Author Archives: Zach Reese

What is the best type of roof for Atlanta, Georgia? – Updated for 2022

Are you in the process of buying a roof or know that you’re going to have to start that process in the near future? Do you want to make sure that you get the best type of roof for Atlanta, Georgia?

Roofing is a complicated industry. There are tons of things that go into a roof that you can’t see from the ground, or even when you’re standing on top of the roof!

So, you’re in the market for a new roof but there are tons of things you can’t even see that you need to be thinking about?!?!…

YEP! Which is exactly why we decided to write this article. We’ll cover the ins and outs of buying a new roof, what are the best types of roof for Georgia, and look at the decisions you need to make in order to make the best decision for YOU. We’ve also thrown in a couple of tools to help you out with your roof buying process.

Here are the roof buying basics we’ll cover so you get the best type of roof for Atlanta, Georgia!

  1. Measuring
  2. Decking
  3. Underlayment
  4. Coverings

Best Type of Roof Measuring Tools

The first step in your roof buying process is to budget! The only way to do that is by figuring out how large your roof is. Luckily, it’s as easy as a few clicks of a mouse now that we have all of the technology behind satellite imaging and aerial measurement. The best type of roof measurement tool for Atlanta is typically just to buy an Eagleview report.

This will typically cost anywhere from $30-$100 depending on the size of your property. Alternatively, you can request a free estimate from one of many local roofing contractors and let them know ahead of time that you’d like to have an Eagleview included.

While there are other softwares and measuring tools available in the market, the roofing industry has generally decided that Eagleview is the benchmark for accurate aerial imaging. That is why we’ve listed it here as the best type of roof measurement tool for homeowners in Atlanta.

Best type of roof measurement summary from Eagleview.
This is a sample of the final report provided by Eagleview, which shows all of the details regarding your roof measurement.

Colony Roofers Recommendation: Eagleview

Other options include: Aerial Reports, Inc. and Roof Scope

Once you have your aerial measurements back, you’re ready to whip out your calculator and crunch some numbers. Your measurement report will have a total square footage on it. It will also have a suggested waste percentage. You will need to take the total square footage and multiply it by (1+waste percentage). This results in your total square footage needed to complete your new roof. Simply take that and multiply it by the prices we’ll talk about below to figure out just how much you need to budget for your roof replacement.

Best Type of Roof Decking for Atlanta, Georgia

What is roof decking?

Roof decking is the substrate level of your roof, which provides the structure for the remainder of the roof to be installed on-top of. Generally speaking, there are two main types of roof decking used in Atlanta. 

For the latest pricing on all decking, you’ll need to check your local HomeDepot due to the fact that pricing is constantly changing.

Plank Roof Decking

Plank decking was used in Atlanta home construction for years and years, but has quite a few deficiencies when it comes to longevity and integrity of the roof. This type of roof decking is typically some form of “1-by” boards. That is, 1”x6”, 1”x8”, 1”x10”, or some combination of these. This type of roof decking is measured in linear feet, as opposed to the square footage calculation we got from our aerial measurements.

Sheet Roof Decking

Sheet decking is a more modern material used for roof decking and boasts added longevity and integrity over plank decking. This type of roof decking is typically some form of sheets. The most common sheet sizes are 8’ by 4’. This type of roof decking is measured in square footage, which makes it easy to approximate from our aerial measurements. 

It is important to note that not all “Sheet” decking is the same. There are two main types of sheet decking: OSB and Plywood. What is the best type of roof sheet decking? If budget is not an issue, we recommend going for the plywood decking option, as it provides a more sound decking structure for installation of the other roof components.

When does roof decking need to be replaced?

The decking on your roof will only need replacement in the case that it is rotten, or out of building code. Unfortunately, many houses with plank decking are no longer up to code in Atlanta and MUST be replaced when the existing roof is removed. See the section below titled “Roof Decking Requirements in Atlanta, Georgia” for more information.

This is probably the only aspect of the roof budgeting process that is impossible to forecast with 100% accuracy. Your roofing contractor will typically specify a cost for roof decking replacement on a per-foot basis.

How much roof decking should I budget in my roof replacement?

If your existing roof is installed on plank decking, we recommend budgeting for a FULL replacement of the decking on the home. However, if the existing roof is installed on sheathing (OSB or Plywood sheets) then you can typically get away with just a couple of pieces. 

As a general rule of thumb, budget 1 sheet per 1000 square feet of roof space from the aerial measurement report.

If you want to get more detailed with the numbers, here’s a helpful tool to dial it in:

Roof Sheathing Calculator

How much does roof decking cost?

Roof decking is a commodity, because the wood can be used in many different ways in construction. Because of this, you’ll need to check with your local building supply store in order to get the most up to date information. 

We typically recommend either HomeDeport, Lowes, or Ace Hardware for a ballpark estimate. You can also just google “OSB sheet price HomeDepot” in order to get pricing.

Roof Decking Requirements in Atlanta, Georgia

As of 2021, any plank decking that has greater than a ⅛” gap between the planks MUST be replaced with sheathing. This requirement has been imposed by the shingle manufacturers, which means that your roof warranty will be void if careful attention is not paid throughout the installation process. If your contractor is pitching you on leaving the existing plank decking, just be sure that you have proof it holds up to these standards.

Best Type of Roof Underlayment for Atlanta, Georgia

What is Roof Underlayment?

If you want to have the best type of roof in Atlanta, this is a SUPER important aspect of the roof that you need to understand. Roofing underlayment is the final waterproofing layer of your roof. It is typically composed over either synthetic material, felt, or asphalt. Some brands will even combine these materials into hybrids.

In addition to the water-proofing aspects, it also provides an additional layer of insulation for the roof structure and your home. Depending on budget, you can even upgrade your roof to have special premium insulating underlayment.

Types of Roof Underlayment

The three materials we discussed above, synthetic, asphalt, and felt, makeup the 3 main types of roof underlayment in Atlanta. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll just leave this topic with a simple recommendation…synthetic felt is the way to go!

Roof Underlayment Requirements in Atlanta, Georgia

Seeing that this is the water-proofing layer of the roof, it’s critical that this is installed properly. For more information on the specific installation requirements regarding underlayment, you can take a look at the Certainteed Master Shingle Applicator Manual. This tends to be the most robust resource to make sure you have the best type of roof in Atlanta.

Best Type of Roof Shingles for Atlanta, Georgia

What are Roof Shingles?

We’re finally to the part of the roof that you are likely the most comfortable with and aware of. This is the part of the roof that you can see from the ground. It is the hard outer covering that provides durability for the roofing system for years to come. Shingles are simply a mixture of asphalt, tar, and fiberglass. Three major manufacturers in the industry: Owens Corning, GAF, and Certainteed. While some contractors will try to convince you that one product is better than the other, the standard lines of shingles are all VERY similar.

