Tips for Roof Top Snow Removal

A blizzard dumped nearly three feet of snow on several east-coast states during the second week in February. It often takes several days to recover from this kind of storm. Usually the top items on the list of priorities following a heavy snow storm are digging out automobiles and clearing driveways to resume the daily commute. Unfortunately, people overlook the potential damage heavy snow can do to their homes and businesses. Along with digging out your car and clearing your walks, you need to remove the snow that has settled on your roof. Snow is heavy. It can shorten the life of your roofs, create leaks and even cause structural damage.

 

Our first piece of advice is to call a professional. There are many risks involved with clearing off the snow from a roof. If you choose to do it yourself, please be careful.

 

After a heavy snowfall it is imperative to clear the snow and ice dams that build up on your rooftop.

Most people will try to climb on the roof and use a snow shovel to push the snow off. This can be dangerous because the snow makes your roof slippery, especially if your roof is pitched. If you are stepping on the snow as you shovel, this will cause the snow to pack into a thinner layer, making it much more slippery and increasing your chance of falling.

 

If you have a flat roof, it’s probably safe to climb up and push the snow off with a snow shovel. Refrain from jabbing or applying excess pressure on any area of your roof. This can puncture holes in your roof. If you have shingles, remember to shovel WITH the grain. This will prevent you from accidently pulling up or completely chipping off your shingle pieces. If you are going to shovel your flat roof, make sure to mark off the area below that you dropping the snow so you don’t hurt anyone on the ground.

 

If the pitch of your roof is too steep to stand on, it’s best to use a snow rake (available at most hardware stores) to clear your roof. Try to avoid using a ladder to gain access to your roof. The rungs as well as the soles of your shoes can become icy. The snow rakes are usually long enough that you can stand on the ground to use them. Finally, an important safety concern with snow rakes is they are a good conductor of electricity. Be sure to keep your snow rake clear of all power lines. Taking these precautions will keep both your roof and you safe after a heavy snow fall.

Businesses ready to rebuild but forced to wait on Congress

Last October, Hurricane Sandy blew through the east coast and took a severe toll on New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Many businesses including food service providers, warehouses, and medical facilities lost inventory and suffered extensive structural damage. This left many residents without power, homes, and jobs. Recovery has been slow and costly. Businesses affected by the storm are a long way from reopening their doors—some might not be able to reopen at all.

 

Many people across the nation have stepped up and given assistance in the form of monetary aid and manual labor. This has provided a measure of relief, but government assistance is still necessary. President Obama stated that he wanted Congress to move quickly on a relief bill that would accelerate the relief efforts. As a result, the Senate approved a $60 billion measure to help with the recovery efforts of the states that were devastated by the storm. When the bill reached the House to be voted on by lawmakers, House Speaker, John Boehner decided not to vote on the bill until the new congress met early in 2013. Amid major criticism from local and national government officials, Boehner agreed to vote on a $9 million down-payment bill as early as Friday, January 4, 2013 followed by another vote on the balance of $51 billion by January 15.

 

The Congressional Budget office anticipates that the Senate bill will be allocated in separate phases over the course of 3 years. They estimate to be spending around $8.97 billion in 2013, $12.66 billion in 2014, and another $11.59 billion in 2015.

 

The current aftermath of the disaster still comes with a high price tag. Many people are still out of work and most of the small businesses are still unable to resume their business functions due to structural damage and lost inventory. According to some reports, collectively, businesses in the affected regions are losing around $10 million a day.

 

While this paints a dismal picture of the economic impact of Hurricane Sandy, the plans for recovery show a much stronger outcome. The recovery efforts will include considerable improvements to the overall infrastructure which will better equip homes and businesses against future storms. The bill provides $17 billion in Community Development Block Grants to help rebuild homes, schools, medical facilities, and other buildings destroyed by the storm. There are also plans to significantly improve the power grid in the region to better prepare the area for outages.

 

One of the major impacts of the storm is the high level of unemployment that resulted from the loss of businesses. This posed a tough challenge in an already struggling economy. However, it is anticipated that when a bill does pass, the reconstruction efforts will put many people back on the payroll. When the recovery process is up to speed, it is the hope of government officials that not only those individuals who were displaced by the storm will return to work, but many other jobs will be added as well.

Green Energy: How it Benefits Everyone

Our society’s energy usage should be on everyone’s mind. Energy is necessary to heat our homes, fuel our automobiles, and keep our economy operating. The problem is that the energy source that we have been relying on for decades (namely fossil fuels) has taken a major toll on the earth and our environment. The excessive use of electricity and fossil fuels emits a significant amount of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases) into the atmosphere. These greenhouse emissions trap heat which warms the planet. The release of these gases into the atmosphere is considered the biggest culprit of global warming. Continual warming of the earth’s surface will set off a chain reaction of environmental consequences that have already started to have a negative impact on our environment, water supply, fish and wildlife, and our food sources.

The notion of shedding our dependence on fossil fuels in favor of green energy sources is alluring and growing in popularity as we explore new energy sources and technologies. Fortunately, more people are taking notice of our current energy situation and making a concerted effort to promote cleaner and more environmentally friendly energy sources. Green energy includes sources that have little or no waste output such as solar, wind, and hydro energy. The good news is that advancing technology is making it more feasible to use these green energy sources both on a large scale and even in our homes.

Developing a standard of using green energy technology has both long- and short-term benefits in the form of better water and air quality, lower energy costs, and improving the condition of our planet.

Better Air Quality

The energy source that our country relies on most is electricity. Unfortunately, electrical power plants are the biggest generator of environmental pollutants. The use of electricity releases pollutants into the atmosphere that cause acid rain, mercury poisoning in lakes and rivers, and global warming.

