Above It All Podcast: Episode 29

Above It All podcast episode #29 features Eric Huffman from Logistics Lighting. Join us as we talk about their partnership with Johns Manville, and how we bring value to customers through energy efficient solutions with a strong guarantee.  

Above It All is a podcast by Johns Manville dedicated to the roofing industry. The goal of this podcast is to bring knowledge from a Johns Manville perspective on trends, innovations, and people shaping the roofing industry. Join us as we dive head first into enriching conversations about the people and passion that are an integral part of the JM experience.

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Daniel Robbins: Alright, here we are again for another episode of Above it All, a podcast dedicated to the roofing industry by Johns Manville. Today, we have a very special guest on from Logistics Lighting, Eric Huffman. Eric, how are you doing sir? Thank you for being on the podcast.

Eric Huffman: Hey, Daniel. Doing great. Appreciate you having us on.

Daniel Robbins: Yeah. Of course. So, yeah, Logistics Lighting has had a relationship with Johns Manville quite some time now. How many years is that going? 

Eric Huffman: Yes, sir. We started in February of 2017, so a little over four years now.

Daniel Robbins: That’s awesome. So I wanna talk about your brand. But before we talk about the brand and what you serve and what products you’re making, what is kind of your... What’s your goal for customers? 

Eric Huffman: Well, Daniel it’s a great question. I mean, our goal with our customers, of course, is to make sure that we can provide the answers to questions, pricing of course, and provide the accurate information they need in order to determine which products they might need, and of course, quote those products to suit the application for the project.

Daniel Robbins: Sure. And so you do that through these different avenues you’ve got... I noticed when I ran through your website and some of these other documentations that we have, you’ve got several different avenues of products and services. Before we go into those... How does the relationship work between JM and Logistics Lighting to bring value to customers? 

Eric Huffman: Yeah, so Daniel, what we do with Johns Manville and their agents, basically is provide a service, allowing us to work with them on each project to determine permanently focused on skylights, smoke vents and those roofing-related products, so these accessory products are essential to a successful roof project. And what we’ve been able to do in this relationship with Johns Manville is form a way for easy access to the information about the products, pricing for the products, and then, of course, if it results in a sale, we coordinate all the delivery and project communication typically directly, with the contractor. But in this relationship, we work with, of course, the JM agents in the field, tech reps in the field, as well as at corporate, we work with many of the folks on the warranty side as well as on the leadership side to ensure that the products that we are offering through the vendors that we work with, are best suiting the needs for JM and their clients.

Daniel Robbins: And so when you’re working with some of your products mixed with JM products, how does that guarantee work together? Are they two different guarantees, or are they able to be combined because of our relationship to your brand? 

Eric Huffman: Yeah, great question. So yes, we’re able to combine it as an addendum to the roof warranty, so the guarantee is all comes as one document, which is unique in the industry and allows us to provide a really simple solution, one stop for any questions a client may have. And if there are any issues or concerns on the job, it’s one phone call to the local tech rep or JM agent, and then they get us involved, then we’re able to address any concerns they might have.

Daniel Robbins: Very cool. Very cool. So let’s move in to your products and services. Of course, you’ve already touched on sky lighting, smoke vents, but let’s move into really what you feel like your company does best and what it sells and offers in the market.

Eric Huffman: Right. So our big four core focus is skylights. We are skylight experts. It’s what we do all day, every day. We don’t really get much out of that product line beyond skylights. And smoke vents, of course, are considered a daylighting product, so our core focus is being able to answer questions ‘cause there’s... Especially on the roofing side, and even end-users and owners often have a lot of questions about skylights and challenges with leaks and installation and flashing details and all the things that we’re able to coordinate with JM to make sure that the installer, the contractor, or the owner, have the answers they need to make sure that the products that we’re providing on the project meet the needs of the project. So.

Daniel Robbins: Sure.

Eric Huffman: There’s a lot of things we could touched on related to that, but of course there’s questions about the durability, longevity of skylights as well as how they may contribute to some of the common building questions about quality, lead application for sustainability and resiliency. A lot of those items come up, especially now with renewed focus on green technology and green building products.

