DExecuting the Plan
1.Conduct an initial planning meeting with all initiative partners. Good potential partners will be organizations with interests in areas such as sustainability, energy conservation, or affordable housing. The planning meeting is an opportunity to:
- Introduce partners and clearly define roles and expectations;
- Share or develop goals regarding the number of roofs and square footage covered by the Cool Roofs initiative; and
- Discuss the city services that will be made available.
2.Determine the number of volunteer hours needed to reach the stated goals (e.g., square footage of roofs to be coated) and identify potential sources of volunteers. Cool Roofs can be positioned as an opportunity for both individuals and groups (e.g., corporate groups, veterans groups, job training programs in clean energy fields). Volunteer hours may vary from city to city depending upon various factors, including coating materials used and the weather. Some roofs may also have a maximum occupancy requirement, which may limit the number of volunteers the roof can accommodate at any one time. (See the Resources section for a sample Volunteer Run of Day.)
3.Develop a budget to cover materials and supplies (see the Resources Section for a sample Budget and Materials List). Investments by building owners, in-kind donations, and discounts should be used where applicable. Supplies might include but are not limited to:
- Coating supplies: brooms, hose lengths, nozzles, extension poles, roller heads, mini rollers, power washers, dust pans, wheel tape measures, gloves, suit protectors, special coating, primer, paint screens, drop cloths, protective shoe coverings (see Resources section for lists of coating manufacturers).
- Volunteer/participant supplies: bottled water, sunglasses, sunblock, cups, event/sponsorship t-shirts or baseball hats.
4.Create a project timeline, taking into consideration the following:
- Cool Roofs is weather dependent, requiring a minimum of 50 degree and a maximum of 90 degree weather, and dry forecasts for a minimum of 2-3 days post-coating.
- All roofs must be cleaned before they can be coated. This will tend to add an additional day to the timeline. Primer may be required for rubber-coated roofs.
- Two layers of white coating are required. Depending on progress, materials used, and weather, it is possible to apply both coats in one day, stopping for lunch. But, there are times when it might be necessary to divide the coating between two days.
5.Develop a communication plan to mobilize volunteers/workers and inform, update, and confirm coating schedules and logistics.
6.Determine what building owners will be responsible for as a condition of participation (e.g., paying for supplies, insurance), as well as information they must provide in order to track metrics.
1.In coordination with the city’s buildings department or other relevant city agencies, identify which buildings are candidates for coating (see Resources section for a sample Site Assessment Checklist). Possible criteria include:
- Whether the building is public or private, as privately-owned buildings are less likely to need the help of a volunteer-supported initiative;
- Building height, as the reduction in energy consumption tends to be lower for taller buildings;
- Roof accessibility, to assure safety for volunteers and efficient movement of coating supplies; • Square footage;
- Roof safety features (e.g., a protective parapet around the roof);
- Roofing materials used (e.g., gravel roofs can’t be coated);
- Warranty status of target roofs (some roof warranties prohibit coating); and
- Current A/C usage.
2.Create and implement an outreach and communication plan to connect with building managers, supervisors, or other relevant partners to encourage them to engage their building community. As part of this, building residents and/or employees can be encouraged to join the volunteer effort.
Coordinating City Services
Consult with the buildings department and other city agencies to develop a menu of city services that can be offered to facilitate the initiative. City services are intended to complement the volunteer efforts, not replace them, and may include:
- Providing safety inspectors and conducting inspections;
- Conducting workplace safety training for volunteer project managers;
- Lending safety equipment and any coating supplies;
- Cleaning rooftops;
- Creating safety parapets (wall-like barriers near the edge of a rooftop); and
- Providing trash collection on coating days.
Managing For Safety On Rooftops
Safety considerations should be given significant attention, including developing a process for conducting safety trainings for volunteers. Each coating project will need to have a point-person on the ground, or site leader, to greet/direct volunteers, manage the day’s various logistical components, and ensure proper safety protocols are followed. Site leaders should be trained – typically through an OSHA course – in order to ensure safe working conditions during a roof coating project. These trained leaders can also provide day-of training for volunteers. Further, all coatings must be preceded by a safety inspection and cleaning and washing of the rooftop.
