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Green Insulation for Your Home: Things You Need to Know

Having an energy efficient home is important to homeowners. Energy efficient homes are better for the environment and better for your wallet. Many homeowners believe their homes operate at maximum energy efficiency if they have insulation. If their home has insulation, then warm air should stay out when it is hot outside, cool air should stay in and vice versa.  Insulation can do a lot for your home and the environment, but homeowners should start thinking about how they can reduce energy waste even more by make some simple and inexpensive modifications to their homes.

 

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What?

One very important addition to your home is energy-efficient insulation. Older insulation, such as fiberglass and foam insulation, protects your home from conduction and convection. Conduction is the transfer of heat from one object to another, and convection is when hot air and cold air act to make energy currents that move through gases and liquids. An example of conduction is a pan becoming hot from a burner on a stove and an example of convection is boiling water.

It is very important to note that there is a third kind of heat transfer called radiation. Radiation is the biggest way a home loses energy! Heat from a camp fire on your face is radiation in action.  The same thing happens in your home, heat radiates in and out of it. Electromagnetic waves transfer heat from one place to another. Sunshine is another example of radiant energy and is a big factor in heating and cooling your home.

There aren’t many ways to counteract this phenomenon, but it can be done with a product called radiant barrier. It reflects electromagnetic waves and can drastically reduce your energy costs. Radiant barriers are most effective in hotter climates and are much more effective when the temperature outside greatly exceeds the temperature inside.  It is often used in conjunction with other types of insulation.

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How?

A radiant barrier is applied to the inside of a wall directly perpendicular (at a right angle) to the incoming radiant energy from the sun. For it to work properly, the radiant barrier must face an air space. A radiant barrier can reduce your heating costs (and energy usage) by 5% to 10% according to Energy.gov.

What typically happens is that a rolled foil radiant barrier is draped between the rafters of the attic and walls. It is very important that it is installed so that dust is prevented from accumulating on the reflective surfaces.

That’s how radiant barriers work and why you should think about installing it in your home to live greener and reduce energy waste. It is a very delicate process and it isn’t something the average home owner can install. If you have the money, it is recommended that you hire a professional to do the work.

  • Gabriel Nelson, the author of this article, works in conjunction with Statewide Remodeling as a writer. Gabriel Nelson is a seasoned on-line writer who has written for many different websites. He writes about green living, psychiatric health, business services, construction, and fitness topics. 
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