This Earth Day, Take Time to Consider Your Home’s Environmental Footprint
According to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), buildings in the U.S. are responsible for 39 percent of CO2 emissions, 40 percent of energy consumption, and 13 percent of water consumption per year. In conjunction with the 43rd annual Earth Day, CertainTeed Corporation—North America’s leading brand of building products—encourages homeowners to help protect the environment and consider the following ways to make their homes more sustainable.
Take stock of energy use
There are plenty of areas throughout a home where energy could be quietly wasted, such as a drafty window or doorway or an under-insulated attic. Conducting a home energy audit can be eye-opening in helping homeowners identify inefficiencies and areas for improvement. ResNet is a great resource that helps connect homeowners with auditors in their community. For more information, visit www.resnet.us.
Build or remodel with sustainable materials
When buying a new home or taking on a remodeling project, potential buyers are more likely to focus on countertops and fixtures than what type of insulation or wallboard to install. However, these materials can have a significant impact on both the home’s future energy consumption and overall comfort for years to come. Products like CertainTeed’s Sustainable Insulation, made with high recycled and renewable content including a plant based formaldehyde-free binder, is engineered to reduce environmental impacts and improve energy savings.
Check the label
Savvy consumers read nutrition labels to know what’s in their food, and increasingly, homeowners are able to do the same when selecting building products. A growing trend toward product transparency means manufacturers are beginning to offer accurate and measurable information on how their products are made to help consumers choose products that truly support sustainable homes.For example, CertainTeed was the first siding manufacturer to conduct Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) for its vinyl, polymer and fiber cement siding, as well as its cellular PVC trim. The LCAs serve as a kind of “nutrition label” for the products, offering in-depth analysis of their environmental impact throughout their entire lifespan, including raw material use, manufacturing, installation and disposal.
Keep the end game in mind
When evaluating the sustainability of a product’s life cycle, end-of-life impacts can be just as important as the materials used to manufacture it. Look for contractors and manufacturers that offer take-back programs that recycle old materials into the creation of new products. CertainTeed’s Roofing Responsibly program, for example, collects old roofing shingles and recycles them into road paving materials—even providing homeowners with a certificate once the process is complete. As of last year, the program has diverted 647 tons of old shingles from landfills.
Through the responsible development of innovative and sustainable building products, CertainTeed, headquartered in Valley Forge, Pa., has helped shape the building products industry for more than 100 years. Founded in 1904 as General Roofing Manufacturing Company, the firm's slogan "Quality Made Certain, Satisfaction Guaranteed," quickly inspired the name CertainTeed. Today, CertainTeed® is North America’s leading brand of exterior and interior building products, including roofing, siding, fence, decking, railing, trim, foundations, pipe, insulation, gypsum, ceilings and access covers.
A subsidiary of Saint-Gobain, the world’s largest building products company, CertainTeed and its affiliates have more than 5,700 employees and more than 60 manufacturing facilities throughout the United States and Canada. For five consecutive years, the company has received top honors from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its contributions in protecting the environment and was most recently the recipient of the 2013 ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence Award. The group had total sales of approximately $3.3 billion in 2012. www.certainteed.com