**While we typically recommend Certainteed shingles, that is only because of our status as a top-tier contractor for them. We fully believe in and support the installation of any of these shingles.

Types of Roof Shingles

When you’re trying to decide on the best type of shingles in Atlanta, this is the area where you’re going to have to make the biggest decision. You can either go for budget-friendly, aesthetically appealing, or find a balance between the two. It’s also worth noting that beauty is truly in the eye of the homeowner when it comes to aesthetics. Pick something that makes holistic sense for you. 

For more information on the types of shingles and the cost of these various options, take a look at our article “How much does a new roof cost?

Roof Shingle Requirements in Atlanta, Georgia

The build code in Atlanta states that all roofing shingles must have a wind rating of at least 90 mph. This only comes into question when you look into some of the more budget-friendly options.

Other than the city requirements, it will be important that your Atlanta roofing contractor meets the installation specifications outlined by the manufacturer. Here are links to those resources:

This is an excerpt from the Certainteed "Master Shingle Applicators Manual" that describes the proper way to install shingles.
Excerpt from Certainteed Master Shingle Applicators Manual on Shingle Installation

Are Metal Roofs Better Than Shingles?

In general, yes, the best type of roof in Georgia homes is going to be a metal roof. They simply last longer and can take more of a beating. The lifespan of a shingle roof is approximately 25 years, but the lifespan of a good metal roof can be anywhere from 40 to 70 years. 

Metal roofs also have a reputation for being safer because metal doesn’t burn the way that shingles do, and they withstand the Georgia weather as moisture won’t cause a metal roof to grow moss or algae (shingle roofs that grow moss and algae will quickly get eaten away and leaks will appear.)

Are Metal Roofs the Best Type of Roofs in Georgia?

Well going by what we’ve said above, the answer seems to be yes, but when you look at cost you might change your mind. A metal roof can cost twice as much as a shingle roof. So the best type of roof really depends on whether you are in the house for the long haul (and expect to get 70 years out of that roof instead of 25) and whether you think that fire is a big enough issue to warrant the construction of a metal roof.

What Type of Roof Metal is Best?

There are a lot of different types of metal you can choose from when looking into roofs.


Copper is an excellent material as it is corrosion resistant and looks great, especially as it ages and develops its natural verdigris. But it does cost more than other types of roofs.


Aluminum is very similar to copper in that it doesn’t corrode, even with the sea air that blows in from the Georgia coast, but it is also expensive (though not as much as copper.)


Tin roofs are actually alloys of tin and steel and are very strong, which helps with regards to wind. Pure tin roofs are a type of roof that is very uncommon now, but tin alloy roofs are popular and cheaper than copper.

Why Would You Want a Metal Roof Over a Shingle Roof?

The main two reasons for metal being the best type of roof in Georgia are, first, that it is a very attractive look, whether you go for copper or for other metals. The look of a metal roof is very streamlined and elegant, and a good copper look can give your house the feeling that it is much older than it is (in a good way) by the beautiful verdigris patina that gives copper its greenish white tinge (the Statue of Liberty is copper, and you can see that it no longer has the color of a penny.

Second, the way that metal roofs are attached and installed is done in a manner that makes them stronger than shingles when it comes to wind, and it makes them less prone to leaks. It is very rare for a single piece of metal to come loose–almost impossible given the standing seam system–but how often do you see a home with a shingle dangling or missing entirely?


You can probably tell from the length and detail of this article that roofing can get a little bit complicated! For some, it can even become overwhelming. That’s why we’re here for you!

We want to make sure you get the best type of roof for your Atlanta home. If you have questions, need help, or just want someone to talk to about the process, please reach out to us anytime!


How much does a metal roof cost in 2022? – A Simple Guide

Metal roofing is becoming more and more popular. One of the biggest questions we get is how much does a metal roof cost and is it worth it?

Most homeowners are aware that a metal roof replacement will cost more than standard architectural shingles, but how much more?

This article will walk you through the different types of metal roofs and the costs of each. There is a large price range even within the subcategory of metal roofing. There are two major types of metal that you’ll see used, which are called exposed fastener and concealed fastener.

Exposed Fastener

This type of metal has attached to the roof deck with screws that typically have a rubber washer or cap head on the screws. This is due to the fact that the fasteners will be exposed to the elements and more prone to rust than the standing seam metal option. The largest benefit of this type of metal is the price. All of the below types of exposed fastener roofing systems can be installed for $4.50-$5.50 per square foot, depending on current market conditions.

AG Panel Metal: This is a very common option used on residential and commercial buildings. With full installation, it will cost around $5 per square foot.

R Panel Metal: This type of metal is more common on commercial buildings and is often used for both the roof and siding on commercial buildings. The cost is very similar to that of AG Panel, coming in around $5 per square foot.

5V Crimp Metal: This option comes at a slightly higher cost at around $5.50 per square foot. You will typically see 5V crimp metal used in more rural areas.

Corrugated Metal: This option comes in again around $4.50 per square foot. Corrugated metal is typically used on sheds and detached garages due to it’s affordability. 

Concealed Fastener

Standing Seam Metal: This is the most expensive metal option, but comes with enhanced visual appeal and extreme longevity. A well installed standing seam metal roof will run between $8-$14 per square foot depending on some of the other factors we discuss below. 

Other Factors

While the panel system you choose is a large factor in determining cost, there are a few other factors that come into play as well.

  1. Type of Metal: There are a number of different choices when it comes to the type of metal used on a metal roof. Steel has been common in the past, but modern aluminum products like Galvalume are now taking over the market. While they last longer, they also come with a higher price tag.
  2. Gauge of Metal: Gauge refers to the thickness of the metal panels. The thicker the metal, the higher the cost. It also increases the longevity of the metal though.
  3. Paint Used on Metal: If you choose to go with a painted metal panel roofing system, you will have a number of options on the type of paint that is applied to the metal. The longer lasting paints will obviously come at a higher price. For more information on types of paint, take a look at this McElroy Metal post.
  4. Complexity of Roof: A simple gabled roof will be far lower in cost than a roof with many valleys, hips, and dormers. The complexity of your roof will play a large role in the cost.

How To Deal With Roof Storm Damage in 2022? – A Step by Step Guide

In Georgia, we experience the worst storms in the summer months when remnants of hurricanes pass through. This can result in significant roof storm damage.

However, we also tend to get significant rain into the winter and early spring months. We live in one of the most dense tree environments in the country, so our roofs are constantly dealing with debris falling and nature wearing away at them.

Storm chart of average monthly precipitation in Atlanta, Georgia.

It’s very likely that you’ll experience storm damage to your roof over the years of owning a property. This guide helps you understand what to look for when diagnosing storm damage and what you can do to mitigate the damage.

Main Types of Roof Storm Damage

Following the passing of a storm, you’ll want to do a full walk-around of your property to make sure you document all of the damage before time passes. This will give you the documentation needed down the road if you decide to hire a restoration contractor or file an insurance claim.

