Construction is brutal on the environment and our goal’s to combat it.

In separate research by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the construction industry accounts for 40% of worldwide energy usage, with estimations that by 2030 emissions from commercial buildings will grow by 1.8%. 


It’s easy to glance at the statistic’s above and become irked by the overall environmental impact. However, I want to ask you: do you consume plastic water bottles, opt for a plastic straw during a meal, or prefer paper grocery bags? If so, it’s not all your fault, because you are consistently berated by our society that advocates and advertises these “1-time use” product’s from microwavable meals, to-go drinks, and entirely almost all consumer goods. Our culture has indoctrinate us to use and dispose.  So how do we transform our at-home lifestyles to be more efficient, but more importantly how do we assist the biggest offender of all: the construction industry?

I will not speak for the entire industry since there are over thousands of construction sectors and  each varying in their environmental impact. It’s important to understand an oil drilling company is far more detrimental than an owner-installer cabinet-maker, but unfortunately we get segmented together. So where can we start?

3 Tips on how YOU can assist the construction industries impact?

  1. Don’t buy the hype! Our industry has innovative product’s on the horizon such as Tesla’s Solar Tiles, GAF Decotech, PVC style roofing systems, and Celect snap-clad siding systems. Are these more efficient for the environment? They might be, but only if the research studies are accurate (ala Volkswagen).
    • The reason I state “don’t buy the hype” is because no home or business owner needs these products until they NEED a roof, siding, or a product. Ask yourself, why are you making the improvement?  If’s due to a failing product then yes replace it! However, much environmental research showcases the production of gas emissions and natural resources outweighs the benefit’s of these products. This applies towards vehicles as well. Driving an old vehicle until it meet’s it’s life cycle is far better than purchasing new gas friendly vehicles (because the overall effects of production) and radiation of the lithium batteries, which merit’s another article posting.
  2.  This is definitely illegal and you could get arrested. However, if you’re a DIYer or jack of all trades go dumpster diving (figuratively – not literally!). Skip the Home Depot or Menard’s run and visit a dumpster near a new construction home or rehab project. YOU CAN FIND A LOT OF GREAT ITEMS and full sheets of lumber. Waste remains the hardest item to calculate for contractor’s and installers due to the varying difficulty of every project. Most project’s have a 10% waste factor, which mean’s 10% of the lumber, shingles, and etc. are in that dumpster. Do not jump into a dumpster and be cognitive of job-site safety – nails, potential for injury, and possible arrest due to trespassing.
  3. Pollution Hurts us all

Alternatives to dumpster diving

3.  Use your local supply house and builder #golocal!  It’s extremely common for the Chicagoans and Northwest Indiana areas to have contractor’s from Texas, Oklahoma, or fly by nights crash our local storms. How does this makes sense? Seriously? What’s the true benefit’s for your environment, the local economy, and assurance in their WORKMANSHIP. The most expensive project is the one you do TWICE. Does a company from Nebraska iinstalling an unfamiliar product make sense? I can assure you that the second go-around in production, waste, and cost of a second roofing system in 10 years could be avoided. You should be getting 17+ years in the midwest from an asphalt shingle roofing system. Unless you fly to Iowa every year to visit your dentist, trust the local contractor’s, and please get 3 local bids. Save the environment the redundancy and potential landfill waste.

So what’s Total Roofing & Construction Services, Inc. doing for the environment.

I assure you we are not saints nor pioneer’s for the environmental movement, . However, this does not mean we are ignorant and unmotivated to make a difference. In the last 5 years we’ve made significant progress in identifying our industries voids and where we can make improvements.

