Showing posts from June, 2016

Solar thermal system integrates invisibly into slate roof

For some, solar panels are a status symbol; that's why so many people put them on their homes instead of fixing air leaks or changing light bulbs. The Onion made fun of it a couple of years ago: © The Onion Others prefer quiet money, believing the old dictum that "if you've got it, don't flaunt it." For example, real slate roofs are about the most expensive you can buy, but they last almost forever and they are really beautiful. The last thing you are going to want to do is cover them up with photoelectric or solar thermal panels. Solar energy is one thing, but an elegant roof is another thing altogether. © Thermoslate That's why the Thermoslate system from Spanish slate company Cupa Pizarras is so interesting. Being dark, a slate roof absorbs a lot of heat; being stone, it has good thermal mass and holds it for a while. © Thermoslate In the Thermoslate system, slate roof tiles are integrated with thermal cells that are ganged into solar thermal "batteries…

Smart Homes in North America and Europe Reached 17.9 Million in 2015

GOTHENBURG, Sweden — The number smart homes in North America and Europe reached a total of 17.9 million in 2015, according to a new research report from Berg Insight. North America is the world’s most advanced smart home market and the region had an installed base of 12.7 million smart homes at the end of the year, a 56 percent year-on-year growth. The strong market growth is expected to last for years to come, driving the number of smart homes in North America to 46.2 million by 2020, which corresponds to 35 percent of all households. The European market is two to three years behind North America in terms of penetration and market maturity. At the end of 2015, there were 5.3 million smart homes in Europe and the market is forecasted to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 54 percent in the next five years to reach 44.9 million smart homes by 2020, which corresponds to 20 percent of all European households. The most successful products in the smart home market include smar…

Geothermal + Solar = Expensive but Often Worth it

Homeowners who are interested in saving energy usually start with simple measures, such as installing a programmable thermostat, adding insulation to the attic, or sealing air leaks. For those looking to take energy conservation to the next level, many contractors are encouraging the installation of a combination geothermal heat pump and solar energy system. “Other than the high upfront cost, it’s difficult to find any disadvantages to installing a geothermal/solar system,” said Rob Derksen, co-owner of Michigan Energy Services in Whitmore Lake, Michigan. “Since geothermal systems run on electricity, the solar array offsets the need to draw from grid power. In addition, by installing a solar array, homeowners can essentially pre-purchase their future electrical needs at today’s cost.” SIZE IT RIGHT Derksen is a Hydron Module dealer and has been installing geothermal systems since 1994. He’s been involved with about eight to 10 geothermal/solar installations, although he is certain tha…

Across the Country, Contractors Give Back

Across the country, members of Associated Builders and Contractors embody the meaning of philanthropy by helping charitable organizations succeed and encouraging others to give back.

In the Midwest, Willmar Electric Service employees exemplify the company’s philosophy of making a difference in Minnesota, North Dakota and Oklahoma by volunteering at the charity of their choice throughout the year. In return, the company offers additional paid time off for employees who volunteer more than 100 hours during their time off. Willmar Electric also thanks the employees who volunteer the most hours by giving a cash donation to the charity of their choice.

“Willmar invests in the lives of coworkers and this bleeds over into coworkers investing into the lives of others,” says Willmar Electric Director of Human Resources Trista Selander. “Yes, we help build buildings, but we also desire to help employees build a community that respects, honors and blesses those around them.”

On the East Coast, two…

Building a Culture of Caring

Creating a culture that helps a company retain employees, win work and leave a positive impression on the community can be a difficult challenge. For The Beck Group, based in Dallas, success has come from a culture of caring that permeates all areas of the business. 

“One of our four core values is caring—defined as showing concern, empathy and compassion for others, ourselves and our environment,” says Shannah Haley, Beck’s director of marketing and communications. “This is foundational to who we are and who we’ve been as a company for our 103-year history.”

In Tampa, Fla., Beck has had a profound effect on the area’s educational institutions—raising more than $1.3 million for the University of Tampa Scholarship Program and Athletic Department in the last 15 years. Most recently, the company’s 2015 golf fundraiser raised $120,000 to go toward scholarship funds for students looking to further their education.

With nearly 300 golfers and 50 volunteers, the tournament has become a staple e…
NRCA's Career Center offers a workforce solution for the roofing industryTo support your recruitment efforts, NRCA has launched an online Career Center that offers roofing industry employers a way to connect with job seekers.

The Career Center provides job posting platforms; resources to help you find qualified workers; recruiting videos to help you communicate the benefits of a career in the roofing industry; tools to onboard and train new employees; and organizations to connect you with potential employees, among other resources.

For more information, visit


Trenton H. Cotney Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer Trent Cotney, P.A. 407 N. Howard Avenue Suite 100 Tampa, FL 33606

OSHA offers heat illness resources for outdoor workers

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers resources through its Campaign to Prevent Heat Illness in Outdoor Workers.

