Energy Efficiency

 

Elements of Green Roofing

Creating an environmentally friendly roof for your home

Green roofing can take many forms. Some homes and businesses take the term literally and use roof space to grow plants. If you can’t manage the time and maintenance involved in that particular brand of “green,” try one of these simpler choices to make the roof of your Portland home more sustainable.

Recycled Materials

Building construction, demolition and upgrades generate millions of tons of debris each year, and most of it winds up in landfills. Much of this material could be recovered and recycled, and more companies are lowering their ecological footprints by doing just that. Take the environmentally friendly route by investing in roofing materials that are both recycled and recyclable.

Green Production

Another thing to look at when upgrading your roof is the manufacturing practices of the company providing the roofing materials. It’s no good to opt for something that seems green only to discover that harmful chemicals were used, and resources were wasted during manufacturing. Doing some research beforehand to find companies that use the most responsible production methods can not only help the environment, but can send the right message to manufacturers. Additionally it is important to verify that there are no harmful compounds on the shingles you buy that may leach off in the rain or contaminate the environment around your home.

Energy Smart

Choose roof shingles in light colors to reflect the heat of the sun and keep your home cool during the hottest months of the year. Adding overhangs around the edge of the roof provides extra shade that further reduces heat gains. By choosing “cool” roofing materials, you cut down on the amount of time that you need to run a fan or the air conditioner to moderate the indoor temperature.

Solar Power

If your budget allows, consider adding solar panels to your green roof. This helps to offset energy use within your home, which in turn cuts down on the resources you consume every day. Rather than relying on the main grid for your power, you have your own renewable energy source right above your head. It is possible to install enough solar paneling to have self-sufficient energy production right in your own home!

Longevity

The longer your roof lasts, the less waste is generated from repairs and upgrades. Look for durable materials with extended warranties to find the best options for a roof that stands the test of time.

At Interstate Roofing, we’re committed to being as green as possible. Contact us to find out more about our environmentally friendly options including Energy Star rated shingles, solar tubes and solar powered vents. When we replace your roof with a sustainable one, we won’t just haul the old roof away. We’ll take the materials to a recycling center where they can be re-purposed and used again for other roofing jobs, a practice that helps to sustain the environment by cutting down on waste.

The Benefits of Eco-Friendly Roofing

As concern about climate change and environmental conservation grows, many building owners are choosing eco-friendly roofing to help the planet. A green roof is a roofing system that uses vegetation as a roof covering. Green roof systems can reduce the “heat-island” effect, improve air quality, neutralize acid rain, benefit biodiversity, create sound insulation, and conserve energy.

In addition to environmental benefits, eco-friendly roofing also offers important benefits to building owners. These green roofing benefits include an expanded roof life, reduced air conditioning costs, LEED credits, storm water management, and reduced heating costs.

More Green Roofing Benefits

Eco-friendly roofing improves air quality. Plants produce oxygen and reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the environment. In addition, green roofing can remove airborne particles, heavy metals, and volatile organic compounds from the air and prevent these pollutants from entering the water system.

Green roofing benefits biodiversity. Research suggests that eco-friendly roofing can be designed to meet local biodiversity objectives. Portland, OR, residents who choose green roofing can have an important impact by providing an increased habitat for wildlife.

Green roof systems improve thermal performance. Green roofing benefits include increased roof insulation and improved thermal performance. Rooftop vegetation acts as an insulation barrier. Additionally, the plants reduce the amount of solar energy absorbed by the roof, leading to cooler temperatures below. As a result, building owners enjoy reduced air conditioning and heating costs.

Eco-friendly roofing benefits the community. Natural green space provides important benefits to people who live and work in cities. In many cities, preserving green space seems to be an endless challenge. Green roofing helps offset the problems associated with growth because green roofs provide accessible green space within a dense urban setting. Further, studies show that exposure to natural greenery provides an important benefit to humans. These benefits include physical benefits such as exposure to cleaner air and mental benefits such as a reduced stress level.

Green Roofing in Portland, OR

Luckily for us, Portland is one of the top cities to embrace the benefits of green building. A growing number of business owners are choosing eco-friendly roofs and rooftop gardens to reduce the negative impact to the environment.

If you’re ready to learn more about green roofing in our beautiful city, Interstate Roofing is here for you.

Is Your Old Roof Costing You Money?

Improving roof efficiency with help from a residential roofer.

