Industry News

Lordstown Endurance: The All-Electric Fleet Truck

An All-Electric Fleet… Without the Soft Look

The Lordstown Endurance

This truck is different in every way, and if successful, its going to make a big difference with a lot of dealers and distributors in the building materials industry. Up until now, a truck option hasn’t really been on the market for dealers and distributors when it comes to electric vehicles. The Lordstown Endurance is changing that.

The “Other Guys”

Now – Ford is set to release an all-electric Transit van in 2021. Not to mention Mercedes, whose Sprinter line has had huge growth recently, has debuted an Electric Cargo Hauler called the eSprinter. Neither have announced a price point, but the their website lists a $52,500 initial cost for their release.

Versus an F-150 Lariat 4WD, the Lordstown Endurance has about a third of the fuel cost, a third of the maintenance cost (assisted by its In-Wheel Drive System that only has four moving parts), and comes with a hefty $7,500 federal tax credit.

South Carolina ain’t nice enough to give out a state credit, but if you’re in a state like California, they pay $2,000 for a zero-emission electric battery vehicle.

Sometimes, You Just Need a Truck

The Lordstown Endurance, on the other hand, looks like a real truck. It’s not a teeny electric sedan or a boxy and smooth van, its in a whole different lane.

So what else makes the Endurance different?

Well, how about a motor for each wheel?

That’s right, the Endurance carries a hub motor incorporated into the hub of the wheel (surprise) which ends up being more efficient as there’s less wasted motion. The energy goes directly into the wheels.

Not to mention their software that’s constantly optimizing the vehicle as you drive, not to mention its fleet management system.

Utility, Power, and Presence

I mean come on, the truck makes 5’10” Mike Pence look teeny. 

But why talk about software when you can talk about speed?

I wouldn’t give it to the intern, because the Lordstown Endurance goes from zero to sixty in five and a half seconds and boasts an aggressive 600 horsepower. For those critical of an electric battery, this has a range of 250+ miles. That’s almost how far a tank of gas in my Tundra would take me.

All in all, the truck itself is designed for fleets. When it comes down to month over month costs, all it takes is sitting down and crunching the numbers with your own fleet. Plus, with the federal and state tax credits, it’d be silly to not investigate a bit. And hey, why not use the Endurance as an opportunity to attract better talent to your company.

James Aiken is the President of Legacy Search, a recruiting agency for the building materials industry. If you’d like to get introduced, see his concept offer at

Industry News

Cool-Roofing Technology

Cool-Roofing Technology is a Breath of Fresh Air for Big Cities

Written By: Thomas Berry


In the pursuit of both protecting our environment and ourselves, the construction industry has looked at all aspects of the building process. Green Building is one of the fastest growing technologies to date, and with the rapid expansion of urban areas it is only natural that big cities are where most of the new processes are being implemented first. One such technology is the technique of cool-roofing.

Improving Upon the Past

Cool-roofing is a direct response to the poor design and unforeseen consequences of traditional roofing methods. Today, as many as 90% of US roofs are poorly designed, being built with dark, non-reflective, and heat absorbing materials. Especially noticeable in tightly-packed urban environments, traditional rooftop temperatures can soar far above that of surrounding areas. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), average city air temperatures can be up to 10°F warmer than nearby areas during the day and up to 22°F warmer at night! This phenomenon of large-scale heat attraction is known as the “Heat Island Effect” and poor roofing design is widely believed to be one of the leading contributors. Although the disparity in temperature is not typically so significant, even a few degrees can cause major issues. As temperatures rise, demand for air conditioning and forced cooling leads to larger energy consumption, increasing both costs to consumers and greenhouse gas emissions from a/c units and power plants. And, of course, higher temperatures lead to higher rates of heat stroke and other heat-related deaths. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, heat kills more people each year (on average) than tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and lightning combined.

Assemble the Scientists!

To combat this dangerous trend in the roofing industry, research has been conducted on cool-roofing technology as early as the 1980s. The departments of energy for California and Tennessee found that white-coated and foam-coated rooftops, as well as roofs with vegetation growing on them experienced lower overall temperatures compared to roofs with traditional materials. This in turn led to lowered energy costs overall, although at the time the financial advantages were not significant enough to warrant an overhaul of the current roofing system. It wasn’t until 2001, when California was experiencing rolling blackouts due to energy demands, the issue was again put under investigation and cool roofing began to be utilized to lower energy requirements and consumption.

