Radiant barrier is one of many types of insulation available for the home. Although technically radiant barrier is not an actual type of insulation, but it is often referred to as such. Most of what is on the market is manufactured in a way that places energy efficiency or convenience above environmentally-friendly practices. Recent trends toward the use of renewable or recyclable products in home construction have resulted in the development of new insulating technologies that provide superior levels of protection, while also remaining safe for the environment.
There are several reasons why using a radiant barrier in the attic is eco-friendly.
No Harmful Materials
Radiant barrier is basically sheets of a metal-like aluminum that are attached to some type of base. The base can be made from a variety of substances, from cardboard to cotton, depending on the manufacturer. Unlike traditional fiberglass insulation and some insulating foams, there are no harmful substances contained in the sheeting. No special equipment is needed for installation and there are no chemicals that are dispersed into the air as the material ages.
Installing a radiant barrier in homes means a smaller footprint for the entire house over the years. This is because the aluminum and even the backing is designed to last for decades or longer if not physically damaged by water or fire. Other types of insulation degrade, settle or somehow change over time requiring the homeowner to remove the materials and then replace them with newly manufactured pieces.
Low Manufacturing Footprint
Unlike some of the more elaborate and chemically intensive processes that are used to create other types of insulating materials, radiant barriers are simpler to manufactured. Recycled metals and cotton fibers are frequently used to create a sheet or roll. This means that fewer resources are being mined, refined and then transported long distances. Additionally, this means that the sheeting uses primarily renewable resources.
Reduce Energy Consumption
The most ecologically-friendly part of installing a radiant barrier in a home comes from the energy savings throughout the year. The sun in Texas heats the roofs on the homes in the area until they are emanating heat directly into the house. Radiant barriers stop this from happening by immediately reflecting part of the heat back outside before it affects the surfaces and air in the attic. This efficiency means that heating and cooling the home will use less electricity in both the summer and the winter.
4 ways to make attic insulation more effective.
Seal Crevices and Cracks
While fiberglass and cellulose insulative materials reduce the ability of heated and conditioned air to escape from the home through the attic, there are additional steps to take. This includes sealing air leaks to the lower levels before adding insulation, identifying drafts to the outside and putting down radiant heat barriers for more protection. When air leaks into the attic, it can make the insulation dirty and less effective. Checking ductwork for gaps and blown seals prevents the heating and air conditioning system from pouring treated air into an unused space.
Apply the Right Amount
The U.S. Department of Energy recommends that homeowners in Katy, Texas use 15 to 18 inches of fiberglass insulation in their attics. Referred to as an R-38 level, this is the amount of protection needed to minimize loss of heat in the wintertime and loss of cool air during the hot Texas summer months. Blown-in fiberglass insulation in attics covers all flooring surfaces, including corner crevices and hard-to-reach places. When using rolls of batting, there may be gaps in protection that should be filled.
To prevent improper installation of attic insulation in homes, homeowners should consider hiring qualified professionals to do the job. These professionals already have the proper equipment needed and can it more quickly than the untrained novice. They also understand the recommendations and requirements for insulative protection as well as how to protect themselves from any safety hazards involved in the process.
Before insulating, temporary flooring should be placed inside the attic so that there is a safe path for people to walk through the space as needed. If other items are to be kept in the attic, they should be supported by more than the ceiling materials from the rooms below. Consider bracing for appliances and ductwork.
The use of attic insulation and attic Insulation provides protection from escaping heat and cold. While the temperatures are milder in the wintertime than in summer, even a small variation in outdoor temperature versus indoor temperature can considerably affect a homeowner’s energy bills.
Learn more about Radiant Barrier and reasons why you should have it in your home: Reasons to have Radiant Barrier installed in your home. If you need to speak to a professional about your homes attic insulation or radiant barrier please Contact Us.