Green Building Perspectives: DaVinci Roofscapes

davincilogoBased in the Philadelphia suburb of Horsham, Pa., Benjamin Obdyke Inc. has been an innovator in the design and provision of residential building products since 1868, and today is best known as a leading provider of high-quality residential roof and wall building solutions. The company says its roof material and wall system products enhance the building system to maximize the performance, durability and value of a building’s critical outer structure. As the company’s motto goes, “When you ‘build better’ with Benjamin Obdyke, you build to last.”

Benjamin Obdkye is outfitting the Green Life Smart LifeTM home with its Home Slicker® product. Home Slicker provides a continuous space for drainage and drying, a thermal break and pressure equalization. These technologies will work in concert to eliminate the threat of trapped moisture within the exterior walls of the home. By installing Home Slicker underneath the cedar shingles on the Green Life Smart Life home, the life of the shingle will be prolonged; we won’t need to refinish or replace it due to excess moisture.

We spoke with Julian DeLuca, associate product manager with Benjamin Obdyke, about the green building market and about the company’s enthusiastic support for the Green Life Smart Life project.

What do you think of the Green Life Smart Life Project to date? What interested Benjamin Obdyke about the project?

There are plenty of green building projects going on across the country, but Green Life Smart Life is the only one I am aware of that has successfully created such an extensive online community surrounding the daily activities of the project. I think such an undertaking immediately gains one credibility, and that’s why Benjamin Obdyke has agreed to participate in the project.           

Where does Benjamin Obdyke see green building going in the next five years?

To be honest, I think it’s going to go away…but I mean this in a good way. I believe that the mainstream interest and acceptance in green building has built so much momentum over the past two to three years that green building will just become part of standard building practice by 2015. Speaking from my experience as a building product manufacturer, just as recently as two years ago, “green” was considered to be a nice-to-have feature that could help a company better position their product offerings against the competition. Nowadays, you would be hard-pressed to find a segment of the building product industry where being green wasn’t a prerequisite to compete in the marketplace.

How is your company evolving to address green building?

At Benjamin Obdyke, I think we have done a good job of incorporating green and sustainable building into much of our overall marketing message without making it seem like we’re trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. We have excelled at reviewing our complete product line and grading the sustainability of each individual product. When we come across a product that doesn’t make the grade, we openly admit that it doesn’t make the grade, and immediately we look at making product improvements or changing the product composition in order to help end-users achieve points with either of the two biggest green building programs: LEED for Homes and the NAHB Green Building Guidelines.

What challenges do you see Benjamin Obdyke facing in the evolution of green building?

Ultimately I think the biggest challenge Benjamin Obdyke will face as it relates to green building is aligning ourselves with the right programs, projects and experts in the field of green building. The one negative thing I see with green building is that there are so many people out there claiming to be “green building experts” that it’s hard to figure out who really knows their stuff and who is just in this for the money. Long term, the more we can align ourselves with projects, organizations and people who can clearly delineate what being green or sustainable means, the better we can mitigate the risk of associating ourselves with the wrong people. Green Life Smart Life is an excellent example of the type of project we would like to align ourselves with.

Do you think green building will ever dominate your business?

I think it already does. We seldom go a day without hearing from a customer who has a question regarding green building and how one of our products fits in. We hear much of the same when we are at tradeshows, or when our salespeople are out in the field.

Anything else you would like to add about the green building market or the Green Life Smart Life project?

It’s a great project being led by a great group of people, and Benjamin Obdyke couldn’t be more proud to participate. We anxiously look forward to the completion of the project, but in the interim we’re just as happy following the progress via the construction dashboard and the blog.


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