Mandatory Solar Panel Roof Hardware and Attach Points Required On All New Homes?

Before the housing crisis there were an incredible number of new housing starts, housing tracts were going up all over the place in California, Nevada, Arizona, Florida, and Texas. Yes, in many other states as well, but those are the ones that really took off. During that time the government was calling for more energy efficiency, and wanted those homes to be better equipped with insulation, dual paned windows, and properly dressed door jams to hold in the heat or air conditioning depending on which time of the year it was. Okay so let’s talk about this for second shall we?

It turns out that each time the price of the house was increase due to these extra or energy efficiency attributes, it made it tougher for people to qualify for loans to buy the homes. This meant fewer people could buy homes, meaning fewer people could realize their American dream – this notion that owning a home signifies that you have arrived and are successful in life. It also helps with buy-in because you have a vested interest in the country, and your community.

If you’ll recall originally only landowners were allowed to vote because they had a vested interest, skin in the game, and something to lose if the leadership of the country didn’t run things correctly. Homeownership is good for America, and it is a good feeling for those who can feel as if they own a piece of our great nation. As I say, it was a mistake to mandate that homes be outfitted with more insulation, or energy-saving components because it prevented people from homeownership.

Unfortunately, I don’t think we learned our lesson, and we seem to be doing the same thing again. Let me give you an example. The Mercury News in San Jose had an interesting article recently, posted on May 30, 2012 titled; “California poised to require ‘solar ready roofs’ on new homes and buildings,” by Dana Hull, which stated;

“The California Energy Commission is approving energy efficiency standards for new residential & commercial buildings which will take effect Jan. 1, 2014. A host of common-sense standards designed to save energy, from insulating hot-water pipes to making sure that air conditioner installations are inspected for sufficient air flow. The standards would also require new homes & commercial buildings to have “solar ready roofs” — a mandatory requirement that will be a boon for the state’s growing rooftop solar industry.”

What I find unfortunate about this is we’ve just slapped huge tariffs on Chinese made solar panels and solar cells. This means the solar panels cost more, and therefore the return on investment takes longer. This means fewer people will be buying solar panels, and yet they will have to pay the additional $1500 per all the hardware and hookups, and electrical fittings wired into the roof on their new home purchases. This again increases the cost to buy a home, and it seems that it’s just bad policy.

Yes, the other day I was having a conversation at Starbucks about how difficult it was to wire up a pre-existing house whether it be for fiber optics, electrical outlets, additional piping, or anything else. Ripping holes in the wall can cost a tremendous amount of money, and it’s much cheaper to do it while the house is being built. Nevertheless, it still costs money, and how many of those homes will ever have solar panels, but the individual in the house will be paying on the loan for the hardware which was installed, equipment that they will never use. How does this help our citizens?

At some point we have to stop treating alternative energy as some sort of a new religion as we have with global warming. We need to do things for the right reasons, and not mandate new regulations on every single industry to create some preordained utopian society. In the future rooftops may not be wired for electrical systems for solar panels because solar panels may be paint coatings with electrodes sticking out where the energy then gets transferred and goes wireless to a receptor, or receiver.

That’s the future of this technology, so why build homes right now with attachments per the current technology, which is changing rapidly and will not be the same in five years, but those homes will be standing for probably 50 years. Indeed, I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.

How to Build a Roof Quickly

Building any roof is quite easy if you follow a few simple basic rules of good construction techniques and safety. Depending upon what you are roofing, the steps can be quite different Let’s start with a small shed project. A very quick roof can be installed using sheets of fiberglass panels. These panels vary in width but the most common sizes are twenty-four and thirty inch wide panels. Thirty six inch panels are available at some retailers as well. Lengths are generally twelve feet but eight foot and ten foot long sheets are also available.

Roof framing generally falls into two types or styles. Standard American framing and trusses. Framing members for roof rafters are sized according to the height, slope and span of the roof. A small shed may be framed with two by six or two by eight rafters where a house will have two by ten and two by twelve rafter sizes. The shallower the roof slope the larger the framing members used to carry the roof and snow loads. A flat roof roof is possible but requires the use of beams and horizontal framing to carry the roof loads. Usually a sloped roof is far more prevalent.

Standard framing will consist of multiple rafters and a ridge beam. A much quicker frame is to use a shed style framing system. This requires no ridge beam, can be installed by one person and with no ridge is less costly as well. It is desirable to obtain a four on twelve slope for your roof. That means the roof will drop from the high side to the low side by four inches per foot of travel. If your shed is twelve foot wide, then the drop should be forty eight inches. If your slope is less than that, say three on twelve or two on twelve, you will have to use larger rafters and a product called rolled roofing in lieu of standard shingles. This helps prevent ice backup under the shingles due to the flatter roofs lesser ability to shed water quickly.

Once you have your framing completed one of the fastest roofs to install is plain plywood with rolled roofing. If you wish something more eye appealing and the ability to let light into your building, use fiberglass sheets as discussed in paragraph one. These go up quickly and once nailed into place, become a finished product. They are inexpensive and require virtually no maintenance.

