Last Post On Windows – For this meditation on home energy improvements

Windows and Doors in your residence are the fine line between Rehabilitation and New Build. To use Professional Speak, your house consists of an interior and an exterior envelop with insulation inbetween even if that insulation is only air. The whole goal of energy rehabs is to dramatically tighten both the interior and the exterior of the house and then increase the insulation where possible. This is a separate issue in a way from the energy consumption in the house itself. So when you get to the parts that move…eg windows and doors that is where the expense can climb rapidly. If you are a home owner, new windows and doors make sense BUT once you open the cavities shouldn’t you check the insulation and what about upgrading the wiring? Why not tear the whole thing down and start again? HMMMM

So if you are interested in new here are all the usual suspects:{keyword:defaulttext}:P&Branch=Champaign+Local&gclid=CMnLu5–958CFRk45wodfk3tXA&sissr=1|RPM|HS_Windows|GGL_8152


For a lot cheaper you can get low e-films that will keep the heat in during the winter and out during the summer. You have to decide how far you go.

Green Your Home for Winter: Apply Low-E Window Film

Jasmin Malik Chua, Jersey City, USA

Jasmin Malik Chua

By Jasmin Malik Chua
Jersey City, NJ, USA | Sun Mar 23, 2008 01:21 PM ET

If you haven’t socked away enough money for new, energy-efficient windows-or you’re a renter who doesn’t have the latitude to make major home improvements-consider applying one of several types of window film to your panes for instant energy savings.

A plastic film with low-emissivity (low-E) coating, which can reduce heat loss through old windows by 30 percent to 50 percent, provides a thin metallic coat the blocks off heat and ultraviolet rays. Apply the low-E film to the inside pane of your window to trap heat indoors in the winter. When the mercury begins to rise, flip the film over to the outside pane to keep the sun’s heat out of your domicile. Plus, according to Lowe’s, insulating window films will pay for themselves in less than a year in reduced utility bills.Do-it-yourself window film is available in rolls or in precut kits, but you might want to consult the professionals on very large windows. Here are some companies that manufacture energy-saving window films:

1. Bekaert

2. CP Films

3. Film Technologies

4. Madico

5. Plastic View International

[Via ::The Daily Green]

Difficulty level: Easy to moderate


My brother tried it in Las Vegas and they dropped the temperature a lot. To summarize we have covered windows and door from shutters, to new windows and doors to films and sprays for windows and doors. The final step tomorrow is to deal with awnings. Isn’t the green economy fun!


Taking A House Window Out Of Service – Get rid of the darn thing

It’s Jam Band Friday –

During the height of the summer and for most of the winter there are windows that you can probably do without. I hate windows. Even when you dress them up they are Energy Dogs. So here is an easy way to get rid of them. This only works for windows that move. Cut 2 pieces of plywood roughly 2 inches bigger than the window casement. Glue as much styrofoam insulation (R Board) as you can to each piece of plywood centered into the cavity of the window space. Drill 2 holes in each piece of plywood centered in the top and the bottom quadrant of each piece of plywood. Open the window so that the 2 panes are in the center of the window case. Fit the pieces of the plywood over the outside and the inside of the window. Insert long bolts through the two holes and tighten nut and washer to either the inside or the outside piece of plywood depending on which way you ran the bolts. You can even run a light bead of caulk around the two piece of plywood, the washer and the bolt head for complete air tighness. All done. Problem solved. Window gone.

( )

However if you are into appearances well you can invest in systems that accomplish some of the same goals.,,1210347,00.html

I always wanted to get those last 2 back together again. If you have big bucks you may want to get shutters that actually work. Not the decorative ones you usually see.

( )

Looking for Shutters?
Let us help.


From sleek contemporary styles to rustic charm, nothing adds value to your home like Shutters. Designed to last a lifetime, they are beautiful, versatile and control ventilation and light with unmatched precision. Our Design Consultants know how to use the beauty of your windows to inspire feelings of rest, drama or excitement.

( )

~Window Shutters

You can find both exterior and interior window shutters in a variety of colors and materials.

View all Plantation Shutters

Fauxwood Shutters


More on windows tomorrow. God I hate those things.