Your old, damaged roof could be sucking your bank account dry as it lets heat out in the winter and absorbs sun in the summer. If you’ve noticed an increase in your energy bills, consider these improvements to boost home efficiency and keep your money in the bank where it belongs.

Insulate the Attic

Try attic insulation to boost home efficiency. The attic is one of the biggest sources of heat loss in your home. If the insulation is old or falling down, heat will escape into the attic and out through the roof. Check your attic insulation for damage and look into replacements such as foam or fiberglass batts to ensure that heat stays indoors where it belongs.

Cool It Down

In the summer, dark-colored roofs absorb sunlight and drive up cooling costs. Fortunately, there are such things as “cool roofs” and coatings that can make your roof more efficient. Going for a lighter color with roof paint or installing a reflective material that reflects the sun’s rays means a cooler home and less money spent running the air conditioner.

Know Your Material

Understanding which materials are best for your climate can help you make a smart decision when switching to an energy-efficient roof. Certain materials such as metal, asphalt, and concrete last longer than others and can stand up to more serious weather conditions. Choosing a material that lasts prevents damage and cuts down on long-term maintenance costs.

Repair or Replace?

These methods only work for roofs that aren’t beyond repair. How can you tell if it’s time for a full roof replacement? Visible damage is one surefire way to know that your roof needs more than maintenance. Shingles that are curling, buckling, splitting, blistering, or missing altogether are all signs that a roof replacement is in order. Moss that’s growing out of control will eventually cause shingle damage as well.

Indoor signals of a bad roof include the appearance of ceiling spots, rot, or mold, all of which indicate leaks. Check for gaps around the chimney and make sure none of the supports are sagging.

If you find any signs that indicate you need roof repair or a complete replacement, contact Interstate Roofing. Our services range from installing attic insulation to putting in brand-new roofs, depending on your needs. We bring quality roof repair and replacement to homes in and around Portland, and you can count on our specialists to work with you every step of the way to ensure that your roof lasts. Contact us to get started with a free estimate.

How Your Empty Attic Space Makes Your Roof More Efficient

Preserving heat, insulation, and roof integrity through proper attic care.

Did you know that a clean attic can improve your home’s energy efficiency?Damp, chilly winters in the Portland and Vancouver areas can threaten the integrity of roofs. Fortunately, proper attic care can provide protection for rafters and shingles while improving the efficiency of your home.

Empty Attic, Better Insulation

Attic insulation provides protection for the underside of your roof. However, if your attic is stuffed full of stuff, it’s hard to install or replace insulation anywhere in that space. Attics that are used primarily for storage are often neglected, leading to stagnant air that can result in damage when it comes in contact with heat or moisture from the rest of the house.

Attic Venting

Installing or upgrading attic vents may seem like the opposite of insulating, but proper air flow is essential to a healthy roof. Vented attics stay cool in the summer so the undersides of roof shingles don’t overheat and dry out. In the winter, ventilation prevents the buildup of mold-causing moisture that can lead to the rotting of roof components. When heat rises from the rest of the house, ventilation keeps condensation from turning into frost and prevents unwanted cycles of freezing and thawing.

Sealing Leaks

Poor insulation in the attic can lead to air and water leaks. An air leak not controlled by ventilation leads to a transfer of air from the attic to the outside and vice versa. This makes the attic colder in the winter and hotter in the summer, creating temperature fluctuations that can lead to internal roof damage.

Water leaks soak insulation, destroying its ability to resist heat radiating up from the rest of the house. Wet insulation lets in ambient heat as well as moisture which makes the attic environment not only inefficient but also unfriendly to your roof. As with poor ventilation, wet insulation can lead to mold growth which wears away at the rafters and may cause even more leaks. Plus, if you do store anything in the attic, leaks and changes in temperature will damage your belongings. Together, damage from poor insulation and leaks can lead to loss of property and high roof repair bills.

Installing or replacing attic insulation is a big job. Let Interstate Roofing preserve the roof in your home with the right amount and type of insulation. Our specialists are familiar with “R” value—the ability of insulation to resist the transfer of heat—and can choose the proper level to ensure roof safety and home efficiency. Contact us to request a free estimate or give us a call today to book an appointment. Your attic and your roof will thank you.

Are Portland Neighborhoods Too Cloudy for Solar Power?

Knowing when to put solar power to use for your home.

