By Lauren White, RCS Editor.
While in New Orleans for the 2022 International Roofing Expo (IRE), members of the Roofing Technology Think Tank (RT3) gathered to learn how members are utilizing technology to advance the industry and help their companies innovate. Discussions included Tesla solar tile systems and model-based estimating, and ended with these industry professionals experimenting with VR headsets to what the future of roofing holds.
Ken Kelly, CEO and owner of Kelly Roofing, shared the inside scoop of his work with the Tesla solar tile system. While version 3 of the tiles is out now, Kelly Roofing is working directly with Tesla to create version 4. After extensive training, Kelly’s crews are installing Tesla solar systems on residential roofs. These systems are unique in that they’re not a solar system that’s installed over a pre-existing tile or asphalt roof, but instead they’re individual solar shingles. Some panels are power generating, but not all, and you can’t tell the difference between the two. Their sleek design and appearance are enough to enhance the curb appeal of anyone’s home.
These tiles are designed to pick up any wavelength of light whether that’s moonlight, fluorescent light or sunlight. Another unique feature is that snow melts quickly off of Tesla roofs because of the amount of heat it generates, which means there’s less likelihood of ice dams. Further, these tiles are self-cleaning. It’s important that leaves, pollen and sea spray from coastal areas don’t cover the panels and inhibit power generation, so all it takes is a little rain to clean the roof.
What really makes Tesla tiles different is the use of peel and stick direct to the deck underlayment. Tesla tiles go through more rigid testing due to the electric components sitting directly on the roof deck as opposed to lifted on a stanchion. They also have a Class A fire rating, which is the highest rating.
While walking on any roof is dangerous, Tesla roofs are especially slippery. Ken provided us with an insider tip, sharing that Skechers are the best shoes for contractors to wear when walking on the roof due to their gripping abilities!
Adam Oaks, CEO, and James Lee, business analyst, of Estimating Edge shared about their recent acquisition by Foundation Software and what it means for the advancement of technology in the industry. Both companies have been around for 30 years and share similar company cultures, which made the integration seamless.
Their newest program, Vector, hadn’t launched yet when they provided us with a demonstration, but contractors were already purchasing it! This model-based estimating automates the takeoff process, allowing roofing contractors to spend more time estimating and less time measuring. Some of the special features include adding notes to communicate directly with the team, and being able to log any activity throughout the process to keep everyone in the loop. The diagrams and shapes provided in the program are the same ones that roofing contractors currently use, meaning there’s less of a learning curve for new users.
Prior to the meetup, John Kiesel, president of Division 7 Roofing and Imagine Technologies, sent four RT3 members Oculus VR headsets. They also designed individual rooms for these members – RT3, RoofersCoffeeShop®, Imagine Technologies and Rackley Roofing. These rooms demonstrated the ways virtual reality can be utilized by companies with various specialties, such as safety, service and sales and marketing.
Members were encouraged to try the Oculus headsets and experience the VR rooms for themselves, exploring small building models, playing videos and “flying” on top of the building’s roof to check for cracks, flashings and other issues. The room was filled with members excitedly saying “Woah!” “Look at that!” and “This is so cool!” We discussed the value of this technology for training purposes, presentations when working remotely and inspecting the condition of the building and roof.
These RT3 meetups provide thought leaders a platform to not only test out the latest and greatest technologies, but to also share how resources like these can be embraced in the industry and provide contractors with practical solutions.