During your walk-around, you’ll want to make sure you look out for the following types of storm damage to your roof:

Wind Damage

In Georgia, wind damage is a fairly common occurrence. This is most common on three-tab shingles.

If your shingles look like the picture below, you most likely have three-tab shingles that are more susceptible to wind damage.

Three-tab asphalt shingles on a roof.
Three-tab asphalt shingles

The biggest signs of wind damage to your roof are flipped shingles, creased shingles, and displaced shingles. Obviously, if you find shingles laying in the yard, that is a sign of damage. However, creasing can be far more difficult to spot from the ground, but is just as detrimental to the roof.

The picture below shows exactly what you’re looking for when you’re scouting out wind damage.

Roof storm damage from wind.
Wind creased shingle

This shingle is close up and extremely creased, so it probably seems obvious that the shingle is damaged. However, from the ground it can be very hard to determine if your roof has wind damage. It’s likely best to have a roofing contractor do an inspection for you either via drone or on the roof.

Hail Damage

While not quite as common in Georgia, hail damage comes in waves. Various areas of metro Atlanta and the surrounding areas typically experience hail once or twice per year. Some of the more recent hail storms have happened in the Roswell and Cumming area.

Hail damage is going to be almost impossible to spot from the ground level due to the smaller size hail we experience in Georgia (1-2 inch typically). In the Midwest or Texas, hail can reach softball size, at which point it can create holes in a roof. However, we just don’t see that amount of damage in Georgia.

Despite the smaller size of hail storms in Georgia, it can still damage your roof and cause significant problems. Here is a picture of hail damage found on a roof in Atlanta:

Hail damaged shingle on a roof.
Hail damaged shingle

You can see in this picture where the fibers of the shingle are actually exposed from the impact. This will result in fast deterioration in the shingle and eventual leaking inside.

Again, it is very difficult to spot this damage from the ground because of it can be mistaken for blistering in the shingles, which is caused by heat getting trapped in the asphalt. It is best to have a roofing contractor perform an aerial inspection of the roof to determine if it has sustained hail damage.

Tree and Debris Damage

Georgia is home to a plethora of trees and nature, which is great for us but not so great for our roofs.

Trees constantly drop debris, cast shade, and potentially even fall on our roofs. During your post-storm walk around inspection of your property, if you notice a significant amount of debris laying in the yard or surrounding the property, this is a sign of possible debris damage.

Fallen tree laying the roof of a house.
Tree damage to a roof

This is the most obvious type of roof damage that exists and generally requires urgent mitigation. If your property sustains tree damage, you should call a local roofing contractor that provides emergency tarp service To minimize the interior damage that may follow.

Other Sign of Damage To Look For

There may also be signs inside the property that are signs of roof storm damage. Those signs include:

  • Drywall cracking
  • Water puddles on the ground (obviously!)
  • Water stains on the ceiling
  • Unusually hot or cool temperatures inside
  • Mold or mildew stains

Again, it’s best to have a professional roofing contractor take a look and make sure there is nothing to be concerned about. The National Roofing Contractors Association recommends that homeowners get their roof inspected by a professional twice a year—once in the fall and once in the spring.

DOs and DON’Ts

DON’T Give In To Storm Chasers

This is possibly the most important point in this article. There are contractors all over the country that do nothing but chase storms in order to take advantage of the quick money that can be made from helping you file an insurance claim after a storm.

While not all are dishonest, storm chasers are typically not local companies with a long standing reputation. It is always best to stay away from doing business with door-knockers and storm chasers. Call on a trusted local roofing company to help you, so you know they are there if anything goes wrong with the roof down the road.

“Unfortunately, severe storms can bring out the worst in people, especially unscrupulous roofing contractors who scam consumers needing to repair or replace their storm-damaged roofs,” the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety said after a record-breaking hail storm in 2017. “These fraudsters will often make false promises, insist on full payment before work begins or is completed. Sometimes, they will even create damage where none existed.” 

DO Call a Trusted Local Roofing Contractor

Do your research and make sure the company you are choosing is reputable and trusted by your fellow property owners.

Here’s a great resource for finding one in Atlanta, GA…

Whether filing an insurance claim, paying out of pocket, or choosing a payment plan option, we’ll walk you through the various options you have and what we would recommend based on our experience with the various insurance carriers.

If you have recent storm damage to your roof, call us today for a free, no obligation inspection. We’ll work with you to come up with a plan forward to restore your property.

Standing seam metal roof cost: how much is it and is it worth it?

How much is a standing seam roof in 2021?

How much does a standing seam metal roof cost?

Although the initial cost of materials for a standing seam metal roof construction is higher than for an asphalt shingle or other conventional roofing material, the durability is much greater, lasting two to three times longer than a traditional non-metal roof. Homeowners who invest in metal roofing see an average return of 85.9% across the world. Because of its fire resistance, metal roofing will help you save money on your insurance, particularly in states like Texas and California, which are prone to wildfires. Depending on the type of metal roofing you choose, standing seam metal roofs will last anywhere from 15 to 60 years.

Picture of standing seam roof

Positives of standing seam roof

  • The life expectancy of standing seam metal is 15 to 60 years.
  • Return on Investment of 85.9%
  • Prolonged life expectancy
  • Performance in terms of costs
  • Longevity – resists cracking, shrinking, and eroding.
  • Extreme weather performance, including heavy snow, hail, and fire
  • The appearance is modern.
  • Long-term warranties, typically between 30 and 50 years
  • Pleasant to the environment

Standing Seam Metal Roof Costs

Depending on the slope, pitch, and height of your roof, the estimated cost of installing a standing seam metal roof ranges from $23,000 to $30,000. On a standard sized single story house, plan to pay $8 to $14 per square foot or $800 to $1,400 per square installed. The cost of replacing a roof is dependent on a number of factors.

Standing seam metal roof instillation

How much does a standing seam metal roof cost?

The majority of standing seam metal roofs are field-locked, which necessitates the use of a special seam locking tool and a skilled metal roofing installer. The cost of installation varies depending on where you live and how many specialists are available in your region. You will also need to remove the old roof to add a new metal roof, which will incur a tear-off and disposal fee. In certain cases, you might be able to save money by installing a metal roof over an existing asphalt roof. For quotes, contact local standing seam metal roof installers, but expect to pay at least a few thousand dollars for labor.

Standing Seam Metal Roof Types

Painted Aluminum Standing Seam Roofs

The most cost-effective standing seam roofing material is aluminum. While it dents more easily than steel, it has good corrosion resistance and can be painted in a variety of colors, allowing for a more consistent aesthetic on any form of house, making it a common option for standing seam metal roofing.

Galvalume Steel Standing Seam Roofs

Galvalume steel roofs have a zinc aluminum alloy corrosion-resistant coating that is as durable as steel and as corrosion-resistant as aluminum. It is usually the most expensive form of standing seam roofing material available.