In addition, the mayor’s office will need to address any legal hurdles related to allowing volunteers on rooftops across the city. A great solution to this is to find a nonprofit partner that has general liability insurance – with adequate coverage for any potential accidents – to ensure that volunteers are allowed on rooftops. In New York City, a local nonprofit with construction experience was able to provide this insurance.
To help manage volunteer expectations and set clear rules for safety, your city might find it helpful to create a Volunteer Safety Manual. This manual can include sample coating schedules, tips for volunteers to help them remain safe, and other information that volunteers might find helpful. See the Resources section for a sample Volunteer Safety Manual.
Securing Resources For Cool Resources
Cool Roofs is a compelling fundraising opportunity for mayors’ offices to solicit support from foundations and corporations with a commitment to the city and energy conservation. It is also an attractive opportunity for any corporation interested in funding a day of service for their employees. For instance, a company may sponsor the purchase of all the materials and equipment required for the initiative while also having their employees volunteer to do the coating as a day of service. This approach has proven successful in New York City, where 16 corporate partners have provided cash and in-kind donations, as well as 30% of the volunteers who participated in roof coatings.
For resources to expand the city’s capacity to manage the initiative, consider partnering with a national service organization that has expertise in the issue area and is willing to assign an AmeriCorps member (or other national service participant) to support the initiative. Pittsburgh worked with a Student Conservation Association Green Cities Fellow Corps member to manage the day-to-day tasks for their Cool Roofs initiative.
Local businesses, national corporations with local stores, and community foundations are also strong prospective funders for Cool Roofs. When public buildings and housing are targeted, the initiative may be funded by a combination of corporate sponsorships, vendor discounts or in-kind donations, and other private donations. When privately owned buildings are involved, the building owners may be asked to pay for supplies and other costs.
Proposals for prospective funders should describe the opportunity for support and how the funds would be used. The elements of a typical proposal include:
- Description of the Cool Roofs initiative
- How this initiative would positively impact the city and the environment (e.g., reductions in energy demand, electricity costs, greenhouse emissions and smog)
- Proposed breakdown of grants and how funds would be used
- Metrics that would be collected as part of the initiative
- Information on Cities of Service (this is especially helpful for national organizations)
- Recognition plan for the donor (e.g., logo on volunteer t-shirts, branding on your city’s service website)
After the project is completed, be sure to provide donors with feedback on the results, including photos and metrics information. In some cases, private funders may not want to provide funding directly to city governments. If those instances, the mayor’s office should identify an appropriate nonprofit partner to receive the funds and coordinate disbursements.
Preparing The Site And Cool Roofs
- Work with building managers, supervisors, or other relevant parties to schedule coating dates and discuss logistics and needs.
- Order required materials and coordinate with the building manager, supervisor, or owner to ensure secure storage of materials prior to coating crew/execution day, often through the partner responsible for site management.
- Before the coating day, inspect rooftops for safety, ensure that rooftops are washed and clean, set up safety equipment (e.g., 2-3 foot parapets), and divide rooftops into coating blocks that can be worked on by volunteers (e.g., 100 square foot coating blocks). As mentioned, safety should be addressed across all areas, but at least one partner should assume accountability for safety liability.
- Mobilize coating crews on scheduled coating days and ensure proper supervision and safety measures are used.
- Volunteers coat rooftops under the direction of the individuals and organizations responsible for site and volunteer management.
- Make adjustments based on progress and weather, including a backup plan for weather changes.
Recognizing and Thanking Volunteers
There are numerous ways to recognize volunteer participants who contribute to the Cool Roofs initiative. Following-up with participants after the event is encouraged. For instance, consider sending volunteers a thank you card/letter with the details of their coating day (e.g., the site, the supervisor(s), number of square feet coated, and an estimate in the amount of energy to be conserved). Before and after pictures of rooftops and a summary of overall energy savings from the initiative may also be included.