Residential Metal Roofing Executive Report Marketing, Lead Generation, In-Home Sales, Installation, Referral Maximization

In The Roofing Biz? Then You’re In The Energy Biz!

Issue #104 | June 29, 2018 | Todd Miller

In this issue of the Executive Report, we will take a short break from our current series on “What Does It Take To Be Successful?” and take a look at something that cannot be ignored by roofing and home improvement contractors – Energy.

For many years, I have said the following:

“If you’re in the residential roofing business, then you must also be in the energy business.”

Residential rooftops are too plentiful and also too large of a component of any home investment to not be looked at as critical to a home’s energy performance. When you talk about roofing to a homeowner, you MUST talk about either saving energy or harnessing energy – or both!

And, increasingly, this is something that is becoming government-mandated. The state of California recently passed regulation under which, effective in 2020, all new construction homes must include a solar collection installation. Imagine that – 2020 will be upon us very soon. And, what’s more, many other states are also looking at similar regulations and undoubtedly will be making their own announcements in coming months and years.

So, I say it again –

“If you’re in the residential roofing business, then you must also be in the energy business.”

There’s no avoiding it. The only question is this – how will you do it? And what is the best roofing material to support the coming reality??? To look at this, let’s break it down into two sections – Saving Energy and Harnessing Energy.

While much discussion can be given to “green” energy and its benefits, there is still one reality – the best way to impact the energy world is to reduce the need for energy. Every bit of energy demand that is reduced is energy that doesn’t have to be created in any fashion! So, good advice when talking to homeowners about energy is to encourage them to do all they can to reduce their energy consumption before they begin to think about trying to harness energy through solar or other avenues.

Metal roofing has many ways in which it saves energy, and these can all be a part of the “we’re actually in the energy business” story that you tell your prospective customers. Here are the primary ways in which metal roofs reduce home electric costs by up to 20% or even more:

  1. Most metal used in roofing has high recycled content – as high as 95% or even more in the case of aluminum. The embodied energy in recycled metal is far, far less than the embodied energy in virgin metal.
  2. Metal roofing is long-lasting. With roofing materials that need to be replaced periodically, you’re always forced to go back to the “energy well” each time new materials have to be manufactured, shipped, and installed.
  3. The low weight of metal roofing allows more to be shipped on a truck than is the case with heavy shingle or tile products. This is a significant savings in the total energy consumed by a new roof.
  4. Quality metal roofs often have reflective pigments in their coatings, reflecting radiant heat away from the home.
  5. In the case of metal shingle metal roofs, there are often integrated airspaces between the metal and the roof deck. This airspace acts as a thermal break, stopping the conductive transfer of heat from the roof surface to the structure — similar in many ways to double and triple pane windows.
  6. Metal roofs can be easily vented, helping to exhaust heat out of the attic space, further reducing air conditioning demand.
  7. Metal roofs are ideal for installation over insulated roof decks and conditioned attic spaces – they are not degraded by the inability of heat to pass through them.

So, we’ve looked at how metal roofs help save energy – always the smartest and first thing to do. But, for homeowners who’d also like to use their roofs to generate power, here are the ways in which metal works well:

  1. For traditional solar panel installations, metal offers a great base due to its durability. The life expectance of solar panels is, at minimum, 20 years. It does not make sense to install them on top of roofing that may need to be replaced sooner than that.
  2. With some metal roofs, solar panels can be attached with minimal fasteners through the roof. With others, those fasteners and brackets can be easily sealed for long term watertightness – the stability of metal over time allows long terms sealing in comparison to other roofing materials that dry out and deteriorate over time.
  3. Metal is recognized as a great substrate for “thin film” and other building-integrated solar collection methods. This is due to its stability and high strength – low weight ratio. While traditional PV panels still offer the most cost-effective option for homeowners, other options are increasingly available and metal is present with most of them.

So, next time a homeowner talks to you about roofing, put on your “energy hat” as well – with metal in particular, you have a great story to tell! Metal roofing can be your ticket to one of the fastest growing demands on construction and remodeling – saving and harnessing energy.

For more great information on metal roofing and energy, read this article. As always, thank you for being a loyal reader of the Residential Metal Roofing Executive Report. Please feel free to contact me anytime to talk about what’s working well in your business, and also those areas where you may feel that improvement is necessary.

todd Miller

has spent his entire career in the metal building products manufacturing industry. He is president of Isaiah Industries, an organization recognized as one of the world’s leading metal roofing manufacturers. Todd is currently Vice President of the MRA (Metal Roofing Association) and a Past Chair of MCA (Metal Construction Association). Through his website, he strives to raise the bar on standards and practices to provide property owners with the best possible products for successful roofing projects.

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