FAQ

DO RADIANT BARRIERS SAVE MONEY?

Radiant barriers reduce the cooling load in your home by reducing the amount of heat radiating into your attic from your roof. While they may save energy in the summer, it will not typically be enough to cover the cost of the installation. In fact, it may take hundreds of years of energy savings before the installation cost is recouped. It is not recommended to install radiant barriers in existing homes for the purpose of saving money in most North American climate zones.

WHAT IS A RADIANT BARRIER?

A radiant barrier is a reflective material that is useful in construction because it radiates very little of the heat that enters it. Because of this unique characteristic of the material, it's often used in attics to reduce radiant heat gain from the roof into the attic. While it can be a cost-effective investment in some climates, it is not uncommon to see people trying to sell it as an energy saving product in areas like Connecticut, where it is not likely to save a significant amount of money on cooling costs and will likely be a poor investment.

ARE RADIANT BARRIERS REALLY COST-EFFECTIVE?

Radiant barriers can be a cost effective investment. They can be cost effective in hot climates, they can be cost effective in new construction, they may be cost-effective in a home in which HVAC equipment is located in the attic, and they may be cost effective in an already very energy efficient home. Unfortunately, however, they are often marketed as cost effective investments under circumstances in which they would not be worth the money from an energy savings standpoint. Only in very rare circumstances would retrofitting an existing, insulated home in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Minnesota or another northern state be a cost-effective investment.

HOW DO RADIATION BARRIERS SAVE ENERGY?

Radiant barriers save energy by reducing the radiant heat gain entering the attic through the roof. This reduces the "cooling load" of the home, and can save on air conditioning costs during warm months. However, the total energy that they save is frequently less than advertised, and typically not significant enough to justify the cost of installation.