Galvanized Steel Standing Seam Roof

A galvanized steel roof, also known as a G-90 standing seam roof, is a zinc-coated steel roof that is one of the most common standing seam roofing materials. The steel is solid and long-lasting, and the zinc coating keeps it from corroding.

Copper or Zinc Standing Seam Metal Roofs: 

Standing seam metal roofs may also be constructed with copper or zinc roofing materials, but due to the higher costs associated with these metals, they are not as popular unless you have a big budget for your roofing project.

Standing Seam Roof Durability

A standing seam metal roof is the only material capable of shielding a building from wind, rain, hail, fire, insects, or rot. Standing seam roofs have the advantage of having the seams, which are the weakest point of any roof and a possible entry point for moisture, elevated above the level of the roofing panel. Furthermore, since the metal panels extend uninterrupted from the top to the bottom of the roof, there are no horizontal seams and the roof has far less seams overall than most roofing systems.

How much does a new roof cost in 2022? – Atlanta, GA

Over time, the covering on your roof will wear out and you’ll be forced to replace it. This is one of the bigger home improvement projects you’ll have to undergo as a homeowner, so it’s important to budget your new roof cost adequately.

Infographic showing 10 things that impact roof replacement cost

There are a variety of things that come into play when you are trying to determine the average cost to replace a roof, but this article will give you a high-level overview of the costs you might expect.


As you might expect, there are loads of different options when it comes to a new roof. The most common choice in Atlanta is a standard architectural shingle that will be good for about 30 years and come at a fraction of the cost of other options like metal roofing. You can expect an architectural shingle roof replacement to cost between $3.00-$3.75 per square foot. We’ll discuss what determines exactly where you fall in this pricing range below.

If you’re really looking for a top notch option, slate and cedar shake shingles are among the top of the line options for roof coverings. However, the question of asphalt shingles versus slate or tile is only one component of the cost. What are all the factors you need to take into account when budgeting for a roof replacement?

Designer shingle roof replacement with open valley
GAF Camelot II Shingle Roof Replacement


One of the biggest determinants in the average cost of a new roof will be the size of it. As discussed above, it’s common in the roofing industry to price roofs on a “per foot” basis. While you might be tempted to simply thing of size based on the square footage of your home, there are a couple of factors other than your foundation footage that impact roof size. Keep reading to learn more!


The pitch or slope of the roof also affects the price. As this can affect how the job gets done. If it’s a steep pitch that isn’t walkable, crews have to use specialized safety equipment, you can’t stack roofing materials safely so it takes more labor just to transport materials.

As safety is a factor insurance rates are higher for more dangerous roofs and those costs are passed on to the homeowner in the form of higher costs.


When a roof is being installed, every time there is an edge or change in facets, a small amount of shingles will be wasted because they have to be cut to the perfect size. A very simple roof might have as little as 7% waste, while an extremely complex roof structure can have waste up to 30%. The more waste there is, the higher the cost of your roof replacement.


Next to size, the type of roof materials you choose for your replacement will be one of the biggest determinants in cost. This is also one of the biggest determinants in the best roof for Atlanta. Here are some of the average Atlanta roof replacement material costs (all include installation and accessories):

  • 3-tab Asphalt Shingles: $2.50-$2.70 per square foot
  • Architectural Asphalt Shingles: $2.70-$3.00 per square foot
  • Designer Asphalt Shingles: $3.25-$5.00 per square foot
  • Standing Seam Metal: $7-$9 per square foot
  • Slate Or Cedar Shingles: $10+ per square foot


The condition of your current roof may have an impact on the the average roof replacement cost. It’s common in Atlanta for roofers to charge a relatively small fee for rotten wood replacement that isn’t visible until the old roof covering is removed.

The condition of the flashings on your home may have an impact on the cost of your new roof. Metal typically goes 50+ years, but if you own an older house, it’s possible that the metal flashings on the roof will need to be replaced. This is typically an additional charge among Atlanta roofing companies.

This should give you a full picture of the budgeting considerations if you’re getting close to needing a new roof. However, to get an exact estimate of how much your roof will cost, it’s best to hire an Atlanta roofing company today.

Download our roofing cost guide to Learn More!

How You Can Reduce Local Water Pollution

You have more of an impact on local water pollution than you might think. Residences generally exist in a watershed, so any runoff from your home will eventually drain into the local waterways. 

A creek running through a wooded area, with grass and shrubs growing along the banks.

A watershed is a land area that drains into a specific natural waterway, such as a stream, river, or lake. Watersheds come in all sizes, and smaller watersheds may, themselves, drain into larger ones. Streams, for example, usually flow into rivers or lakes. 

Some water soaks into the ground, but a lot of local water pollution comes from runoff. Runoff occurs when rain or other precipitation flows off a roof, driveway, or road and into a storm drain. Storm drains typically lead to natural bodies of water. 

Excess water from lawns or fields likewise enters storm drains. Runoff carries whatever substances it comes into contact with, including pollutants, into the storm drains and, eventually, to the natural waterways. 

Nutrient pollution is a significant problem related to runoff. It occurs when excessive amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and other nutrients usually used for fertilizer enter local waterways through runoff points. 

Nutrient pollution leads to eutrophication, which is the over-growing of algae. This issue alters aquatic ecosystems and lowers water quality. 

What can the owners of homes, businesses, and fields do to prevent nutrient pollution and other local water quality problems? 

Beware of Pesticide Use

Pesticides can contaminate water in two major ways. Chemicals that you apply to a lawn, garden, or farm field can drain into waterways via a runoff system. They can also soak into the ground, enter the water table, and find their way into streams or the water supply. 

These chemicals are toxic to bugs and weeds, but they are also poisonous to humans and animals. 

What can homeowners do? One option is to use organic, non-toxic pesticides. Another is to use alternative pest control practices, such as hand weeding, planting flowers or trees that do not attract pests or else attract beneficial insects and predators (as a natural pest control option), or using agriculture methods such as contour farming and crop rotation.  

Prevent Soil Erosion

Soil erosion isn’t only bad for farming and landscaping; it also changes waterways. 

Eroded soil washes into storm drains as sediment. When this sediment runs into waterways, it can choke aquatic life, increase water temperature, and introduce any pollutants and bacteria that it contains. 

There are a few ways to prevent soil erosion. A well-kept lawn with plenty of perennial plants or trees can hold the soil in place. You can put mulch, wood chips, or landscaping stones in unplanted areas to combat erosion and assist efficient runoff. 

Keep Your Vehicle in Good Condition

You also need to look beyond your lawn. Cars that leak fluids, for example, contribute to water pollution. The oil or antifreeze gets washed down storm drains and into waterways, where they prove toxic to aquatic life. 

To prevent this type of pollution, you can regularly check your car for leaks and place drip pans to collect them where they do occur. 

