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Study highlights ways for building owners to protect against climate change

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 14:32

This past winter, harsh weather conditions ravaged many areas across the country, causing homeowners to shell out cash to pay for damage or provide additional heating to the building. However, a recent study conducted by the Energy Center of Wisconsin sought to discover the ways that people could protect their structures not only from weather conditions, but from climate change as a whole.

The ECW worked in conjunction with NASA to formulate projections of the impacts climate change may have on buildings over the next 40 years. Scientists discovered a number of notable findings, including the fact that during volatile seasonal conditions, electricity consumption could rise 4 to 11 percent and gas usage could increase 24 to 36 percent. These rising numbers not only wreak havoc on homeowners' utility costs, but on the overall integrity of their structures as well.

While these changes were found to have a great effect on buildings, researchers found that technologies were effective when fighting against the detriments associated with a harsh climate. The study took place in Mississippi, but scientists believe the results hold true across many different states in the U.S.

Installing energy-efficient appliances may stave off effects

Throughout each possible scenario envisioned by the study, electric and gas consumption are predicted to rise exponentially. To combat this, homeowners must search for the best places in their homes to install the top technologies that may save the most energy in the home. Researchers discovered that energy efficiency is key when fighting against climate change. Specifically, the ECW indicated the top three methods by which buildings could decrease their environmental impact and improve energy-saving efforts: improving roof insulation, creating ventilation for energy recovery and upgrading cooling equipment. 

Heating systems play a large role

The organization emphasized that a number of household systems could help minimize the effects of climate change, several of which specifically pertained to heating. ECW recommended that people switch to appliances that will significantly reduce the amount of energy expended, such as radiant heat flooring. Other home renovations included windows that let in a greater amount of natural light, better wall insulation and more secure sealants to protect from the outside world.

Researchers emphasized that additional work would need to be conducted before they could release official recommendations for people living in all locations across the nation. However, adopting energy-efficient practices is the best way for building owners to prevent harsh conditions from ravaging their structures.