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Cooling from the Ground Up, 2024 Annual Meeting Underway - PODCAST TRANSCRIPT

Cooling from the Ground Up, 2024 Annual Meeting Underway - PODCAST TRANSCRIPT
March 6, 2024 at 12:00 p.m.

Editor's note: The following is the transcript of a live interview with Jeffrey Steuben and Stuart Ruis from Cool Roofing Rating Council (CRRC). You can read the interview below or listen to the podcast.

Intro: Welcome to Roofing Road Trips, the podcast that takes you on a thrilling journey across the world of roofing. From fascinating interviews with roofing experts to on the road adventures, we'll uncover the stories, innovations and challenges that shape the rooftops over our heads. So fasten your seat belts and join us as we embark on this exciting roofing road trip.

Megan Ellsworth: Hello everyone. My name is Megan Ellsworth here at rooferscoffeeshop.com, and I am back for a roofing road trip, tripping over to the Pacific Northwest with our friends at the CRRC Cool Roofs Rating Council here to talk about everything coming up in 2024 for them. So hello gentlemen. How are you?

Stuart Ruis: Good. Thanks for having us today.

Jeffrey Steuben: Great, thank you.

Megan Ellsworth: Yeah, thanks for joining me. Stuart, let's start with you. Just have you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your role with the CRRC.

Stuart Ruis: Sure. Sure. Thanks for having us, Megan. Glad to be here. I'm Stuart Ruis, vice President of R&D Services. We are an approved test lab with the CRRC. I'm also the Chair of the CRRC Board of Directors. I've been working with the CRRC in some capacity since around 2008. Was on the board of directors, I think I got elected around six years ago and was elected Chair of the Board last year in 2023.

Megan Ellsworth: Wow. Congratulations.

Stuart Ruis: Thank you.

Megan Ellsworth: Jeffrey, how about you introduce yourself?

Jeffrey Steuben: Yeah, thanks, Megan. Yeah, my name's Jeff Steuben and I am the Executive Director for the Cool Roof Rating Council, and I've been with the organization since 2011, so a little over 12 years now.

Megan Ellsworth: Amazing. Amazing. So Stuart, can you tell us a little bit more about your experience serving on the CRRC board and your new role?

Stuart Ruis: Yeah, sure. No, it's been a really good experience over the past six years since I've been on the board. I started on the board around the same time, that the CRRC was making some pretty major changes. I think at that time they were basically redoing their ratings portal. It was being redeveloped at that time, and also, a little bit even bigger than that, the CRRC was bringing their staff in-house after many years of using a third party staffing resource. So the portal was a game changer for managing the new ratings program... Or not the new ratings program, just managing the ratings program. And it brought a whole new ease of use and navigation to the directory.

Then as for the move to bring the staff in-house, I think this may have been the best move that the CRRC has made since I've been involved. It's been more cost-effective and the staff has really gotten to take the lead in moving the organization forward. This is also the first nonprofit board I've ever served on, which has really been a great learning experience for me.

Megan Ellsworth: Oh, very cool.

Stuart Ruis: I have a strong technical background in engineering, but also have experience in leadership in running a small business. So, it's been a challenge for me to adjust to how a board of directors, especially a nonprofit board of directors operates and how to balance all of the technical and non-technical issues that come up. So the board and the staff have worked really well together, so it's been just a really great experience in the six years that I've been here. And it's exciting to see the organization set new goals and explore new areas each year, and I'd say that the bar has been set very high for me working on any future boards that I might be a part of.

Megan Ellsworth: That's awesome. Yeah, the CRRC staff, Audrey, Sarah Beth, they're so amazing. We love them. They're dear friends now. So Jeff, let's swap to you. What's new this year at the CRRC?

Jeffrey Steuben: Yeah, well, as Stuart alluded to, we have a lot of new things that we've been working on and setting new goals. I would say that we've really ramped up our outreach activity just in the last few years. So that's something that we're really continuing with that trend this year. For example, we will be exhibiting at METALCON this October in Tampa, and again, at Green Build in November in Philadelphia. So for all of your audience, we'd love to see you if you want to come by the booth.

But other than just events, we're also doing a lot of other kinds of outreach and work. We are working with a website called AEC Daily, which is a well-known resource in the construction industry. They have free training resources, and so basically we're working with them to create a new course on cool roofs and exterior walls, so basically we're trying to spread our message to a new audience. And once that course is ready, we think that'll be a really great entry point for people in the design and construction industry to learn about it if they've never heard about it or it's not part of their normal day-to-day work.

It's also worth mentioning to your audience that we'll be presenting at an R Club Coffee Break in October, and attendees can get a free year of CRRC membership for 2025 if they attend.

Megan Ellsworth: That's so exciting. Amazing. Yeah, we love the coffee breaks. For everyone out there listening, you can attend a coffee break if you're an R Club member. So if you're a contractor and you are not a part of the R Club, definitely join in so you can get sweet deals and meet all these amazing people like Jeff and Stuart. So what role does the CRRC have in setting industry standards and advancing cool roof practices in the construction industry?