( )


Residential Energy Audits – You have to start somewhere

Anytime is a good time to check out your domicile for energy consumption. Much of this can be simpler than people let on. Yes, there are differences between renters and homeowners. I think that everyone should do it EVEN if you do not pay your own bills. Maybe especially if you do not pay your bills. Somebody does. The point is that ALL energy is valuable if you are concerned about the health of the planet. Americans are energy hogs that need to go on a diet. There are websites that will help you do an audit. Your utility will probably do an audit for a small fee. There is even software out there that will do the audit and keep track of your energy use afterwards so you can see the effects of you energy saving efforts. I will cover all of that.

The first step is getting vary familiar with you energy environment and this is as simple as a piece of paper and a slender candle. Step one is to make a complete list of the energy using devices. This includes your furnace, your air conditioner, your major appliance, and even some minor appliances. On that paper write down the age of each appliance, the condition of each appliance and your guess as to how much of your energy load that device consumes. Please check the furnace and the air conditioning filters, especially if you just moved in. They need to be clean and that could be your first job.

Do-It-Yourself Home Energy Audit

You can easily conduct a home energy audit yourself. With a simple but diligent walk-through, you can spot many problems in any type of house.

When auditing your home, keep a checklist of areas you have inspected and problems you found. This list will help you prioritize your energy efficiency upgrades.

The following text comes from “A Consumer’s Guide to Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy,” which is at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy website.

Heating & Cooling Equipment

Inspect heating and cooling equipment annually, or as recommended by the manufacturer. If you have a forced-air furnace, check your filters and replace them as needed. Generally, you should change them about once every month or two, especially during periods of high usage. Have a professional check and clean your equipment once a year.

Replace Old Equipment


If the unit is more than 15 years old, you should consider replacing your system with one of the newer, energy-efficient units. A new unit would greatly reduce your energy consumption, especially if the existing equipment is in poor condition. Check your ductwork for dirt streaks, especially near seams. These indicate air leaks, and they should be sealed with a duct mastic. Insulate any ducts or pipes that travel through unheated spaces. An insulation R-value of 6 is the recommended minimum.


There are many places on the web that can help you with this.

Here is a tip that they won’t tell you. Call your HVAC and Appliance Dealer and ask them questions. If you don’t have an HVAC person and a local appliance dealer that you can trust, find one. You need to know this stuff in case of an emergency. If you are a renter ask your landlord who they use and let them know you are interested in saving energy. They should appreciate that. Once you determine who they are (ask for friends recommendations, compare prices etc.) then call them and ask them about your equipment and energy savings differences between what you have and what you could have. Also ask them about percentages of usage between your different equipment.


If you live in Springfield and you want an audit done for you CWLP offers one cheap and if you follow their recommendations they will rebate the cost.


R 60 In The Attic – When I first started talking about this everyone thought I was crazy

I will be the first one to admit, our attic is finished. I had no control over that. The build out and remodel all took place 50 years ago. Does it make it better that we have a metal roof? When I first started saying PACK YOUR ATTIC with all the insulation you can get your hands on. Everyone said, “How can you say that. There is no payback. There is no room. What if you change your mind” That was of course in an R10 or an R13 world. Then everything changed. Guess what it will change again.

That is because we have all been raised in a “pay as you go” energy system. Have been for generations. But if you think of a world where you pay your energy costs “UP FRONT”. Then you quit worrying about Paybacks and “is it worth it”? You start thinking in terms of how much do I need.

Again for the entire class: You can never lose money by CONSERVING energy.

Superinsulation is an approach to building design, construction, and retrofitting. A superinsulated house is intended to be heated predominantly by intrinsic heat sources (waste heat generated by appliances and the body heat of the occupants) with very small amounts of backup heat. This has been demonstrated to work in very cold climates but requires close attention to construction details in addition to the insulation.

Superinsulation is one of the ancestors of the passive house approach. A related approach to efficient building design is zero energy building.

There is no set definition of superinsulation, but superinsulated buildings typically include:

  • Very thick insulation (typically R40 walls and R60 roof)
  • Detailed insulation where walls meet roofs, foundations, and other walls
  • Airtight construction, especially around doors and windows
  • a heat recovery ventilator to provide fresh air
  • No large windows facing any particular direction
  • No conventional heating system, just a small backup heater

Nisson & Dutt (1985) suggest that a house might be described as “superinsulated” if the cost of space heating is lower than the cost of water heating.