  1. Renovated Lighting System
    • This winter we replaced the entire Total Roofing & Construction Services, Inc. headquarters with “High Energy efficiency lighting. We invested in over $20,000 in overhauling the entire property with these bulbs. The new bulbs will cut our energy consumption by 20% (as per their salesman).
  2. Digital/CRM – paperless transition
    • We cannot say that TRC is one of the “hip” paperless companies, but our processes are much-less paper focused.  We decreased the amount of product literature for homeowners and only order it on a per need basis. In addition, we are in the process of implementing a commercial sized recycling container on-site for paper and cardboard for the community of Dolton (May 18). Waste.jpeg
  3. Fleet improvements In 2017, we worked in the following states: Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Florida, and Indiana. Everyone from project managers to installer’s traveled far and wide to ensure our customers stayed dried. Driving result’s in gas consumption, rubber (tires), and more. Whether we run product’s to job sites, completing estimates, chasing local building permits, or traveling for safety training we realized this is a HUGE EXPENSE on both the environmental and the pockets EXPENSE.
    • Fleet Retirement: Our president has done a great job by using a vehicle to its fullest and it’s common for a truck to hit 200,000 miles in our fleet. 200,000 miles in the construction industry are tough miles from towing, hauling, and more. However, our goal is to replace each truck with an “Eco-Boost Ford F-150” or product similar for our installer’s. These vehicles get better gas mileage and are more efficient than older models.
    • Transits: In addition, last year we began our transition to Transit model vehicles to ensure higher mpg. The transits allow us to save 5-8 mpg when you’re chasing down a permit or bringing over material.
    • Trailers/Dumpsters: We’ve had the same dump truck for over 17 years and it’s still running. However, we’ve used roll-out’s for residential job’s for a long time and realized it’s time to transition to pull dumpsters. One less vehicle is making 2 trips (Dumpster company) and we can haul material’s on the way to the job. A trailer’s only downfall is the tires and weight capacity on the roads


4. Local Loads Our goal for 2018 is to order from our closest alliance supplier in the area. The differences of $10 to $30 per a load will not outweigh ordering from a the local supplier. We believe the supplier’s proximity will ensure higher customer service, less wait time on material, and unnecessary driving.  As our business grows throughout the Midwest this is critical! Last year we had suppliers ship from Northwest Indiana to Lafeyette (2 hour drive) with over 4 ton of roofing supply. This must change and we believe our partner system will allow this.

5. Job take-off (Waste calculations) We continue to use satelite take-off’s, drone’s, measurement tool’s, and hand taping products to ensure a job’s mean of square footage. These various tool’s allow us to avoid making as many trips to a large condominium or multi-family property (less gas). These product’s allow us to ensure proper measurements and waste calculations. Waste calculations are central to the business for the purpose of unnecessary waste!

6. Product quality: This is the biggest item have elaborated on and believe is critical for success and sustainability. Installing better product’s ensure less callback’s and longer lasting product’s. It’s true, every job has it’s various way’s to cut corners to make a price work, but we’ve realized labor & product are not those items. Unfortunately, this mean’s we won’t be able to service all customer’s, but it does allow us to be confident in the systems we install. That’s why our staff is free to bring up any new products or learn about the innovative products. If the product’s will enhance our customers experience we will advise it.

7. Shingle Recycle: We recycle our asphalt shingles & detriorated wood. These items get reused and installed back on our road system!

Northfield Saltdome

Maybe you own a construction company or have ideas as well, let us know! We’d love to hear more ways we could eliminate our footprint on the environment, while ensuring your home is protected for the next century!


Some research studies to review:

Environmental studies on roofing systems:

Clay Tiles vs Green Roofing systems:





It’s the millennial’s fault, part 1. (Understanding the client’s of tomorrow)

Every day you read “Trump is the downfall of America,” and 6 years earlier you heard the opposing side stating “Obama is the downfall of America,” but if you want to find common ground bring up the millennial generation.  Quite frankly, if America did a yearly poll to unite the left & right, this might be topic where the glue binds. However, we’re not trying to unite the country today nor bate either side, but merely shade light on next group of home improvers: millennial’s.

Generations Defined

First and foremost, I’d like to announce that I’m a millennial (born in 1991) and if you’re not familiar with “millennial’s,” it’s the demographic of people born between 1980 to 1995. According to researchers, the early 80’s and mid 90’s continue to remain as the generational framework. Identifying such groups has been well-documented for generations and central to our capitalistic countries sustainability. These research studies are central to the longevity of large conglomerates and they often finance these studies. These insights give evidence on many things from technology, education, preferences, and much more.

So what do we know about millennial’s and purchasing homes?

Well, if you’re a realtor you better refrain from the age discrimination, because according to National Associations of Realtors, they had the highest share of home buying activity for 5th STRAIGHT YEAR!* Some may ask, how? This generation is now 10 years removed from the great 2008 housing recession and they finally have the “MULA” (#1 Savings – most popular form of down deposit) and (#2 is a gift from relatives/family often boomer generation).