Installing solar panels on your PNW home just takes a little planning. The weather in Portland isn’t nearly as bad as outsiders believe. Although it does get cloudy and cold for much of the fall and winter, sun and warmth never fail to return during the late spring and summer. Of course, our “cloudy season” is apt to worry local homeowners who wonder whether installing a rooftop solar array makes financial sense here. As it turns out, clouds are overrated. You just need to keep a few things in mind to get the most out of your home’s solar panels.

Orientation: South or West?

Several factors contribute to optimal rooftop electricity generation. Directional orientation is one of the most important. Although it might seem logical to point your solar panels south, studies have shown that west-facing panels are actually the most efficient. This is because the sun’s rays tend to be strongest during the afternoon. Other studies have cast doubt on the idea of purely west-facing panels and suggested that a southwest or west-southwest orientation is better.

Angle

Portland is close to the 45th parallel, so it’s farther north than most American cities. This means that the sun’s rays are a bit weaker here. It also means that the sun tends to sit lower in the sky. Accordingly, the angle at which your rooftop panels sit is very important. A seminal study of solar panels in London located above the 50th parallel found that angles of at least 35 degrees allow for optimal generation in northern cities. Shallower angles may not capture the sun’s rays as effectively.

Placement

Of course, every roof is different. Depending on the directional orientation of your house and the presence of obstacles, you may need to adjust the placement of your roof’s panels. Watch out for obstructions like:

• Telephone poles and wires
• Tall trees
• Other buildings
• Cliff faces or retaining walls
• Hills or mountains that may block the sun at certain times of day

Interstate Roofing: Your Source for Roof Installation in Portland, OR, and Vancouver, WA

You don’t have to install rooftop solar panels to put your home’s roof to work in the service of saving money. At Interstate Roofing, we’re proud to offer a wide range of roof installation and repair services that can improve your home’s energy efficiency, sustainability, and physical appearance. Of course, we’re happy to provide advice about solar arrays as well. To learn more about what we can do for your property, give us a call at 503-684-5611 or fill out our online contact form.

Is Your Roof About to Become a Miniature Ecosystem?

Taking advantage of an emerging trend in residential design.

At this point, you’ve probably heard about the concept of a green roof. First popularized during the early 2000s, green roofs have gained steam in just about every corner of the country. However, far too many homeowners still aren’t aware of their benefits and drawbacks. If you’re thinking about investing in a green roof, we’ve decided to provide a little clarity on the subject.

What Is a Green Roof?

According to the EPA, “a green roof is a vegetative layer grown on a rooftop.” As long as it’s cultivated and managed, a green roof may be comprised of anything from basic ground cover or grasses to a vibrant, native ecosystem that includes small plants, shrubs and even trees.

What Isn’t a Green Roof?

While the definition of “green roof” is fairly straightforward, it’s important to note what isn’t typically included on a green roof. A roof that’s covered in organic life due to the uncontrolled spread of seeds, mold spores, and other unwanted forms of life may actually be harmful to homeowners and business owners. For instance, roofs with unchecked mold growth tend to hold moisture. This may cause leaks or damage shingles. Roofs that harbor sources of food, including grasses and small plants, may eventually attract pests that can chew their way into your home.

Benefits of a Green Roof

  • Properly constructed and maintained green roofs have several benefits:
  • They can absorb the sun’s energy and reduce cooling costs during the summer
  • They act as filters for polluted air and reduce carbon emissions by cutting energy use
  • They can absorb and filter storm water, potentially reducing the risk of flooding and water pollution
  • They may double as rooftop parks
  • Things to Keep in Mind

When installing a green roof, keep a few things in mind:

  • Use native, drought-resistant plants to the extent possible
  • Mix a variety of organisms together
  • If your roof is publicly accessible, consider providing seating for visitors

Find a Residential Roofer in Vancouver and Portland

Whether you’re ready to put a green roof on your house or wish to explore more traditional roofing options, you can trust us to point you in the right direction. Our knowledgeable sales staff and experienced roofers know the Pacific Northwest’s roofs through and through. It’s our pleasure to provide you with the tools you need to make a decision that pays dividends for years to come. To learn more about what we can do for you, call us at 503-684-5611 or fill out our online contact form.

Why Isn’t Your Business’s Roof as Green as Your Neighbor’s?

Outshine the competition with the greenest roof in your district.

If you looked out the window of your Portland-based business lately and thought you saw plants growing on your competitor’s roof, you weren’t imagining things. Green roofs, also called eco-roofs, are a fast-growing trend that’s taking the concept of “going green” to a whole new level.