That last is important because what if you are using free solar. Then your costs are both zero. So one of them has to be a negative number…haha


On a more serious note, everyone agrees that the standard currently is good for NEW Construction…I say it is good enough for old as well:

massachusetts pilot project explores super insulation for old houses

new construction could also benefit from techniques.
Publication date: February 24, 2009

By Nigel F. Maynard

Alex Cheimets and Cynthia Page live in a duplex that used to consume about 1,400 gallons of heating oil a year. But now their building is one of the most energy-efficient in its Arlington, Mass., neighborhood, thanks to a pilot project that retrofitted the structure with almost $100,000 worth of insulation and other products to increase energy efficiency and lower utility costs.

The so-called Massachusetts Super Insulation Project seeks to determine the benefits and cost-effectiveness of retrofitting old energy-wasting houses with insulation upgrades in key areas. Though the cost for the upgrades in the home were substantial, some of the techniques used—among them proper air-sealing and adequate moisture barriers—are easily applied to new construction at a relatively low cost.

Massachusetts officials are keenly interested in the results of the project, because it dovetails nicely with the state’s efforts to become more energy-efficient. “Our governor, the state House and Senate, and the executive branch are aware that the nation’s energy strategy is not acceptable, and a big part of it is the existing housing stock,” says Philip Giudice, commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DER).

“Nationally, buildings account for 40 percent of all energy consumption, and one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions,” says Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles, who chairs Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick’s Zero Net Energy Buildings Task Force. “This superinsulation project in Arlington promises to be a model for the type of innovation in the building industry that the Patrick Administration hopes will soon be widespread across Massachusetts.”

Read more articles related to:

More articles from the headlines section


There Is Something In The Attic And It’s Alive – Our metal roof and huge discoveries

We finally decided to get a metal roof and that was a learning experience in and of itself but it led to many horrifying discoveries. But first the metal roof.

We shopped around and it was amazing the difference in contractors. I asked 4 contractors to give us bids on both a metal roof and a standard roof. I also asked if they had installed a metal roof and could I see it. On one end, a contractor who had done work for a couple of my friends that they were happy with showed up at the house. He took no measurements. He did not get on the roof. He said a metal roof would be 15,000 $$$ and 25 year roof in shingles will be 7,000 $$$. Let me know what you decide and left.! I called my friends and said WTF. They said, oh John is such a clown but he does good work…

Another contractor was good with the numbers but vague about experience and two other contractors seemed to have the numbers and the experience. One, Promax from Decatur gave me great references, One metal and one traditional. We decided to do the metal roof with them. I am an ex-roofer. I wish I could say that things went smoothly. They didn’t. I am currently satisfied, but there were problems some of which they couldn’t control.

They ordered the roof. It arrived late and not all the parts came. They had to reorder the parts. It rained every four days so that a job that was supposed be done in 2 weeks in June took 2 months, June and August. Did I mention that it was blazing hot when it wasn’t raining?…

Nonetheless two things were apparent when they were done. The valley’s around the dormers had been done “creatively” and we would just have to see how the winter went. Cathy was concerned about falling ice from the garage hitting the house and I was concerned about ice damming. The creativity about the valleys is hard to explain.. They do three feet of flashing in the valley and then cover it with metal roofing. The center of the valley is essentially decorative because the seam is protected by the sealing and the flashing. Well that and the continuously vented ridgecap (much more on that later) and the valley pieces were part of the reordered parts and when they showed up they had to get creative because the roof was pretty much done. They turned the valley pieces upside down and affixed them giving our roof a “distinctive” look.



As I said, unconventional. I understand. They would have had to unseal almost the whole roof  to insert the metal under the other pieces of roofing for what was a decorative effect. But it scared the living bejesus out of the contractors we asked for bids on the solar space for the back of the house. Anyway to make a longer story much shorter the roof leaked in February and they came back and tinkered. The roof leaked in March and they came back and found the problem. Not however before I discover some real serious problems that horrified me.

More on Friday.