Keep in mind the combination of the 08′ recession, along with the average graduate leaving school with $27,000 of student debt are not the ideal ingredients for homeownership.  However, 10 years removed from the recession has allowed them to save adequately and pay off their debt. So, congratulations on your first-home purchase. Here’s the keys and there’s the problem’s!

The renovation trends are steadily increasing:

The good news is that these well-known basement dwellers are getting the boot from the parents, and spreading their wings in the marketplace. However, the average renovation from millennial is still significantly lower than their peers. The evidence favors a 7% increase in renovation expenditure from 2015, which is positive in a year-over-year review, but much less than their peers.

Average Renovation spend

Reason’s why millennial’s spend less on renovations:

  1. They prefer multi-family housing (townhouses, condominiums, etc.)
    • More HOA costs, less maintenance, and less interest on exterior upkeep
  2.  They favor new development’s rather than fixer uppers. First-time homeowner’s favor – one-stop shop and fewer headaches (sorry Chip & Joanna – magnolia)
  3. Saddled with debt from college & 1st post college vehicle

General contractor’s and home builder’s can give you a first-hand account of these marketplace trends especially throughout the Northwest Indiana Region. In my town alone (Dyer, Indiana), there’s been a huge demand for town houses and multi-family construction. Yes the older generation of millennial’s (80’s babies) have successfully navigated the financial hurdles to purchase their first-home, but there are MANY adult’s swimming against the current.

So, what do these individual’s do? They have to rent or continue to live with their parents. The best way to provide a visual reference is the movie “Failure to Launch” with Sarah Jessica Parker/Matthew McConaughey.

Failure to launch.jpg

Item’s to know as a contractor or home improvement service when working with this age group in 2018

  1. millennial are 7% more likely to pay with Credit Cards
  2. 50% of millennial’s are “hesitant” or “anxious to use a bank loan for a home improvement project (
  3. 26% of millennial’s are sure they could come up with $2,000 if needed.
  4. Paying with Cash eliminates investment opportunities
  5. 57% of millennial’s feel ” nervous” or “overwhelmed” about buying a fixer upper.

This article is only part 1 of 4 throughout our 2018 blog series pertaining to this specific demographic, because there is way too much information to submit in one article. We believe being educated about your customer’s and their consumer behavior allows us to best present them with products/services.


Have you ever experienced a financial generational gap?

My experience:  While working at Hertz Rental Car I once asked an 86-year-old woman  for her Credit Card pertaining to the vehicle’s security deposit (standard company protocol) and I thought she was going to whack me. However, her generation “Silent” very seldomly use credit cards, and she later informed me her only credit card was in a lock box at her house.


Information was used from these sources:, National Association of,,, and living-proof as a 26 year-old.


Vinyl siding or LP Smartside/James Hardie?

Each trade show and every year this same question is brought up! And honestly, it’s a tough question, which merit’s a post, and we recommend asking your go-to contractor his thoughts. If you asked 100 contractor’s you’d get a variety of responses. Regardless whether their a preferred contractor, 30+ years in construction, or your favorite handyman. However, in my experience this question can only be answered by YOU the homeowner! 

Go ahead visit the leading vinyl manufacturers websites such as: Plygem or Royal Building Products, James, or LP Building product’s they’ll showcase the advantages over their peers. Each site exhibit beautiful houses, trending colors, and their extensive product warranties. I’d recommend before you upload an image of your house to ask yourself “what are your intentions for your home?”

We know it’s common for homeowner’s to comprise a ” fix-it” list in March and we professionally recommend it. A proactive homeowner is great homeowner and we suggest every Spring/Fall you address an on-going issue (Mines – Air Conditioning not that you care!). It’s much easier in Spring especially when your accountant indicates you’re receiving a $5,000 tax return. Regardless of your situation or tax refund situation, ask yourself these questions:

