Home Energy March April 2014 : Page 3
LETTERS 1250 Addison Street, Suite 211B, Berkeley, CA 94702 (510)524-5405 firstname.lastname@example.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: email@example.com. 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