Solar Power

This is a great option, even here in the oft cloudy PNW, and there are many factors to be weighed before you make a decision. Learn more here!

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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.

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.

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.

Windows to the World

When you like the appearance of a building, what strikes you? When you don’t like the appearance, what is it that you don’t like? Often it’s the windows. Windows are an important architectural element of a structure. The size, shape and placement of windows affect both the exterior appearance of a building and the feeling of the interior. Windows provide ventilation and are a factor in heating and cooling a building. The material of construction, glazing, size and orientation affect how much energy, air and light enter through the opening, glass and frame.

Window Shapes and Sizes

There are many types and shapes of windows. Some can be used on any building, but others are designed to enhance a particular architectural style. For example, bay windows—double-hung windows with decorative glass and grilles—are characteristic of Queen Anne style buildings. A negative reaction to the windows on a building is usually because the windows don’t complement the architectural style in shape, size or material.

Tips on Replacing Windows

If you’re remodeling and want to replace windows, it’s important to consider how new windows will affect street appeal and the light and movement of air inside. To open up a dark room, enlarging windows or adding glass doors will let in more light and air. Natural light has a positive effect on people inside a building, including increasing employee productivity and improving students’ grades. Ease of operation is also important when you install new windows.

Window Materials

There are several types of materials used for frames including vinyl, wood and aluminum. Each has specific thermal and aesthetic properties. Wood is the classic frame material. It’s a good insulator but is more expensive and requires maintenance. Vinyl is less expensive, easy to maintain and comes in a number of shapes and colors, including those that simulate wood. Aluminum is a poor insulator but is lightweight and does not require much maintenance.

Window Glass

Window glass transmits light, but also allows heat to enter or escape a building. Energy-efficient windows can reduce the transfer of thermal energy by using double or triple glazing, coatings that control heat transfer or tintings that reduce solar gain. Energy efficiency in glass is described by U-Factor, or how well the glass keeps heat in, and solar heat gain co-efficient (SHGC), or how well the glass blocks solar heat.

Retrofitting Older Windows

Old windows often leak around the frame and are made with single-pane glass, which is not energy efficient. Replacing old windows with new ones that have better thermal efficiency will save energy. Retrofitting older windows with double or triple panes and caulking around the frames may also reduce heat loss or heat gain.

Interstate Roofing is a family-owned business that has served the Portland, OR region since 1988. If you need window repair, we can help. If you need new window installation, we can recommend a range of styles and materials suitable for your building and budget. Contact us online or call us for an evaluation and free estimate. (503) 684-5611

Green Roofs, Gutters and Mindful Living

In recent years, unusual weather patterns, unexplained phenomena and erratic storms have deepened our consciousness for the environment. Many homeowners are embracing the new wave of green roofing in an attempt to take us closer to a greener and healthier planet.

Insulate Inside Out

Ordinary roofing might not provide your home with complete insulation during the hot summer and cold winter months. Not surprisingly, about 40% of conditioned indoor air can escape through the cracks and crevices in your attic. By switching to a green roofing solution, you’ll be able to lower your heating and cooling bills almost instantly.

Make the Most out of Natural Resources

A substantial amount of water is used to water lawns and gardens during the hot summer months. Save money on your water bills with indigenous rain barrels that collect the rain that hits your roof. You’ll also be able to prevent flooding and storm water runoffs.

Natural Lighting Can Lower Energy Bills

With attractive solutions incorporated into a green roof, such as solar tubes and skylights, your home will be supplied with ample amounts of natural sunlight. With well-lit indoor spaces, rarely will you feel the need for artificial lighting during the day.

Recycle Your Roof

Rather than ending up in a landfill, a green roof can be recycled in the most efficient manner, thus sparing you the hassle of having to dispose an average of five tons of debris.

Lincoln High School Green Roof

Interstate Roofing installed a green roof on Lincoln High School.

Harness the Power of the Sun

Solar panels can be a mindful and smart investment, one that can save money and reduce greenhouse gases at the same time. Benefit from clean and renewable energy by installing solar panels on your roof.

Reduce the Need for Energy Usage with Specially Designed Cool Roofs

Take advantage of roofs built with shingles that are incorporated with solar-reflecting granules. Available in cool colors, they are designed to keep your roof and home cool by effectively reflecting sunlight.

Do Your Part for the Community

Your roofing choices are more important than you think. By making green choices, you’ll make a positive impact on the community. Earth-friendly roofs can reduce smog and city heat island effect.

Now Is a Great Time to Embrace the Power of Green

It has never been easier than now to adopt smart solutions that have innumerable benefits. Not only does green roofing appreciate the value of your home, but you’ll be a part of the growing community that makes mindful choices for our planet. Interstate Roofing is reputable roofing contractor based in Portland, OR. Call today, and learn more about your various options in roof installation, siding, gutters and windows.