Understanding the Solar Reflective Index

How energy efficient a roofing system ranks is measured by a roof’s Solar Reflective Index (SRI) which is derived from two factors: Albedo (Solar Reflectivity) and Thermal Emittance (a roof’s ability to release absorbed heat). For label of a “cool roofing system” one must score an Albedo and Thermal Emittance of greater than 65% (most conventional roofing materials score a rating of only 5-15%). The benefits of such an investment as cool-roofing technology are numerous, and only compound the longer they are installed in your roofing system, saving not only the environment, but also your wallet. First, cool-roofing is better for the environment. Everyone benefits from the reduced temperatures from your building, both inside and outside. This is huge when multiplied by the countless buildings in metropolises like LA and New York. A direct outcome of this lowered temperature is lowered emissions from both personal A/C units and power plants around the globe. In addition to the effects on the environment, cool-roofing systems are extremely cost-effective; conveying an energy-use savings anywhere between 7 and 15% annually. Of course this differs based on the size of the building, but most systems have a payback period close to 6 years. This is assisted by government-funded utility rebates aimed directly at cool-roofing strategies (much like solar panel installation) and can help alleviate the initial cost of installation for wary consumers. Finally, cool-roof options require little in the way of maintenance and typically have longer lifespans than traditional roofing materials, thanks to updated designs and less heat-stress from sun exposure.

Consult with Roofing Experts

When deciding what type of roofing system is best for you, it’s best to have a licensed professional come out and survey your current roof so as to best determine option would work best for you. However, the ability to be informed cannot be stressed enough these days, and in the vein, we’ve decided to list a few of the most common types of cool-roofing systems. First, roofs are broken down into two different types: low-sloped or flat roofs and steep-sloped roofs. Low-sloped roofs are generally flat, with a slight incline for drainage purposes and are the best candidates for easy, affordable cool-roofing options. The first of these flat-roof options is coated roofing. These are literally roofs coated with a paint or pain-like finish, typically pure white or aluminum leafing flakes in an asphalt resin (for a more aesthetically pleasing finish), and help to greatly increase a building’s natural solar reflectivity. Foam roofs are topped with a foam insulation material, a type of “air-barrier”, and are time-tested, having been used for over 45 years as a reliable coo-roofing design.

Other Roofing Options

Finally there are single-ply membranes, which are prefabricated sheets that are individually applied to roofs that may need repair or refitting. Steep-sloped roofs require different techniques and materials due to their high-angles, high-visibility, and the types of materials already installed. Asphalt shingles have a relatively low SRI (maximum of 30%) but are often used residentially due to their ease of installation and cost-effective nature. However metal roofing has seen a resurgence in recent years, achieving a reflectivity rating of up to 70%. This method is known for its weather resistance, lightweight nature, and recyclability.

Cool-Roofing for Consumers

Whether it is huge companies in major metros or one home in a suburb, cool-roofing can have major benefits for both the consumer and the environment. With the state of the world today, we all must do our part to assist in the prolonging of this gorgeous planet of ours, and if we can save a little money in the process all the better.

Industry News

Social Housing: Pop Up Villages

Pop Up Villages Could be the Quick Solution to High Growth Areas

Written By: James Aiken

Social housing – especially homes suitable for families – is often in short supply. It is often difficult to offer anything other than a temporary solution, and waiting lists tend to be long and over-subscribed. Additionally, affordable rentals are thin on the ground in metropolitan areas, especially where the workforce tends to be young and mobile in combination with the aspirational nature of city living.

Social Housing through Temporary Villages

However, one borough in London, England, may have hit upon a solution which could be adopted not only across the United Kingdom, but in other cities worldwide. In what is termed London’s first “pop-up village”, a structure offering not just homes but ground floor office and retail space has sprung up on the former site of a leisure centre in Lewisham, in the south east of the city. Eventually, new social housing and a new school will be built here, but for now, The Place is a colourful and longer-term solution than the bed and breakfast accommodation the families housed there were previously living in.
The 24 homes cost £4.3 million (around $5.2 million dollars) to construct, and are completely portable, meaning that when plans for the new development are finalized, the units will literally ‘move house’ elsewhere, either within the Greater London area, other boroughs across the UK, or even overseas.
The housing units aren’t technically social housing – the rent is pitched somewhere between the usual social housing charge and a private rental – but the cost of living there is covered by housing benefit, paid to families on low incomes who cannot otherwise afford to rent privately, and for whom there is no suitable social housing available.

