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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.

Save Money by Insulating Your Attic

The Vampire in your attic… it moved in when your house was built.

Don’t worry, today’s blog post isn’t about a thirsty new pest that has invaded millions of homes. However, this metaphorical vampire could easily drain your bank account. An uninsulated attic can increase household energy bills and expose you to outdoor noise pollution.

Even if you have insulation, it may not be adequate. The Department of Energy urges homeowners in western Oregon to install about a foot of insulation in most attics. You might have too little if the R-value is below 38 or some surfaces remain bare, such as the trap door.

Important Benefits

Everyone knows that heat rises. Attic insulation slows it down, so your heating system doesn’t have to work as hard in the winter. More insulation allows you to spend less money on electricity, fuel and furnace repairs. It also reduces the air pollution that your home generates.

Thick insulation will cut your cooling expenses, too. An uninsulated attic becomes very hot when the sun shines on a roof during the summer. Insulation makes it more difficult for this heat to enter your home, so you won’t have to use fans or air conditioners as frequently.

A well-insulated attic may also come in handy if you decide to sell your property. Many homebuyers prefer to save time and money by selecting houses that have plenty of insulation. This upgrade will help you sell your home faster and achieve a higher selling price.

Insulated attics muffle distracting outdoor noises that normally penetrate a home’s roof. Rain, hail, thunder and wind won’t sound as loud. Likewise, insulation may block noise from airplanes or helicopters. This is a major bonus if you live near the airport in Portland, OR.

You might obtain a generous rebate or tax credit by insulating your attic. Some utilities, state agencies and nonprofit organizations offer such incentives in the Pacific Northwest. The government also allows many homeowners to claim federal tax deductions when they buy insulation.

Getting Started

To begin saving money and improving your quality of life, contact an experienced insulation contractor today. Interstate Roofing uses high-quality supplies and takes the time to properly insulate every attic. We serve customers in Portland, OR and Vancouver, WA.

For a free estimate or further details, contact us online.

Cold in the Winter, Hot in the Summer

Are you sick of watching your home’s energy bills skyrocket during the winter and summer? Although the Portland-Vancouver area enjoys pleasant transitional seasons, winter’s chill and summer’s heat are constant threats to local household budgets and home energy efficiency. Fortunately, there are several cost-effective steps you can take to reduce your heating and cooling bills without investing in costly new technologies.

Leaking Air, Leaking Money

Many older homes suffer from poorly sealed windows, under-insulated attic spaces and drafty doors. Energy-saving retrofits typically focus on three key areas: attic insulation, window replacement and whole-house weatherproofing. Let’s explore each of these in turn.

Keep It Comfortable with Affordable Insulation

Home energy efficiency depends on a variety of factorsAccording to the EPA and the administrators of the federal government’s EnergyStar program, homeowners can save as much as 20% on total heating and cooling costs simply by adding new insulation to their attics or updating existing insulation within their homes’ walls. This translates to total energy bill savings of as much as 14%.

What’s more, Oregon and Washington both offer additional rebates that may cover part of the cost of installing blown-in insulation in your attic. When it’s done by a professional, the installation process is fast, effective and non-disruptive.

Replace Outdated Windows

Window replacement is another important step. Like attic insulation, energy-efficient windows routinely attract federal and state tax credits. Modern windows use effective sealing technology to keep warm air inside during the winter and outside during the summer. In fact, the newest generation of energy-efficient windows doesn’t even require a second storm window to function properly. Instead, modern windows contain insulating buffers between “inside” and “outside” panes. Many models last for years, so you’ll enjoy ample returns on your modest investment.

Simple Weatherproofing Tips for Year-Round Comfort

Other weatherproofing steps may be even easier. Fireplace inserts effectively insulate your home’s chimney column and reduce heat loss through the roof. Programmable thermostats allow you to control how much heat or air conditioning your home’s interior receives at any given time. Meanwhile, costs for energy-efficient heating units and solar panels have plummeted over the past decade.

Interstate Roofing: Your Indoor Temperature Control Source in Portland, OR and Vancouver, WA

These aren’t the only things you can do to reduce your home’s heating and cooling bills as well as its impact on the environment, but they’re a great start. At Interstate Roofing, we’re proud to help homeowners across the Portland-Vancouver area put more of their hard-earned funds back in their pockets. If you’re ready to transform your house into the efficient, cash-saving envy of the neighborhood, give us a call at 1-800-ROOF-270 or contact us online today.