Earth Day Tips - Six Steps to “Greening” your Roof

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GAF, North America's largest roofing manufacturer, details six steps for your next reroof project that will get you a long way toward greening your home — reducing material impacts, improving energy efficiency, and getting renewable ready.

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A house featuring GAF Timberline Cool Series Lifetime Shingles

This Earth Day, take the following six steps to green your reroof project:

1.    Recycle. The average roof is many thousands of pounds of material — the weight of several years’ worth of household trash. Most roofing material can be easily recycled by your contractor. Find out where to recycle at http://www.shinglerecycling.org — it’s an easy way to make a big difference.

2.    Energy audit. A home energy audit is a professional evaluation of the best ways to improve your home’s energy efficiency. The start of your reroofing project is a great opportunity to make energy-efficiency improvements to your structure. When the roof is off, your contractor can work from the top down and improve attic air barriers, seal around can lights and bath fans, make sure there isn’t wind wash around soffit vents, and check the overall energy performance of the home. It’s not uncommon to save double-digit percentages on utilities after these improvements. Find qualified auditors at http://www.resnet.us/directory/raters.

3.    Proper attic ventilation. Attics should maintain a temperature as close to the outdoor temperature as possible, with vented areas along the eaves (the underside of the overhangs of the roof, in what is called ‘soffit’) bringing in cooler air, which is then vented along the ridgeline of the roof. This steadily moving air keeps your attic from heating up, and clears out any moist air from the living space that does make it into the attic through the ceiling. Many homes were designed without enough of this ventilation; increasing this attic ventilation during your reroof helps make your roof system more effective and helps improve the energy performance of your home.

4.    Solar readiness. Most residential solar installations go on the roof. Putting the solar panels up on the roof gets them out of the way, optimizes exposure to the sun, and keeps them close to utility connections. However, it is very common to find a plumbing vent or fan running right through that perfect southern exposure. Even if you’re not having solar PV or solar thermal put on as part of this reroof project, think down the road and get your roof ready by moving this “clutter” to other parts of the roof. You can also add additional leak barrier — the peel and stick self-sealing membrane material that is used in high-stress areas of the roof — in the areas where penetrations for utility connections would go. Making these changes when the roof is being replaced will save additional hassle and cost in the future.

5.    Cool roofing. Some options, including Timberline® Cool Series Lifetime Shingles, preferentially reflect the infrared spectrum — the non-visible, heat-carrying portion of the light spectrum. This means your roof can be an attractive, medium or dark color, but still reflect more heat away from your home than conventional roofing. In many parts of the country, for air-conditioned homes (and especially those with A/C ducts that run in the attic), cool roofing can save enough energy to justify the extra expense — and you’ll be doing your part to reduce the urban heat island effect. Learn more about GAF’s Timberline® Cool Series Lifetime Shingles and use GAF’s Roof Wizard to see how these shingles will look on your house at http://www.gaf.com.

6.    Last but not least: a durable, efficient, properly detailed roofing system. The number-one job of the roof is to keep the rest of the home dry. It’s tempting to think that you can just get new shingles, but it’s the entire roofing system — consisting of leak barrier, flashing, underlayment, and shingles together — that works to keep the home dry. That’s why a complete roofing system is so important. GAF is the only roofing manufacturer to offer a Lifetime Roofing System warranty. Make sure that your roofing contractor is knowledgeable about all of the proper components of a full roofing system — selecting a factory-certified contractor is your best way to ensure this. You can find a factory-certified professional at http://www.gaf.com simply by entering your zip code.

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Alyssa Hall
GAF
(973) 628-3301
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