Quick, Combine-able Modular Housing

Aside from the social benefit of having a ready-made pop up village providing a mixture of housing and business space, the housing itself is an innovation. Completely factory-built, the costs of construction onsite are dispensed with, cutting costs further. The units were created in two parts – one comprising a fully-fitted kitchen and bathroom, the other, two reasonably-sized bedrooms. Fitting on the back of a lorry, homes The Place (as the pop-up village is called) are also cheap to run costing around $12-13 to heat per month during colder weather. The entire outer area is a floor to ceiling window, giving the apartments maximum daylight. The interior walls are MDF, meaning that refurbishment between tenancies is both quick and cost-effective, and the bright outer cladding replaces in much the same way a bright phone cover might be swapped for a more businesslike look during the working week.

Cheaper and Longer Lasting Modular Homes

The brainchild of architects Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (who were also behind the Y:Cube – studio apartments helping the homeless to get off the streets), the units are expected to have a lifespan of around 60 years, and cost under £100,000 ($122,000) to produce.
As the cost of buying a new home is out of the reach of so many, these versatile and cost-effective modular homes could be popping up near you soon.

Industry News

Less Means More in Modern Housing

Maximizing Luxury and Minimizing Impact

Written By: James Aiken


Bigger used to be better when it came to the housing market in America. Size still matters in the housing market but the scales are tipping in favor of the smaller end. There are many reasons for the reversal of housing preferences. Younger Americans are opting for a minimalist lifestyle that offers smaller and simpler living.

Many of the homeowners that are joining this movement are opting to live in tiny houses. These houses reduce the size of the home substantially but still offer many of the same amenities.

Smaller Homes, Bigger Wallets

Americans are choosing to follow the tiny house movement for a variety of reasons. Among the top reasons are financial concerns, environmental concerns, and freedom from huge property maintenance. The typical American spends up to 50 percent of their income on normal housing costs. This cost can be reduced drastically by building a home to be just the size that you need.

A popular trend is to use the money saved on reducing the size to provide amazing amenities to the homes. There are tiny homes as small as 300 square feet that have solar power, hot tubs ad even bars. These could be purchased due to the amount of money saved by reducing square footage.

The trend of wanting smaller homes with high-quality materials and top of the line amenities is not only in the tiny house market but in the regular home market as well. Last year the typical new home that was manufactured dropped in square footage. This was the first drop in size since 2009 which shows that this trend is rapidly catching on.

Affordable Luxury

The average millennial home buyer is looking for substance instead of size. House size is becoming less important. Many homeowners are looking for things like energy star rated appliances, smart thermostats, low energy windows, and other energy-efficient amenities. New homeowners also seem to be leaning toward patios, wrap around porches and separate laundry rooms.

Most people looking for a home prefer building a new structure as opposed to buying an existing home. This means that the homeowners can add the amenities and the square footage that they want as opposed to more expensive renovations to existing structures. These homeowners are also moving out of cities with 65% of them wanting to build their houses in the suburbs.

Most of these millennial first time homeowners would prefer to build a new house. However, most are purchasing existing homes simply because it is an easier process, they can get deals on foreclosed homes, and they can move in almost immediately.

Do It Yourself: Tiny General Contracting

These homeowners are turning to the reality television craze to learn how to add amenities and features to their homes on their own. These do it yourself home improvement shows are starting a trend of homeowners making improvements to their homes on their own.

Many of these renovations tend to be outdoor spaces for entertaining company and relaxing. Decks, fences, and vegetable gardens top the list but gazebos, swimming pools, hot tubs, and BBQ pits are up there on the top of the list as well.

The biggest thing these millennials are looking for is value. They are looking to add to the equity of these homes so they can flip them for a profit and build their own homes the way they want. After these homes sell, they are tending to build homes that are smaller and have amenities such as mud rooms, separate laundry rooms, and gathering places such as outdoor kitchens with a dining area. Millennials seem to like to gather in groups and be close-knit by having parties and cookouts.

The state of the economy forced many Americans to be frugal in spending. This is the reason the trend for building smaller homes began. New Home building companies are building smaller homes to stay in business. They knew that big extravagant homes were not going to sell in the market at the time and began to market smaller more affordable homes.

