Earth- And Energy-Smart Improvements To Make To Your Home And Yard

With global warming and evidence of our planet's environment changing, it is a good idea to do all you can to reduce any adverse effects to the environment. Many of these adjustments can also affect your home's energy bill in the process. Here are some eco-friendly, energy-smart improvements you can make to your home and yard to protect the environment and your utility bill.

Install a Metal Roof

When it is time to replace your home's roof, it can be beneficial to the environment and your home's energy efficiency to replace it with a metal roof. Asphalt shingles are a very common type of roofing material used in the United States because they are a more inexpensive option to use. Unfortunately they do not last as long as a metal roof and will need to be replaced more frequently, which will end them up in the local landfill. Metal roofing materials properly installed on your home can last anywhere from 40 to 70 years, with asphalt shingles only lasting from 12 to 20 years. Your metal roof installed on your home will last likely as long as you will live in the house and maybe longer.

Metal roofing panels can also be painted a specific color during manufacturing, coated in a paint containing glass particles, or treated with an application to help them reflect sunlight and the sun's ultraviolet rays from your home, each to help keep your home more cool in the summer and minimize solar heat gain. This is beneficial as it is the sun's rays and infrared wavelengths heating your roofing material that can cause your home interior to become warmer during the summer and areas with warmer climates.

In the winter having a metal roof installed on your home has its own benefits, as it is a great insulator during winter. Your metal roof will insulate your home from the cold when it is treated with a rigid foam insulation below its layers, especially if it is Energy Star rated. Talk to a local roofing professional at companies like Premium Panels Inc about the types of metal roofing materials available that offer solar reflectivity and thermal emissivity values to help reduce the heating of your home's interior during the sun's peak hours.

Paint Your Pavement

If you have ever walked across a sun-baked pavement without shoes in the summer, you understand how much the sun's rays can heat up the surface of your pavement. As the solar radiation is absorbed by the pavement, whether concrete or asphalt, it will radiate heat all day long and continue to radiate the heat well after the sun has passed through the sky and prevent the outside temperature from cooling off. This occurrence causes an urban heat effect in your yard and can contribute to the heat island effect in your neighborhood and city.

If you were to use a thermometer outside, the difference in temperature of the air above your pavement versus above a shaded or lawn-covered area can be considerable and enough to increase your home and yard's interior temperature. However, your pavement's ability to absorb or reflect the sun's radiation can be adjusted with the use of coatings or pavement paint. Many city streets in Los Angeles have been coated in a treatment, which protects the asphalt and also reflects the sun's rays without absorbing them to heat up the surrounding environment. They have found that this white-colored treatment to asphalt can reduce the surface temperature of the roads by up to 25 degrees F.

You can use a similar treatment to coat your asphalt and concrete pavements to help reflect sunlight and prevent solar heat absorption. There are various manufacturers of this product and it comes in a variety of colors to make your pavement more cool and attractive. You can even apply it in a pattern to give your pavement variety in addition to cooling features.