Development and validation of a simple estimating tool to predict heating and cooling energy demand for attics of residential buildings

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The application of attic radiant barriers as a residential building energy conservation tool has received considerable attention in recent years. Quantifying the benefits of radiant barrier is complicated because the energy savings provided by this system depend on various factors including local climate, geometry, and other building parameters. Therefore, the objective of this study is to develop a simple estimating tool that may be used by homeowners and designers to assess the effectiveness and economic benefits of radiant barrier under different climatic conditions in the US. The developed tool is based on transient three-dimensional finite element models that were validated based on the results of an experimental field study. The results of the finite element models were used to develop a set of regression equations to predict the thermal performances of radiant barriers under a wide range of operating conditions. Although the theoretical basis behind this tool is robust and accurate, the developed tool is simple, flexible, and user-friendly to encourage its use among practitioners and homeowners with minimal background about this system and heat transfer mechanisms. It is anticipated that the developed tool will facilitate the integration of energy efficiency in residential design and construction. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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Energy and Buildings

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