Housing Market is Bigger, but Less Affordable

Over the last thirty years’ homes have more than doubled in size for the average home. Back then the average new home was 1,700 square feet. Any homeowner who has a house that was built in the previous decade has a living area that is four times larger than most of the homes built in the 1950’s. Many of these homes are being foreclosed and sold at low prices and in turn that brings down the price of other homes on the market.

Most construction companies are reporting that their clients are asking for smaller homes and 90% of these companies stated that they are either planning to build smaller homes or are already in the process of building them.

The trend to move toward smaller cost efficient homes began before or at the beginning of the recession. The housing market started to hit rock bottom and devastated homeowners began looking at these large homes as a bad investment and realized how much of a cash drain they had on their hands. These larger homes are not only more expensive because of the building materials but they cost more to heat and cool, property taxes are higher, and maintenance is harder and costs more.

Waste Not, Want Not

Therefore, homeowners are transitioning to smaller homes. Smaller homes are more cost efficient, easier to clean, and cheaper to furnish with those high-quality amenities that everyone seems to want.

This trend can be seen in divorces of all things. Divorcing couples used to fight over who was going to get the house and all the costs associated with it because neither wanted it. Now divorcing couples are fighting to try and keep the homes for themselves.

Living in a smaller home also makes homeowners think wisely about the things they want in their home because of less space. All of this has led to homeowners using the money they saved to purchase the high-quality amenities.

Taking Advantage of the Environment

These homeowners have made the decision to go with quality over quantity and everyone benefits from this trend.  Not only is this trend great for the environment but also good for the housing market and economy because fewer people are foreclosing on homes because they can afford to keep them due to the money saved by swapping square footage for nice amenities.

Industry News

Innovations in Insulation

Weather Controllers – Insulation for Comfort

Written By: Thomas Berry


Mankind has long sought ways to retain hot air in the winter and keep hot air out in the summer. In medieval days, workers would stuff walls with different materials such as straw and cover it with a mud plaster to keep air out. This method of stuffing walls with various materials to provide insulation was the go-to method until an accidental discovery was made in 1932.

Fiberglass Insulation

In 1932 the process to make fiberglass was discovered and insulation in the form of blankets burst onto the scene. Although this created a huge stride in insulation, the process of making and installing the insulation was highly dangerous because of small glass particles being released into the air. This also posed a threat to occupants of the building being insulated.

Spray Foam Insulation

These issues lead to the creation of spray foam which alleviated the dangers of the fiberglass and was also easier to install. However, spray insulation is not without its downside. Sprayed insulation is vulnerable to water which limits where it can be installed and any water getting to it ruins its insulative properties.

Aerogel: Alien Technology Powered by NASA

The newest innovation in insulation is thanks to a material called Aerogel created by NASA. Aerogel is a silica-based product that holds several Guinness Book of Records. Two of those records are lowest density solid and most importantly, the best insulator. Aerogel is made by taking silica alcogel and removing the water from it and replacing it with nothing but air. Aerogels can have a density as low as .001 grams per cubic centimeter and the reason they make such a fantastic insulator is because they eliminate convection, radiation, and conduction which are the three methods of heat transfer.

Maximizing R-Value: ThermaBlock

This aerogel technology lead to the invention of Thermablock. Thermablock comes in plastic incased strips that attach to studs of a wall that increase the overall R-Value by up to 35 percent regardless of cavity insulation. R-Value is the measurement that tells how well insulation keeps heat out in the summer and retains it in the winter. The higher the number the better the insulation. Thermablok can also be purchased with self-adhesive backing that makes it easy to install. Thermablok also contains the added benefits of never aging, mildewing, or molding. This is thanks to the hydrophobic properties of the aerogel. Thermablok is also environmentally safe and can be recycled because it is made up of amorphous silica.

When standard metal stud and gypsum board walls are tested with an infrared thermal test, the studs stand out glaringly obviously as the points of thermal conductivity. The biggest reason for energy loss in a building is thermal bridging. This is where Thermablok makes all the difference in the world. Since Thermablok utilizes aerogel which is composed of 95 percent air and is located between the stud and drywall, it breaks the thermal bridging connection and provides greater insulation.

Government-Tested, Contractor Approved

Thermablock was tested by the US department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and J. M. Laboratory.  The test compared two identical walls, one with Thermablok strips on each 2×4 stud, and the second wall without any Thermablok applied. The testing revealed that the wall with Thermablok strips improved the R-Value by almost 42 percent. Additional insulation was added to the wall cavity to stop thermal convection which added to the R-Value.

