Madison Roofing: Article About Radiant Barriers
The use of radiant barriers as part of a roofing system is a growing trend as homeowners seek to make their homes more energy efficient. A house can have one of these systems installed during the construction phase or as a retrofit when a new roof is being installed. Before a homeowner has experienced Madison roofing contractors install a radiant barrier, it is important to know how these systems work and in which situations they provide the most benefits.
Radiant barriers consist of two or more layers of material. On the bottom is a backing material that is non-reflective and may be made of laminated paper or plastic. The outer layer is made from a reflective metal, usually aluminum. This material is preferred due to its low cost, wide availability and ease of installation. Radiant barriers can be built onto the wooden sheathing used in roof framing. They can also be attached to insulation during the manufacturing process of insulating systems like rigid foam boards. In most cases, radiant barriers are processed into large rolls and installed on their own.
One of the leading benefits of reflective radiant barriers is that they reduce a home's cooling load.
The expert roofers at Hustad Companies of Madison WI can assist you with any questions regarding residential roofing or commercial roofing.
By definition, radiant barriers emit less than 10 percent of the total solar energy that strikes them. Highly reflective surfaces radiate the heat back into the environment. An aluminum radiant barrier sends 97 percent of the sun's energy back into the atmosphere, leaving only 3 percent of the possible solar energy to reach the attic's interior. In warm to hot climates, installation of a radiant barrier can lower a home's summertime cooling expenses by 8 to 10 percent. In just a few years of use, the radiant barrier should pay for itself due to the lower utility bills.
In northern climates like that of Wisconsin, summertime heat gain is of a lower overall concern compared to wintertime heat loss. A radiant barrier does not stop any heat loss from occurring. Only thorough air sealing and proper insulation can do that. Homes located in the Great Lakes and Midwest would benefit from a radiant barrier if they have black asphalt shingle roofing, as this material has the greatest amount of solar heating out of all exterior roofing materials. This is especially true for homes that are exposed to direct sunlight during the summertime, such as those that are not shaded by any trees. Houses with tall, steeply sloped vented roofs also benefit from radiant barriers because they accumulate a great amount of heat through convection.