Thermal Performance and Energy Savings Potential of Attic Radiant Barrier Systems

Apr 13, 2015

This study evaluates performance of various attic radiant barrier systems under simulated summer daytime conditions and nighttime or low solar gain daytime winter conditions using the large scale climate simulator (LSCS). The four attic configurations that were evaluated are 1) no radiant barrier (control), 2) perforated low-e foil laminated oriented strand board (OSB) deck, 3) low-e foil stapled on rafters, and 4) liquid applied low-emittance coating on roof deck and rafters. All test attics used nominal RUS 13 h-ft2-°F/Btu (RSI 2.29 m2-K/W) fiberglass batt insulation on attic floor. Results indicate that the three systems with radiant barriers had heat flows through the attic floor during summer daytime condition that were 32.8%, 49.8%, and 19.1% lower than the control, respectively. The heat flow through the attic floor decreases with higher insulation R-values or during milder weather conditions. Therefore, for attics with higher insulation R-values the potential savings due to the application of radiant barrier systems will be lower. The experimental data is used to benchmark an attic model using whole building energy simulation software EnergyPlus. Annual energy savings potential of the various radiant barrier systems for code-level attic insulation was calculated for various climate zones using the calibrated EnergyPlus model.

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Som Shrestha, PhD, BEMP, ORNL
Andre Desjarlais, ORNL
Proceedings of the BEST4 Conference
Presented at: 
BEST4 Conference
Published & professionally reviewed by: 
BEST4 Technical Committee, National Institute of Building Sciences

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