Also, you should never pour fluids, including oil and antifreeze, into storm drains or on the ground. Most areas have recycling centers that accept used oil and antifreeze, as well as car batteries and other potentially toxic fluids. 

Collect Runoff

Rainwater won’t stay on your roof or driveway. Instead, it will run off into storm drains. On the way, it collects pollutants and sediment and carries them into the waterways. To prevent this issue and to avoid erosion and other potential pollution, you can try collecting the runoff from your roof. 

Consider installing a rain barrel and making sure your roof has a proper gutter system to deliver water to the barrel. A gutter update may be affordable and convenient when you undergo a roof replacement

A professional roofing contractor will be able to handle this project to meet your specifications. 

You should also make any necessary repairs to your roof to ensure proper drainage into rain barrels or onto permeable garden areas where the runoff can soak into the soil instead of entering storm drains. 

Be Careful During Construction

The main water pollution problem related to construction has to do with sediment rather than toxic chemicals. This is known as sediment pollution, and large construction can be a major contributor. Dirt, sand, and other types of deposits get disturbed or moved during building projects. They can easily wash into waterways in large amounts.

Construction companies can ensure that there are buffers of vegetation that can catch sediment and separate it from runoff water. They can also remove dirt and sand from the site so that it does not wash into the drainage system. Commercial roofers and other contractors can manage the waste created by their projects so that it does not contribute additional sediment into the watershed.

Clean Up After Your Pets or Livestock

Pet and livestock waste can affect water quality in two major ways. First, it can contribute to nutrient pollution by increasing the growth of algae. 

Additionally, pet waste can transfer various pathogens that might be harmful to humans and other animals. Bacteria or diseases could enter the water system and water supply via runoff or soaking into the ground. 

The easiest way to avoid this issue is to pick up pet waste and dispose of it in the trash can. You can maintain grass or plant buffers that remove livestock waste from runoff water before it enters the drainage system. 

Dispose of Waste Properly

The garbage you generate in your household or business can easily find its way into waterways. The same applies to liquids that you flush or pour down your drain. 

You can dispose of oils, fats, and food-based liquids in the trash, rather than pouring them down the drain. You can also take household chemicals to a recycling center rather than dispose of them via your drain or toilet. 

You may also consider using organic waste, such as vegetable peels, as compost instead of throwing it in the trash. Recycling plastics and metals is an excellent way to keep them from entering a landfill, where they could leech into the groundwater. 

Maintain Your Septic Tank

If improperly maintained, your septic tank can be a significant contributor to nutrient pollution via its drain field (the system of perforated pipes that deliver the waste to the surrounding soil for breakdown by bacteria). 

To maintain your septic tank, you need to have it serviced every two to five years. Also, you can avoid using your sewage system to dispose of household waste unnecessarily. 

Carefully Manage Private Streams and Ponds

Private streams and ponds are part of the watershed, and they will eventually end up flowing into larger waterways. Any water pollution issues, such as nutrient pollution, that affect your private ponds will eventually spread to larger bodies of water. 

The use of vegetation around your property’s water feature to create a riparian zone can stop nutrient pollution and sediment buildup. Such vegetation can also catch sediment as it drains out of your waterways and into other parts of the watershed. 

Be Aware of Your Local Ecosystem

Your local ecosystem may have specific vulnerabilities, unique animal or plant populations, or particular drainage patterns. You can take these things into account when making a plan for managing your contribution to water pollution. 

Sustainable Home Architecture Options

Sustainable housing provides benefits in terms of the environment, energy consumption, and utility costs.

House window with worn down cedar shake roof shingles

Green homes offer advantages to the community because it causes fewer carbon emissions, thereby reducing air pollution. Also, these houses do not cause undue strain on the local power grid because they operate efficiently. 

In addition to reducing energy costs for the homeowner, sustainable homes often present extra perks such as improved indoor air quality, a higher level of comfort, and, in some cases, increased property value. 

Individual homeowners can enjoy these benefits, but the same positives can also help landlords lower operations costs and make a rental property more attractive to people seeking an environmentally friendly place to live. 

Here is a closer look at the options for sustainable residential architecture.


Cargotecture is the use of shipping containers as dwellings. These 20- and 40-foot boxes have long been a temporary housing option in oil fields and the armed forces. Over the past few decades, architects have started taking advantage of containers’ structural reliability and customizability to make more-permanent homes. 

What are the pros and cons of cargotecture?


  • They use recycled cargo containers, so they do not need as many building materials and are more environmentally friendly. 
  • Because the structure is already in place, building a cargo home is quick compared to a traditional house. 
  • They are incredibly sturdy and safe. 
  • Many designs are modular, which means you can add or subtract elements easily. 


  • Cargo container homes may not meet local building and zoning requirements. 
  • You need to take extra steps to connect to utility systems. 
  • You may be limited in terms of size and layout. 

Modern cargotecture usually involves stacking and joining multiple shipping containers together. This trend allows owners to get the size and layout of a traditional home while also enjoying the advantages of building with containers. 

Cargotecture has made its way into the commercial property market. For example, in Amsterdam, a student housing development called Keetwonnen consists of a stack of modified containers that serve as apartments. 

Prefabricated Homes

Prefabricated homes are houses that get built in a factory setting and shipped to the buyer’s location. There are different types of prefabricated homes. 

  • Modular homes consist of different segments. Each component can join with others to create a complete house. When assembling, you can add or subtract these components as needed. 
  • Shipping container homes are houses made with 20- or 40-foot shipping containers. Some of these houses are modular and include two or more containers joined together.
  • Kit homes have parts assembled in a factory. The pieces make up a kit, which gets shipped to the construction site and put together. With these homes, you do not have to worry about wasting excess materials. 
  • Panel homes consist of exterior and frame components. These panels come from a factory, but all interior work occurs onsite. 

There are distinct advantages and disadvantages to prefabricated homes. 


  • Prefab homes limit waste because builders follow a pre-set pattern in a controlled environment. This is good for the environment and your wallet. 
  • Construction time is quicker than for a traditional home. 
  • Because of the factory setting, limited waste, and quick onsite construction, prefab homes are cheaper than traditional peers. 
  • Prefabs are usually energy-efficient because the components get joined together in an airtight way. 


  • Though these homes are cheaper, you have to pay to transport them to the building site. Also, you may have to pay extra to have utilities hooked up to your home.
  • Design options are limited to the products offered by a builder. 
  • The cost of a prefab home does not include the land, which you need to purchase separately. 

Tiny Homes

Tiny homes are extremely small houses. Almost all are less than 500 square feet, and some are significantly smaller than that. Because of their modest size, these homes are cheaper to build, and utility costs are very low. 

The common denominator for all tiny homes is their diminutive stature. These houses come in many different styles. Some resemble traditional dwellings or log cabins, while others are portable and stand on wheels. 


