Radiant Heat Barriers
A radiant barrier is a reflective insulation system that offers a permanent way to reduce your monthly utility costs.Radiant barriers are installed in homes — usually in attics — primarily to reduce summer heat gain and reduce cooling costs. The barriers consist of a highly reflective material that reflects radiant heat rather than absorbing it. They don’t, however, reduce heat conduction like thermal insulation materials.
How They Work
Heat travels from a warm area to a cool area by a combination of conduction, convection, and radiation. Heat flows by conduction from a hotter location within a material or assembly to a colder location, like the way a spoon placed in a hot cup of coffee conducts heat through its handle to your hand.
Radiant barriers work by reducing radiant heat gain. To be effective, the reflective surface must face an air space. Dust accumulation on the reflective surface will reduce its reflective capability. The radiant barrier should be installed in a manner to minimize dust accumulation on the reflective surface.
When the sun heats a roof, it’s primarily the sun’s radiant energy that makes the roof hot. Much of this heat travels by conduction through the roofing materials to the attic side of the roof. The hot roof material then radiates its gained heat energy onto the cooler attic surfaces, including the air ducts and the attic floor. A radiant barrier reduces the radiant heat transfer from the underside of the roof to the other surfaces in the attic.
A radiant barrier works best when it is perpendicular to the radiant energy striking it. Also, the greater the temperature difference between the sides of the radiant barrier material, the greater the benefits a radiant barrier can offer.
Radiant barriers are more effective in hot climates than in cool climates, especially when cooling air ducts are located in the attic. Some studies show that radiant barriers can reduce cooling costs 5% to 10% when used in a warm, sunny climate. In cool climates, however, it’s usually more cost-effective to install more thermal insulation than to add a radiant barrier.
Solar Attic Ventilation
Attic fans, when coupled with a roof radiant heat barrier and blown insulation provide the most effective method to reduce your electric bill while keeping your home cool and comfortable.
A Solar Attic Fan is a simple and environmentally sensible solution that can protect your home and save you money.
Benefits include, extending the life of your roof, reducing the heat load on your HVAC system, preventing damage and reducing moisture build-up in the attic.
Blown-in insulation provides a dense, effective barrier against heat loss that is also among the greenest insulation options.
It offers a low impact on the environment while providing immediate energy savings when installed in attics, walls and hard-to-reach spaces.
Proper installation is a must for blown-in, or loose-fill, insulation. Special equipment and safety measures are required to ensure long-term performance.
When it comes time to add to the insulation of your home, you have a number of choices. There is Blown In Insulation, Batts, and Spray Foam.
Blown-In Insulation is More Efficient
One of the benefits of blown-in insulation when compared to types like fiberglass Batts, is that Blown-in insulation is more efficient.
Because loose-fill insulation is a monolithic layer of insulation without seams like are found in batts, studies have shown that loose-fill insulation performs up to 22% better than batts of the same R value.
Blown-In Insulation is Easier to Install.
A professional can take care of blown-in insulation much more quickly than they can install other types of insulation. Usually two installers can do a house in a few hours – one feeding material into a blowing machine in the truck and the other in the attic spreading the insulation from the other end of the hose. Those two installers batting the attic would take much more time.
Blown-In Insulation is a Good Investment
Adding loose-fill insulation to your attic is one of the fastest paybacks of any home improvement project. The amount of money you save on energy costs will add up quickly over the next couple of years, more than paying for itself, and even bringing a return on your investment.