Shading Radiation only moves in straight lines, so blocking sunlight from striking the building is a valuable control strategy. Siting for shade from trees and buildings and shade from roof overhangs (see Passive Solar section later in this home design) are examples of strategies you can use.
Reflection Radiant barriers made from highly reflective materials can reflect a significant amount of heat away from the building enclosure. Light-colored roofing and reflective barriers in attics are common and effective reflection strategies.
Windows and doors Fenestrations are particularly susceptible to unwanted radiative losses and gains. Low emissivity (low-e) coatings can help to control this.
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Energy modeling Using appropriate climatic and building data can help to guide decisions regarding the design of the thermal control layer. During the modeling process, it is possible to see the effects of using more or less insulation in various parts of the thermal control layer, and to choose R-values that result in the desired outcomes for energy consumption. Energy modeling allows you to “tune” your thermal control layer for both quality and cost, to help you decide how best to meet your performance requirements within your budget.
Putting It into Practice
At the design phase, the thermal control layer requires careful thought to reduce or eliminate thermal bridges and to ensure continuity of the layer at junctions between different building components. In particular, be cognizant of:
Structural elements passing from inside through to outside Beams, rafters, and joists are often designed to move from one side of the enclosure to the other, and these will be significant thermal bridges.
Floor framing systems touching the outside of the enclosure It is common practice to situate floor framing on top of walls, creating significant thermal bridges.
Bridging at window and door framing The frames that support windows and doors can provide a great deal of thermal bridging.