Daniel Robbins: Sure. I guess, what are some of those common questions that do come about skylights? Like, while you were talking about that just now, in my head, I was like, oh, wow, instead of... You don’t have to have natural lighting. What are some key benefits maybe with energy consumption and things like that when you do use sky lighting on your project? 

Eric Huffman: You know, Daniel, that is one of the most common questions that come up, especially with the advancements in electric lighting technology with LEDs and different controls and sensors that are available. So one of the simple ways to look at it is, whatever the daylight is available, the skylights can bring that natural light into the space. And if it’s designed properly, we can actually eliminate the need for electric lighting during the day through a proper control mechanism. Of course, we will always need electric lighting and a design of a building, for use in inclement weather or night-time application.

Daniel Robbins: Sure.

Eric Huffman: But with a proper control system, you can really have a super efficient design which will minimize the heat gain or heat loss through the skylights, but also optimize the ability to synchronize and combine the system between the electric lighting control system and natural light. So it’s a common question. Primarily, we see a lot of this in retail buildings where one of the leaders in that was always Walmart. They started that type of designs... Daylight in design of their buildings over 30 years ago, and they’ve been one of the leading advocates of daylighting in their spaces. Even in the common projects we do with JM include warehousing, manufacturing, some of those, even those type buildings are very interested in sustainability and resiliency in their projects as well.

Daniel Robbins: Sure. Yeah, it sounds like that could be used in any type of building application, whether it’s in warehousing or office space. And then that control over the two, and really being able to mitigate not using your electricity, right? And then your British thermal unit consumption of the building, right, so to speak. And you’re just bringing more value to that relationship, so the R value on the lighting, is it very high, or is it just the design around it that helps it keep insulation? 

Eric Huffman: So related to the Skylights, insulation value of the Skylights is relatively low compared to the insulation value of the roof.

Daniel Robbins: Sure.

Eric Huffman: But that’s... It’s funny... It’s interesting. There’s a study done by the Department of Energy many years ago called the Top Lighting Report, which helped to identify... Hey, is that really a trade-off that’s of value? In other words, does the heat loss or heat gain through the Skylight, depending on the climate zone that you’re in, outweigh the benefits of turning the lights off? And what they found was basically in every climate zone in the country, the benefits far outweigh the heat loss or heat gain attributed to the Skylight.

Daniel Robbins: Sure.

Eric Huffman: So, it is an important calculation, and there’s some great tools that we can utilize, again, that are available to JM and their clients to help analyze that... Say, okay, well, what is a optimal design for this project? How many Skylights? What size Skylights? What type of Skylight? There’s a lot of questions that come in to play there. And there are, of course, building code factors that come into play as well in the local jurisdiction that may mandate a certain U-value or solar heat-gain co-efficient.

Daniel Robbins: Sure.

Eric Huffman: Or other attributes of the Skylight, which makes a difference in what we may recommend for that space. Of course, in areas around the coast, and in Florida, you have concerns with hurricanes, and there are... We offer hurricane rated Skylights as well for those types of climate zones too. So it really just depends on... We look at every factor. And as we kinda touched on, we represent now for multiple vendors in the JM program. So it allows us to find the best product to fit the project instead of just having one offering or one option depending on where it’s located and what other factors may be in play.

Daniel Robbins: No, it’s very cool. So, it sounds like that there’s kind of just a very slow thermal leak out of Skylights, and it’s not enough to really justify not doing a balance between that and electric. And so, I guess that leads into this next question about energy auditing. I know this was a service on your site. When you’re doing an energy audit, is it separate from you going, “Oh, would this Skylight mix with this LED mix would give you this BTU consumption on a yearly basis or something?” Or is this energy audit something different? 

Eric Huffman: So, we typically will look at a couple of things. So, on the... And yes, there are... We have the ability to team with folks that do on-site energy audits, if that’s something that someone’s interested in. We typically are more focused on the front side, on the design side, where we’re doing the calculations based on the existing building, or even if it’s a new design.

