Te stin g of radiant barrier

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Radiant Barrier Testing by Utilities

of Radiant Barrier Chips

Radiant Barrier Chips Being Installed

RBS Chip testing by electric utility companies

One week after our products become available in the public domain via the issuance of our patents 1989, we were contacted by the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) who was asked by a Florida electric utility company to test our radiant barrier chips along with two other types of radiant barrier products.

The RBS Chips were to be tested side by side at FSEC against two other types of radiant barriers and a comparison cell with R-19 insulation and no radiant barrier. The main purpose of this test was to measure degradation due to dust accumulation over time, a significant problem with previous radiant barrier products placed above the insulation. The many layers of our RBS Chip overcome the dust problem and continue to offer performance and energy savings.

The testing showed our RBS Chips returned a 42% percent reduction after the introduction of dust. As can be seen below, the tests were performed in 1989. The chips tested during this evaluation were a hand made, prototype product which has since been replaced by a higher performing design which offers better coverage, increased protection from dust.  It is not uncommon to see a 25% to 40% decrease in total monthly energy costs and increased comfort after the application of RBS Chips.  These savings are both for cooling costs and heating costs in colder climates. 
Further, not only is the multiple layers of RBS used to overcome the dust issue (that's the main claim in the patent), more than one layer of a reflective surface facing other reflective surfaces further benefits the performance.  This is what gives a thermos bottle such outstanding performance.  Hot coffee or ice tea, works great for both.  We now manufacture a new multi-layered RBS membrane product called "
Thermal Control Membrane" (TCM), which, in simple terms, can be described as a flexible Thermos Bottle.
This sheet form can be used in attics without being affected by dust accumulation due to the multiple layers sandwiched together with air spaces in between.  New homes that have TCM in the walls and ceiling must have the HVAC sizing reduced by 50%.

Three types of floor mounted radiant barriers were tested.  The purpose of this test was to gauge the degradation of performance after the accumulation of dust. 
Powdered gypsum drywall (emissivity .95), was blown into each test cell completely covering the radiant barriers.  Only RBS Chips continued working.  Once completely covered, the single layer radiant barrier ceased performing. Not difficult to comprehend given the fact that infrared energy is an electromagnetive wave form and bounces off reflective surfaces.  
More dust was then blown in and a small percentage of performance loss occurred.  When asked "how much more dust added", it became known that 1/2" of dust was blown in over the chips.

Unfortunately, as can be seen below, the test has been marked "CONFIDENTIAL" (since 1989) and cannot  be reprinted (see cover page of test below).



Other Testing by Electric Utilities

Tucson Electric Power Co.  (TEP),  tested RBS Chips and have also refused to allow the results to be published.  TEP has been contacted by two different TV stations in Tucson yet still refuse to make public the findings of the testing done on full size homes.
In the summer of 1993 Arizona Public Service Company (APS) began testing the performance of three Radiant Barrier Systems (RBS) against a control house with no RBS. Although APS never made these findings public, subsequent tests on the same homes in the summer of 1996 parallels the findings in 1993.

These tests were performed using four identical, unoccupied homes for data collection and measurement of power usage. All power was shut off in these homes except for the heat pump.

The tests ran for several months as APS collected data. The graph below illustrates a typical day of electricity consumed by all of the RBS products as tested against the control home without RBS (the dark black line). Notice the RBS Chip outperformed all other types of radiant barrier tested.

Please note the statement printed across the face of the graph above stating: "test results are inconsistent with Engineering calculations and must be verified before being accepted as being factual". This is a true statement. However, the results of this test were compiled from real houses (just like yours), with real electricity  while "Engineering calculations" are based on test boxes and computer models.

The graph above illustrates some interesting points:

1) Sheets of radiant barrier stapled inside the attic under the roof has been the recommended placement by the U.S. Department of Energy for several years. The graph clearly shows this application of radiant barrier to increase energy consumption and demand. Late in the day (4pm-5pm), the reflective properties of radiant barrier under the roof decking, faces the now superheated insulation and prevents heat from escaping. Heat becomes trapped in the attic much like a thermos bottle increasing demand and electrical consumption.  Further, increased roofing material temperature surely cannot increase the life of a roof.

2) Plywood laminated with radiant barrier has a similar effect though not as drastic as the rafter application.
The explanation for this is simple once emissivity and convection are understood. The plywood roof deck, with a lowered emissivity due to the placement of radiant barrier, raises the temperature of the wood (much like a chrome car bumper on a sunny day). This in turn increases the convective currents in the attic which in turn superheats the insulation to a temperature higher than at home without radiant barrier! Manufacturers of this product claim lower attic temperatures at noon which can be seen in the graph above.  It is not until 4-5pm that the trapped heat becomes apparent and raises the need for electricity higher than that of a home without a radiant barrier.  Notice only the RBS Chip was below the control home all day.  Keep in mind this is one day.   Truth is, RBS Chips keep you home more comfortable and energy efficient everyday.

3) As can be seen in the graph, a radiant barrier placed directly over the insulation significantly reduces energy costs by keeping the insulation cooler. Our patented Radiant Barrier Chip product overcomes the anomalies once associated with this placement: performance degradation due to dust accumulation, labor intensive installations and moisture condensation in colder climates.

Building a new home? Adding a room? Want to decrease your electric bill? Increase your comfort?  Simply submit your drawings to us and we will assist you in building the most comfortable, energy efficient home possible....economically. Or drop us email anytime if you have questions.

Questions? Call us: 602-867-3176

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