As I was saying ...

An industry of tree huggers

We've all heard the story, or variations of it, dozens of times: A roofing contractor is invited to a party. The hostess greets him and strikes up a conversation. Inevitably, she asks what kind of work he does. When he tells her, she immediately checks the carpet to be sure he hasn't tracked in anything from the roof.

Well, we've come a long way in changing such perceptions. That same contractor now provides a unique service—installation of a product that often conserves energy, reduces ambient temperature, mitigates storm-water runoff and enables recycled products to be put to good use. And more often than not, his shoes are clean at the day's end.

The fact we've outlived social carpet-checking is not, by itself, that important. What is important is we're at the forefront of an incredible transformation of our industry. We now can position ourselves as experts about energy conservation and the environment. We can help homeowners and building owners save energy—and money—every day and explain to them why a quality roof system matters.

We can be resources for architects, specification writers, roof system designers and government officials interested in recycling and sustainability. We can, and should, know which roofing materials use recycled materials, which can be recycled, which can be maintained over time and which can contribute to the environment's health.