Thermablock has greatly increased energy savings in residential and commercial buildings which make it more cost efficient to heat a building in the winter and cool a building in the summer. We have come a long way since straw and mud and there is a little irony in the fact that the best current product to keep air out is comprised of 95% air.

Industry News

Self-Healing Concrete of the Future

Self-Healing Concrete: Reinforcements from Bacteria

Written By: Thomas Berry


Ever since the Ancient Romans learned that mixing horsehair in their version of concrete prevented cracking, man has sought ways to increase the longevity of this pivotal building material. Little did anyone know, the answer to this problem has been around since the Romans mixed up the first batch of horsehair concrete. The answer does not lie in horsehair but in bacteria!

Bring in the Materials Scientists! 

In 2006, Professor Henk Jonkers of the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands was approached by a civil engineer friend who had read an article about introducing limestone-producing bacteria to monuments for increased longevity. This friend wondered if the same application could be applied to building materials and challenged Professor Jonkers with the difficult task of producing a self-healing concrete utilizing bacteria. Professor Jonkers worked diligently over the next few years and came up with a viable solution.

Professor Jonkers knew that the problem with regular concrete was small cracks that became larger due to leakage. Jonkers knew that concrete was extremely alkaline. This meant not only would the bacteria have to lie dormant in the concrete for many years until cracks appeared, but it would also have to be able to survive the alkaline conditions of concrete. He found his answer with bacillus bacteria. These bacteria can survive in extremely alkaline conditions and produce spores that can lie dormant for years without food or water.

With the bacteria and water problems solved, Professor Jonkers had to come up with a solution to feed the bacteria at the precise moment to repair cracks. The bacterium could be fed sugar by mixing sugar in with the concrete but this would make the concrete soft and weak. Jonkers found the solution with calcium lactate which does not compromise the integrity of the concrete. He mixed the bacteria and calcium lactate into water soluble capsules within the wet mix of the concrete itself. When water leaks through the cracks of the concrete the capsule dissolves releasing the bacteria with a food and water source. The bacteria feeds on the calcium lactate and produces calcite, which is limestone, and this heals the cracks of the concrete. Professor Jonkers called his new creation “bioconcrete”.

Bioconcrete: Powered by Bacteria

Bioconcrete is mixed just like any other concrete is mixed today but introduces the bacteria healing agent into the mix cycle. The bacteria lie dormant in the hardened concrete until years later when the concrete cracks and water leaks in. This water activates the bacteria which then begins to feed and produce a limestone waste that heals the cracks in the concrete.

This invention comes in three different forms. A spray to apply to existing structures with small cracks, a repair mortar for repairing large cracks in existing structure, and the self-healing concrete form to build from scratch.

There are currently many locations that could benefit from this technology in concrete. Coastal areas and areas that see high annual rainfall amounts could greatly benefit in Professor Jonker’s self-healing concrete. These areas that have higher than average rainfalls typically have some of the worst concrete damage due to the high likelihood of water leaking through micro cracks in their concrete structures.

elf-healing Irrigation Canals in Ecuador

Professor Jonkers’s invention has already been tested in several applications in developing countries. Most notably is a concrete canal and irrigation system in Ecuador made completely of bioconcrete.

As of right now, bioconcrete seems like expensive technology since it costs 30% more than standard concrete but Professor Jonkers says the costs can be reduced if they can find a way to incorporate sugars instead of calcium nitrate. He hopes that the construction industry will see the benefit in saving repair costs down the road as opposed to building costs.


Industry News

Elon Musk: Making Solar Suburbian

Elon Musk and Tesla have big plans to integrate total clean home and commercial energy with the famous Tesla vehicles. This involves pairing solar panels with those electric vehicles so they can be charged from a renewable resource, the sun. Musk and Tesla have merged with Solar City (another Musk-founded company) to design a photovoltaic (PV) roofing solution that will revolutionize the automobile and the housing industry. This design is the future of PV roofing, and who better to deliver it than Tesla?

Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) was getting a lot of attention even before Tesla and Musk got on board. It has long been assumed the next step in mankind’s evolution of solar power and the process of getting it into new areas such as green commercial & residential building and sustainable roofing design.

