We are all responsible for the sustainability of the world that we inhabit. At a time when the effects of our actions and our lifestyles upon the environment are under constant scrutiny, we need to try to find ways to reduce our own impact on the planet and this is just as relevant to the way that we run our households as it is to the rest of the things that we do. We can quite easily and cheaply introduce such measures as the installation and utilisation of more energy efficient domestic appliances and make significant reductions in the amount of water that we use. We can also ensure that our home is effectively insulated, to reduce the amount of our carbon emissions and cut down on the domestic fuels that we use. All these measures are well known ways that we can contribute in our own small way to the well being of the environment. However, for the purposes of this article, we will look at measures that are specific to the roof and the roofing system that can have an equally beneficial environmental effect.
The roofing measures set out below will not only go a long way towards making your home greener, they are also likely to result in a dramatic reduction in the household’s utility bills, making them a worthwhile project for two very important reasons!
Every roof needs to have a system for draining away the rainwater that hits it. A really effective (and cheap) way of exploiting this is to place water butts to collect this water by strategically placing them below a set of modified downspouts. The surplus water that is collected when the rain is falling can later be used for external water purposes such as washing the car, cleaning outside or watering the garden or the lawn. The amount of water use from the reservoir supply will fall over the course of a year, as will any water charges if your household’s usage is metered and this will make a valuable contribution to the need to cut down on the amount of water that society uses.
Insulate and Ventilate
If a roof is to work effectively in keeping out the cold it must be sufficiently well ventilated. If heat is lost through a poorly insulated roof, it will result in increased heating bills but, in terms of its environmental impact will also contribute towards the release of environmentally unfriendly carbon emissions into the atmosphere. A similar problem can occur when the roof is not sufficiently ventilated, with disproportionately large amounts of cash having to be expended on keeping the property cool in the hot summers.
Every time we switch on a light it uses electricity. In order to avoid this the roofs capacity to let light into the home should be built upon. The creation of skylights and other means of allowing natural light into a house, such as the deployment of solar reflective tubes, will remove the need to use any artificial lighting during the hours of daylight. Not only will this work to the advantage of the environment, it will also, once again, result in a reduction in the household’s electricity bills.
Keep Vegetation Under Control
Excessive vegetation growth, which is permitted to encroach upon the roof itself will adversely affect ventilation and may cause damage to the structure of the roof, resulting in premature aging and less efficiency. It can also impact on the overall life of the roof. Simply trimming any excessive growth will avoid these problems and keep the roof in good working order for as long as possible, thus representing another money saving strategy.
Establishing a regular inspection and maintenance regime, including keeping gutters, pipe work, downspouts and the surface of the roof itself free from leaves, dirt and other types of debris will extend the roof’s life, guard against expensive and destructive leakages within the system and ultimately save money.
Implementing these easy measures will help you make your own small contribution to preserving the sustainability of the world that we leave in – and will have the added attraction of saving you money in the long term.