As energy continues to become the focal point of governmental concern in the U.S., the U.S. Department of Energy continues to take strides in building and improving programs that encourage energy stewardship. One such program is the Builders Challenge, which recognizes energy leadership in homebuilding. Here is a case study of a Habitat for Humanity energy-efficient home development in Lakeland, Florida. The goal of the homes was not only to provide affordable housing from a first cost perspective, but to also build homes that were also affordable to live in.
Radiant barrier was one of the main energy-saving features incorporated into these Lakeland homes.
“The radiant barrier is like thick, flexible aluminum foil. It is very cheap, we just buy it in big rolls. You staple it to the inside of the roof between the rafters. It brings down the heat in the attic space by up to 40 degrees.
If the home’s duct work is located in the attic, the barrier provides the added benefit of reducing heat gains to the ducts so the air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard in the summer,” said Twomey.
In addition to sheet radiant barrier foil, these energy efficient homes featured the following energy saving features:
- Ducts in conditioned space using a framed-in duct chase and interior air handler closet
- Sealed ducts tested to ensure leakage below 5%
- Heat recovery from hot water
- Water-heater timers
- Outside air vent ducted to the return side of the air handler
- 14 SEER air conditioner
- Extensive air sealing of building envelope after dry in