A reader supports increased insulation
I read with interest "A fast re-covery" in the October 2009 issue, page 30. As a longtime member of the roofing industry and quasi-environmentalist, I applaud Yonkers, N.Y.-based Nations Roof LLC's efforts in recycling the PVC membrane removed from the project it completed in Allentown, Pa. Further, allowing all sound polyisocyanurate insulation to remain was yet another positive step in reducing the overcrowding of landfills.
However, as good as these efforts were, I think they pale in comparison with the added benefit that would have resulted had an additional layer of 1 1/2-inch-thick insulation been installed. This second insulation layer not only would have doubled the system's R-value to 18 but could have eliminated thermal shock through the use of staggered joints in the boards.
It would seem the added costs for labor, insulation, longer fasteners and perimeter blocking could conceivably be offset through energy savings given the fact the major electricity supplier in Allentown will be increasing its rates 30 percent this year. Although adding insulation may not seem as exotic as a garden or photovoltaic panels on a roof system, it is "low-hanging fruit" that easily can be justified from environmental and cost-saving standpoints.
I would guess Nations Roof recommended this scenario to the building owner but, like many of us, met with resistance. At a recent educational seminar attended by several members of our staff, a well-known and respected industry professional echoed what many of us feel by stating: "We can no longer be the conscience of the buying public."
We can make recommendations supported by documented evidence of our claims, but in the end, the customer will dictate what is installed. Until current legislation and code requirements are adequately enforced at all levels, roofing contractors are at the mercy of the buying public and must obey its demands if we wish to survive.
Houck Services Inc.