OSHA's campaign aims to raise awareness and educate workers and employers about the dangers of working in hot weather and provide resources and guidance to address these hazards. Workers in outdoor industries—such as agriculture, construction, landscaping and transportation—are at particular risk.

Thousands of employees become sick each year and many die from working in the heat. Labor-intensive activities in hot weather can raise body temperatures beyond the level that typically can be cooled by sweating. Heat illness initially may manifest as heat rash or heat cramps but quickly can escalate to heat exhaustion and then heat stroke if simple preventative measures are not followed.

Heat illness disproportionately affects those who have not built up a tolerance to heat (acclimatization), and it especially is dangerous for new and temporary workers.

Simon Roofing acquires assets of Ohio manufacturing company

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Simon Roofing Company, based out of Youngstown, announced Monday that it bought significant assets of the Roth Roofing Products Company of Tallmadge, Ohio. The most significant part of the purchase is that Simon will now own the manufacturing process of the company, formerly known as Viridian Systems. Simon Roofing co-owner Alex Simon says having Roth Roofing will allow the company to increase its sales potential. The Roth Roofing manufacturing operations will be moved to a Simon Roofing plant in Struthers. A number of Roth employees will make the move, though company officials did not say how many. Simon Roofing employs 200 in the Mahoning Valley and over 500 throughout the United States. From WKBN 27 Trenton H. Cotney Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer Trent Cotney, P.A. 407 N. Howard Avenue Suite 100 Tampa, FL 33606

Glass ceiling, shattered: The richest self-made woman in America is a roofer

Trust funds are boring: These women run the worldForbes' second annual roundup of the richest self-made women in America (read: did not inherit their cash) is out, and the lineup is star-studded with entertainers. Taylor Swift is the youngest earner and comes in 60th on the list, with a staggering net worth of $250 million. BeyoncĂ©, surely celebrating with a glass of lemonade, was four spots ahead, at $265 million. Rounding out some of the top positions were Oprah Winfrey (No. 2), Madonna (No. 25), Celine Dion (No. 37), Barbra Streisand (No. 38), author Nora Roberts (No. 42), actress Jessica Alba (also No. 42), and Nasty Gal founder and #Girlboss author Sophia Amoruso (No. 52). So who's No. 1? That'd be Diane Hendricks, who owns ABC Supply, the largest wholesale distributor of roofing and siding in the country — she's worth a cool $4.9 billion. Get it, Di. From USA Today
Trenton H. Cotney Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer Trent Cotney, P.A. 407 N. Howard Avenue Suit…

Miami, Orlando, Tampa thrive with double-digit construction employment growth: AGC

The Miami area reported ranked ninth nation-wide in construction employment growth between March 2015 and March 2016 according to federal employment data analyzed by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). The Orlando and Tampa areas also reported significant job growth rates at 14 percent and 11 percent respectively, while conditions were not so good in West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Delray Beach, which reported a 2 percent decline and Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, which had a 3 percent drop. Nation-wide, construction employment increased in 244 out of 358 metro areas, was unchanged in 44 and declined in 70 between March 2015 and March 2016, the AGC reported. Association officials said the new figures show that the construction sector, in most parts of the country, continues to recover from its years-long downturn. “With more than two-thirds of the nation’s metro areas adding construction jobs it is clear that the demand for construction is broad-based geographically …

Roofing company behind incentives package is revealed

North American Roofing is unlikely to relocate its headquarters office to Sarasota unless the County Commission reverses its decision this week to deny a $1.6 million economic development incentive package, the company's chairman wrote to commissioners Thursday afternoon.
The national commercial and industrial roofing company is the previously undisclosed firm behind the proposed incentives package code named “Project Mulligan,” which included $1.08 million in state and county tax refunds and another $504,000 in county development grants for the company to bring 180 high-paying jobs to a new headquarters office here. Commissioners voted 4-1 to deny those incentives on Tuesday, siding with local roofers who said they feared subsidies would lead to the new company poaching qualified office personnel from area contractors. In an email to commissioners, chairman Michael Verble disclosed the employee-owned company publicly for the first time and blamed “misinformation” for those fears.…

Final Rules on Blacklisting, Sick Leave Forthcoming

What to Expect: The Federal Acquisition Regulatory (FAR) Council plans to issue a final rule implementing President Obama’s “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces” Executive Order 13673, commonly referred to as the blacklisting proposal, in August 2016.

About the Proposal: The proposal would require federal contractors and subcontractors to disclose any “violations” of 14 federal labor laws that occurred in the three years prior to any procurement for federal government contracts/subcontracts exceeding $500,000.  The proposal also requires contractors and subcontractors to update disclosures of labor law violations every six months while performing covered government contracts. Reported violations may then be used to disqualify contractors and/or subcontractors from performing federal work, based on a complicated and seemingly unconstitutional set of procedures proposed by the federal agencies.

ABC’s Actions: ABC submitted comments urging the withdrawal of the FAR Council’s …