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Home Energy March April 2014 : Page 3

LETTERS 1250 Addison Street, Suite 211B, Berkeley, CA 94702 (510)524-5405 contact@homeenergy.org www.homeenergy.org ________________ A RADIANT BARRIER IN WINTER? Thanks for the informative article (“Refl ective-Insulation and Radiant-Barrier Systems,” HE Jan/Feb ’14, web only). I have a question. I live in Palm Springs and would like this for our house, obviously to reduce cooling costs in the summer. But in the winter (right now), the house is chilly already (approximately 60–65°F) without the heater. Would a system like this lower the home’s indoor temperature in the winter? Tucson Jie [online commentator] noted that radiant barriers would lower winter season heating costs. But right now, we don’t generally use the heater. We just put on warmer clothes. Any colder and we would defi nitely use our heater. Kat Donnelly online comment Senior Executive Editor Executive Editor Editor Assistant Editor Design & Production Manager Design Associate Technical Editors Alan Meier Iain Walker Jim Gunshinan Macie Melendez Kate Henke Leanne Maxwell Marcus Bianchi Steve Greenberg Courtney Moriarta Chris Stratton Contributing Editor Steve Mann Copyeditor Irene Elmer Writers This Issue James Cummings, Peter du Pont, Todd Hoener, Mary James, Macie Melendez, Paul Raymer, Erin Rose, Debbie Sniderman, Bruce Tonn, Charles Withers Publisher Office & Advertising Manager Fulfillment Manager Controller Sales & Marketing Associate O ffice Assistant Pro bono Legal Services Tom White Maggie Forti Alana Shindler Jan Elkington Michael Goldstein Brijauanae Bandy Nixon Peabody LLP, Attorneys at Law Author Luke Rogers replies: You have a good question, and I’ll answer it as best as I can. The simple answer is, If you still get plenty of sunshine during the winter and you don’t want to have to use your heater, then a radiant barrier might not be a good winter solution. However, if the sky is typically cloudy and you don’t get much heat from the sun, then a radiant bar-rier will certainly do more good than harm by preventing heat losses. It depends entirely on the amount of solar heat gain during the day. However, all insulation products are designed to reduce the transfer of heat; it’s just that a radiant barrier goes about it a different way than other insulation types. For allowing in a lot of solar heat gain during the winter, technically you would want as little insulation as possible so the incoming heat isn’t resisted at all; but of course, you want to prevent that same ra-diant heat from entering during the summer. It is going to have to be a trade-off, and I would say that in a climate like Palm Springs, your utility bills are highest in the summer. So I guess the bottom line is that the radiant barrier may or may not work for you in the winter, de-pending on how much sun you get, but it would still probably be worth the investment, even if only for the savings in the summer. An example of the use of a radiant barrier in a home. LUKE ROGERS Advertising Home Energy requires all advertisers to provide documentation to support any claims of product effi ciency and performance contained in ads. We welcome companies involved in residential conservation to join this select group. It includes manufacturers of conservation materials, tools, instrumentation, computer software, and effi cient appliances, and providers of technical services, training, and labor. For advertising rates, contact: Maggie Forti, Tel: (510)524-5405 ext. 111, e-mail: mmforti@homeenergy.org. Home Energy is published by Energy Auditor & Retrofi tter, Incorporated President, Alan Meier Executive Director, Tom White Board of Directors Francis Babineau David Canny Robert Knight Joseph Kuonen Maureen Mahle Alan Meier Bill Parlapiano III Bill Spohn Iain Walker Marcus Bianchi David Brown Chris Dorsi Laurel Elam Doug Garrett Theresa Gilbride Ron Judkoff Rick Karg Courtney Moriarta Patricia Plympton John Porterfi eld A. Tamasin Sterner Greg Thomas Linda Wigington Edward Wyatt Larry Zarker Johns Manville Pacifi c Gas & Electric Bevilacqua-Knight, Incorporated CLEAResult Steven Winter Associates Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Energy Response Corps Tru Tech Tools Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Owens Corning Inspector Tools Habitat X RESNET Building Performance & Comfort, Inc. Pacifi c Northwest National Laboratory National Renewable Energy Laboratory Residential Energy Dynamics, LLC SRA International Navigant eZing, Inc. Pure Energy Coach, LLC Performance Systems Development Linda M. Wigington Associates Energy & Materials Consultant Building Performance Institute Editorial Advisory Board Home Energy (ISSN 0896-9442) is a bimonthly publication of Energy Auditor and Retrofitter, Incorporated, 1250 Addison Street, Suite 211B, Berkeley, CA 94702. EA&R is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the dissemination of objective information on residential energy conservation. Yearly subscription rate: $85 for six issues. Canada and other foreign countries U.S. $100, payable by U.S. money order only. Subscribe on our web site at www.homeenergy. org. Periodical postage paid at Berkeley, California, and additional mailing office. postmaster: Send address changes to Home Energy, 1250 Addison Street, Suite 211B, Berkeley, CA 94702. Return undeliverable Canada addresses to: Station A, PO Box 54, Windsor ON N9A 6J5, e-mail: returnsIL@imex.pb.com. Energy Auditor and Retrofitter, Incorporated, gratefully accepts contributions from institutions and firms interested in promoting energy conservation. © Copyright 2014, Energy Auditor and Retrofitter, Incorporated. Energy Auditor and Retrofitter, Incorporated, grants authorization to photocopy material from Home Energy for internal or personal use under circumstances that do not violate the fair use provisions of the copyright act. For permission to reprint, write to the above address. Printed on recycled paper Donate to Home Energy! Help celebrate Home Energy ’s 30th anniversary and join other Home Energy supporters (see page 46) by making a donation today. Click on the DONATE button at HomeEnergy.org or contact publisher@homeenergy.org to invest in independent journalism! Home Energy magazine is published by Energy Auditor & Retrofi tter, Inc., a California-based 501(c)3 nonprofi t corporation. Contributions are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law. www. homeenergy.org 3

LETTERS

Kat Donnelly


A RADIANT BARRIER IN WINTER?
Thanks for the informative article (“Reflective-Insulation and Radiant- Barrier Systems,” HE Jan/Feb ’14, web only). I have a question. I live in Palm Springs and would like this for our house, obviously to reduce cooling costs in the summer. But in the winter (right now), the house is chilly already (approximately 60–65°F) without the heater. Would a system like this lower the home’s indoor temperature in the winter? Tucson Jie [online commentator] noted that radiant barriers would lower winter season heating costs. But right now, we don’t generally use the heater. We just put on warmer clothes. Any colder and we would definitely use our heater.

Author Luke Rogers replies:
You have a good question, and I’ll answer it as best as I can. The simple answer is, If you still get plenty of sunshine during the winter and you don’t want to have to use your heater, then a radiant barrier might not be a good winter solution. However, if the sky is typically cloudy and you don’t get much heat from the sun, then a radiant barrier will certainly do more good than harm by preventing heat losses. It depends entirely on the amount of solar heat gain during the day. However, all insulation products are designed to reduce the transfer of heat; it’s just that a radiant barrier goes about it a different way than other insulation types.

For allowing in a lot of solar heat gain during the winter, technically you would want as little insulation as possible so the incoming heat isn’t resisted at all; but of course, you want to prevent that same radiant heat from entering during the summer. It is going to have to be a trade-off, and I would say that in a climate like Palm Springs, your utility bills are highest in the summer. So I guess the bottom line is that the radiant barrier may or may not work for you in the winter, depending on how much sun you get, but it would still probably be worth the investment, even if only for the savings in the summer.

Read the full article at http://omagdigital.com/article/LETTERS/1633844/197097/article.html.

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