Insulation – Why buy something and throw part of it away

Would you buy a Soda Pop and poor part of it down the drain? Well why would anybody buy energy and cast it into the open air? It is dumb but hundreds of millions of Americans do it every year. There are some experts who argue that we can’t make our appliances or buildings with too much insulation or too “tight” because we have got to breathe. I am not one of those. I believe that air quality can be handled through a heat exchanger:

Many people want to start the discussion there however and I have learned to stop that, by simply saying, “how much insulation do you have in your house”, because no one has enough. At any rate here is what you can get from the Feds;

(while I am thinking about it you can get rebates at the State and local level. I may discuss some of that but geeze there are 50 states and probably 7,000 counties in the US. Most of that info you WILL have to check on your own)

Insulation Insulation Meets 2009 IECC & Amendments 30% of cost, up to $1,5002 For insulation to qualify, its primary purpose must be to insulate (example: insulated siding does not qualify).Must be expected to last 5 years OR have a 2 year warrantyCheck to see if you have Home Performance with ENERGY STAR in your areas. Adding insulation to your home is covered.


It is pretty straight forward:


Why Insulate Your House?Heating and cooling account for 50 to 70% of the energy used in the average American home. Inadequate insulation and air leakage are leading causes of energy waste in most homes. Insulation:

  • saves money and our nation’s limited energy resources
  • makes your house more comfortable by helping to maintain a uniform temperature throughout the house, and
  • makes walls, ceilings, and floors warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

The amount of energy you conserve will depend on several factors: your local climate; the size, shape, and construction of your house; the living habits of your family; the type and efficiency of the heating and cooling systems; and the fuel you use. Once the energy savings have paid for the installation cost, energy conserved is money saved – and saving energy will be even more important as utility rates go up.

This fact sheet will help you to understand how insulation works, what different types of insulation are available, and how much insulation makes sense for your climate. There are many other things you can do to conserve energy in your home as well. The Department of Energy offers many web sites to help you save energy by sealing air leaks, selecting more energy-efficient appliances, etc.

How Insulation Works Heat flows naturally from a warmer to a cooler space. In winter, the heat moves directly from all heated living spaces to the outdoors and to adjacent unheated attics, garages, and basements – wherever there is a difference in temperature. During the summer, heat moves from outdoors to the house interior. To maintain comfort, the heat lost in winter must be replaced by your heating system and the heat gained in summer must be removed by your air conditioner. Insulating ceilings, walls, and floors decreases the heating or cooling needed by providing an effective resistance to the flow of heat.
Batts, blankets, loose fill, and low-density foams all work by limiting air movement. (These products may be more familiarly called fiberglass, cellulose, polyicynene, and expanded polystyrene.) The still air is an effective insulator because it eliminates convection and has low conduction. Some foams, such as polyisocyanurate, polyurethane, and extruded polystyrene, are filled with special gases that provide additional resistance to heat flow.Reflective insulation works by reducing the amount of energy that travels in the form of radiation. Some forms of reflective insulation also divide a space up into small regions to reduce air movement, or convection, but not to the same extent as batts, blankets, loose-fill, and foam.

Next Section – Which Kind of Insulation is Best?


But there is a dizzying array of products:

The different forms of insulation can be used together. For example, you can add batt or roll insulation over loose-fill insulation, or vice-versa. Usually, material of higher density (weight per unit volume) should not be placed on top of lower density insulation that is easily compressed. Doing so will reduce the thickness of the material underneath and thereby lower its R-value. There is one exception to this general rule: When attic temperatures drop below 0?F, some low-density, fiberglass, loose-fill insulation installations may allow air to circulate between the top of your ceiling and the attic, decreasing the effectiveness of the insulation. You can eliminate this air circulation by covering the low-density, loose-fill insulation with a blanket insulation product or with a higher density loose-fill insulation.

