By Roz Rogoff
Sun God Roz - CommentaryUploaded: Jun 1, 2009
My house is now a temple to the Sun God, well almost. I just had solar panels put on the roof. Last year I had my old roof replaced with a "cool roof." A cool roof isn't one that's hip and funky. It's one that reflects the sun to keep the house cool in the summer.
There's a movement afoot to require all homes have white roofs. This would work on flat roofs but not well on peaked roofs. My old roof was white, or what was called "snowcap," which looked like white granules on a dark background. It looked bad. My new cool roof looks like a regular multi-dimensional shingle roof, but it reflects more heat than the old "white" roof and as much as a new white shingle roof.
The roofer who installed it never heard of a cool roof before, but it is made by Elk, which is a major brand of roofing shingles, and comes in three colors in addition to white. It's a special order and costs about 10% more than regular 40 year shingles, but PG&E was giving rebates for them last year. I'm not sure if they are still offering rebates, but it is worth looking into it if you are considering replacing your roof. My air conditioning bill has dropped since I got it, but the house is cooler in the Winter now too.
I liked the looks of it very much, but yesterday I had solar panels installed. My only regret it they don't look as nice as the roof tiles, but I should be able to save about 50% on my electric bills now. My electric bills are not that high to begin with, but I expect costs to go up and inflation to hit big time, and I want to be prepared for whatever is coming next.
I plan to have an energy audit done to make my house more efficient. I had dual pane windows installed when I bought the house 11 years ago, but there appears to be some leakage either around the windows or from cracks in the walls. My ductwork may require some sealing too.
My next project will be to add a rainwater harvesting system to use for laundry, with the laundry water recycled to a couple of small gardens in the front of the house. The whole system would be stand-alone and not connected into my home water at all.
It's been difficult to find a company that does rainwater harvesting in this area, but Robert Lenney of Rain Harvesting Systems came out this morning to estimate my needs. He's been doing this in Sacramento for a few years, and will be hosting a demonstration of a 20,000 gallon system in Monte Sereno on June 6th. To sign up to attend the Open House go to http://www.rainharvestingsystems.com/RSVP.aspx,
The Dublin San Ramon Services District recently sent out an announcement that it is planning water rate increases in Dublin and Dougherty Valley. DSRSD will hold a Water Rate Workshop at 6 pm on June 2nd at their offices at 7051 Dublin Blvd, and a Public Hearing on the rate increases on June 21 at 6 pm. Water rates will go up, and water usage should go down. Rainwater Harvesting isn't just saving for a rainy day, it's saving a rainy day for future dry ones.