The U.S. Dept. of Energy's Oak Ridge and Lawrence Berkeley national laboratories are teaming with Dow Chemical Co. to fund research projects that develop the next generation of “cool roof” technologies. DOE announced the agreement on April 14. The goal is to develop solar reflective roof coatings that increase energy savings from existing cool-roof technologies by more than 50% for new and existing commercial buildings. The labs will work with Dow to improve the ability of roof coatings to continue reflecting sunlight even after years of exposure to the elements.
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.