Benefits of Green Roofs

Green roofing involves placing live plants on the roofs of residential and commercial buildings. Introducing vegetation this way benefits the building and the surrounding environment by:

  • Increasing the lifespan of the roof by as much as 200%
  • Reducing up to 70% of storm water runoff
  • Converting carbon dioxide to oxygen
  • Reducing energy costs for both heating and cooling
  • Reducing heating of the surrounding area (the “urban heat island”)
  • Providing habitats for species that have been pushed out of their native areas

It’s no wonder, then, that Portland has an initiative in place that pays up to $5 per square foot to individuals and businesses that choose to install green roofs. The city is also promoting the development of roofs that attract particular species of wildlife, including birds that usually make their homes in dry riverbeds.

Enhancing Your Business

Companies like Turtle Island Foods are getting into the green roofing trend in a big way. This company, home of Tofurky meatless products, created an extensive roof with soil deep enough to accommodate vegetable plants. There’s little reason why other businesses with the right budget can’t follow suit, especially when the city is willing to put forward money toward the price of installation.

Turning your otherwise empty roof space into a lush, living habitat gives back to the environment and shows customers that your business is willing to go beyond basic “green” practices such as recycling. In fact, if you already have a green initiative in place, installing a green roof is a good next step because it increases property value and makes your building—and, therefore, your business—more attractive.

Interstate Roofing can help your business go green with a new roof. Visit our website to request a free quote, and check out the green practices we already have in place. The debris from each roof that Interstate Roofing replaces in the Portland area is, rather than being dumped in a landfill, carefully recycled, making your green roof project even more environmentally friendly. Contact us today at 503-684-5611 to see what we can do to make your business stand out.

Are Portland Buildings Ready for Energy Independence?

Installing wind and solar without caving in your roof.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve doubtlessly heard about all the great energy innovations promised for Oregon’s biggest city. Unsurprisingly, Portland is at the forefront of the national push towards energy independence and alternative power.

Unfortunately, good intentions aren’t the only thing we’ll need to get a healthier power grid up and running. If we want to improve the way we create power, we’ll need the infrastructure to support it, and this is where Portland’s buildings come in.

Why Roofs Are So Critical

The majority of solar panels are comprised of silicon crystals in which atoms are arranged in a closely packed, regular matrix. While it’s not quite the same as a pile of sand or rocks, a typical solar panel is heavy enough to place a similar strain on your roofing.

Unfortunately, many of the classic buildings that give this city its unique flavor weren’t made for the additional load. Unlike the snow and rainwater that roofs are designed to handle, solar panels are generally permanent fixtures; unless you’re willing to climb up a ladder and take them down every night, you’re going to need to make sure your roof can support their constant weight before you shell out for an entire set.

Why not just place solar panels on stilts or lampposts? While this technique is effective for generating a small amount of power, you probably want to do more than just charge your iPhone. The amount of solar power an installation creates is directly proportional to the surface area of the solar cells, and since roofs are typically the only available source of usable real estate, it’s critical that they have the structural integrity to support an installation.

Preparing Your Roof

According to some structural experts, solar panel installations present a number of unique problems. For instance, roofing members that have undergone decay in the past may be too compromised to handle an installation safely. Similarly, roofs that were known to leak at some point in their histories should always be checked thoroughly to ensure that they haven’t sustained damage that could make solar panels dangerous. Another concern is that existing HVAC components may be installed in a hanging fashion that adds stress to rafters—you don’t want your solar installation to be the straw that suddenly breaks your roof’s back.

While many houses built after 1970 are designed to accommodate weighty loads, you should never take the newness of your property for granted. Always consult with an expert before major additions. To learn more about attaining energy independence the right way, contact Interstate Roofing. Contact us to receive a free estimate and take the next step toward achieving energy independence safely and smartly today.

Where Are All Those Heating and Cooling Bills Going?

Common energy leaks and what you can do.

After investing in state-of-the-art heating and cooling equipment, people reasonably expect their utility bills to drop. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. If it seems like you’re endlessly running your furnace or air conditioner without ever achieving optimal indoor comfort, air leaks around the home are almost certainly to blame. They can occur anywhere from the basement up through the roof, but poorly insulated attics tend to cause homeowners the most grief.

