Sustainable updates for your home

If you are planning to renovate your house, adding new rooms or infrastructures but you are concerned about ecology, common sense and healthy living environments, here are some ideas (tips) to achieve it. Some are passive some active, some are oriented to save you money some are about small changes that make global difference.

Switch to a white roof. If you need to renovate your roof or you think you are spending to much money on air conditioning electricity maybe this passive update recommendation could help.

Reflecting solar light: We all know that while black materials absorb heat (as they are affected by all the visible radiation spectrum range), white materiales reflects it. Under sun radiation, the “cool roof” technology can significantly decrease a home’s energy use by just changing the color of the tiles.

If your tiles or roof finish is dark color all the heat it absorbs must dissipate and many of this heat energy will do it through your roof into your home. Thus, lower roof surface temperatures mean less heat gain inside the house, reducing the need for air conditioner.

Depending on where your house is, your “dark color” roof could reach surface temperatures of nearly 60ºC (140ºF). This same roof could lower the surface temperature in more than 20ºC, until 37ºC (98ºF), by just switching to a bright color finishing roof.

Some roof materials to choose in order to increase your solar reflectance:

– New coating. The easiest retrofit is having a special paint (made of thick acrylic and white pigment) sprayed on the existing rooftop. Re-coating and cleaning eventually will be needed.

– Asphalt shingles. Typically black, brown or gray you could save energy by installing white asphalt shingles.

– Aluminium sheets. Can go from the raw material to fiber-covered finishings.

– Tile roofs. Includes clay, ceramic and concrete tiles. There are many varieties in bright colors.

Studies in U.S. shows white roofs overall can reduce energy consumption by 18-26% and 28-36% in afternoon summer peaks.

USEFUL TIP: Insulating the inside face of you roof, rather than the attic floor, could reduce energy costs by 6-11%

Note: This recommendations are useful in areas where average weather is warm.

Using the sun. If we think in the actual way of taking “energy” to our homes we will sure arrive to the conclusion that we’ve developed quite complicated solutions. The industrial solution, the modern way of proceeding, is basically to extract high calorific raw materials (crude, coal or gas) from the very deep layers of the earth, ship them throughout the world in big boats, trucks and ducts to huge industrial plants where they need to be refined and then ship them back again to power stations where they are burned in order to heat up water to high temperatures and pressure so it can move turbines and produce electricity that has to be carried through a grid of towers, wires and transformers finally to our family houses.

– Installation of photovoltaic panels

– Installation of solar thermal panels

– Trombe wall

– Building an attached greenhouse

Green roofs / Vertical garden.

Having vegetation on the roof is a great way to reduce the temperature of the building, thus saving energy. It is also a way to improve air quality. In addition, the roof will look more beautiful and becomes an oasis for the growth of new species, increasing and improving the biodiversity of cities. A solution for those cities and countries that already require their buildings to implement green roofs.

Why not try different roof types on your property, using our roof designer software, which is bundled in our 3D Architect range?

TAGS (1): Retrofit, Energy consumption, insulation, roof, tile, energy saving, homeowners, Upcycling

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