• Credit: International Roofing Expo

In March, more than 9,000 architects and roofing contractors descended on Las Vegas to attend the International Roofing Expo. The event featured 50 educational sessions, including a new set this year focused on legal and human resources issues for businesses. More than 500 companies filled 1,000-plus booths with products. Introductions included everything from software that calculates roof area to copper roofing and solar panels. One theme seemed to recur more than others: products to help those scrambling to comply with California's Title 24, Energy Star, and other cool-roofing initiatives. Even a few years ago, the introduction of a cool-roof product would have been revolutionary, but with the addenda to Title 24 at the end of last year and the promise of even stricter standards when the law is overhauled in 2008, cool-roof is the new industry buzzword. Companies are introducing newer, better, and simpler technologies than existed when Title 24 went into effect. GAF-ELK Corp.—the newly combined GAF Materials Corp. and Elk Building Products Inc.—released Freedom, a self-adhering TPO roofing system. Freedom has easily heat-weldable seams and can be patched by one person without heavy machinery; it's part of a rising trend of products that are taking long-term care into account, as opposed to rushing solutions to meet legislative deadlines. The expo will return to the Las Vegas Convention Center in 2008.