Thursday, January 21, 2016

How to Make your Garage Green

Are you looking to build a LEED certified home? Or do you simply want to renovate your own garage to make it a little more eco-friendly? There are several things you can do to make your garage “green” and they range from features that improve the interior air quality of your home, to choosing high-quality, durable residential garage products that keep you from repairing and replacing the garage door and hardware, reducing demands for energy-consuming product manufacturing.

Also, green upgrades have a positive return of investment because they make your home more attractive to future homebuyers.

7 Things You Can Do to Make Your Garage More Green

Here are seven things you can do to make your garage more green.

1. Make it detached. If you are building a new home, consider detaching the garage. In the National Institute of Building Sciences’ Whole Building Design Guide, “avoiding detached garage if possible” is one of the top recommendations for building a green home. This is because even with a well-sealed access door, it’s almost impossible to keep car fumes and other toxic chemical fumes (depending on what you store in there) from permeating the home. This leads to compromised interior air quality, which can cause respiratory problems and low-grade symptoms that many homeowners are oblivious to unless the toxicity is so severe that the CO detector goes off.

2. Insulate the garage. In an effort to save money, and because garages were never considered “livable,” most contractors avoid insulating the garage. The problem with this is two-fold. First, if your garage is attached, an uninsulated garage can keep the temperatures lower or higher in the rooms adjacent to the garage, depending on the time of year. Second, if you work or hang out in your garage often, odds are you use some type of portable heating or cooling system, which increases your home’s energy consumption. An insulated garage mitigates these issues and you can even include an HVAC system vent - or set your garage on its own zone - that can be adjusted for when the garage is in use.

3. Select an insulated garage door. The cost difference between uninsulated and insulated garage doors is negligible, but the benefits are multi-fold. An insulated door will maintain a more consistent temperature inside the garage – better for occupants and your attached home’s interior.

4. Up the daylighting ante. Use solar tubes, a skylight and ample windows, especially if your garage serves as a shop, hobby or hangout spot. This will decrease the amount of energy used to illuminate the space during daylight hours.

5. Invest in durable products. Compare lifetime costs, in addition to first-time costs, when selecting a new garage door. While it may be tempting to choose the cheapest option, odds are this will require more maintenance, repairs, repainting and replacement over the years. All of those things use more energy and resources. Choosing a higher-quality, durable garage door means you can enjoy a single garage door for a lifetime, and that’s a very eco-friendly step to take.

6. Use weather stripping and sealing products. To prevent drafts, which cause temperature fluctuations and the accumulation of dirt and debris inside the garage, make sure your garage door has adequate weather stripping and sealing products in place. Inspect them annually and repair or replace them when they are notably damaged or worn.

7. Choose eco-friendly products. Some garage doors are considered more green than others. If you are purchasing a wood garage door, make sure the wood used by the manufacturer is FSC certified, meaning it was harvested sustainably. You can also specify paint and finish products that are low-VOC, so they don’t release as many volatile compounds into the environment or your interior living spaces.

Contact R&S to discuss green options and upgrades for your residential or commercial garage door. We’re always happy to go over your options and can provide a free estimate for your consideration.


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