Tips to Save Money Without Cutting Corners

Tips to Save Money Without Cutting Corners

Commercial property maintenance is widely considered an essential task because it can maintain or increase the value of any property. While this true, the real value of maintenance lies in the long-term cost savings associated with preventing expensive breakdowns which require extensive repair. The problem commercial property owners face is daily maintenance can quickly become a time-consuming and grueling task. Fortunately, there are a variety of simple tips which can cut down the time and expenses directly related to regular maintenance.

1. Understand the Relationship between Maintenance and Repairs
The first step to developing a maintenance strategy is differentiating between maintenance and repairs. This is important because it makes it easier to track and analyze all of the maintenance tasks. By tracking the necessary repairs, it is easy to quickly identify where maintenance is lacking or ineffective. Over the long run, this will make it easier to develop and ongoing maintenance strategy devoted to minimizing maintenance and repair costs. This is particularly important for commercial properties because they are so large and encompass a range of unique yet inter-related systems.

2. Always Emphasize Efficiency
A common barrier facing commercial property owners is ensuring proper maintenance while decreasing related expenses. The key is emphasizing efficiency. Maximizing efficiency entails combining several concepts. The first is making sure the tasks are performed as quickly as possible without sacrificing the quality of the work. This can be achieved by utilizing trained professionals or professional services that have experience undertaking these types of tasks. The second is reducing the need for spare parts or part runs. While it saves time to have commonly needed parts onsite, it is unnecessary to maintain a full inventory of spare parts if they are not regularly needed.

Another way to increase efficiency is by identifying value-added products which can reduce maintenance requirements. For example, entrance mats are an easy way to help keep floors cleaner and minimize wear and tear in high traffic areas. Their cost is relatively nominal when compared to constantly replacing worn carpet or waxing the floor every day. As an added bonus, many of these types of products simultaneously create a safer work environment.

3. Work from an Evolving Checklist
Experience can jumpstart the creation of a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly maintenance checklist. The problem is it is nearly impossible to create a cohesive and comprehensive checklist at the outset. It is critical to look at commonly required repairs and determine if they could be reduced by altering the maintenance checklist. Another great way to start creating a maintenance checklist for specific facets of a commercial property is to simply combine all of recommended maintenance procedures provided by manufacturers. While the maintenance checklists don’t need to be updated on a daily basis, it is a smart practice to review them at least quarterly to identify any areas of weakness.

4. Pay Special Attention to Communal Areas
The easiest way to find out if a commercial property is well-maintained is by looking at high traffic areas. These areas will show signs of wear and tear the soonest. They also will get dirty the fastest. As a result, you will immediately be able to see if the maintenance strategy of a commercial property is effective. Communal areas are also typically the most well-ventilated. As a result, if you start to smell “something” in the communal area then it is safe to assume that other areas of the building will carry a scent as well. This is often a sign of a poorly maintained or wholly neglected ventilation system.

5. Every Quarter or Year Should Feature a New Area of Emphasis
When developing an effective maintenance strategy, it is easy to regularly update the daily or weekly checklists based upon what is happening at the current moment. A common commercial property maintenance problem is looking ahead at the long-term. To ensure critical issues are not overlooked, it is imperative to set up a special area of emphasis for each quarter, bi-annually, or annually. This will make it far less daunting to tackle larger projects and address specific areas of concern. It also provides an additional way to add more items to the regular maintenance schedule while minimizes the friction large-scale changes inevitably create.

Cool Roofing Technology to Save Thousands by Reducing Energy Use

Cool Roofing Technology to Save Thousands by Reducing Energy Use

A few years ago, “white roofs” were a new trend in energy efficiency. The idea behind reflective coatings was to reflect more of the sun’s rays to decrease cooling costs. Today, the latest cool roofing technologies go far beyond white roofs to provide greater cost savings and enhanced durability. The latest in environmentally friendly roofing technology can save thousands of dollars in heating and cooling every year.