Blankets, in the form of batts or rolls, are flexible products made from mineral fibers, including fiberglass or rock wool. They are available in widths suited to standard spacings of wall studs and attic or floor joists. They must be hand-cut and trimmed to fit wherever the joist spacing is non-standard (such as near windows, doors, or corners), or where there are obstructions in the walls (such as wires, electrical outlet boxes, or pipes). Batts can be installed by homeowners or professionals. They are available with or without vapor-retarder facings. Batts with a special flame-resistant facing are available in various widths for basement walls where the insulation will be left exposed.
Blown-in loose-fill insulation includes cellulose, fiberglass, or rock wool in the form of loose fibers or fiber pellets that are blown using pneumatic equipment, usually by professional installers. This form of insulation can be used in wall cavities. It is also appropriate for unfinished attic floors, for irregularly shaped areas, and for filling in around obstructions.
In the open wall cavities of a new house, cellulose and fiberglass fibers can also be sprayed after mixing the fibers with an adhesive or foam to make them resistant to settling.
Foam insulation can be applied by a professional using special equipment to meter, mix, and spray the foam into place. Polyisocyanurate and polyurethane foam insulation can be produced in two forms: open-cell and closed-cell. In general, open-celled foam allows water vapor to move through the material more easily than closed-cell foam. However, open-celled foams usually have a lower R-value for a given thickness compared to closed-cell foams. So, some of the closed-cell foams are able to provide a greater R-value where space is limited.
Rigid insulation is made from fibrous materials or plastic foams and is produced in board-like forms and molded pipe coverings. These provide full coverage with few heat loss paths and are often able to provide a greater R-value where space is limited. Such boards may be faced with a reflective foil that reduces heat flow when next to an air space. Rigid insulation is often used for foundations and as an insulative wall sheathing.
Reflective insulation systems are fabricated from aluminum foils with a variety of backings such as kraft paper, plastic film, polyethylene bubbles, or cardboard. The resistance to heat flow depends on the heat flow direction, and this type of insulation is most effective in reducing downward heat flow. Reflective systems are typically located between roof rafters, floor joists, or wall studs. If a single reflective surface is used alone and faces an open space, such as an attic, it is called a radiant barrier.Radiant barriers are installed in buildings to reduce summer heat gain and winter heat loss. In new buildings, you can select foil-faced wood products for your roof sheathing (installed with the foil facing down into the attic) or other locations to provide the radiant barrier as an integral part of the structure. For existing buildings, the radiant barrier is typically fastened across the bottom of joists, as shown in this drawing. All radiant barriers must have a low emittance (0.1 or less) and high reflectance (0.9 or more).

Previous Section – Introduction
Next Section – Insulating a New House


People used to ask me if I had a preference and for the longest time I did. Now I just say get the most R’s for the lowest price. There is a nice guy from Pawnee, Kent Olson, that sells a hi tech version:



Working Through The Feds Energy Tax Credits…It is going to be a long couple of weeks

Let me start out with the statement: I AM NOT AND NEVER SHALL BE A TAX ACCOUNTANT. If you read anything here and apply it to your taxes without consulting one you are taking your life in your own hands. I will give you an example. My wife and I put a Metal Roof on our house last year. When we went to claim it on our taxes..WE Couldn’t!! Those crafty Bush people made it so the credits skipped every year…so they were effective in 2007 and 2009 but NOT 2008. God, I am so glad those people are gone.

So lets start with the frequently asked quests and go from there.

How has the new Stimulus bill affected the tax credits for energy efficient home improvements?


On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed the “Stimulus Bill” (The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) that made significant changes to the energy efficiency tax credits. These changes apply to products ” placed in service” in 2009. The highlights are:

  • The tax credits that were previously effective for 2009, have been extended to 2010 as well.
  • The tax credit has been raised from 10% to 30%.
  • The tax credits that were for a specific dollar amount (ex $300 for a CAC), have been converted to 30% of the cost.
  • The maximum credit has been raised from $500 to $1,500 total for the two year period (2009-2010). However, some improvements such as geothermal heat pumps, solar water heaters, and solar panels are not subject to the $1,500 maximum.
  • The $200 cap on windows has been removed, but the requirements for windows (after June 1, 2009) has been increased significantly. Not all ENERGY STAR qualified windows will qualify after June 1, 2009.

Specific information on what is covered by the tax credits.


What was available last year? (OH if only I had checked)

  What tax credits were available in 2008 for energy efficiency home improvements?

What tax credits were available in 2008 for energy efficiency home improvements?


The only energy efficiency improvements that are eligible for a tax credit in 2008 are:

  • geothermal heat pumps (30%, up to $2,000)
  • solar water heaters (30%, up to $2,000)
  • solar panels (30%, up to $2,000)
  • small wind energy systems (30%, up to $4,000)
  • fuel cells (30%, up to $500 per .5 kW of power capacity)

You need to file IRS Tax Form 5695 with your 2008 taxes to claim this credit.

Tax credits for windows, doors, insulation, HVAC, and non-solar water heaters (that were available in 2006 & 2007) are NOT available for products installed in 2008, but they are again eligible for products installed in 2009 and 2010.

More information on the tax credits for 2009 and beyond.


What does your handyman get? Blisters hahahaha

  Are installation costs covered by the tax credits?
  Are installation costs covered by the tax credits?