  • A tiny home can generate 14 times less carbon than a typical home. These houses produce minimal pollution. 
  • Tiny houses are cheaper than traditional homes and can make house ownership a reality for people who would otherwise have to rent. 
  • Tiny homes are often portable, so you are not confined to one place. 


  • The interior area is extremely limited. Tiny homes present challenges for families and those in need of space for storage. 
  • You need to purchase or rent the land. Though tiny homes are cheap, you need to have a place to put them. This cost is in addition to the price of the house itself.  
  • You may need to take extra steps, such as pouring a foundation or hooking the home up to utilities. 


Earthships are off-the-grid homes that maximize environmental friendliness and minimize reliance on outside services. The structures use passive solar heating and ventilation instead of automated climate control systems, and they include systems that make activities such as recycling and composting extremely easy. 

Earthships also often have self-contained sewage treatment and water collection systems. 


  • Passive solar heating, self-contained sewage treatment, and other features limit the cost of utilities. 
  • The simple design of these structures can make them cheap to build and maintain. 
  • Because they use recycled, repurposed, or sustainable materials, Earthships are very eco-friendly. 


  • You may need to pay architects and engineers to design customized systems to meet your needs. Earthships may not be the cheapest option on the market. 
  • You may need to install backup systems to kick in when passive systems are not providing the ideal temperature. 
  • These homes are difficult to resell, so they do not offer the same type of investment opportunity as traditional homes. 


Passivhaus (German for “passive house”) is a building designed to use as little energy as possible. Institutions in different parts of the world create different standards for passive houses, with the most important being the Passivhaus standards from Germany.  

A passive house could, for example, use a metal roof to reflect sunlight and reduce passive heating. 

In most cases, a Passivhaus uses window treatments, blinds, ventilation, skylights, and other design features to regulate interior climates without using minimal outside energy. You could gain some of the benefits of a passive house by replacing your roof or windows.  


  • Passivhaus designs minimize utility costs. 
  • Since you do not need much energy to heat or cool the home, passive houses are very environmentally-friendly.
  • The standard includes a comfort requirement. A true Passivhaus will remain comfortable year-round. 


  • Including design elements that allow for passive heating and cooling can be expensive. 
  • A Passivhaus design may not account for very cold or hot days. 
  • A Passivhaus may not be possible in certain parts of the world or specific locations depending on climate and shade or sunlight on any given property. 

Green Roofs and Living Walls

Green roofs and living walls consist of standard building elements covered with plant life. Green roofs are exterior features, and while green walls can be outside, they are usually interior features. 

These installations can reduce energy costs, provide natural air purification, increase humidity in dry environments, and brighten interior spaces. Some architects may also include these elements for aesthetic reasons. 

Prominent examples of green roofs include the Chicago City Hall and Vancouver Convention Centre, and green walls are prevalent in some parts of the world, such as Taipei, Taiwan. However, these features are also possible at a smaller scale in residential homes. 

A green roof requires a sturdy roof structure. You will need to have a roofing professional inspect your home to ensure that it can withstand the weight of soil and plants. You’ll need to make repairs if necessary. 

You can create a green roof relatively easily by installing rows of growing trays and planting hardy species like sedum. 

A green wall can be as simple as building a structure to hold plant life and placing it next to an interior wall. You can use creeping plants, such as ivy so that the installation requires less soil.

Compact Design

Compact designs are often better in terms of energy efficiency because it is cheaper to heat, cool, and light smaller areas. Smaller homes often require less maintenance because there are fewer installations to fix and less area to clean. 

These designs are green because they limit energy consumption, but they are also green because they require less material when built. You can make modular homes more compact or build walls or barriers in existing homes to divide existing rooms rather than adding new ones. 

Sustainable Housing Materials

In many cases, the best and most practical sustainable home option is simply to make a traditional home using sustainable materials. You will need to discuss the use of specific materials with a contractor or roofer before starting construction. 

What are the best sustainable materials?

  • Bamboo is very sustainable because it grows quickly. It is strong, durable, and flexible, and ideal for use in flooring, walls, and interior trim. 
  • Timber can be sustainably harvested and used both on the interior and exterior. Reclaimed or recycled timber can work for non-load-bearing interior elements. 
  • Adobe, cob, and mudbrick are historic building materials that are still useful today, though they typically need reinforcement to serve as exterior walls for dwellings. 
  • Recycled metals can serve as structural components of a home. Recycled steel, for example, can work as beams in a home. 

Solving the Problem of the Urban Heat Island Effect on an Individual Level

The Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect causes the air temperature to be higher in city centers than in surrounding rural areas. In some cases, the temperature difference can be extreme. As an example: a city of one million people can have a temperature that is as much as 5.4 degrees warmer than the surrounding rural zones. 

An urban residential sector, with the sun just setting on the horizon, and the streets glowing with green and yellow lights as darkness falls.

Several different factors contribute to this problem, but asphalt is a significant heat source in urban areas. Asphalt surfaces, on roads and roofs, absorb warmth and create a radiating effect that releases it back into the surrounding areas, increasing the ambient temperature. 

Urban and suburban areas continue to grow, necessitating more roads and roofs. This expanding heat island leads to more energy consumption as people try to cool their homes and buildings. The reliance on air conditioning can strain the energy grid and increase carbon output, which causes global warming.  

As cities and suburbs develop, UHI problems grow as well. However, home and business owners can take steps to overcome this human-made issue. 

1. Light-Colored Building Materials

One of the primary causes of the urban heat island is the absorption of heat by dark asphalt surfaces. Lighter-colored materials do not absorb heat in the same manner. Instead, they reflect sunlight. Therefore, lighter surfaces do not create the same radiating effect as darker surfaces. 

Studies have shown that white-colored materials absorb the least heat, and lighter-colored non-white materials follow close behind. Cement and bricks have a higher thermal mass. They do absorb heat but release it very slowly. Therefore, they remain relatively cool compared to other materials, such as dark-colored asphalt. 

Roofs with vinyl or ceramic shingles or metal roofs also have reflective properties. A professional roofing contractor can tell you which of these options will work the best in your climate. 

2. Green Roofs

A green roof contains plant life. Some famous buildings, including Chicago City Hall, have foliage instead of shingles. These installations are also possible on smaller commercial and residential buildings. 

Because they provide shade and do not absorb heat, green roofs are much cooler than conventional ones. According to the EPA, green roofs can be as much as 30 to 40 degrees cooler than traditional roofs. 

Small commercial and residential buildings can have green roofs made from hardy plants growing in trays in two to four inches of soil. Though these roofs do not require much maintenance, you need to ensure that your structure is strong enough to support the extra weight. 

A roofing contractor can inspect the roof and roof repairs if necessary. They can also put down a layer of protection against moisture buildup. 

3. Cool Roofs

A cool roof has reflective properties that keep it from absorbing heat. These roofs can be beneficial when it comes to combating the urban heat island effects. They can also help lower energy costs within a building. 