The Importance of Proper Insulation

A well-sealed home is said to have a tight building envelope. The tighter the building envelope is, the more effective the heating and cooling system will be. That’s because conditioned air won’t be able to escape as easily, and outside air won’t be able to get in as easily. Furthermore, radiant heat, which is heat that builds up in the attic and then radiates down into the home, can be mitigated considerably through the use of first-rate attic insulation. When a home is well insulated, especially in the attic, HVAC equipment doesn’t have to work as hard, so energy bills tend to drop. However, it is imperative that you hire an experienced contractor to look at the overall functionality of your home. A tight building envelope can also wreak havoc on your home.

Is Your Attic Causing Your Energy Bill Woes?

Does it seem like the rooms below your attic never get truly cool and comfortable during the summer? If so, chances are that your attic isn’t properly insulated. As the sun beats down on your roof, heat starts bottling up in the attic. Proper ventilation can help to mitigate this to a certain extent, but proper insulation is even more important. With a good “buffer” of blown-in attic insulation, radiant heat won’t counteract your conditioned air nearly as much, so your equipment will be more efficient and effective.

Why Is Blown-In Attic Insulation Superior?

There are all kinds of options when it comes to attic insulation, but blown-in insulation makes the most sense in the majority of cases. It can be blown easily into hard-to-reach places, and it can be applied at any thickness and density. When installed properly, blown-in insulation acts as a highly effective thermal blanket. It won’t settle over time, so it maintains its R-value, which is its ability to resist the travel of heat. The best part of all is that blown-in insulation can reduce energy costs by 15% to 25%.

Lower Your Energy Bills with Blown-In Attic Insulation

Whether you have an older home with old, outdated insulation or a newer one with an attic that was never properly insulated in the first place, blown-in attic insulation is sure to make a huge difference. In Portland, OR, trust the experts at Interstate Roofing to install this highly effective insulation at affordable prices. Give us a call at 503-684-5611to learn more or contact us to schedule your service today!

The World’s Most Energy Efficient Roofing Options

Beyond cosmetics: how your choice of roofing material can affect your energy bills.

Contrary to popular belief, all roofs aren’t created equal. Around the world, builders use dozens of different materials to keep the elements out of homes and businesses. These materials are generally selected for their “fit” with the local climate, so roofs in warm, dry places look very different from roofs in cool, wet areas. In Portland, some of the most common roofing materials include metal, shingle and tile. Each of these materials has its own benefits and drawbacks for energy-conscious homeowners and business owners.

Metal Roofs

Once virtually unknown in the Pacific Northwest, light-colored metal roofs are an increasingly popular choice for local homeowners. During the summer, these “cool roofs” can reduce energy absorption by as much as 25% relative to asphalt roofs. This is due to their high albedo effect, a measure of how well they reflect solar energy back into the atmosphere without absorbing it. Although light-colored metal roofs don’t absorb energy as well during the winter, Portland’s climate isn’t severe enough for this to make much of a difference on users’ heating bills. Additionally, the region’s near-constant winter cloud cover reduces the efficacy of sunlight as a home-heating booster.

Shingle Roofs

Although asphalt shingle roofs can boost energy absorption during the winter, they’re often regarded as a subpar choice for homeowners who want to keep cool during the summer. In fact, they only reflect 10% to 15% of the energy that touches them. However, high-tech coatings and many single-ply membranes can help low slope roofs reflect heat on the hottest days. Additionally, attic insulation can dramatically improve cooling efficacy during the warm season.

Tile Roofs

Tile roofs are popular in hot, dry places like Phoenix and Las Vegas, but Portland’s climate isn’t ideal for this material. Tile tends to be a poor insulator and has trouble keeping homes warm in the absence of effective insulation. In addition, it’s also prone to leaks—a major drawback in Portland’s wet climate. However, light-colored tiles are adept at reflecting solar radiation during the height of summer.

How Does Slope Affect Efficiency?

Material isn’t the only factor that affects roof efficiency. A roof’s slope is a major determinant of its overall energy rating. Since the sun strikes them at an indirect angle during the warmest part of the day, steep-sloped roofs are ideal for homeowners who worry about air conditioning costs. By contrast, low-sloped roofs are less intrinsically efficient. However, it’s easier to apply coatings or other radiation-shunting materials to these designs.

Find Energy Efficient Roofing in Portland

No matter which material you decide to use in your home’s roof, you’ll need to make sure it’s installed promptly and effectively. At Interstate Roofing, we’re proud to offer a range of roofing choices and provide the assistance that you need to enjoy years of superior performance. To learn more about all of our roofing products and services, call us at 503-684-5611 or contact.