Traditional Reflective Coatings Have Inherent Drawbacks Which Minimize Savings

White roofs were an important step in the right direction for both the environment and your pocketbook, but they still had some inherent drawbacks to overcome. The most notable drawback is durability. The amount of money reflective coatings saved in energy bills were often offset by higher replacement costs. Many reflective coatings are not durable because they are little more than specialized paint. For maximum durability, reflective coatings needed to be worked into a more comprehensive cool roof system. This will minimize the risk of cracking, peeling, and degradation. One such system is the Duro-Last Cool Zone roofing system. This type of approach utilizes multiple strategies to provide enhanced durability.

Roofing Systems with High Reflectivity and High Emissivity Can Reduce Energy Consumption by 40%
Cool roofing systems are designed to provide both high reflectively and high emissivity. Utilizing a roofing strategy that offers both reflectivity and emissivity is essential to the long-term reduction in energy consumption. A recent study noted that comprehensive cool roof systems can reduce energy consumption by more than 40% per year. Not only does this offer a simple way to reduce costs, but also reduces heating and cooling related greenhouse emissions by up to 35%.

Improved Insulation Performance All Year Long
A common complaint against white roofs is they only offer cost savings in the summer months, but actually increase heating costs during the winter months. A comprehensive cool roof system is designed to overcome this shortcoming by maximizing the effectiveness of your buildings insulation. This leads to a reduction in winter heat loss as well as summer heat gain.

Additional Cost Savings Outside of the Monthly Energy Bill
A comprehensive cool roof system also provides the ability to gain additional cost savings over the long-term. One way to realize cost savings is by reducing HVAC requirements. Since the building will won’t get as hot or cold, the size of the HVAC system can be reduced. Reducing HVAC capacity requirements decreases initial investment costs and long-term maintenance costs. Another way to realize additional cost savings is through rooftop air conditioning efficiency to decrease operating costs.

The Importance Of Installing Energy Efficient Roofing

The Importance Of Installing Energy Efficient Roofing

Having an energy efficient building, whether that is domestic or commercial, is incredibly important. Not only will you save the planet, but you will also save yourself a great deal of money. Have you ever felt your roof on a hot summer’s day? If so, did you notice how hot to the touch it is? And you will probably have your air conditioning on inside to keep cool right? Your air conditioning will be working overtime just to cool the inside down, costing you thousands and sending your carbon footprint through the roof. Luckily, however, there are energy efficient roofs that you can choose instead, keeping your home cool and reducing the need to rely on your air conditioning unit.

Cool Roofs
If you are constructing your new home or office, choose a cool roof straight away. You can also convert your existing roof if you want to. To do this, you can use special heat reflecting material to cover your roof, or you can use a waterproofing surface (like tile coating). If you have a large budget, you could even choose to completely replace your roof. The reality is that this comes at a high cost, but you will see a return on investment due to the reduction in your energy bills.

Cool roofs use special materials, designed to reflect the rays of the sun, rather than absorbing the heat. Different materials are used for this, including reflective paints, reflective shingles or tiles, or a sheet covering. By installing these roofs, the temperature can go down by as much as 50 degrees, which will save you a huge amount of both money and energy, because you won’t need your air conditioning. You will immediately notice that the ambient temperature is far more comfortable. These roofs are becoming increasingly popular, which also means that entire communities won’t have to suffer emissions or require new power plants to be built. Plus, because the outside temperature will also go down, there won’t be as many heat islands, which are commonly found in urban areas.

Green Roofs
The other option is a green roof. These can be fitted on shallow-pit or flat roofs. A green roof can be anything from a roof covered in any plant material, to a full converted garden. This type of roof is perfect for the management of storm water, but they are also incredibly comfortable, giving you a lovely open space to enjoy.

Furthermore, these roofs insulate the home, meaning that people can reduce their heating bill and they also stop the heat islands from occurring. It is generally quite an expensive option to go for, although you will eventually see a return on investment.