Installation costs ARE COVERED for:

  • HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) systems
  • Biomass Stoves
  • Water Heaters (including solar)
  • Solar Panels
  • Geothermal Heat Pumps
  • Wind Energy Systems
  • Fuel Cells

The tax credit for HVAC, biomass stoves, and non-solar water heaters is 30% of the total cost (product + installation) up to $1,500. The law specifies installation costs include: “expenditures for labor costs properly allocable to the onsite preparation, assembly, or original installation of the property.”

The tax credit for solar water heaters, solar panels, geothermal heat pumps, wind energy systems, and fuel cells* is 30% of the total cost (product + installation), with no upper limit. The law specifies installation costs include: “labor costs properly allocable to the onsite preparation, assembly, or original installation of the property and for piping or wiring to interconnect such property to the home.”

Installation costs are NOT covered by the tax credit for:

  • Windows
  • Doors
  • Insulation
  • Roofs

The tax credit for windows, doors, insulation and roofs is for 30% of the cost of materials only, up to $1,500.  Read this FAQ on separating out the cost of installation for these products.

Learn more at:

*The tax credit for fuel cells is 30% of the cost, but limited to $500 per .5 kW of power capacity


Got other questions? Of course you do it is the IRS after all

Question Question - Sort Descending (Z to A) Question - Sort Ascending (A to Z)


Tomorrow – Doors and Windows…I can hardly wait. Oh and if you want this work done and you live in New York you might try:


Metal Roofs – Do they save money?

Well that depends on your perspective. Americans are so used to not calculating the energy that goes into making things that they act like they appear “by magic”. But they require a lot of energy to make and presented with that evidence people might forgo a bunch of “stuff”, objectives, the old material accumulations, valuable possessions and all that.

So with the Metal Roof you have to mine coal:

1. Coal produces what percentage of America’s electricity?

50%. Coal is a dirty 19th century technology, yet still produces half of our electricity. France, in comparison, produces more than 80% of its electricity from carbon-free nuclear power.


Mine the iron:…/iron_mine.jpg/tpod.html

5  Open Pit Iron Mine, Kirkenes, Norway
After visiting the border we were taken to the site of an abandoned open pit iron mine. With prices increasing, several companies are considering reopening the mine.


Make the steel:…

Steel Mill

Today, 1984, most of the steel mills in the United States have either phased out or merged with foreign steel mills. — A very sad state of affairs, and leaving millions of steel workers unemployed. — The steel mills exploited the immigrants when they came to this country. — The steel mills made their fortunes and failed to modernize their plants. — They phased them out and invested in foreign plants — exploited those workers and then dumped their steel into this country, and making another fortune. — Yes, I know that this is a free country, and corporations can do what they want with their money, but I always felt that there was a moral obligation on the part of the steel mills, (and other corporations) to re-invest in America.


Make the roof:

Produce various steel tiles from the same production

International Roofing - building, and Team Photo


Transport the roof:

Transport steel


And build the roof:

Seal All Fasteners with Kwik Kaulk®
All fasteners are sealed with Kwik Kaulk®, Conklin’s acrylic caulking compound.

photo caulking


I know this seems unfair BUT it is also real.


We Just Bought A Metal Roof – What are the positives and the negatives

We just paid 11,000 $$$ for a new metal roof from the lovely people at Pro Max in Decatur, IL. Thanks Dean! We could have gotten the same roof in asphalt for 7,000 or 8,000 $$$s. Some people would say that is a negative right there. But what is 4 or 5,000 $$s among friends when the life of the roof could easily be 50 years?. Not only that but it lowers your homeowners insurance enough that the payback times must be in like 5 years. Especially with how much it can save in energy consumption:


Reflective Roof Products for Consumers

(Are you a partner? For Partners)

Americans spend about $40 billion annually to air condition buildings — one-sixth of all electricity generated in this country.


Why choose ENERGY STAR reflective roofing for your building?

  • ENERGY STAR qualified roof products reflect more of the sun’s rays. This can lower roof surface temperature by up to 100F, decreasing the amount of heat transferred into a building.
  • ENERGY STAR qualified roof products can help reduce the amount of air conditioning needed in buildings, and can reduce peak cooling demand by 10–15 percent.

During building design and when your existing roof needs replacement are both excellent times to consider reflective roofing. See how much reflective roofing can reduce your building’s energy costs .

What is emissivity and why is it important to cool roofs?