There are different types of cool roofs. Some rely on reflective shingles to avoid heat absorption. Others use metal because of its reflective properties. Some roofers rely on reflective paint or spray-on membranes that reduce solar heat gain. 

According to the US Department of Energy, cool roofs can help combat the UHI effect by avoiding the solar heat gain associated with traditional asphalt shingles. The DoE also suggests that the lower temperature on the roof itself can increase its lifespan. 

While roof replacement is an option for upgrading to a cool roof, there are also options for applying a coating or glaze to the existing structure to enhance its reflective properties. 

4. Plants

Trees, plants, and other vegetation can help combat the urban heat island effect. Trees can provide shade and keep the sun from reaching the asphalt on roads and rooftops. Additionally, this shade can decrease cooling costs for your home. 

Home and business owners can plant shade-producing trees that lower the chances of solar heat gain on their roofs and driveways, but they should not ignore other types of foliage. 

The process of transpiration can also reduce heat. Transpiration is when plants release water vapor back into the atmosphere through their leaves. This phenomenon is common in rural areas covered by vegetation, but less common in cities with fewer plants. 

Property owners can increase the amount of foliage on their land and increase the amount of transpiration that takes place. 

5. Green Pavement

According to the EPA, regular pavement can reach temperatures of up to 150 degrees during the summer. When you understand that pavement covers 30% to 45% of the land in many cities, you can see why the temperature difference between urban and rural areas can be significant. 

Green pavement products are still in the early stages of development. Some studies have shown the effectiveness of reflective concrete, concrete with reflective paint or glaze, or unique porous pavement. 

Though sometimes less practical, replacing pavement with gravel or grass is possible in some situations. Property owners can remove unused paved areas and replace them with vegetation or grass.

6. Energy-Efficient Appliances

Energy-efficient appliances can lower the strain on the electrical grid during hot weather. Air conditioners are the obvious candidates for efficiency upgrades, but you can also consider refrigerators and lighting fixtures. 

The EPA’s Energy Star program lists appliances that meet the strictest efficiency standards. 

Purchasing Energy Star appliances can reduce power consumption and utility costs. They can also help reduce the UHI effect. 

Air conditioners make air cooler inside, but they increase heat output outside. Depending on their power source, the energy needed to run an air conditioning unit also generates heat. The higher the efficiency, the less heat an appliance produces directly and indirectly.     

7. Reducing Air Pollution

Air pollution and urban heat island effects go hand in hand. Smog, particles, and other forms of pollution can intensify the heat and lower overall air quality. 

Energy consumption and auto emissions are significant culprits when it comes to urban pollution. Driving a more fuel-efficient car, relying on public transportation, or walking and biking when possible can help reduce your contribution to your area’s pollution. 

Energy-efficient appliances, such as those with Energy Star certification, can reduce the carbon footprint of your home overall by lowering the amount of energy needed to operate your home. 

How Innovative Building Designs Improve Structural Resistance

Natural disasters of some form or other affect nearly every populated region on earth. While the exact nature of the threat can vary from harsh winds to tremors in the ground, construction designs and technology have evolved to mitigate the potential fallout from natural disasters and increase structural survivability. Building codes that prescribe these innovations are a vital part of ensuring the public remains safe, even during a natural disaster.

Learn more about the structural safety innovations designed for several common natural disasters.

Lines of multicolored triangular flags stretch between buildings on two sides of a small, fast-moving river filled with rocks and rapids.


Earthquakes can cause buildings to shake, which may collapse the foundation or induce wall cracks, and can compromise the structural integrity and safety of buildings even when they remain standing afterward. When buildings shake uncontrollably, furniture and other heavy items may also collapse, causing potentially serious harm to inhabitants.

One structural solution is to install seismic shock absorbers within the building’s foundation to help lessen the impact of the shaking ground on the building’s walls. Engineers are also experimenting with installing pendulums in tall buildings to help the structure shift its weight as needed when the earth moves. 

In Japan, about 9,000 structures have been built with a rubber foundation, called a base isolator, to avoid a collapse in the event of an earthquake. When earthquakes strike, buildings with these rubber foundations experience less damage and don’t collapse like structures without this upgrade. In the U.S., only a few buildings are equipped with this technology.


Severe storms and other natural disasters can lead to destructive flooding, an issue for coastal homes. Engineers have already implemented upgraded designs for coastal homes around the world to prevent water damage, including building homes on stilt or pier foundations. These raised foundations do help keep homes safe from rising waters. 

If builders in flood-prone areas opt for ground-level construction, they may also only design these homes with the garage or storage unit on the first level. The ground level is built using breakaway walls, which break from the structure at the first signs of high water pressure. 

This allows water to flow through the structure freely instead of rising and threatening the next story of the home. This also ensures the water pressure doesn’t build up and take away the entire structure.

In the Netherlands, scientists are working on “waterworld homes,” which are floating apartments that can stay on top of high waters. The scientists designed floating hotels and conference centers in the Maldives, which have proven to remain intact, even in rising waters.


Tornadoes generally develop without warning and can tear through neighborhoods, causing structural damage and harming the structural integrity of homes and commercial buildings. Futuristic building materials may be the answer to making buildings and homes more structurally sound during these wind events. 

Wood, concrete, and steel are traditional building materials because they’re sturdy. However, with no flexibility, these materials can snap and break when exposed to the strong winds of a tornado. 

Construction engineers are experimenting with other building materials, including carbon fiber, metal mesh, and Kevlar. Not only do these materials provide some give when the wind gets fierce, but they may also protect occupants from flying shrapnel and debris. 

While it’s been proven that these flexible materials can withstand tornado winds better than traditional mediums, the cost can be a barrier for many commercial builders and homeowners. However, if these materials help save money on roof repairs or replacements, siding repair, and other tornado damages, they may be worth the investment.


Hurricanes are common in coastal areas and generally bring excessive rain and strong winds. Modern building codes require that nails are used where the roof meets the wall to lower the number of roof claims insurance companies receive after a hurricane strikes. 

While this updated code does help ensure roofs stay put during a storm, metal connectors and bracing may be more effective, especially in a strong hurricane. Most newly constructed homes in coastal areas, such as Florida, are equipped with these metal connectors. There are also retrofitting opportunities, including roof clips, that can be added to older homes to improve the roof connection and its ability to withstand the wind.


Landslides generally occur in mountainous areas when rain has caused the ground to become soft and move. In the U.S., landslides cause over $1 billion in damages and 25 to 50 deaths each year. Landslides can cause extensive damage, including:

  • Cracks in the foundation and walls.
  • Wall tilting.
  • Distortions in pillars and other load-bearing structures. 
  • Movement from the foundation.
  • Roof damage in commercial buildings and homes.

Residents rely on strict building codes to ensure their homes are safe from landslides. For example, in Snohomish County, Washington, there are rules on where homes can be built to avoid landslides. 

