The EPDM Roofing Association (ERA) is the first trade association solely representing the manufacturers of EPDM single-ply roofing products and their leading suppliers. ERA provides technical and research support to the public and the construction industry, and communicates the longstanding attributes, consistency and the value proposition of EPDM rubber membrane roofing materials.
Over the past year, ERA has remained proactive in its efforts to amplify the voice of the EPDM roofing industry with technical writings and research, feature news articles, website enhancements and speaking engagements throughout the country. After having released a number of timely and relevant studies over the past several years, we are pleased to have become a valuable resource for weighing competing claims and providing reliable technical information to the industry. (Respondents to a survey sponsored by bnp media included ERA among organizations such as USGBC and NRCA – and ahead of SPRI, RCI, and ARMA – when asked to cite useful sources of information about green roofing.
ERA’s members and associates have accomplished an impressive number of impactful and critical industry projects and programs during the organization’s seven year history. We have built on that strong foundation of achievement and intensified our efforts to meet the considerable challenges facing our industry today:
LEGISLATIVE AND REGULATORY MONITORING
- ERA mobilized a highly effective response to regulatory agencies in the northeast and mid-Atlantic states who planned to implement new regulations limiting volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in adhesives and sealants. If the regulations had passed in their original form, they would have called for immediate implementation which would have severely impacted the commercial roofing industry. ERA worked to have these regulations changed and is proud to report that each and every state with final regulations has followed the implementation schedule requested by ERA.
- ERA has joined a coalition of trade associations related to roofing to review and submit comments on proposed changes to the California Energy Code Title 24. If the proposed changes had passed in their original form (requiring reflectance levels of .70), they would have significantly restricted the market and permitted decisions to be made based on “bad science.” While there is still work to be done, the coalition has made significant improvements with the proposed reflectance currently at .63 for re-roofs and .67 for new construction. Moving forward, our efforts will focus on requesting better data collection and analysis from the CEC as well as a demonstrable increased energy savings for any departure from the currently required .55 solar reflectance.
- ERA monitors and takes action on other standards, model codes, and codes such as the IGCC, ASHRAE, LEED, etc. Of particular interest this year has been the IGCC 2012. As is also the case in ASHRAE 189.1, reflective roofs are required in ASHRAE zones 1-3 and ballasted roofs are permitted as an exception in zones 4 and above.
LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT (LCA) AND INVENTORY
The LCA study was commissioned in early 2008 to collect and summarize the best available life cycle impact data for the most popular low-slope roofing systems in North America. Outreach efforts continue to educate architects, roof consultants, and others about the Life Cycle Impact of EPDM, stressing that LCA is to be included as part of developing codes and standards when appropriate.
LONG TERM SERVICE LIFE INVENTORY
With the growing national focus on sustainable building products, ERA members requested an inventory and testing of the long term service life of EPDM roofs, with the objective of promoting a 50 year longevity of EPDM roofs. The results were impressive, showing that EPDM roof samples which have been in use for up to 32 years have physical characteristic properties comparable to newly manufactured 45-mil EPDM membrane. ERA is now heat ageing samples to 50 years to compile data for internal use.
ERA RECYCLING PROJECT
ERA has unequivocally proven the sustainability of its product with its current recycling project. ERA member companies can now take credit for recycling more than thirteen million square feet of EPDM membrane over the past five years. This total is believed to make EPDM the leading recycled commercial roofing material in North America. In all, roughly 3.25 million pounds of reclaimed EPDM membrane has been diverted from landfills.
NATIONALLY BROADCAST WEBINAR AND CUSTOM E-NEWSLETTER
In late April, ERA produced a nationally broadcast webinar to showcase breakthrough findings supporting EPDM as an environmentally sound roofing choice for every climate. The webinar focused on an upgraded Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), intensified recycling efforts, and a state-of-the-art study of long-term service life for EPDM roofing. Together, the new data supports findings in the conclusion segment of the webinar that EPDM provides “A Roof for Every Climate.” 265 people viewed the webinar when it was originally broadcast, and another 100 have viewed the archived version since then.
The webinar detailed: the choices that EPDM roofing offers to provide energy-efficient solutions for every climate; data from the just-released study on long-term performance capability of EPDM roofing systems, showing that roof samples which have been in the field for up to 32 years have physical characteristic properties comparable to newly manufactured 45-mil EPDM membrane; the results of the Life Cycle Assessment using the Athena EcoCalculator and Impact Estimator showing that EPDM has a lower environmental impact than previously thought; and reports from the field on break-through efforts to recycle EPDM, helping both the environment and the bottom line of participating companies.
Following the webinar, ERA produced a custom e-newsletter covering similar topics as the webinar to reinforce its messages. The e-newsletter was sent to 25,000 industry professionals. About 4,000 people opened the e-mail message and 590 of those clicked on a link in the e-mail which led to specific landing pages on the ERA website.
Associate Executive Director: Ellen Thorp
Communications Consultant: Louisa Hart
Technical Consultant: Tom Hutchinson