  1. How long do you plan on living at your home?
    • The average family lives at their “home” 13 to 17 years according to the NAHB This is the most important question! Because this should alter your product consideration simply because why invest in siding when you’ll have a possible down payment?
  2. What are the “comp’s” in the area or neighbor’s house look like?
    • If the entire block is barren from James Hardie siding and the median 3 Bedroom/1 bathroom home doesn’t fluctuate much, than it’s possible there won’t be much ROI. We don’t believe your decision solely on ROI, especially if the intentions are to live their your entire life, but it’s worth the consideration. In contrast to that, many neighborhood’s will transitions after one makes the jump to a premium siding material (keeping up with the Jones – it’s real!)
  3. Do you have newer windows?
    • I’d say 50% of homeowners initially don’t consider window replacement , because they’re focused on their ugly, outdated, or bird ridden siding. Yet, the honest truth is, if those windows are over 15+ years it may be worth considering to do a 2 for 1 deal.  Why? It’s much easier to install a quality siding product such as LP & James Hardie alongside those new energy efficient windows rather than remove the “newer” siding system in 5-7 years to replace those faulty windows. It’s much easier ( and cheaper) to do it all at once.
  4. Do you know a quality contractor or trust the local contractor?
    • Again, we’re bias because we’re contractor’s, but we’re aware of the significant cost difference and investment of these material’s. LP & Hardie is more labor laden, along with their product specifications! So hiring the right contractor should save you $$$  and headaches down the road regardless if you sell or stay (even if their estimate is more expensive).
  5. What’s your project budget or expectation?
    • This is the most important question. I agree, the more expensive product’s are  better for the environment and currently have longer warranties, but will you be financially stable in the next 1 to 5 years? We’re not the door-to-door contractor that wants all customers to sign for 5 to 10 year home improvement loans. Because we understand it’s vital that you love the product, installer, color, and more importanly believe it’s the best suited system for your goal’s, which should have been clarified with the questions above. 

So, what’s the final decision? We were not going to say one over the other, because A. our manufacturer’s will get upset and B. because we don’t know your personal intentions with your home. We want to provide the best information and will surely do so if you reach out individually.  A variety of our own employees have a variation of vinyl, James Hardie, and LP Smartside, so we’d be lying as a company by saying there’s a one size fits all. 


Do you watch HGTV? TRC does.

If there’s anything a few contractor’s enjoy, it’s catching an television show such as: This Old House, reality brothers, or Fixer Upper. Many of us may not identify as a “fixer upper” addict’s, but I’m lying if I said I dislike “Chip & Joanna” completing a 30 minute home restoration. They make for good television and the reality tv is not overly dramatized, but it’s still cheesy. Especially as a contractor, these show’s provide our spouses a glimpse of the our day-to-day work life in the contracting world and showcases that we don’t drive our truck’s all day.

I won’t bore you with our favorite television shows, but I’m advocating that you as homeowner should be watching these programs!  Don’t watch television solely to dull your senses or waste time, but at least before the next big renovation project. If you’re building a home for a family of five than the show “tiny homes” won’t exactly make much sense.

Fixer upper

There is a number of quality pro’s & con’s to these shows.

Pros of contracting/home improvement shows

  • Oversight of the industry trends: colors/designs
  • Breakthrough building product’s (Manufacturer’s will market their new product’s in these shows)
  • A visual of a construction site (Debris, equipment, & inconveniences)
  • Synergy of a project: crew, foreman, contractor, supplier, homeowner
  • Learn from other’s mistakes (Don’t like that color, now you know!)
  • Need for a quality and honest contractor.

Con’s of contracting/home improvement shows

  • Unrealistic timeframes – (Extreme makeover home edition)
  • Perception of cost – (Labor rates vary across the nation)
  • Not all contractor’s are qualified to be on television, let alone feature their work (Do your research)
  • Best choice building product’s for you (Often location is addressed, but not all building products are suited for the midwest or east coast).
  • Alway’s a surprise moment (There are times, the homeowner does not like the final color)

Extreme Makerover.png


I’m sure we’re all grown enough to understand that television is not reality, but it’s a fantastic tool.  These programs provide you with an ability to do homework before the big test (paying a contractor with your $$$) and you’ll learn industry jargon, products you might want, and an understanding the style of home you’re seeking.

What do I do if I don’t get cable or HGTV?

My family is in the same boat! We decided to cut the cord and opted for Netflix and a local antenna. Though I don’t know a way to stream HGTV, I do know YouTube has played or showcased old episodes of “home restoration” shows. In addition, local providers do have a few “do-it-yourself” and home improvement channels throughout the week (mostly featured on Sat/Sunday) that are similar. I’m honest in stating that the local renditions are MUCH different from the commercialized and scripted version of HGTV’s.

Chip and jo.jpeg