Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Engineering Science (Interdepartmental Program)

Document Type



Reducing heating and cooling systems loads in buildings is a cost effective way to decrease energy consumption in residential houses. This reduction can be achieved in many ways including proper insulation of the building envelope. In recent years, considerable attention was given to the use of radiant reflective insulating barriers. Over the past years, reflective barrier insulation companies nationwide have experienced significant growth resulting in an industry average growth rate of 26.8%. This significant growth is expected to continue as a result of increased cooling demands and pressure from the energy sector and the economy. Growth is also predicted to be prevalent amongst the southern regions of the United States in efforts to reduce high cooling energy costs, which are expected to prevail. This significant growth has not been felt by the radiant barrier industry in Louisiana. This is mainly due to the lack of knowledge and amount of research available in quantifying radiant barriers thermal effectiveness for hot and humid climatic conditions widely encountered in the State. In order to improve the competitiveness of the reflective insulation industry, the primary goal of this research is to develop a simple estimating tool that may be used by homeowners, state agencies, and contractors to assess the effectiveness and economic benefits of radiant barrier insulation systems under the climatic conditions encountered in United States. Current research achieved this objective by adopting a multi‐dimensional research approach that developed this estimating tool over three main phases and then combined results of these phases to provide an overall assessment tool for this technology. In the first phase, the energy saving benefits of radiant barrier was quantified experimentally for the climatic conditions and construction practices prevalent in United States. A transient heat transfer finite element (FE) model was developed to predict the ceiling heat gain or loss through the attic space in residential buildings and to accurately estimate savings in cooling and heating loads produced by the radiant barrier application. Validity of the models was established by comparing their prediction with experimental data. In the second phase, economic effectiveness of radiant barrier technology was evaluated. In the third phase, development of the estimating tool and dissemination of the results was achieved. Results showed that radiant barrier can reduce heat flux transferred from roof to the condition space significantly.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Hassan, Marwa