A number of industry experts commented that green products and systems were here to stay and would become increasingly important in all market sectors.
“Architects, designers and homeowners continue to seek energy-saving building materials for renovations and new home construction,” said Bill Hippard of the MRA. “Homeowners are extremely interested in promoting environmental and economic sustainability in the greater community, and they’re searching for products that will provide long-term solutions for the increasing cost of energy bills.”
Advances in technology continue to make solar more promising. “The latest generation of photovoltaic panels look and act like ordinary roofing tiles or shingles,” Hippard said. “New technological advancements of thin-film solar roofing technology, allow homeowners to install a solar roofing system that doesn’t have to penetrate the roof. The panels literally peel and stick to the metal roofing system. Clean energy and sustainable building are the future.”
Bill Collins, president, William Wallace Collins, LLC, sees a change in attitudes about sustainability in contractor and consumer alike. “Solar systems and vegetative roofs with life cycle cost savings are now being sold as a standard product — not just a luxury item on the coasts where energy costs are high. Ground mount and rooftop residential solar will hit a tipping point by 2014 as the demand for distributed power is seen as essential for premier properties and as it becomes clear that regulatory hurdles, in heavily populated areas, will slow the much talked about hope for a rapid shift to fracked natural gas for many years.”
He points to other opportunities. “I see ‘low hanging fruit’ in quick payback LED lighting projects and in two hundred plus RoofPoint projects showcased by CEIR (Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing) that demonstrate smart, durable, solar-ready roof projects.”
Brian Lambert of The Garland Company noted that the focus on energy efficiency continues to increase. “We continue to see a focus on cool roofs and energy efficiency with low slope commercial roofs. Owners are better educated today and understand the energy and environmental benefits of a properly designed cool roofing system. Industry wide, there is some pushback relative to optimum system design – relative to R-value and reflectivity based on specific geographic location. LEED has typically taken the one-size-fits-all mentality relative to cool roofs. As the market matures, designers are more focused on real practical solutions rather than policy driven solutions. Additionally, designers are now more interested in full disclosure and transparency of what raw materials are used in various products, where are they manufactured and requiring independent data to verify environment performance claims.”