I know, totally boring topic, right?

Well, its summertime…are you hot?  Feeling the pinch from your energy bill?  Here are two ways you can retrofit your home to make the summers more bearable without having to turn on the a/c, assuming you have a/c.

Radiant/insulating barriers can be used in a variety of locations in your house, either to repel heat or to retain it (attic, side, crawlspace, roof deck).

At the Pacific Coast Builders Conference last week, Rick and I saw a barrier that works easily for the average person when retrofitting an attic.  It fits between the rafters and requires no tape or staples or nails or anything!  Its springloaded to pop into place…how cool is that?  pun intended…

fits between the rafters... http://www.EnerflexFoil.com

Basically, radiant barriers come in different forms:  foil, paint, board and bubbles.  Some are easier than others to retrofit, depending on your handman abilities, attic access and thriftiness.  Some require a professional installer.  Many suppliers have informative websites with FAQs, videos and pricelists all readily available so you can do your own research.

When we built a spec home a couple years ago, we used LP Techshield, which looks like a silver foil-covered board.  But that was building a home from scratch, not a retrofit.  http://www.lpcorp.com/techshield/ 

I did a search by typing in ‘radiant barrier’ and got a lot of interesting and worthwhile hits.

roll across the rafters and staple into place... http://www.atticfoil.com

The US Department of Energy has info on radiant barriers, too.  Going to their site is a good way to educate yourself on various energy saving ideas and products.  http://www.energysavers.gov/your_home/insulation_airsealing/index.cfm/mytopic=11680

Another product we saw was a solar powered attic vent fan that can ‘easily’ be installed on your roof – it doesn’t take as much work to install as some other fans we’ve seen.  This one has the solar panels right on the top of the fan unit.  It works automatically whenever the sun is out, unless the temperature falls below 50 degrees F, then an optional thermostate disengages the fan. 

We’ve seen other units which are more complex.  The solar panels are in a different location, for instance, or the fan is separate from the venting unit.  Others have solar panels that angle up from the unit or allow for a roof with more of a pitch. 

Again, do your own research to find which unit is best for you.  You’ll save on your cooling bill and, they say that your roof shingles age prematurely when the attic is overheated and/or underventilated. 

Our office is definitely underventilated, because it was built in 1906.  This simple unit was very interesting to Rick for our own use.


This Old House even has a video on how to install a solar attic fan!  http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/video/0,,20047003,00.html

Man, don’t you love the internet?!?  😉