Investigation of Attic Insulation Effectiveness by Using Actual Energy Consumption Data

    Published: Jan 1983

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    Quantitative estimates of attic insulation effectiveness are typically based on a system component analysis approach (that is, summation of tabulated thermal resistances or conductances for the individual components making up the system). This approach neglects degradation of insulation effectiveness by air infiltration, convection currents, densification, moisture content, or any other degradation factors normally present in the attic insulation environment. Consequently, valid questions may be raised regarding the true effectiveness of attic insulation; these can be resolved only through analysis of field data.

    We determined the effectiveness of attic insulation using actual energy consumption and weather data for 34 single-family residences in the Knoxville, Tennessee, area. For each residence, linear regression was used to determine the actual winter energy consumption rates for two years before and three years after the installation of attic insulation. Comparison of the preinsulation and postinstallation energy consumption rates confirmed the effectiveness of attic insulation. In addition, sufficient agreement between predicted and actual postinsulation consumption rates indicated that the insulation degradation factors had no gross effect and that estimates of heat loss through the ceiling based on the simple conductive heat loss model are adequate.


    attic insulation, insulation effectiveness, energy consumption analysis, insulation degradation effects

    Author Information:

    Scanlan, TF
    Metals and Ceramics Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tenn.

    Bayne, CK
    Computer Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tenn.

    Johnson, DR
    Metals and Ceramics Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tenn.

    Committee/Subcommittee: C16.16

    DOI: 10.1520/STP29466S

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