For Columbia, the roof's anything but the limit

Columbia's Mark Carpenter has delivered bundles of energy savings to his commercial roofing customers.

Columbia's Mark Carpenter has delivered bundles of energy savings to his commercial roofing customers.

Who knew that an older-line construction business, even one that doesn’t necessarily consider itself as “green,” could develop what might be described as a subconscious environmental ethos?

That’s only part of the story at Columbia Roofing & Sheet Metal, which, said President Mark Carpenter, mostly believes in roof maintenance as a form of “green building” because it extends the life of a roof over time. While homeowners save money, products are kept out of landfills for longer periods of time.

“Asphalt roofing products aren’t very recyclable,” said Carpenter. “But if you can leave the petrochemical materials on the roof as long as possible, at least they don’t end up in the landfill. It lowers the cost of the roof and it’s also good for the environment because you don’t need to buy more materials with petrochemicals in them. And, because replacement materials are heavy, you’re also not putting as much strain on the roads. So it’s good for society.”

It’s also been good for Columbia’s bottom line. The $7.3 million company, which employs 70 workers, landed on the Portland Business Journal’s list of top-growing private companies this year after logging 61 percent revenue growth over the last three years.

Carpenter’s projects include senior citizen developments and commercial work.

Much of Columbia’s enviro-friendly work comes from replacing metal roofs with such options as single-ply retrofits. One Central Oregon commercial client did just that for a massive building and saved 25 percent — $237,000 as opposed to $1 million — that the company paid for energy before the project.

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