Jeffrey Steuben: Yeah, thanks, Megan. I can answer that. I think that's a really interesting question because the CRRC is a really unique organization in how we provide unbiased, third party ratings for cool roofing and exterior walls. We're also a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, which means there's part of our stated purpose to educate people about the impacts and the benefits from cool roofs. But on the other hand, we are not an advocacy organization, so we don't go around advocating for the adoption of specific requirements.

If a jurisdiction, a city or a state, is interested in adopting a cool roof requirement, we can educate them about it. We can walk them through our directory. We can even recommend, "We think you should use the CRRC directory, you should use our data. We think it's great. We have good data, we think you should use it." But we don't tell them what specific values to adopt because basically every jurisdiction, it's different and there's not necessarily one size fits all of what the definition of cool is.

So we're very active in that realm, within the limited definition of what it is that we do. We're also very active in ASTM. We oversee development and maintenance of a number of different test methods that are part of our program. We also have our own ANSI standard. The ANSI/CRRC S100, which is basically a consensus based standard. It's a technical document that describes all of the technical details of what's in our rating program, and that's a document that can be referenced by jurisdictions or code bodies, if they want to basically, import the whole program, all of the requirements into their code, they can just reference the S100. And we're in the middle of a revision cycle for the S100, so I think that'll be done in about a year is when that final publication will come out. So it's being updated as we speak.

Megan Ellsworth: Oh, very cool. Very cool.

Stuart Ruis: Yeah Megan, I'll just throw in there that if you go to the website and look at the ratings directory, you see a bunch of products, you see a bunch of numbers and they make it look really seamless and easy, but behind the scenes, there's a lot of technical research that's going on. There's a lot of stakeholders at the table talking about all the different products that are available, how they're used, how to test these products. I'm a technical guy and I work in a laboratory, and so it's interesting to me that all these standards that we used, a lot of them are really being pioneered by the CRRC. So the standards that people are out there using to rate these programs, a lot of it's being driven by the CRRC and the people that are at the table talking about these things. So it's been really interesting to see all that behind the scenes.

Megan Ellsworth: That's really cool. And that's just another reason why people should be getting involved with the CRRC and all the great things you guys offer, because you're constantly developing and working on new ways to look at all these different standards and programs. That's so cool. Love that. So I know that your annual meeting is coming up for 2024. What's it going to look like? Where are you having it? Give us all the details.

Stuart Ruis: Yeah, I think first off, I'm really excited about the venue this year. It's at the Palms in Las Vegas. I've been told that the meeting room overlooks the Vegas skyline with some amazing views.

Megan Ellsworth: Oh, gorgeous.

Stuart Ruis: It should be a great meeting space. A lot of times we get stuck in four walls and feel trapped a little bit, but I feel like this year's venue is going to be something really special. The morning session, it's full of updates from CRRC staff and the different committees that are involved with the CRRC. So there's just a lot of information being exchanged in the mornings. I really like how transparent and informative the CRRC is with its members. We really try to give everyone some good information to inform them what the CRRC is doing to achieve our strategic objectives and how we can all help the industry, and our respective businesses, move forward.

Also, in the morning session, we take an opportunity to recognize the winner of the Marty Hastings Award. That award has been given out annually to a volunteer that has made an outstanding contribution to the CRRC. Then after lunch, we have some really interesting guest speakers, which I think Jeff is going to talk about. They'll be talking about a lot of things like the latest technologies and industry initiatives in the cool surfaces world.

Then throughout the day, we have a series of breaks that are just really good for networking, get to know each other. It's a smaller industry, so it's a little bit more intimate. You get a little bit more opportunity to meet some people that are really passionate about what their involvement with the CRRC is.

Megan Ellsworth: Yeah, that's exciting. It is. I attended last year's annual meeting, and it is so great to have such a small group, like you said, intimate group, where you can just bounce ideas and thoughts off of one another. It's nice that it's such an intimate setting too, and I hope the Palms is so fun. I can't go this year. I'm so bummed. Jeff, anything to add on speakers that are going to be at the annual meeting this year?

Jeffrey Steuben: Yeah, no, definitely can talk about our guest presenters. Also just want to say that staff put a lot of work into our presentations and making sure that we're giving updates on all the different committees that we have. So this is definitely something that we put a lot of time and effort into making sure that the people who attend get good and interesting information about the CRRC and what we're working on.

Megan Ellsworth: Absolutely.

Jeffrey Steuben: But yeah, I mean, definitely for some people, the guest presenters is a big part of why they come to these meetings. Committee updates are fun and all, but we're really excited about the lineup that we have this year. The theme of this year's annual meeting is cooling from the ground up, and so our selection of our speakers reflects that. We have different presenters that each have a different story to tell about different types of cool surfaces.

