Cooling & Comfort
Cooling & Comfort
Under the sun, a roof can reach 150F or more even when it’s only 80 F outside. The sun’s heat transfers into your living space and heats your home up like an oven. Keeping the heat out of your home is essential to making your home energy efficient.
Radiant barriers are thin sheets of reflective material installed in the roof, ceiling or walls (see picture on the right). They reduce the transfer of heat and can reflect up to 85 percent of the sun’s heat.
Attic insulation absorbs the heat passing into the home through the roof and walls. Insulation can reduce ceiling temperatures by more than 15 F. Ceiling insulation will enable the occupants to feel 9 degrees cooler, making you more comfortable while at home. Insulation in form of spray foam is available also.
Cost: $.80 - $2.00 per square foot
Savings: up to $500 a year
Pay back time: 1 to 2 years
Similar to the green house effect, hot air can get trapped in your attic and keep your house warmer than necessary. Ventilating your attic to keep your home cool. A ridge vent is located at the highest point of your roof (see photo to the left) and uses the low pressure created by wind traveling across your roof to suck out the hot air. Ridge vents should be combined with an eave vent or a soffit vent, an opening located at the lowest part of your roof so that fresh air can be let into the attic to replace the hot air.
Solar-Powered Attic Fans use clean, free energy from the sun to draw out the hot air and reduce attic temperature by as much as 40 F. They work the hardest when the sun is strongest. They cost about $200-$400 after state (35%) and federal (40%) tax credits.
The easiest way for direct hot daylight to enter your house is through your windows. The best strategy to cool your home is shading. You can apply overhangs, awnings and trees to shade your windows that face the sun during the day. Drapes or blinds can also help block out the sun's rays. If you like to keep the unobstructed view from your window, window tinting is an option. Adding a plastic film on your window will block a large part of the sun's ray from entering your home. Apply tinting with a coefficient of 0.40 or less - or install Solar Control Windows that are already tinted to start with.
Trade winds blow about 90% of the time in summer and about 50% of the time in the winter. By opening the windows, you can harness that energy and let your home cool using natural resources. Note that further apart the open windows (opposite corners), the more efficient wind will be in cooling your home. Ceiling fans create a gentle breeze that can take over comfort duties when the wind quits. Using an ENERGY STAR ceiling fan instead of a typical room air conditioner can save about $446 per year.