When carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere, it can create a warming effect. In small doses this does not do much harm, but large amounts of carbon dioxide, such as the quantity produced by energy-producing activities, can warm the planet so much that it throws off the natural balance.
What is a Carbon Footprint?
Your carbon footprint is a measure of the total carbon emissions directly and indirectly created by your activities within a certain time-frame. It is possible to lower your carbon footprint by choosing to eat locally sourced produce or drive an electric car, but there are home renovations that can decrease your footprint as well.
Carbon dioxide is released into the air every time energy is used to heat and cool your home. With a few changes to your windows, insulation and roofing, you can lower the energy spent on maintaining a comfortable temperature.
If the house is ventilated effectively, air will be able to circulate without losing the optimum temperature. An insulating material’s effectiveness is measured by its R-value. This is how resistant the material is to conductive heat flow. Different climates have different ideal R-values, so it is best to find a local contractor to install the insulation to get the best thermal resistance for your area.
Insulation efforts can also help with moisture control in the home to prevent health hazards such as mold growth.
The windows in your home may have small leaks that cold air seeps through or inefficient glass panels that let in undesired heat. Replacing windows with energy-efficient alternatives could cut down on the energy used to keep the room temperature where you want it.
Replacement windows with polyurethane insulating foam can better retain consistent temperatures by trapping air. This material remains airtight throughout its life to prevent air gaps that can let in outside air. Polyurethane foam is lightweight, strong and highly adhesive, so it can bond with practically any building material.
Low-e glass allows windows to let in sunlight without letting in heat. The glass has a microscopic coating that acts as a filter to allow visible light into the home while reflecting heat-causing long-wave infrared rays. In the winter, the glass acts the same way by retaining heat in the home.
Gas filled double-pane windows are similar to low-e glass. They use an odorless, non-toxic gas (typically argon) between two window panes to keep heat in. Because the gas is heavier than the air around it, gas filled windows are more effective than average windows. This method can also help to prevent frost and increase soundproofing.
When it comes to energy efficient roofs, metal is the way to go. Traditional asphalt shingles absorb heat and trap it in the house. Metal roofs, on the other hand, reflect heat from solar energy to block it from entering the home. Pigmentation can be added to metal roofing tiles to re-emit any heat that does enter the home.
An added benefit of metal roofs is that they are highly sustainable, which can help with the reduction of your carbon footprint. The metal used is made of mostly recycled materials, which can be locally sourced if you are working with a local contractor. Metal roofs are also highly durable. The long life of the metal roof means very few resources will be needed to maintain it, and fewer resources means a lower carbon footprint. When it is time to replace the metal roof, all of the materials can be recycled.
If you have an older roof, it might be time to consider a replacement to improve ventilation. A properly ventilated roof helps maintain temperatures in the home by increasing air circulation. For metal roofs, creating space between the panel and underlayment for air can block heat from entering the home. Installing vents correctly during a roofing installation is another great way to improve air circulation.
Making an effort to reduce your carbon footprint helps the greater good, but it can help you personally as well. The energy saved by insulating and ventilating air properly will reduce costs on monthly electricity bills, and the savings can add up quickly. The initial costs for home renovations may seem large, but the money saved in the long run can make those costs well worth it. For an added tip, find local contractors in your community to further reduce your carbon footprint and boost the local economy. Able Roofing has been the number one local roofing company for central Ohio for over 30 years. If you need your roof replaced call for a free estimate.