December, 2007

Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors


CertainTeed CoolStar™ Roofing Products Help Reduce Energy Costs and Keep Buildings Cooler

EDITED BY ASHI STAFF

CertainTeed Corporation announced an expanded line of 14 low-slope roofing granulated cap sheet membranes featuring CoolStar-coated surfaces.

The CoolStar family of products, featuring factory pre-coated roof surfaces, meets ENERGY STAR® and initial California Title 24 requirements and has received ratings for solar reflectance and thermal emittance from the Cool Roof Rating Council (CRRC).

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According to CertainTeed, testing conducted on a sunny day at 100º F ambient temperature shows that the surface temperature of a roof topped with black membrane can reach 180º F, while a gravel roof can be as hot as 145º F. A CoolStar roof is significantly cooler at 90º F, contributing to a cooler indoor environment and reducing peak cooling demand up to 15 percent.
The brilliant white coating is factory-applied for hassle-free, one-step field applications. Once the roof system is applied, the job is complete. This one-step installation helps reduce labor costs because there are no costly time delays for application of multiple coats.

The CoolStar reflectant surface is now available for the following products:

For more information, contact Michael B. Loughery, CertainTeed communications manager, 610-341-7328, mike.b.loughery@saint-gobain.com and visit www.certainteed.com/pressroom.

Antitrust Division launches Web site on competition in the real estate brokerage industry

The Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice launched a Web site to educate consumers and policymakers about the potential benefits that competition can bring to consumers of real estate brokerage services and the barriers that inhibit that competition. Among its features are maps identifying states with real estate laws that can inhibit competition, a calculator to help consumers tally their potential savings when brokers pursuing new business models compete for their business, and links to additional government resources. The address is: www.usdoj.gov/atr/public/real_estate/index.htm.

The estimated median commission paid by home sellers in 2006 was $11,672, according to the Antitrust Division. New real estate brokerage models have the potential to reduce that amount by thousands of dollars. For example, in states that allow open competition, some buyer’s brokers rebate up to two-thirds of their commission to the customer, and some seller’s brokers offer limited-service packages that let sellers list their homes on the local multiple listing service (MLS) for as little as a few hundred dollars.

In a number of states, however, laws have been passed making it illegal for brokers to offer rebates, or requiring them to offer a full package of traditional services regardless of whether all consumers want them. The Antitrust Division Web site contains data showing that if these sorts of barriers to competition were eliminated, consumers could save thousands of dollars in real estate commissions when selling one home and buying another.

The Web site also explains how consumers are harmed when states forbid competition between lawyers and non-lawyers to conduct real estate closings, and when brokers tailor the rules governing local multiple listing services to exclude lower-cost rivals.