Fiberglass roofing panels require a slightly different framing method than conventional roofs. In addition to the standard rafters or trusses you must install what are known as Girts. Typically two inch by four lumber they are installed in a continuing line perpendicular to the rafter framing at two foot intervals with one at the top and one at the bottom of the roof edges and two foot spaces or less in between. The fiberglass panels will span across the girts and the girts will provide adequate places to fasten the panels. If a panel is not long enough to span the entire roof, panels may be lapped over each other and by using lap sealant, provide a very sturdy roof. Panels are usually fastened with ring shank nails and a rubber grommets to seal nail holes from seeping in water. Screws are quite often used as well as they will not back out or loosen over time. Cost is a few dollars more but much less maintenance later on.

There are also available sponge seals for both ends of the sheets where they sit on the edge beams or plates and for any sheet laps that are made. These are very inexpensive and avoids having to custom cut some type of wooden closure strip at the sheet ends.

Another quick roof but not in my opinion as attractive, is the use of roll roofing. Roll roofing will last for many years and really requires only minimal checking to assure the lapped seams have not opened to the weather. After your framing is completed, install your plywood sheets. If you are using twenty-four inch spacing of the rafters a minimum plywood size is 5/8 of an inch thick. 3/4 inch ply is better but costs a great a deal more. You want to minimize substrate movement to avoid cracking of the asphalt seals on the rolled roofing material. The stiffer the substrate, the less trouble you will have in the future. If you framed at sixteen inch centers, 5/8 ply is more than sufficient. Roll roofing is applied somewhat like regular fiberglass shingles but uses far less nails and covers much roof area more quickly with each course. Standard roll roofing is thirty or thirty-six inches wide. It is available in several colors to pick from. Warm areas pick white or light colors, Northern areas pick dark colors if you are heating the shed or garage. The dark color will help absorb the sun’s heat and aid in melting snow and providing a little free solar warmth to the roof area.

Starting at the bottom edge or eave of the roof install the starter course nailing the sheet firmly down with at both the top and bottom edges. The use of galvanized roofing nails is mandatory. Install the second sheet overlapping the lower sheet by the manufactures requirements. Roofing is usually marked with a different colored line to show the required overlap. I have seen both four inch and six inch laps required. Note that each layer on the bottom of the sheet has an asphalt coating on the underside. Once the sun heats the sheets, this asphalt will melt and seal the joints between the two sheets. If roofing is being installed in the winter time, roofers will use a torch to heat and seal the laps. Be very careful if you attempt to do this. Over heating the roofing can cause the roofing to melt and in the worst case, set fire to the structure below. It takes very little heat to seal the sheets so work very carefully so as not to damage them. Once done, apply roofing sealant using a caulking gun to any exposed nail heads.

On larger structures such as a full sized home, metal roofing sheets are used in lieu of fiberglass sheets. Although more expensive than conventional shingles on the outset, many companies guarantee their sheeting for fifty years or longer. Roll roofing is generally not used on homes as the appearance is not as nice looking as shingles.

One word about safety. when working on any roof make sure you always have safe and secure footing. A safety harness is always a good idea and can save you a broken leg or worse from a fall. Make sure ladders are properly secured in place as well unless you want to sit on a roof all day waiting for someone to come and stand the ladder back up. Be careful.

American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning – Buying a New Unit For Your Home

American Standard heating & air conditioning has been recognized as one of the top providers in cooling quality and service. Customers choose their units for home use over any other cooling system. Quality and reduced energy consumption are the main goal of American Standard heating & air conditioning. When buying a new cooling system for your home, the ability to rely on these product and company guarantees matters. The unit you select needs to offer comfort while using a low amount of energy. Purchasing the right American Standard system for your home is a big step toward saving money and having a dependable cooling unit. Among the many things to decide when purchasing are size, efficiency, type, and features. Every one of these aspects needs to be carefully decided upon.

Air Conditioning Buying Information

Size should be the first consideration when purchasing an air conditioning unit. Systems that are too small for a home do not cool as they should. Oversized units will use more energy than is necessary to cool your home and are therefore less efficient. A professional can help you determine the size to buy. Efficiency varies per model and can be seen by the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ration or SEER rating. The government standard is a SEER rating of thirteen or above. Efficiency increases as the rating does. Choosing a higher rating will lower your monthly bills more. Central air units can come in two types: split-system and packaged. Split-system designs have both indoor and outdoor components. Packaged systems have only an outside cabinet and are often placed on the roof of the building or set up on a concrete slab. Features such as unit speed, notification lights, and automated processes increase efficiency and should be researched before buying. Discuss any concerns you have about a particular air conditioning unit before buying. Then choose the unit that matches your wants and budget.

Consulting With an American Standard HVAC Professional

American Standard HVAC professionals can be a big help when making such an important purchase. They are able to go over size specifications and assist in determining which model will offer the most comfort. All the available features and energy saving data can be very confusing. An American Standard HVAC professional knows what each feature does and how it can assist in energy savings and functionality. Professionals have the knowledge to answer questions about energy ratings and differences between units. Seek an American Standard expert that also specializes in central air unit installation for additional assistance. They can make solid recommendations that better meet the demands of both your home and family.

Having the same company sell and install your cooling system has many benefits including experience with the models they work with. An expert can tell you which units seem to be more dependable and why. After purchase, you already have someone that is familiar with your needs and has the skills to do the installation. Companies that sell and install central air systems may offer a lower price on the unit for guaranteed business after the sale. This additional savings could be a great benefit for such a large commitment.