Daniel Robbins: Sure.

Eric Huffman: To determine again, the energy factors related to the design. There’s some great tools out there. We use a program called SkyCalc, which was also developed by the Department of Energy. And it takes 40 years of historical weather data, and we’ll include that specific to that location, that geographic location, from the National Weather Service. So, we’re able to plug in real data to say, “Okay, if we put in X number of Skylights with these values, how will that impact the load or the energy load on this space? And is it positive or negative, and how does that then correlate to the design?” So, if it’s a new design, new building coming out of the ground, we can work with the designer or architect, the JM agent to calculate, confirm what would be the best daylighting design. If it’s an existing building with Skylights, we can even look at that and say, “Well, hey, have you considered either, maybe actually adding Skylights or possibly even reducing the number of Skylights in the space?” If they have a concern about getting the energy consumption.

Eric Huffman: And a lot of times we see in older buildings, the existing Skylights, you probably seen a service life and may or may not be performing to what they expected when they were new. So it’s a good time to look at that and revisit that and see if it makes sense to change that design.

Daniel Robbins: Sure. Sure. That’s very cool. So, I guess on another side of this coin is electric lighting retrofit impact, and what is that, for our listeners? 

Eric Huffman: So, we have... That’s a common strategic action for electric lighting is to consider moving or replacing placing the existing technology that they’re using in the building. So I think we’ve all walked in old stores or old warehouses where they have the big kind of orange-ish colored lights, old high pressure sodium metal halites, or even fluorescent technology that’s really past its age of being efficient, but a lot of times in a facility, it’s just not a top priority, or it’s something that they haven’t been able to find the capital to work on.

Daniel Robbins: Right.

Eric Huffman: And so, electric lighting retro fit is something, a very common option to reduce energy consumption and then, typically, your clients will also look at the ability of combining that with a control system, if they don’t already have it. One of the benefits of LED technology is that it’s easily dimmable, so we can maintain a certain light level or foot candle level in the space and allow it to work jointly with the daylighting to optimize that lighting. And ideally, that’s best for the people that are working there, which is really a core focus that we try and keep in mind is, “Hey, how are these sky lights, how is the electrical lighting? How are the controls? How is that gonna impact the people in the space?”

Daniel Robbins: Sure, sure. Yeah, it can impact productivity. I like that the... So you guys are really, it sounds like you’re on the fore front, ‘cause I know the future seems to be more green than not, you guys are on the forefront of trying to find that solution that’s definely gonna lessen your environmental imprint, which is awesome. I think that’s the future of most industries right now, so it’s very cool. With that, we are out of time, my friend. Thank you so much for being on the podcast. It was short and sweet, but I feel like we all got a nice dive into Logistics Lighting and we have a four year relationship with this brand, and I think that for a customer not to think about this when they’re not doing a warehouse space is probably not a great idea, ‘cause you wanna be thinking about how you can control your energy consumption, right? That’s at the core of all these projects.

Eric Huffman: Yeah, definitely. We... It comes up frequently, again, especially with the JM agents that have such great relationships in the field with the owners and contractors. It’s something that comes up. We’re happy to help however we can and really integrate it with the roofing system to make sure that they’re getting the best warranty with the best products to tie-in and complete a successful project.

Daniel Robbins: Awesome. Well, thank you, Eric, and have a wonderful rest of the day.

Eric Huffman: Thanks, Daniel appreciate it.

Daniel Robbins: Alright, that is the podcast. Thanks so much everyone for tuning in. This was a great podcast for me. I know I got some of the value in relation to understanding that mix between sky lights and LED lighting and how it can have a tremendous impact on building energy consumption. And I hope everyone can understand our parternership a little bit better with Logistics Lighting. Alright. With that, please subscribe to the podcast if you haven’t already, you can do so on iTunes. Otherwise, you can go to our blog, on our website, jm.com and get access to all episodes there. But yeah, stay safe everyone and we’ll catch you next time.