Duro-Last
Duro-Last is a company that specializes in providing commercial energy efficient roofing systems. If you are committed to lowering your carbon footprint and making a difference to the environment, and if you do wish to save a great deal of money on your energy bills, you may want to take Duro-Last into consideration. Their Cool Zone system, for instance, is one of the best available on the market today. Whenever Duro-Last offers a product in their inventory, they ensure it meets the five Es of sustainability. The first is energy – it has to reduce energy consumption for the person or office that uses them. Secondly, environment – the focus has to be on environmental sustainability, including in the production process of the roofing materials itself. Thirdly, there is endurance. When you purchase your roofing products through Duro-Last, you know that they will last and stand the test of time. Then, there is economics. Although the systems may not be cheap, they have to be economical, meaning it will be made very clear to you how quickly you can expect to see a return on investment as well. Lastly, there is engineering. This means that only those products that are the latest of the latest in terms of technology are considered.

Installing Snowguards on a Slate Roof

Installing Snowguards on a Slate Roof

Here a John Stortz slate ripper has been used to remove slates in sets. These sets are diagonals so that the snow guards can be nailed into the deck-never through slate- then slates can be put back in over the snow guard first, then the final slate over that as the progressive shots will show. A few other slates were removed a long the way since they were bad.

Snow guard installation now begins (at circle) . These type of Sieger Snow guards are mounted to a square shaft the end of which is bent down at a 90 degree angle with a sharp point on the end. The bend is designed to clear the head of the slate under the two slates where the snow guard is nailed between.

New slates are now inserted over the snow guards and nailed with copper nails. The next slate will be a salvaged slate so as to blend better with the new slates. Putting the new slates over the snow guards will give a strong slate right where we need it the most.

After the final slate over the new slate is slid into place, it is nailed about 2 inches down from the bottom of the corresponding slate two courses up and in between the two slates it is under. I have placed the arrow tip right where I mean. Once the nail is down in between the two slates and flush to the slate it’s holding, slip a piece of copper flashing up under the two slates all the way up to cover the nail. Use the ripper again for this and bend the piece of copper into a gentle “S” shape before sliding it up to help it stay in place.

Proceed down the roof until all the tear out areas are filled. Notice the pattern of snow guards and new slates.

Slating around a vent pipe

Slating around a vent pipe

Vent pipes on a slate roof must be carefully flashed to prevent water penetration. This copper collar was fabricated in our shop from 16oz. copper. The tube part was rolled and seamed on a pinch roller and the base cut from flat stock. The two pieces where soldered on location in order to get the angle just right. You might be thinking the angle is simply the roof pitch, but you would be wrong! The reason is the slates are slightly canted at the bottom and therefore the angle is slightly more acute than the roof pitch alone. If we only have one or two we usually do them this way to get them just right, bigger jobs would call for making up a pattern and model to accurately duplicate over and over.

I’ll tack my side slates on before nailing the collar in place to get the fit close. By using the slate cutter and the pointy end of the slater’s hammer slowly cut the slates from the outside in.
They should be about 1/8 to 1/4 inch from the collar to allow a little movement.

With these under slates now in place I’m ready to slip the collar on and put the final slates in place. The bottom of the collar in this situation will come perfectly even with the bottom of the next course-it doesn’t always work out this nice. Each vent pipe will hit the courses differently both vertical and horizontal situations will vary. Good luck.

To get these vent pipe slates perfect takes practice. I suggest you use discarded and broken pieces to hone your skills. Again carefully using the pointy end of the slater’s hammer I placed the slate upside down over a hard edge and started punching holes in the area of my round mark . By punching holes in between other holes I eventually punched out plug then trimmed it to fit slightly loose over the collar. A video of this process can be found here.

The top of the copper collar is cut down to within 1 inch of the top of the iron vent pipe. The remaining inch sticking above the pipe is then slit down to the pipe and systematically folded into the opening and soldered to seal the slits. Now the other courses of slate can proceed.