Raising the Roof on Energy Savings
As the summer temperatures inevitably climb, so do our energy bills. I’ve talked before about the importance of having an in-home energy audit to assess the energy efficiency of your home. According to the Nashville Electric Service (NES), to date, almost 5000 Nashvillians have participated in their energy audit program, which is very exciting news! These audits are available in most counties and/or communities and can provide sufficient savings for your home, but they are not the only way to do so.
To take your home efficiency a step further, let’s look at ways outside of the home to garner even greater savings! Updating your home’s exterior, and more specifically, the roof, can help you maximize your energy savings even more. It only makes sense! Once you tackle the indoor spaces, why not continue with the exterior? There are several products that can be added to the top façade of your home, and even better, there are options that don’t involve purchasing a new roof.
The most notable addition would be solar panels. Photovoltaic solar roofing (in technical terms) is gaining popularity, and while most anyone familiar with the product is accustomed to the raised panels sitting slightly above the roofline on racks, new technology allows the panels to be integrated right onto the actual rooftop. CertainTeed Roofing developed the Apollo Solar Roofing System which can be applied to existing or new roofs.
According to CertainTeed, the system generates power from high-efficiency polycrystalline solar cells mounted in arrays that produce 12 watts per square foot, which means smaller arrays are needed to generate the same amount of power as larger systems. It is a lightweight system built to withstand snow and wind, and it will lower not only carbon emissions, but the amount of energy your home will draw from the grid.
Even better, as the addition of solar panels is gaining popularity throughout various regions of the country, many energy companies offer incentives to encourage their use. In Nashville, NES offers an incentive called Generation Partners, where TVA will purchase the green power from you in the form of a credit applied to your monthly bill. TVA must approve your participation before you begin, so gather more information at www.nespower.com/solar_contractors.html to learn how to start the process.
According to the NES website, TVA currently receives fewer than 50 megawatts of power from renewable sources, but has a goal of buying up to 2,000 megawatts of wind, solar, and/or biomass energy and increasing purchases through Generation Partners up to another 200 megawatts. How exciting to be a part of this venture!
When it comes to roof savings, solar panels are not the only option. A less visually invasive product known as solar reflective roofing is innovative and completely unobtrusive.
CertainTeed Roofing has created Landmark Solaris, a roofing line offering asphalt shingles that look standard, but actually reflect 20%-40% of the sun’s light off of the roof. This keeps the overall temperature cooler and also provides additional durability and strength to the rooftop. There are varying levels of efficiency and some even carry a lifetime warranty. There are choices in aesthetics regarding style and color, so it looks good as well.
Imagine the amount of energy you could save if you combined these two applications! The constant innovation and continuous change in the energy market are making options such as these so much more attainable for the average consumer. To learn more about CertainTeed’s products, visit their website: www.certainteed.com.
—By Maggie McClure of Beth Haley Design
Editor’s Note: Beth Haley Design, an urban interior design firm, focuses on remodeling and revitalizing established homes, as well as creating stimulating, functional, sustainable spaces in new homes. Maggie McClure is an allied member of ASID (American Society of Interior Designers). E-mail your questions to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.bethhaleydesign.com.