We have Ryan Stevens from the City of Phoenix, and he's going to be talking about his experience with the City of Phoenix's cool pavement pilot program and what come out of that. Dr. Ray Fernando from the Western Coatings Technology Center at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, which is a bit of a mouthful. So Ray's going to be talking about some of his research into coating formulation around cool exterior walls, and basically how to improve the effectiveness of cool exterior walls. Then lastly, we have Mancy Console and Dr. David Fork who are from Google Research. And they're going to be presenting their work on a cool roof tool that they've put together that basically uses all of Google's resources to understand assessing the need for, and the cooling potential, of cool roofs across different communities. So they have a lot of really good information that they can bring to a tool like this and basically understand, okay, can we help communities respond and develop cool roofing policies or practices?

Megan Ellsworth: Oh, that's so exciting. What a lineup. Oh my gosh, so much to learn. So everyone out there, if you're not registered to come yet, you should definitely register and come to the annual meeting and hear everything that the committees are doing and all those great guest speakers. What are some predictions that you all have for this year's trends and developments in the cool roof sector?

Stuart Ruis: Yeah, I think there are a couple of trends that we're seeing both in the US and reaching beyond the US and to other parts of the world. I know that other parts of the world are starting to consider cool roofs as a key strategy and energy conservation. High density countries like India for example. They're becoming increasingly aware of heat island effects and trying to seek ways to reduce energy consumption and cool down those urban areas.

I think there's a great opportunity here for the CRRC to promote the use of cool roofs and to also assist in the development of implementing cool roof programs in a very efficient way. Taking what we've learned in implementing those in other parts of the world to give them a head start on where they want to end up.

Also, there's a whole world of cool surfaces out there beyond the roof, some of which are starting to gain a lot of traction in the US. Cool walls, cool pavements, pavement coatings, for example. They're being looked at by local transportation departments as a way to mitigate those heat island effects and cool down those areas. I think one of our presenters from the City of Phoenix, that's in his wheelhouse, so I think he'll be talking specifically about some of those other products beyond the roof. So yeah, those are just a couple of things that we see coming up locally and more abroad.

Megan Ellsworth: Absolutely. Yeah, and I mean, obviously those are things you're probably going to be talking about at the annual meeting too, so yeah, another reason for people to come.

Jeffrey Steuben: Yeah, definitely. I think, as Stuart mentioned, the cool pavements is something that the CRRC is looking at. Is this a potential area for us to get involved in? Then also internationally, we've been doing some outreach internationally, and I think we'll have some pretty interesting updates at the annual meeting on what the CRRC is doing and where we can go to have a really great impact across the world.

Megan Ellsworth: Ooh, that's exciting. International. Wow. Amazing. So how can people register and attend the meeting this year?

Stuart Ruis: I think you go to the website. That's probably the easiest and the most obvious way to do it. Coolroofs.org, right there on the main page at the very top, there's a link to the agenda and how to get registered and when and where the meeting is. So that's what I would suggest people go to.

Megan Ellsworth: Awesome. Great. How can people stay connected with the CRRC and continue learning about all these latest updates and advancements that you all are working on?

Jeffrey Steuben: You mean besides listening to Roofing Road Trips?

Megan Ellsworth: Yes, besides listening to this podcast.

Jeffrey Steuben: Okay. Well, assuming you do that then, beyond that, the CRRC does have a quarterly newsletter, so it goes out once a quarter. That'll give you regular updates on events and activities that the CRRC is involved in, but also programmatic changes or more board decisions, minor things like that, if you want to see what's going on behind the scenes.

Again, if you want to join up on our newsletter, go to our website, coolroofs.org and this is actually all the way at the bottom. So, the annual meeting's at the very top, but the newsletter, you scroll all the way to the bottom and there's a little spot that you can put your email address in and join up.

We're also pretty active on social media these days. This is something that's relatively new for the CRRC. We're active on LinkedIn. We're active on X, aka Twitter and Instagram. Our social media manager is really great about just highlighting everything that we're doing, the CRRC, just highlighting events and conferences that we're at, collaborations with other organizations that we're participating in. So there's just a lot of stuff that you can keep up with the day to day by following us on social media.

Megan Ellsworth: Oh, that's so exciting. You can also find all the information on CRRC at rooferscoffeeshop.com on their directory. So everyone out there, go check that out. Go to their website, register for the annual meeting.

Gentlemen, thank you so much. This has been so informative. I'm so excited about everything you are doing over there at the CRRC. Anything else to add that the people out there should know?

Jeffrey Steuben: Well, we hope to see you at our annual meeting, I think is my takeaway.

Megan Ellsworth: Yeah, amazing.

Stuart Ruis: Thanks for having us, Megan.

Megan Ellsworth: Absolutely. It's my pleasure. Everyone out there listening, thanks for listening to Roofing Road Trips from rooferscoffeeshop.com. My name's Megan Ellsworth. Make sure you are subscribed and ring the bell so you get notified every time a new podcast is uploaded and out there for you to consume and listen to.

Again, go check out the CRRC website and their directory on rooferscoffeeshop.com and come to the annual meeting. It's so much fun. You won't regret it. This has been Roofing Road Trips. We'll catch you on the next one.

Outro: If you've enjoyed the ride, don't forget to hit that subscribe button and join us on every roofing adventure. Make sure to visit rooferscoffeeshop.com to learn more. Thanks for tuning in and we'll catch you on the next Roofing Road Trip.

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