If we reduce our dependency on electrical power, our overall health will drastically improve. We will significantly lower our risk of life-threatening diseases such as asthma, bronchitis, and pneumonia. We will also boost our body’s ability to fend off respiratory infections and cardio-pulmonary issues that can lead to early death.

Lower Energy Costs

Naturally, everyone is interested in saving money. It’s a painful reality that the cost of heating our homes and fueling our automobiles continues to go up. We rely heavily on commerce to keep our economy up and running. However, when the bulk of our discretionary income goes to energy consumption, we have less to help sustain our economy.

Green energy is not only better for our environment, it’s cheaper to produce and use. Some of the economical benefits of using green energy include lowering our utility costs, reducing the costs of health care in treating pollution-related diseases, and cutting the costs of transportation and travel.

Preserve the Life of Our Planet

For centuries, the earth has taken quite a beating for the sake of industrialization and energy production. There are many ways that the earth is starting to show wear and tear from all of the abuse. One area in particular is global warming. This warming effect is creating an alarming elevation in sea levels which will ultimately cause a hazardous ripple effect on the environment. The rising water level already has and will continue to engulf shorelines and other portions of land. This affects the ecosystem and decimates plant life as well as fish and wildlife populations. Not to mention the intrusion of sea water will render our ground water undrinkable.

Taking steps now to improve our environment is essential to preserving the livelihood we now enjoy in terms of clean air, fresh water, and healthy food sources. Future generations will appreciate the efforts we make now to ensure that the earth remains inhabitable using cleaner and renewable sources of energy.

Obama’s second term hopes to focus on #clean energy

How Will Obama Address the Environment and Green Energy?

The economy clearly took center stage among all of the issues that defined the 2012 presidential campaign. Although the environment and renewable energy are closely tied to the economy, concerns like global warming and green energy spent very little time in the campaign spotlight and only showed up on a few ballots across the country. Now that the election is over and President Obama has retained his post in the White House, where does that put the issue of green energy on his administration’s “To Do” list?

 

Following his victory in 2008, Barak Obama came out of the gate calling for growth in clean energy by proposing policies on climate change and advocating the investment in renewable energy. He initially put together a plan for energy policies called his “Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future.” Some of the ways that he planned to accomplish this was to push for the increase of energy efficiency in homes across the country, elevate automobile fuel economy standards, expand domestic oil and gas production, and reduce the country’s dependence on foreign oil. This showed that pursuing alternative energy sources (wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal energy) was on his agenda.

 

We won’t completely eliminate the need for oil and gas, but there is progress in our efforts to use less—particularly on consumer cars. A recent report on automobile production cited that vehicles sold in October, 2012 boasted a fuel economy of 24.1 miles per gallon. This rating is up from 23 miles per gallon during the same month the previous year and up from 22.3 during the same month in 2010.

 

Since October 2009, over one million homes have enjoyed significant savings in heating and air costs through a heating and cooling system upgrade program implemented by the Department of Energy. In addition, Obama has pushed for cleaner energy by financing wind farms, solar farms, and refineries for biofuels. He also revitalized the use of wind turbines that were sitting dormant. 

 

According to some of his comments during the 2012 presidential debates, he plans to continue investing in clean energy over the use of fossil fuels and especially over the need for foreign oil. If he continues along this path, we will likely see more progress in our efforts for green energy. One of the ways President Obama invested in green energy was through tax credits for companies who implemented wind and solar energy sources. Upon his re-election in 2012, Obama plans to urge Congress to renew the solar and wind power tax credit (that could end in 2016). This will continue to further his agenda for renewable energy and ultimately preserve 27,000 jobs in the wind energy industry.

 

 

 

Solar Roofs – saving the environment and your business

As a business owner, you often focus on ways to boost your revenue and profit margin. Generating revenue is always the first priority, but a close second on your list of priorities is likely reducing overhead costs. One of your biggest business expenses is your building maintenance, particularly energy costs. Fortunately, this is an area where you can significantly reduce your operating expenses.

As a way to trim overhead costs, business owners are becoming more interested in implementing green energy sources and using the best energy resource we have—the Sun. As commercial development grows, you will no doubt see more business structures and office buildings sporting solar panels on their rooftops. Solar energy creates a cleaner and healthier working environment, but this is also an area where business owners almost immediately recognize an increase in their organization’s bottom line. Business owners have reported saving anywhere between 50% and 90% on their utilities as a result.

Obtaining your power through solar energy is a simple process. The solar panels absorb the sun’s rays then convert them in to a direct current (DC) source. Your building’s solar energy system then converts the source in to an alternating current (AC) power source. The AC is what you use to provide power for your office computers and machinery.

Solar power is a more cost-effective energy source for your business facility. With solar panels, your building draws more energy from natural sunlight than from your utility lines. Your solar energy system uses a metering device to track the solar energy that you use. Most solar energy systems are tied to a power grid. This is a concept called “net metering” that essentially causes your meter to run backwards. Any solar energy that you do not use feeds back into the grid and your utility credits you for this power. That way you are not paying for power until you use up your energy credits.

Of course one of the methods for converting to a solar powered energy source is to install solar panels on your roof. However, if your building is not built to support the panels or you simply don’t like the aesthetics, there are also roofing materials that contain solar cells. The cells are made of a thin, pliable material that install, look, and function the same as a standard roof. 

Nearly everyone on the planet is interested in clean, efficient, and low-cost energy. Solar roofing on your business facility or office structure is a good way to help achieve this goal. The technology of solar energy continues to evolve so there will always be more simple and cost-effective ways to implement clean and sustainable energy in your business.

Is your building as energy efficient as it could be?