The best way to describe BIPV is that it replaces traditional building materials with photovoltaics. Ordinary rooftop solar installations require a different setup than BIPV. In traditional installations, a PV module is attached to the structure separately whereas with BIPV the installation is built-in beginning with the construction of the roof instead of a costly addition afterward. By including this process in the construction, labor and installation costs are reduced. This results in a substantial savings and eliminates the need for secondary racking equipment. This transitions BIPV from an addition that most cannot afford to an affordable efficient building material.

BAPV (building-applied photovoltaics) is already common in the construction industry. BAPV is solar power that is retroactively installed to a building. This still adds costs and time when BIPV could be applied from the onset. This is one of the many reasons Elon Musk and Tesla have decided to move forward with BIPV as Tesla’s next big move.

The first big issue for Tesla stakeholders was to convince customers that solar installation was something that could look good with their current homes instead of some bulky contraption that stands out and looks weird on the roof of their homes.

Elon Musk spoke about this issue to the public prior to the official demonstration of the product. He said, “I think there’s quite a radical difference between having solar panels on your roof that actually make your house look better versus ones that do not, I think it’s going to be a night-and-day difference.” When the time came to officially demonstrate the product, Tesla made a genius move. He demonstrated the product in the suburbs but did not tell anyone which house the solar roof was applied to. The onlookers had to be told which house contained the Tesla product.

During this product unveiling, Elon Musk demonstrated how durable his new shingles are when compared with regular shingles on the market today. The Tesla shingles and the regular shingles had weights placed on them. The Tesla shingles were the only ones that did not break. This makes anyone who doubts the strength of this technology to stand up to the elements rest easy. Musk explained that the reason Tesla’s technology was so durable was due to the fact it is made from quartz. Elon Musk stated that the product has a “quasi-infinite lifetime”.

The durability of the materials will be one of the biggest selling points for the solar powered roof. Homeowners will love that there are more benefits to this roof type than just clean energy. Tesla is breaking into two different marketplaces here with solar power and roofing but seems to have found a common ground to make customers appreciate both.

The new Tesla Solar roof is offered in 4 different designs: the slate glass tile, textured glass tile, smooth glass tile, and Tuscan glass style. This means that customers can select from four different options that will fit with their homes aesthetically. This means that Tesla’s roof will be looked at by a larger range of customers than traditional solar power options. Customers who want to go solar do not have to worry about large bulky contraptions on their roof and they can integrate solar in the style of their home.

Musk and Tesla are not the first company to design an integrated BIPV solar roof product. Solar Roofing is a technology that has been developed by many companies over the years and continues to evolve. All the companies are attempting to segue this technology from an add-on into a genuine roofing material. So far, the other companies have been able to produce only four types of BIPV.

·       Solar Facades that can only be used on walls that face sunlight

·       Solar Shingles above a roofs dew point

·       Solar Cell Membranes

·       Semi-Transparent solar glazing to replace skylights and windows

What Tesla and Musk bring to the product is a model that is truly a “solar roof”. The other four types of products have been successful, but are not considered to be a complete solar roof. Tesla’s roof does not come without its own problems and worry’s though. Right now, the price is a huge factor as well as the actual solar efficiency of the Tesla glass shingles. Neither of which were discussed in a great deal by Musk at the product’s demonstration.

Pricing information is not available now but everyone knows that Tesla makes premium products that can be very expensive. After all, this is a premium product made with an expensive material in quartz that is almost unbreakable. As of right now most homeowners will probably not be able to afford this option or unwilling to shell out the kind of money that it will cost. The brightside to the cost though is the fact that Tesla is constantly striving to deliver its technology to be affordable to everyone. This can be witnessed in the evolution of the Tesla electric automobile. The new Tesla3 is rumored to be around the 30k mark which brings the technology down from well over $100,000 and makes it affordable to most everyone.

The biggest hurdle for Tesla’s roof will be efficiency. Elon Musk did talk about this briefly at the product demonstration. He stated that the glass material shielding the solar cell results in a very small efficiency drop for the photovoltaic shingle. The solar energy industry is constantly evolving and the record for PV efficiency is changing on a frequent basis with cost determined by how well the product produces electricity, this means that efficiency will be a pivotal area for Musk and Tesla to see their technology succeed.

Tesla and Musk have made great strides with this technology but still have a long way to go to parlay this technology into both the building material and solar PV industries. The biggest factors will almost certainly be cost and efficiency. Tesla has already taken a giant step in introducing this product to the world and getting everyone excited. Homeowners all over the world are anxiously anticipating the release of this product to the public for purchase, especially Tesla car owners. If Tesla’s history with the electric car is any indication, consumers can expect Tesla to keep working on this technology until the price goes down enough for anyone building a home to be able to afford.

