This year many homeowners are adding a new commitment to their list of New Year's Resolutions: go green at home. Alongside pledges to quit smoking, exercise more, and spend more time with friends and family, fostering eco-friendly homes is a positive step for families' health and finances.
According to the U.S. Green Building Council, buildings in the United States account for 71 percent of the nation's electricity consumption, 39 percent of energy use, 36 percent of all greenhouse emissions, 12.2 percent of potable water consumption, and 40 percent of global raw materials use.
"Americans realize that all buildings, even their own homes, impact our environment. People are now doing what they can to help improve the health of our planet and are choosing materials and remodeling projects that make homes healthier, comfortable and longer lasting," says Stanley Gatland, Manager of Building Science Technology for CertainTeed.
"Every house is a living, breathing thing," continues Gatland. "All elements - from the heating and air conditioning systems to the occupants themselves - are connected. A small change in one component can have dramatic effects on the entire house. When remodeling or building a new home, it's important to use quality materials that work to the benefit of the entire home."
To help homeowners keep their New Year's resolutions to go green at home, CertainTeed offers these useful tips:
- Increase insulation. According to recent Harvard University studies, properly insulated new homes (about 1.2 million), can save 300 billion BTUs each year, which equals 28 super tankers of crude oil and 300 billion cubic feet of natural gas, demonstrating the importance of proper levels of insulation for any home. One of the easiest ways to cut cooling costs, save energy and make a home more comfortable is to add more fiber glass insulation in the attic. As a general rule, if a home has less than 11 to 12 inches of attic insulation, it probably needs more.
- Control moisture. Upgrade walls with insulation that helps control moisture. CertainTeed's award-winning DryRight(TM) Fiber Glass Insulation is faced with a patented vapor retarder that helps wall cavities to stay dry, helping reduce the risk of damaging mold and mildew. And, when building an addition, remember that moisture management starts with a proper foundation. Ask contractors to use waterproofing membranes such as CertainTeed Platon for walls, floors and underslab moisture control. Modern foundation forms such as Form-A-Drain, a footing form system, can also help prevent wet basements
- Side with easy-care materials. Install low-maintenance, long-lasting exterior siding. The inherent long-lasting qualities of easy-care siding results in less waste over the life of a home. Both vinyl and fiber cement siding options resist wood-boring insects and degradation from the elements. Recently CertainTeed introduced a new formulation for its lines of fiber cement siding that incorporates recycled fly ash, diverting 50,000 tons of the material from landfills each year.
- Roof for long-term protection. Cover your home with long-lasting asphalt roofing. New styles are now crafted to emulate the look of wood, slate and other natural materials, yet are more affordable to have installed and maintain. Premium asphalt roofing is available with warranties for 50 years, even lifetime warranties, saving money and resources.
- Use windows to your advantage. Thirty percent of a home's energy is lost through its windows. You can reduce this by installing energy efficient double-pane windows. Look for windows with coatings that reflect heat and provide superior insulation. Also consider skylights and south-facing windows so you can substitute electrical lighting with the natural light of the sun to save energy and money. Be sure to invest in drapes, which can help keep the chill out of rooms when it's cold outside.
- Landscape with care. Use native plants to reduce need for watering, fertilizers and herbicides, and plant trees to create windbreaks when it's cold outside and shade from the sun's rays. Also, vinyl fencing and decking are a good landscaping option as these products are inherently long-lasting and require very little maintenance since they won't rot or succumb to wood-boring insects and never need painting or staining.
CertainTeed is committed to the responsible development of sustainable building products and systems that meet homeowners' demands for products that deliver beauty, comfort and performance. To learn more about CertainTeed and how its products contribute to green built environments, visit certainteed.com.