Go Green with Your Garage

Posted on January 2, 2016 by Toni Mason

When it comes to greening houses, the garage is often overlooked. However, this is an important space to consider when you’re looking for ways to reduce the ecological footprint of your living space, especially if it’s an attached garage that shares interior walls.

In this post, we’re going to explore a few ways that you can go green with your garage and hopefully reduce your energy bills in the process. You’ll enjoy a clear conscience and a little bit of extra spending money at the end of the year. 

Put a Stop to Airflow

Garages are notorious for letting in hot air during the summer and letting in cold draughts in winter. In other words, they’re rarely as comfortable as homeowners want them to be. But it’s also worth noting that these heat-transfer issues are hindering your efforts to go green, especially if you use a space heater, a fan or a full-on heating and cooling system in the garage.

And even if you don’t consume any energy heating or cooling this space, an attached garage can serve as an additional buffer of insulation for the house itself. The rooms that share an interior wall with the garage are going to be slightly easier to heat and cool, contributing to lower energy consumption year-round.

Here are a few ways that you can put a stop to any draughts in the garage and reduce your energy bills:

                  – Check exterior walls for cracks or air leaks, applying caulk where appropriate.

                   – Check all caulking and weather stripping on windows.

                   – Seal around all doors, but particularly those leading into and out of the house.

Remember that air exchange between the actual living quarters and the garage is hazardous in its own right, as it could allow carbon monoxide fumes in. It’s particularly important to inspect all interior walls for air leaks even if heat transfer is not an issue.

reduce your energy bills

Insulation is one of the single greatest issues when it comes to greening your property, and there’s a solid chance that your garage’s insulation is not nearly as good as it could be.

A warm, well-insulated garage is a beautiful thing in the winter, especially if it doubles as a workshop or at least a place where you plan on spending some of your time. It’s also worth noting that freezing temperatures in the garage are not going to be good for your car. Better insulation is an all-around good idea.

Upgrading the insulation in your garage is a big job, and you’ll need to be more than a general DIY enthusiast to get it done right. If you weren’t involved in the actual building of the garage, then the first order of business is to check the current insulation. This requires removing a panel of sheetrock so that you can get a proper look. Assuming the insulation isn’t up to standard, then you’ve got an even bigger job ahead of you.

That’s why we recommend calling in a specialist if you are serious about improving the insulation. This also presents a good opportunity to check for air leaks, as mentioned in the section above.

Assess the Garage Door

One of the biggest culprits for letting heat in or out of the garage is the garage door itself. Low-quality doors have little if any insulation to speak of. Older doors can also be problematic, as standards are much higher now than they were even a few years ago.

Hollington Doors feature sleek and attractive garage doors that are also well-insulated to help keep the heat in or out, depending on the season. Our sectional garage doors are particularly well insulated. They’re designed to be draught-proof and to eliminate heat transfer, making them especially well-suited for a greener garage.

Other Tips for a Greener Garage

In the above sections, we’ve focused primarily on reducing heat transfer by eliminating draughts and improving insulation. This contributes directly to a greener garage by reducing energy consumption. Along those lines, all of the above are also going to help cut back on your heating and cooling bills, which means you’ll eventually be able to recover some or all of your investment once you’ve addressed these concerns.

But there are several other ways that you can go even greener with your garage to reduce your energy bills. Here are a few tips:

                  – Let in the light: A double-glazed, weatherproofed window will let in natural light without warming things up in  summer or letting heat escape in winter. More natural light means less energy is expended on artificial lighting.

                  – Don’t start your car before you are ready to leave: Letting the car idle and warm up is a modern luxury, but it’s certainly not a necessity. Letting it warm up on the way to work rather than in the ten minutes before you depart amounts to a small difference on a day-to-day basis, but it adds up over time. Plus, we’ve already mentioned the hazards of carbon monoxide seeping into your living space.

                   – Dispose of hazardous waste properly: The garage often doubles as a purgatory for hazardous household chemicals and materials – cleaning agents, used engine oil, old batteries, cans of paint and much more. Your local council may help with disposal of hazardous waste.

                    – Use concrete sealant to repair floor cracks: Most garage floors are made from concrete, which is honestly not a best-case scenario in terms of insulation. Concrete is prone to cracks, so keep an eye out for them and apply sealant.

                    – Look into solar: While it’s not always a viable option, a solar heating unit could help you keep the garage warmer in the winter without leaving you feeling guilty about unneeded carbon emissions or higher energy bills.

                    – Turn the garage into a recycling centre: This is prime real estate for recycling bins and other green projects for the household. The garage is the perfect place to store and stack your recycle bins for easy sorting and disposal.

One of the best parts about going green is that you don’t have to do everything at once. Every little bit makes a difference, so make a point of starting with one or two projects and see where it goes from there.