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Leisure on a deck can help our environment

In many parts of the country, using an outdoor deck can be a year-round pleasure. In other parts, it is a nice haven for about half of the year, or however many warm months occur. In either scenario, decks continue to be an excellent gathering place or a setting for an individual’s peace and quiet. Decks remain a popular part of the American home landscape as part of a new home or an addition to an existing home. Yet most of the people who have them built probably never even consider their environmental and energy-saving benefits.

Why are decks energy efficient? If you own a deck, you spend less time indoors. That means you should be using less power inside for air-conditioning, lights and electronic gadgets. Those who make a point to spend plenty of time outdoors on their deck should see a lower utility bill.
A roof or pergola over your deck, or a tall side wall near the deck, can block the sun from your home and provide extra shading. This is most noticeable if these structures, or a strategic set of bushes or trees, can shade the large glass door that usually is an entryway onto a deck.

Saving energy is one aspect. Being environmentally friendly is another. It has been reported that a company called Trex has developed a new decking material called Transcend, which is made from 95 percent recycled materials, mostly recycled plastic bags and sawdust.

Transcend also has a thin polymer top cap, which makes it easier to clean and eliminates the need for some of the harsher cleaning chemicals that are common for decks. Alternative decking materials are becoming more readily available and should be considered when contemplating a deck project. While some of these materials may cost more than wood, the trade-off is the longevity of the product and its lower maintenance needs.


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