Read more about emissivity and how it relates to energy savings and cool roofs.

How does roof insulation relate to ENERGY STAR labeled roof products?

The ENERGY STAR energy-efficiency criteria do not include a specification for roof insulation. However, in addition to reflectivity, roof insulation (measured by the R-value) plays an important role in building energy consumption for heating and cooling. The colder the climate, the greater the need for a higher R-value to ensure that less heat is lost from the building envelope. To determine the minimum R-value for a given location, refer to the International Energy.


Cool Metal Roofing

by the Cool Metal Roofing Coalition
Patrick Bush, U.S. Steel; Greg Crawford, AISI; Scott Kriner, MCA; Todd Miller, Classic Products; Charles Praeger, MBMA; James Robinson, Architectural Metals Systems; Robert Scichili, BASF; Lee Shoemaker, MBMA

Last updated: 02-13-2007


Photo example of metal roofing

Metal roofing has been available and utilized as a roofing material for centuries. Metal roofing is available in a wide variety of substrates, colors, textures, and profiles. Though diverse in appearance, metal roofing has many common attributes such as durability, recycled content, recyclability, fire resistance, low weight, and low life-cycle cost.

Depending upon the surface finish, cool metal roofing can provide enhanced energy efficiency with its solar reflectance and infrared emittance properties. In fact, the solar reflectance and infrared emittance of a metal roof can be engineered to meet the climate requirements of the building. Cool metal roofing can provide the desired high reflectance and low emittance in climates where heating loads prevail. Cool metal roofing can also provide the desired high reflectance and high emittance where cooling loads dominate. Cool metal roofing easily meets the requirements of the EPA’s Energy Star® program. Cool metal roofing is also eligible for other cool roof incentive programs:}—Common-Myths-Debunked&id=2078869
Metal Roof Cost – Common Myths Debunked
By Chris Xavier

Out of the box, metal roof cost can seem astronomical when comparing it to a traditional asphalt shingle roof. But to just compare absolute material cost and no other factors is not comparing “apples to apples”. Metal roofing does not get its cost effectiveness from its materials. To better understand the expense, we are more apt to examine the differences in an asphalt roof versus a metal one.

Asphalt always looks like a bargain. At approximately one third of the metal roof cost and warranty slapped on the package boasting twenty years or better, it seems clear to the uninformed that an asphalt roof will provide the same performance at a fraction of the payout. Over our time, warranties have become more a tool for marketing than a display of quality. We, as consumers, take it as a company standing behind their product for a specified amount of time but the details are in the small print. Don’t take it wrong, there are a lot of great warranties out there but it’s key to understand their limitations and fine print when taking warranties into account.

Upon further examination, we see that most shingle warranties do not cover the shingles to their claimed lifespan. Instead, the company heavily pro rates the value so if and when you were ever to file a warranty claim, you would not recover the amount of the initial product. Also, these warranties do not cover the cost of labor of the initial job or replacement.

The second biggest myth that homeowners face when comparing metal roof cost to asphalt are the effects of the environment has on them both. Your climate can bring some of the harshest conditions we could ever imagine. Scorching heat, hail, rain, sleet, snow, tornadoes, wildfires, and hurricanes are some of the environmental conditions we face in the United States. As these conditions get more extreme, the more asphalt shingles fail and the more often they will need to be replaced, thus increasing ownership costs and maintenance requirements.


Cool Metal Roofs Help

Put Lid on Rising Energy Costs

A roof has a significant impact on the energy use of a building. As a result, building owners and their architects have discovered that it pays to specify building products such as “cool metal roofs” to help avoid unwanted heat build-up inside the building and to help ensure maximum energy conservation. Buildings consume one-third of all energy and two-thirds of all electricity generated in the U.S. But, commercial metal roofs with heat-deflecting coatings and finishes can drastically lower the energy consumption rate by reducing cooling loads. In the process, these roofs can save building owners up to 40 percent in heating and cooling energy costs, perhaps more if used in conjunction with insulation under the roof surface, according to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

At the same time, highly emissive roofs benefit the environment by lowering urban air temperatures, thereby helping to reduce smog. They also offer a solution for communities searching for ways to control the demand for electricity.

Cool Roof Performance Depends on Reflectance, Emittance

The performance of a cool roof depends on two properties: solar reflectance and infrared emittance. Solar reflectance indicates the percent of sunlight reflected off the roof. Emittance indicates the percent of the sun’s heat re-radiated from the roof to its surroundings.

