Business Advice4 min

Does a Radiant Barrier Really Work?

Homebuyers have shifted toward energy-efficient new homes in recent years with energy efficiency among one of the most sought-after traits in new home construction. For homeowners, that gut feeling that a home is truly energy efficient becomes reality when they open the gas and electric bills at the end of the month.

What Is a Radiant Barrier?

A radiant barrier is a building material that significantly decreases thermal radiation and reduces heat transfer. Radiant barrier sheathing combines a sheathing material, such as OSB, with a reflective material, which allows it to reduce heat gain in homes while providing a structural element. The goal of installing a radiant barrier is ultimately to help reduce cooling costs and to improve a home's energy efficiency.

How Does a Radiant Barrier Work?

“There are three ways that heat is transferred: conduction, convection and radiation,” says Jordan Smith, owner of Smith House Co. “LP TechShield panels take care of the radiation portion.” On a hot summer day, the sun’s radiant energy hits the shingles and transfers its heat into the attic space.

LP® TechShield® Radiant Barrier Sheathing—the #1 OSB radiant barrier sheathing in the industry—is made by laminating a thin, durable sheet of aluminum to LP OSB sheathing. The unique properties of aluminum create the radiant barrier that prevents heat absorbed in the roof sheathing from radiating into the attic, blocking up to 97% of the radiant heat in the panel from emitting into a home’s attic.

At Smith House Co., "we're trying to make every incremental improvement we can in resiliency, cost and durability," Smith says. "LP TechShield radiant barrier is one of the products among a myriad of strategies we use to accomplish that."

How Effective Is Radiant Barrier Sheathing?

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the radiant barrier’s ability to lower heat transfer keeps

attic spaces cooler by up to 30 degrees, which can help curb energy costs. This can help improve the efficiency of in-attic HVAC units and reduce the tonnage of the entire system. Radiant barriers are particularly useful for energy efficiency in hot climates.

Jeff Smith, a contractor rep for Builders First Source in Blairsville, Georgia, has seen the difference a radiant barrier can make firsthand. Not only is he a general contractor, Smith recently built his first new home. "After we installed LP TechShield Radiant Barrier, there was a noticeable difference in the attic space and the upper rooms of the house," he says. "Because LP TechShield is deflecting the heat, it's 15 to 20 degrees cooler in those areas than what you'd get with conventional OSB."

How to Install Radiant Barrier Sheathing

LP TechShield radiant barrier sheathing installs easily, requiring no additional steps or labor. Jeff Smith explains, "LP TechShield installs just like regular sheathing. It doesn't change the installation process at all."

Jordan Smith adds, “Because LP TechShield panels have the aluminum backer, it doesn’t require another trip through the attic or another strategy; it has a built-in feature and doesn’t add any labor.”

To install the product, ensure correct radiant barrier placement. The panel should be installed foil-side down (with the APA trademark) with the skid-resistant side facing up. All panel edges should be spaced 1/8˝ minimum with the long dimension across supports. Then, once they are attached to the framing, LP TechShield panels should be covered as soon as possible with roofing felt or shingle underlayment.

Radiant Barrier Sheathing Offers Environmental Benefits to Homeowners

LP TechShield panels contribute environmental benefits to homeowners looking for ways to increase their homes' energy efficiency. Radiant barrier sheathing has benefits that may translate directly to a homeowner's monthly utility bills.

KB Home, an LP customer and one of the nation’s largest homebuilders, sought a way to improve the standard offerings of its Built to Order homes that would improve energy efficiency and help the company meet ENERGY STAR® criteria for all of its new homes. KB Home became the first national builder to make LP TechShield Radiant Barrier a standard feature on all of its new homes.

“Features like LP TechShield sheathing open the door to further educate homebuyers on the availability of building materials with environmental benefits and long-term cost savings for them personally,” said Dan Bridleman, Senior Vice President of Sustainability for KB Home. “In today’s market consumers want to understand the impact on the environment, but they also need to see the cost benefit to their pocketbooks.”

Discussing what type of electric bill homeowners will get at the end of the month is a tremendous way to explain the value of LP TechShield sheathing to homeowners. According to Shaddock Homes' Bill Pierce, LP TechShield sheathing helps contribute to a home's value, livability and affordability. "At the end of the day when homeowners get their utility bill, it will be lower due in part to LP TechShield sheathing," said Pierce.

LP TechShield Radiant Barrier Sheathing Offers a Reliability Factor

Many builders across the country trust LP TechShield radiant barrier sheathing for its high performance and strength.

In Dallas, Shaddock Homes has been building uniquely designed homes at a surprisingly low price point for over 50 years. As long-time loyalists to the LP TechShield brand, Shaddock Homes continues to choose LP TechShield sheathing over other radiant barrier sheathings on the market.

Shaddock Homes' Director of Purchasing Bill Pierce oversees material sourcing, contracting and budgeting, among other areas of operation. According to Pierce, "LP TechShield sheathing holds the brand recognition. People know about the product." He goes on to say, "We know we can count on it, and it is a very stable part of our construction process."

As part of its energy-efficiency package, Shaddock Homes has included LP TechShield sheathing on all the homes it has built in the past six years. To learn more about this popular package, check out this case study.

LP TechShield Radiant Barrier Benefits to Share With Homeowners

Are your customers wondering "Does a radiant barrier work?" Keep this list of top ten reasons to install in mind:

  1. America’s original and #1 brand of radiant barrier sheathing
  2. 20-Year Transferable Limited Warranty
  3. Reduces attic temperature by up to 30° F
  4. Can account for an overall lower HERS score
  5. Blocks up to 97% of the radiant heat in roof panels
  6. Patented VaporVents technology with post-lamination incising allows panel to dry more quickly than other radiant barrier sheathing options
  7. Installs like conventional roof sheathing, requiring no additional labor
  8. Cost-effective way to make a home more energy efficient
  9. May help qualify for Green Building credits
  10. Proven performance in more than 2 million homes

Click here to learn more about LP TechShield radiant barrier sheathing.

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