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Today's Life Solutions  
Today's Life Solutions / Home Care /

Green roof improvements that can save money - and the environment

September 20, 2010

(ARA) - In this economy, you may feel grateful to have a roof over your head. But how much do you really think about your roof? It's one of the most important elements of your home, one that helps protect all the other parts - not to mention the people - under it. And 'greening' your roof is a great way to ensure it not only protects your family, but saves you some money and helps the environment at the same time.

Heating, cooling and electricity costs make up the largest chunk of the average household's annual utility bill. Here are some roof upgrades that can help improve a home's energy efficiency and reduce utility costs.

New roof

A damaged or worn out roof cannot protect your home efficiently, and its failure to do so can cause significant damage to other parts of the house, and drive up heating and cooling costs.

EnergyStar.gov is a good place to start if you want to learn more about energy-efficient roofs. Energy Star qualified products reflect more of the sun's rays, lowering the surface temperature of the roof by up to 100 degrees. Energy efficient roofs reduce the amount of heat lost during the winter, and can reduce the energy needed to cool your home by 10 to 15 percent, according to the Energy Star website.

Skylights

A skylight is another way to green your roof and trim utility bills. The abundant natural light a skylight admits into your home can help reduce dependency on artificial light sources and the electricity they consume.

Skylights are also a great way to passively vent moisture, fumes and potentially harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs), improving indoor air quality. Venting skylights let cool breezes in and can help lower cooling costs in spring and fall, when indoor temperatures may be too warm for comfort, but not hot enough to warrant turning on the air conditioning.

And one of the most common homeowner concerns about skylights - the potential for leaks - no longer prevents green-minded homeowners from installing them. Products like Velux America's No Leak Skylight deliver all the beauty and benefits of a skylight with a guarantee that a properly installed skylight will never leak. When properly installed, Velux skylights are no more prone to leaks than any other properly installed, quality window in your home. Visit www.veluxusa.com to learn more.

Insulation

Directly beneath your roof is one of the most important weapons in your home's energy efficiency arsenal - attic insulation. Inadequate insulation and air leakage are top energy wasters in most homes, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Poorly insulated attics can allow heat to leak out in winter and fail to repel heat from outside the home in summer - all of which means your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system requires more energy to operate.

EnergyStar.gov recommends you add insulation to your attic if the existing insulation is just level with or below the floor joists. If you cannot see the floor joists because they're covered by insulation, you probably have enough insulation and won't gain any energy-savings benefit by adding more.

Solar panels

Solar energy has been called the only truly clean power source. Advances in solar technology make it possible for homeowners to harness the power of the sun to heat their water and generate electricity. Low profile rooftop solar panels and the Energy Star-qualified Velux solar water heating system use the sun's energy to heat water and help trim your water heating bill, while lowering your family's carbon footprint. Using solar thermal power to heat water not only lowers the cost of heating water, it can also reduce the high summer nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide emissions that frequent burner startups cause.
 

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