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This July 4th Weekend, Think Energy Independence and Recharging Outdoor Living Spaces

7 sustainable tips to add curb appeal and keep a home affordably comfortable all summer long

Most Americans are looking forward to celebrating the nation's birthday and enjoying outdoor living spaces with family barbeques, firework displays, and neighborhood block parties. Scorching summer days can also translate into higher utility costs indoors. In fact, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average U.S. household spends about $2,200 a year on energy, with roughly half of that used to regulate the thermostat. As North America's leading brand of building products, CertainTeed Corporation offers 7 tips to help you keep cool inside and beautify your home's exterior—while keeping your wallet and the environment top of mind.

Create a sustainable outdoor living space. Updating an outdoor living space for an Independence Day party? Be sure to choose sustainable, low-maintenance materials. Most wood fence, deck and railing products require ongoing painting or staining and can rot or warp when exposed to inclement weather. Instead, consider Bufftech® vinyl fence or EverNew® decking and railing that are virtually maintenance-free, come in natural woodgrain colors, and can beautifully withstand the elements—leaving homeowners with more time to enjoy it.

Cool your jets. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, water heating can account for 14 to 25 percent of the energy consumed in your home. It’s hot enough outside, so turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F).

From sun to savings. Long, sunny days mean energy savings for homes with electricity-generating photovoltaic panels. Reduce your carbon footprint with a powerful Apollo® II Solar Roofing System, which can be easily integrated into either an existing roof or with the installation of a new roof that combines solar panels and asphalt or tile shingles. The system offers a smooth, sleek design—so adding solar power doesn’t mean sacrificing curb appeal.

Switch to fans. Rely on fans when possible as they consume far less energy than an air conditioner. A portable room fan or a ceiling fan set to push air down will circulate the air and create a healthy breeze making it more comfortable indoors. At night, place fans in windows to bring cool air in. Remember, ceiling fans help keep you cool, rather than cooling the entire room, so turn them off when you leave.

Rethink that retrofit. Thinking of completing a major renovation or addition this summer? If so, it's a critical opportunity to add or replace insulation and boost the thermal efficiency of your home. Wall assemblies play a major role in maintaining a comfortable indoor temperature during summer months, as well as when it's frigid outside. Adding Sustainable Insulation® affordably achieves great thermal performance in exterior walls and high moisture areas like bathrooms, laundry rooms and basements. Also consider a weather barrier and CedarBoards™ insulated siding for added energy efficiency.

Install low temperature landscaping. As you plan out that new garden or pathway for your home, think about planting deciduous trees, trellises and shrubbery on the southern and western portions of your home. Rocks, cement and asphalt also absorb heat; so don’t place them too close to the house.

Live simply. Things as easy as turning off the lights, grilling out instead of cooking indoors and hanging clothing to dry can also make a difference. Eliminate these potential heat sources as much as possible to have the coolest home on the block this summer.

Images, product samples and industry comment are available upon request. To speak to an expert, contact Victoria Gallagher of CertainTeed Corporation at or 610-341-7944.

About CertainTeedThrough 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, insulation, gypsum and ceilings.

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 six 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 2013.