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Energy Savings with Radiant Heat Barriers
Radiant barriers are installed in homes�most commonly in attics�to reduce summer heat gain and winter heat loss, which helps lower heating and 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. Heat transfer by convection occurs when a liquid or gas is heated by a surface, becomes less dense, and rises (natural convection), or when a moving stream of air absorbs heat from a warmer surface (forced convection). Radiant heat travels in a straight line away from any surface and heats anything solid that absorbs the incident energy. Radiant heat transfer occurs because
warmer surfaces emit more radiation than cooler surfaces.
When the sun heats a roof, it's primarily the sun's radiant energy that makes the roof hot. A large portion 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.
Radiant Barrier Qualifies for the new 30% Tax Credits.
Radiant Barriers In Our Designs
Radiant Barriers do work and how much energy savings are obtained can vary by climate and building design. It is part of the building envelope and is a key component to it's overall performance. The main benefit is for the structures occupants and their comfort. If you want comfort then you will want correctly installed radiant barriers. In our building designs we use radiant barriers as an integrated design feature. There is additional cost for these construction features but the return on investment is realized within a few years. The comfort level is realized immediately on occupantancy. In our roof designs we will also incorporate vented roof design that go hand in hand with the radiant barrier systems. These will prevent ice damming in cold climates and greatly cooler structures in hot and sunny climates.