. warranty, and I wouldn't put a ten year roof on a dog house.  Think of all the money saved when a district can leave it in the bank for another 10 years, drawing interest.

Trying desperately, as I appeal to common sense.  Here, I not only say it, but PROVE it in all 162 posts.  Public record folks, and I do not share "opinions".

A 20 year roof does not cost twice that of  a 10 year roof.  The upcharge is minimal, and the roof system much, much, better.  The warranty also includes sheet metal flashings!!!  Can you believe it?  

The game is to purchase from another manufacturer (Cooley, largest private labeler) affix the new label, mark it up 300%, and POWER SELL it to an uninformed administrator.   

Sort of like installing a Rolls Royce hood ornament on a $300.00 car.

It has nothing to do with material quality, but everything to do with a predatory sales model.

Decision makers who don't think:

We'll excuse Spanky, because he's a baby, and doesn't know better. Administrators, not so much.

Does anyone want me to believe that Tremco and Garland are Superior to:

I've installed millions of sq. ft., and millions of dollars spent on the manufacturers listed.  They are HONORABLE MANUFACTURERS, and honorable people.

Tremco, nor Garland, can COMPETE.  Their sales model won't allow it.  This is vicious stuff folks.  Greasy too. 

NOTE: Retired 2003, do not solicit nor accept compensation or personal advancement of any kind.

These are the largest, most available (Locally), most dependable, and most COMPETITIVE Manufacturers on earth.  Garland, and Tremco ship from Ohio, so good luck with that.  I sure hope your material order isn't short, or facing liquidated damages.

Why do you think the schools went with a "sole source" manufacturer?  What real "Benefit" did they receive by eliminating all competition? What did they get for that 25% commission to the salesman?

If the manufacturers above don't make it, you don't need it.

Please understand I NEVER want Tremco, Garland, Simon, or anyone else to be excluded.  They cannot, and will not compete.  I'll bet you a whole box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts if proven wrong.   You can even look at me while I'm there.

The moment you suggest "competition". they will panic, and seek fertile ground elsewhere.  It's even in their manual.  Believe it, or not!   "Sell by Fear" (below). 

You will note these mainstream manufacturers back their warranties with billions in assets, bonding, etc. (Berkshire Hathaway, Bridgestone Tire).  GAF is the largest roofing material manufacturer in North America.

And you get stuck with Tremco, Garland, Simon, and a Purchasing Cooperative?  I know these sales pitches forward, and backword, and it's really quite easy to disassemble their claims.  I DARE someone to contradict me.  "Constructive criticism"may be a better term.

One of the districts decided not to purchase a warranty, and got stung.  In 40 years, have roofed hundreds of schools, and never once did I fail to secure a 20 year no dollar limit (labor and material) warranty.  Under no circumstance should you ever expect less.  Manufacturers above offer the warranty for much less than Tremco, and Garland.  Example:

A 25,000 sq. ft.  roof will set you back $26,250.00 for a 10 or 15 year roof?  I won't trouble you with infinite detail, and we'll save that for another time. You're welcome.

Tremco says so right here:

Tremco specifying 10, and 15 year roofs on public structures is absurd.   You aren't buying a "Warranty", but rather a "Service Agreement".  If the roof leaks, you are going to pay through the nose.  The "Service Agreement" is the holy grail for commissioned salesmen. 

A Fair, competitive bid with major material manufacturers above will be around: $4,000.00 (maximum).  They will warrant the roof system to be watertight for the term of warranty.  Repairs are at NO COST to the owner (taxpayer).

Did they check the manufacturer record, or just sit there and fall for a "sales pitch"?  Administrators may not give even the slightest hint of favoritism.  They are trying to insert administrator "ease", and wipe out fair competition.  

10 minutes of research will tell you all about Tremco, but somehow it's too much trouble before coughing up millions of taxpayer dollars. Decimating school maintenance budgets, and local economies.

Manufacturers must COMPETE, and their approved applicators must COMPETE. This is the ONLY way to furnish a truly competitive, hard bid number.  We bid to a "Standard", not a manufacturer.  

Tremco is famous for being fined $61,000,000.00 by the DOJ for abusing GSA contracts and now the SEC is suing them for lying.  The schools they defrauded got NOTHING.

Brace yourself:


Did that sting?

Competition must exist between 3-4 manufacturers, and their approved applicators may bid accordingly.  You increase the bidding pool by at least 75%.  Make sense?

Forever hearing "well, the FM guy wants it that way".  Each time I say, the FM guy has absolutely no authority to sole source anything.  Against the law in all 50 states.

