An Addition to the Building Envelope

By
Home Builder with Drake Homes LLC

People in well built, well insulated, and energy efficient homes and offices have been asking themselves for years why their heating and air conditioning systems continue to use hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars per year continually adding or extracting heat from their "energy efficient" buildings.Over 40 years of research has shown that heat gain and loss in properly weatherized buildings is due primarily to far-infrared radiant heat transfer. Fortunately, the addition of clean, inexpensive, and easy to install radiant barriers can dramatically affect both your comfort level, and your energy costs.Used for years in residential and commercial buildings, and popularized by use in the space programs, the Radiant Barrier system is fast becoming a household word. Industry experts predict that all buildings will eventually have radiant barriers in place because of their universal benefits.The concept is simple: each unit of radiant heat energy that is reflected away from your building in summer, and each unit reflected back in during winter, means less operation of your heating and air conditioning systems, less wear and tear on your equipment, and less money you pay in utility costs.Because the radiant heat is reflected, you will not feel its effects in summer, and you will not lose as much body heat to cold walls and ceilings in winter. This increased comfort means you will never be forced to continually adjust your thermostat, and that translates directly into additional utility savings.Many times, consumers feel that they should get the approval of a friend, or "energy expert". Unfortunately, even the "experts" are many times unable to fully explain the complex relationships between conductive, convective and radiant heat transfer, let alone explain how the physiology of operative temperature and thermal comfort translates into energy savings and improved living environments.Other energy service contractors will often give many illogical reasons as to why the system will not work well for their customer, even though the documented savings history is proven. The reason is obvious. No business wants its customers buying anything from another company, even though they are not trained or qualified to offer a competitive bid.A radiant barrier reflects radiant heat energy instead of trying to absorb it. What does this mean in your home or business? During the winter, 50-75% of heat loss through the ceiling/roofing system and 65-80% of heat loss through walls is radiant. In the summer, up to 93% of heat gain is radiant. If you are depending on R-value (resistance) alone to insulate against heat gain and loss, you are losing half the battle. Remember that traditional forms of insulation are virtually transparent to radiant energy and are affected by changes in humidity (moisture levels).

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