In 2015, the county expanded its “landslide hazardous area” in an attempt to prevent new construction from being damaged by this natural disaster. If a builder opts to begin a project in this landslide hazardous area, they’re required to follow a set of guidelines that restricts where and how they can build. 

In the Pacific Northwest, residents and builders alike have found that the key to preventing catastrophic damage in a landslide is to prevent consistent erosion from water flow around the property. Avoiding installing permanent irrigation systems on the slope of a property may also minimize damage.


Wildfires generally occur in wooded and dry areas and are spread by wind. California and other wooded states are prone to wildfires in dry seasons. While no building can ever be fire-proof, builders in these wildfire-prone areas are experimenting with sturdier materials to minimize damage. 

Builders are considering building new homes with clay tile roofs and frames made from concrete with reinforced steel. Staying away from wood and other flammable materials may provide families more time to evacuate their homes before the fire causes substantial damage.

Extreme Temperatures

Homeowners waste a lot of energy heating and cooling their homes. With extremely hot and cold temperatures becoming more prevalent, construction engineers are experimenting with technologies to make heating and cooling homes and commercial buildings more efficient, including the following:

  • R25 polyisocyanurate composite insulation material: Unlike standard insulation, these insulation panels are airtight, so they provide a tighter seal and keep hot or cold air inside the home longer.
  • R10 insulated vinyl siding: An upgrade to this type of vinyl siding saves you money on your heating or cooling bill. Scientists are also looking into adding insulation to the siding to ensure the home is even more protected from extreme temperatures.
  • Polymeric Vacuum Insulation Spheres (PVIS): This strong material reduces damage from nail holes and other construction projects, which ensures the home is sealed tight. 
  • Vacuum Glass for R-10 Windows: Vacuum glass windows reduce the amount of heat that is lost from regular windows while also making the home more airtight.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funds these experimental projects in the hopes that this technology will soon be available to U.S. home builders and owners dealing with extreme climates.

With the current numbers of natural disasters and climate events, builders, construction engineers, and scientists have dedicated their efforts to finding solutions for homes and commercial buildings. Some of these designs have been implemented globally or domestically while others are still in the experimentation phase.

How You Can Contribute to Local Smart Growth

Smart growth is a land development initiative that attempts to combat the “urban sprawl” that’s become prolific in many areas. By focusing on mixed land-use developments and building more affordable residential opportunities near public transportation hubs, smart growth attempts to save natural land and other resources. 

A bright red train station exterior, with white trim and a single person standing on the street outside.

This land development strategy relies on architects, city planners, business owners, and landowners to be open to compact neighborhoods and repurposing current structures so they’re more useful. While smart growth initiatives promote growth and change, they also avoid gentrification in focused areas. You can improve your area and contribute to smart growth without changing the atmosphere and essence of the neighborhood itself. 

Many initiatives set urban growth boundaries to ensure new construction doesn’t overtake surrounding areas. Smart growth initiatives also focus on beautification to attract new residents and business owners. If you’re interested in becoming involved in smart growth initiatives in your area, review the following information to find out more about volunteering opportunities and other actions you can take to support the cause.

Share Your Building or Land

Mixed land-use is a common strategy for smart growth initiatives. With mixed land-use, one building is used for multiple purposes. A single building may include residential units, retail stores, restaurants, and/or office spaces. 

With mixed land-use, residents can live, work, and recreate in one small area, which avoids the need for transportation. It also makes the community more walkable and bustling, which attracts visitors, residents, and business owners alike.

If you own a commercial building, you may be able to implement the mixed land-use concept. You could rent out space to a clothing boutique downstairs and renovate your third story into a loft apartment. When you put businesses and residents under one roof of a commercial building, you eliminate the need for additional construction in an area. To learn if your building is eligible for mixed land-use, contact your city planning department.

Embrace Compact Living and Working Spaces

In many cases, when a community grows, additional houses are constructed next to each other or shopping centers are erected on unoccupied land. However, a compact building grows when the number of stories is increased, not the amount of land utilized. 

When developers create compact living and working spaces, they generally choose land that’s already been developed and simply add on to existing buildings. Developers may also secure empty lots or those with additional land near another building to construct compact spaces.

As a business owner or resident, embracing the concept of a compact living and working space will help you reinforce smart growth initiatives in your area. When compact building designs are implemented, land is saved and not as many construction materials are used. 

In compact communities, residents find more affordable and convenient housing that doesn’t require as much transportation. Business owners benefit from small offices and retail spaces with lower rent and more foot traffic accessibility.

Contribute to Beautifying Initiatives

There are many ways to beautify your community, including street art, gardening, landscaping, and street lighting improvements. When a community completes beautification projects, it attracts more potential residents and business owners. The more people who live and work within one area, the less need for public transportation and urban sprawl.

If you’re interested in contributing to beautification initiatives in your community, contact your local government office. Most areas already have project leaders and organizations that take on these developments, making it easy to get involved in the next project.

Support Preservation of Natural and Historic Areas

Not only are residents attracted to great places to work and live, but they’re also attracted to communities that are close to beautiful parks and natural areas. To support smart growth initiatives in your community, consider helping with the preservation of natural and historic buildings and areas. 

To assist in the rehabilitation of historic buildings, you could contribute to repairs, such as hiring a roofing contractor to install a new roof or painting the building’s exterior. Natural areas should be kept clean and free from pollution, so you could help by joining a volunteer group that picks up trash in these areas or tends to the wild landscape.

Support Diversity

Communities with diverse residents and businesses are the only way for areas to flourish. With smart growth initiatives, communities can offer various types of housing that may be more affordable and attractive for minorities. The location and convenience of this housing also attract a variety of potential residents and business owners, contributing to a neighborhood’s diversity.

If you want to ensure your community is diverse, consider getting involved in smart growth initiatives that rehabilitate properties to make them more liveable and affordable for potential residents. You could help volunteer groups with interior upgrades or landscaping improvements on current residences to encourage new tenants to move in.

Support Senior Citizens

With urban sprawl and large, expensive home construction, many senior citizens find it financially impossible to continue living in their current communities. Rising home prices and inflation make it hard for these senior citizens to afford to remain in their current homes. 

Since many smart growth initiatives are focused on creating affordable housing within walkable communities, senior citizens may find these innovative areas beneficial. Mixed land-use and compact living spaces also eliminate the need for public transportation and allow for a better quality of life for senior citizens.

When you get involved with smart growth initiatives in your community, you’re helping senior citizens delay or avoid moving away from the communities they call home. Volunteer groups and local contractors may focus on rehabilitating current residential buildings, including replacing the roof or repairing the siding. These improvements allow residents to enjoy their space without paying out of pocket for costly repairs.

As a business owner or resident, you want to see your community thrive. When you help your community implement smart growth initiatives, you’ll save neighboring land, create a bustling downtown environment, and provide more affordable living and working spaces.