I am not an administrator any more than they are State Certified Roofing Contractors, or Consultants.  they simply are not credentialed, trained, or experienced in Thermal and Moisture Protection, 

Division 7 in your spec book.   Makes sense doesn't it?

Anyway, I'll present the following carnage for your review.  The naivete is astounding to any normal human.

Too many Chiefs, and not enough Indians.  

This "Sell by fear" memorandum may illustrate both the depravity, and theme of Garland Ind..  Prepare yourself:

Click to enlarge.

Let's move on:


The competitive picture
Local roofing contractors said that two factors account for the difference in price between the Ohio companies' systems and other roofing systems: limited competition and features of the roofs.

L.B. Morris, president of Kansas City-based Sellers & Marquis Roofing Co. and former president of the Midwest Roofing Contractors Association, said only a handful of local contractors apply a certain type of roofing system. Prices tend to go up when only one manufacturer is mandated because there is no competition to keep the price of the materials down.

Some districts have more contractor options because they use more than one of the Ohio systems. The Kansas City School District uses all three of the Ohio manufacturers.
Robert Young, director of purchasing for Kansas City, Kan., public schools, said the district just completed a five- to six-year roofing cycle using mostly the Tremco system.

"We have bid those roofing projects out and awarded the jobs to multiple contractors," Young said. "We have used Tremco pretty extensively and used Hickman on some others."

High quality or overkill?
Bill Carrison, president of RTI Consultants Inc. -- an independent roofing consultant that does work for the Olathe School District -- said the biggest problem is that school districts are paying for bells and whistles they simply don't need when installing the higher-priced roofs sold by the Ohio manufacturers.

 From a technical standpoint, these companies put added ingredients in to make their product look better," Carrison said. "But if you go back one step and ask what the building needs, you figure out you are using an eight-cylinder engine where a six-cylinder will do. My point is, you don't need it. 

"Do (Tremco, Garland and Hickman) have a better product? Probably. Do you need it? No."
Tremco spokesman Carl Zeitz disagreed.

"There are no bells and whistles on a good roof," Zeitz said. "Our roofs last. We insist on high-quality details, and quality has a cost.

"They don't cost more; they last longer. A roof that lasts twice as long as the average, or typical, roof is less expensive, not more expensive. Our customers also know they are going to get financial responsibility, integrity, efficiency, industry experience and prompt service from Tremco because they always have."

Soukup said the expected life of the roofs used on Blue Valley schools is 25 to 30 years. That's as much as can reasonably be expected.
"If they say a roof is going to last longer than 30 years, well ... that's just kind of silly," Soukup said.

Raising the roof
Grandview Superintendent Martin has had his fill of dealing with roofing issues.
Howls about the district's use of Tremco systems grew louder when the district retained a roofing consultant from Tremco.
In addition, the district recently postponed taking bids on a roofing package. Martin said the district had erred in grouping too many roofing jobs together, thus making the work a construction project rather than roofing repair and maintenance.

Missouri law requires districts to advertise the process in the local paper, as well as different roofing trade publications, to make everyone aware of the project. Grandview did not do that.
"Roofs are the bane of the education experience," Martin said. "They are supposed to be an incidental part of my job, but instead, they're becoming all-consuming."


I'm trying as hard as I can to inform you before a reporter shows up at your office.  Then comes the State Auditor, and they aren't known for handing out "Trophies".

Don't believe me?  Here I am in Oklahoma:


I've offered $10,000.00 of my own money for a public, televised, debate with Tremco, or Garland.  No takers in 10 years.  Little old me versus a multi-billion dollar firm.

I do not dislike Tremco/Garland/Simon employees.  The "Predatory Sales Model" is to blame, not the employees. It's a hard life, and I feel sorry for them.  

NOTE: Retired 2003, do not solicit nor accept compensation or personal advancement of any kind.

Thank you for putting up with this tedium, but a lot of people are stealing a lot of money from our schools, and I want it to stop now.

I will help anyone who needs help.  Just write:


If I can't help you, I know people who can.  Very special thanks to Ms. Janet Campbell, and her wonderful site:

"School Roofing Scam"

Fantastic, and plenty of record.  It takes a lot of time, and effort to put together these posts my friends.  
Reject negativity in all forms, and always remember to  keep looking "UP".

Much Respect.

Robert R. "Ron" Solomon
Public Procurement Analyst
Licensed Contractor
State Certification CCC 1325620
Licensed Consultant

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