Legacy is a niche recruiting firm for the building materials industry. Follow us onLinkedInTwitter, or Facebook! For more information on our services, check out our website at!

Industry News

Eco-Friendly is the Future of Construction Technology

Product Highlight: uPVC Windows and Doors

We all know how important green building is to a sustainable future. Discovering new methods of implementing sustainable technology into our existing construction practices is vital to our future on this planet.This idea of building harmoniously with nature, without sacrificing our personal comforts or the quality of the overall structure has been at the forefront of construction innovation for the past few decades.

While still in the fledgling stages, Eco-friendly options are quickly becoming more and more cost-effective and realistic as standard options for both residential and commercial construction processes. This trend is vital to humanity, as populations continue to grow and the explosion of both smart-cities and hyper urbanization puts a strain on our ever-dwindling natural resources. One of the lesser thought about, but still highly important contributors to the battle to conserve our planet’s resources are uPVC products: Eco-friendly door and window products quickly garnering attention both overseas and in America.

uPVC stands for unplasticised polyvinyl chloride, and the products are made by essentially molding molten PVC profiles into the desired shapes in place of wood and other materials. Additives are then applied to window products to achieve the desired properties (UV protection, etc). This process not only allows for flexibility in manufacturing, but also has many other benefits the natural wood windows lack, without compromising the overall look and quality of the finished product. uPVC windows and doors was started by an India-based manufacturer called Aparna Enterprises, spearheaded by CEO Mahesh Choudhary. An alarming amount (around 75%) of the wood that is cut in India is currently being used for the manufacture of windows, doors, and furniture. With this level of environmental destruction for merely a fraction of the construction process, it is easy to see why a product like this is sorely needed.

uPVC windows and doors offer a wide-array of benefits to the market. First, they are free of lead and other hazardous chemicals. In addition they are designed and tested in India’s tropical condition, and are green-building approved. The products are also incredibly energy efficient due to their natural insulation (with an energy savings average of 25-30% annually) and each product undergoes a rigorous quality check under European standard specification, EN 12608:2003. The windows are more durable than standard wood, being treated for thermal, water, wind, and UV resistance; as well as being sound and dust proof. They are naturally fire retardant, fulfilling a class 1 fire resistance rating as defined in British Standard 476, and are designed to have a long-life and be maintenance-free. In addition, uPVC products are fully renewable and recyclable: being easily renewed in the event of a renovation, or be melted and recycled into other products at the end of their life-cycle. Even the waste materials can be easily reprocessed and utilized for other products.

Green-building is the only sustainable future in construction for our ever-expanding culture. Even though sustainable window and door solutions are only a small percentage of current market trends: Growing knowledge of the vast benefits, improvements, and long-term effects these products provide for us and the environment will see them gaining popularity very rapidly in the near future.

Legacy Search is a boutique recruiting firm for the building materials and construction industries. To get introduced, learn more on or email

