Energy Efficiency

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.

When the Roof Is a Garden

The idea of going green is becoming increasingly popular and catching up with both residential and commercial property owners. Today, many property owners are making a conscious effort to adopt eco-friendly and sustainable methods in an attempt to protect the environment.

Going Green? Why Not Start With Your Roof?

Whether you’re considering a roof garden or green roof, there are many advantages. Transforming your roof into a garden can add a unique aesthetic appeal to your property. In addition, you’ll be able to make a significant impact on a personal, community and global level.

Reduce Your Energy Consumption

A roof with natural vegetation provides optimal insulation throughout the year. Most homes with ordinary roofing tend to lose about 40% of conditioned air through the cracks and vents in the attic. With an eco-friendly roofing solution, you’ll be able to lower your heating and cooling bills substantially.

Increase the Value of Your Property

Installing green roofing can increase the real estate value of your property by approximately 7%. In addition, you might qualify to receive property tax credits, storm water tax reductions, and grants depending on the location of your residence.

Make a Positive Difference to the Community

Eco-friendly roofs are designed to reduce the urban heat island effect and smog that’s becoming an increasingly common concern in metropolitan areas. Green roofs are recyclable and can be disposed of responsibly without ending up as debris in landfills.

Green Choices Can Make a Healthier Planet

Small yet significant choices can make a tremendous impact on our environment. A green roof can not only work wonders for your curb appeal but also increase the value of your property. Interstate Roofing is a trusted provider of quality roofing and roof repair services in Portland, OR. Contact Interstate Roofing today at 503-684-5611, and learn more about the various roofing choices available. You can even request a free estimate!

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.