Available unpainted, with baked-on paint finishes, or with granular-coated surfaces, cool metal roofing can reflect up to 70 percent of the sun’s rays, resulting in less heat transfer to the interior of the building. The emittance of painted or granular-coated metal roofing can be as high as 90 percent.


And for you do it yourselfers out there:

Wasn’t This Worth Waiting For?

Just in time for the rain storm tonight. Tonight’s rain [hence the dreary looking photos – I’ll take better pictures when the sun comes out] will fall on a new sustainable metal stone coated roof. Justin read that this type of process was developed in WWII. The reflective metal roofs on buildings were attracting enemy planes so folks put tar on the metal and over that ground up stone or sand.   Such stone coated metal roofs are commonly used in New Zealand.   Jules’first homestead in the rural South Island (NZ) had a corrugated metal roof which collected and diverted the rainwater into a huge cement cistern.     Now we have an “upgraded” metal roof and we once again plan to harvest the rainfall and it use to irrigate the garden.

For those of you who have been following the roof saga since summer you are probably glad you won’t read about the “R” word anymore. Truthfully, this project wasn’t as easy as you would think – believe me. We spent many sleepless nights and stressful days agonizing over this decision. Looking at the 4? thick folder of all the types of roofing that we looked at Justin would comment “choosing a roof is like getting married, the only thing is you can’t get divorced if it doesn’t work out.”

Time for high fives, pats on the back and hugs all around – time to celebrate !!!!   A friend of ours dropped by yesterday with a bag of goodies to “celebrate your new roof.”   How kind and thoughtful!   Of course he couldn’t help but admire and question in amazement “that’s metal?” Speaking of admiring these last few days you’ll find us pausing as we work in the garden just to admire the roof.


But you say how much energy does it consume vs. a shingle roof. I don’t know, but I will try to find out for tomorrow.

As always please read the complete articles and attachments above for many more details.


Green House Is Museum Piece In Chicago – To bad that is the only place that will take it in

So my question is why didn’t they build it next door and let a real family live in it?

Chicago’s Greenest Home

This is what green living looks like. To showcase the future of eco-friendly architecture, Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry has built a three-story “green” home in its backyard. On display from May 8, 2008 to Jan. 4, 2009, the Smart Home: Green + Wired exhibit not only features sustainable design and recycled materials, it also includes cutting-edge “smart” technology. With help from Wired magazine, the exhibit incorporates automation systems that save homeowners time, reduce energy consumption and enhance entertainment. For more information, visit
(JB Spector/Museum of Science and Industry)



Please see the entire story for the slide show. There are 13 pictures in all.


Yesterday, on its 75th anniversary, Chicago’s much-praised Museum of Science and Industry announced construction of a 2,500 square-foot green home, reports the Chicago Sun Times. The home, slated for the museum’s east lawn, is designed to be a showcase for green living.

The 2-bedroom, 2-bath pre-fabricated house will feature a number of green building designs, including a gray water recycling system that redirects filtered sink water into the toilets. The toilets will even have two buttons to save water when only a little is needed, something that will be quite familiar to many Australian and European visitors.

The home will also have cement siding, energy-efficient LED light fixtures, insulating triple-pane windows, landscaping chips made of peach pits, recycled ceramic tiles and a green roof. It will be powered by solar and wind energy.

This “Smart Home” is scheduled to open May 8 and run through January 2009. It will cost guests $10.


 Called the mkSolaire™, the home features family-friendly interior architecture and shows some of the possibilities and benefits of energy-efficient heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems and earth-friendly building materials.

The “Smart Home: Green + Wired” exhibit and home tours run through Jan. 4. Some detailed information on the exhibit and home features is available on the museum’s Web site.

The home was manufactured and put in place by All American Homes of Decatur, Ill. and designed by Michelle Kaufmann Designs of Oakland, Calif.

The exhibit illustrates why many in the green building movement are embracing modular building systems. Modular construction, with its efficient use of materials, labor and energy, has been environmentally friendly almost since its inception.

In addition, modular construction can shorten the construction cycle by as much or more than two-thirds when compared to conventional site construction – reducing energy usage during construction and potentially saving on financing.



Please note quoting the late great Robert Palmer: The lights are on but no one is home. Energy conservation and a model home right?