Industry News

Seven Insider Sales Growth Tips

Sales is the bedrock of a growing company. Notorious B.I.G. is famously quoted as saying “mo’ money mo’ problems” but in business, revenue is the best aspirin. Take a look at companies like Amazon that have yet to turn a profit but whose growth is completely powered by revenue. In a previous article by sales consultant Mark Mitchell of Whizard Strategy (Denver, CO) he lists a few notes on how to push your sales growth into double digits. We went ahead and added on some insight from different searches and conversations we have had with top sales executives within the industry.
1) Grow your sales within current customers. 
Within the building materials industry, associates at Legacy have seen more entry-level positions focused around account growth under the title “Account Developer”. In this unique position, they are essentially an account manager, but doing no new business development, all current business development. The line of logic here is to let your new business sales focus on new business instead of encroaching on that time with the account management function.
2) Update your sales and marketing messages. 
Look at taking a more consultative approach. Don’t be so quick to shorten the lead time, you may not uncover the actual pain points and true strategic problems within the company. Businesses have shifted from looking for commodity-based purchases to partnership-based purchases. Look to add value outside of the physical product you provide.
3) Make it easier for your customers to find you online. 
Your website is a storefront. Don’t expect your to fully convert a customer, but look at it like window-shopping – they view your website to get a better idea about your business and products, to eventually “walk inside” or contact you to discuss their needs more specifically.  If you give too little information, they’ll never be interested, give too much information and they may be so overwhelmed they write you off. Keep a fine balance and SEO your heart out.
4) Focus on fewer opportunities, providing higher quality.
We actually find this happen a lot in the recruiting industry as well, where a company or a specific recruiter will be working 10-20 different jobs at once, which averages them out to 2-4 hours per week per job – not quite enough time to be thorough and accurate. If you spend more time on fewer opportunities, you can work at a higher level in the market and provide a much better and higher quality product to your customers. Not to mention – less stress!
5) Pursue new opportunities for emerging sub-markets.
Keep ahead of new developments within the construction industry. We have seen plenty of actions and murmurs around innovative developments like tiny home villages and mill re-purposing (into lofts). Again, focusing on emerging trends and the ‘higher level’ of the market. Get in during the bloom and you’ll be established when the market flowers.
6) Create more effective and differentiating marketing.
In Jon Spoelstra’s book, Marketing Outrageously, he suggests a couple of different outside-the-box strategies and opportunities. My favorite of which he suggests getting into a very tight market (for example, tiny homes) and absolutely dominating one of the leading networks for that market. Become the “go-to” for a very tight niche. Become the Coca-Cola of a small segment and you can easily grow around the segment.
7) Invest in your sales force and increase recruiting quality
Every business has been through the woes of turnover, low-performers, uninspired associates, and sales rep vacancies that impact overall revenue. Invest in your sales force in ways of compensation, consideration and consultation in order to improve retention. In addition, focusing on the front end (recruiting) will lower turnover and under-performance. If you hire the right person the first time, you will have less issues to get involved with later on in their tenure.
In an ever-changing market, business owners and managers cannot depend on the same styles they’ve always used. It’s been said a million times, but with the rise of the internet, information exchange and market change is at a pace we haven’t seen before. Stay ahead of the curve, stay nimble, and stay at the top of your market!
Industry News

OSHA: The Importance of Scaffolding Safety

There are many unsung heroes in the construction industry, and it’s safe to say that the less visible their skills are in terms of the finished product, the more essential they are likely to be. Perhaps the most important function in terms of site safety and success of the finished project is that of the scaffolding contractor. Highly-trained and rigorously tested, the scaffolder is the guy that enables other trades to get the job done on time, and on budget.

The job might be a relatively straightforward residential or commercial build, or something larger-scale, such as Georgia Power’s new nuclear units at Plant Vogtle. The extra capacity will produce enough electricity to cover the needs of approximately one million homes and businesses in the state. The company providing the industrial scaffolding for this build were South Eastern Carpenters, and their impressive 2.6 million man hours for the main contractor, and an additional one million for the sub-contractor resulted in no serious injuries; an excellent record for such a build.
Not every job goes quite so smoothly in terms of its safety record, however. Workplace safety is an ongoing concern in the US construction industry, and the Department of Labor’s list of the ten most frequent health and safety violations published last October served only to underline that the list never really changes. Year on year, inspectors report the same workplace hazards, and whilst the figure of 4,500 people who die at work every year might be sobering enough, the figure for those injured at work – some 3 million – is staggering.
Considering that scaffolding projects usually involve working at a height, it’s no surprise that the top three offenders on that list are fall protection (including poorly-positioned and secured ladders), hazard communication (including inadequate training and hand-off), and scaffolding safety issues. The Bureau of Labor Statistics keeps a record of deaths at work – the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) shows 54 deaths from scaffolding and staging falls in 2009. The accidents occur most commonly when planks or supports give way, or through worker error or disregard for safe working practices. Slips and falls are easy if workers are tired, or are not concentrating on the job. Failure to alert workers at a lower level when dropping materials to the ground can also result in strike injuries.
However, by following OSHA guidelines, it’s simple enough to take the maximum precautions necessary to minimize the risk of workplace accidents. Following platform construction instructions to the letter, and securing planking are the basics, and additional considerations such as instructions – and regular checks – to avoid unnecessary clutter on the platforms, and guardrails where appropriate on open sides further lessens the risk of trip hazards resulting in falls from the structure.
Key for everything within the building industry is training – in addition to updating and learning new skills, workplace safety qualifications are more than just another certificate to add to a portfolio to impress an employer; one day, they could save not just your life, but those of your colleagues too.