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Increased house performance The research is ongoing, but the initial results indicate that there is an improvement in house performance. The overall energy reduction approaches 10 percent. There is one negative, though, the shingle temperatures tend to be 10-150F warmer during the hottest part of the day. This temperature increase will likely reduce the life of the shingles by a few years and there are some manufactures that may not provide a warranty. (Other types of roof coverings do not appear to suffer from the elevated temperatures.)

The sealed attic option is one that the builder, remodeler and homeowner should make if they are looking for an approach to move the duct work into a conditioned space, to find extra living area, and/or reduce air infiltration.

Air sealing challenges Any ceiling that is not easily accessible or has numerous levels, corners, soffits, intersections, etc. will most likely not be properly air sealed or insulated by conventional methods. The joints and connections of the framing members and sheathing products must be sealed to prevent air leakage. If not, these leakage pathways allow attic air to bypass the insulation and thereby greatly reduce its effectiveness.

In the South, air conditioning of interior spaces is accomplished with forced air systems that have duct work in the attic. In other words, all of our coolest air is first passed through the hottest space with a minimal insulation, typically R-4 (though some areas now require R-6). Not only is there an energy penalty, but also another problem may emerge: condensation on the ductwork. This results when warm moist air contacts the cool duct surfaces.

Nearly a dozen residential home builders have built houses with sealed attic spaces using soft spray foam insulation, such as The Icynene Insulation SystemŽ. One of the main objectives was to move the forced air distribution system into the conditioned space. These builders have found the sealed attic approach, using spray foam insulation, to be one of the easiest and most cost effective approaches.



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