Here are four products from companies pushing the envelope and searching for ways to help roofing and exteriors professionals save time, money and materials.
Light-capturing windows that help conserve energy while remaining aesthetically pleasing
California-based manufacturer Ubiquitous Energy (UE) wants windows to serve a dual purpose as the, well, window to the outside world and as a way to help conserve energy. The company has developed what it touts as "the world’s first aesthetically acceptable, electricity-generating alternative to traditional windows." They want windows you can still see clearly through that also play a role in bettering the planet, and to achieve that end, they've created UE Power technology.
According to UE, other solar window technologies have tradeoffs in transparency, color, viewing area obstruction, haze or energy efficiency, making them difficult to adopt as an easy alternative to standard windows. The company says its window coating "harvests solar energy and serves as an invisible, onboard source of electricity for a variety of end products." The thin coating is applied to the surface of window glass to provide electricity generation, all while maintaining the aesthetic of a traditional window.
UE also claims to have "the only patent-protected solar technology that selectively captures ultraviolet and infrared light while allowing visible light through, allowing its windows to be both highly transparent and highly efficient." UE Power-enabled windows could offset up to 200-watt hours of electricity per day, which is based on an average 3x5-ft. window and is, according to the company, the equivalent of charging your smartphone 13 times a day.
There is so much more to dive into with the science behind this technology and the benefits it can have, but one thing is certain: this is a must-look-into product for any company with sustainability-focused homeowners on their client list.
Truck-bed range extender that provides easy access to heavy-duty home improvement tools
DECKED has launched CargoGlide, what it calls a heavy-duty sliding bed platform created to simplify access and loading of any gear in the truck bed. CargoGlide makes it easier, according to DECKED, to store and retrieve heavy, cumbersome items—two descriptors for many materials used on roofing and exterior projects. It is built from heavy-gauge, powder-coated American steel and industrial-grade marine plywood (coated with a thermoplastic top sheet), according to the company, and "can take all of the use and abuse of the job site and the environment."
CargoGlide is available to fit a wide range of full or midsize trucks, though it is not compatible with carbon or composite truck beds. The tray rolls on heavy-duty bearings and is held in place by a single-handed latch which allows users to easily slide it out and retrieve tools and materials without getting on their hands and knees and crawling into the truck bed.
Learning and development app that supports construction crew training
Wisconsin-based company On3 has created a learning and development app with instructional videos made specifically for construction. According to the company, On3 engages builders, manufacturers and trades in the creation of learning and development videos that meet their employees' needs.
Using On3’s app on their phones, users shoot a quick video describing the process or technique they want their workers to learn and send that video to the On3 team.
In some cases, On3 uses that same footage in the finished product. In others, On3 shoots its footage with a production team that travels around the country.
Many videos feature Clay Loney, On3’s communication director and a veteran broadcast journalist, serving as the on-camera instructor. On3 also customizes its technology for each client.
When all is said and done, clients get their own custom libraries of shareable learning videos, which ultimately allows for a faster, more streamlined way of producing training materials.
At the time of writing, On3 now has over 1,200 learning videos in its shareable library, in addition to custom videos created for clients who subscribe to the platform. The course catalog includes a variety of construction-related topics such as foundation, house wrap and insulation. On3 says its clients include more than 40 homebuilders as well as building product manufacturers and trade contractors.
COMING SOON: Augmenta Construction Platform that enables contractors and engineers to speed up the design process
In late June 2022, Augmenta—a company automating building design for the construction industry—announced it had emerged from stealth mode with $4.1 million in seed funding to bring to market its design platform for the construction industry. The funds, led this round by Hazelview Ventures with participation from Ferguson Ventures and Whiteshell Group, will be used in part to accelerate the development of the Augmenta Construction Platform.
According to the company, the Augmenta Construction Platform enables contractors and engineers to design fully detailed, code-compliant and constructible designs in hours rather than weeks or months. Based on early customer trials, Augmenta says it is "delivering enormous time and cost savings by bringing generative design to the construction industry." Efforts in the early rounds of funding are focused on Augmenta's Electrical System Design (ESD) module but will expand over time to include modules on automated prefabrication, structural construction and more.