Homeowners in the Southern California desert areas such as the Inland Empire have a unique set of challenges when it come to making their homes as energy efficient as possible. Excessive temperatures and the architecture of desert homes create multi-level insulation issues that need to be addressed through a variety of solutions. We have a way to deliver an energy efficient desert home.
A Desert Home Energy Challenge
In 2015, ReHome Solutions met with a couple -Mr. & Mrs. Fletcher- who have a vacation home in a Palm Desert residential community. Both Mr. & Mrs. Fletcher built their careers working for a major utility company here in Southern California and are committed to finding ways to decrease energy usage and minimize their carbon footprint on the planet.
They initially called ReHome Solutions in search of insulation solutions. Their main concerns were a desire to decrease their energy usage and insulating their home against radiant heat coming into the home.
Mr. Fletcher describes summer in Palm Desert as “relentless” with days and days where the temperature stays above 90 degrees. Prior to meeting with the Fletchers, Mr. Fletcher had already measured the roof and ceiling temperatures. On an average summer day, the roof temperatures were as high as 160 to 170 degrees, with attic temps around 140 degrees and ceiling temperatures measuring 95 degrees. The rooms on the South and East side of the home also heated up in the afternoon. The radiant heat from the sun was entering through the roof and walls and into the home.
Part of the challenge was that areas of the home had high vaulted ceilings, while other areas had a flat roof, and some areas had little to no attic space. Traditional attic insulation alone would not solve this problem. This job would require a multi-level energy efficiency strategy to effectively lower the heat in the home.
The Energy Efficiency Solution
Here are the steps taken to make this desert home energy efficient:
- In the attic areas, Owens Corning L-77 insulation was blown in to the measure of R-38.
- Radiant Barrier was added to over 1200 SF of the attic space to help reflect radiant heat that was coming through the roof.
- Since wall insulation was not required by building codes when their home was built, wall insulation was added on the South and East facing walls that received the worst of the afternoon sun.
- The second phase of the project, Metacrylics, a reflective cool roof coating, was applied on the roof. The Fletchers had the standard white coated gravel roof as other homes in the community, but it required maintenance every three years or so. The Metacrylics application not only provided insulation to the home, it also resolved the continued maintenance problem as this product can offer up to a 30-year warranty depending on it’s application.
What were the results of these efforts? In the heat of the day, the roof temperature was decreased by 30-50 degrees, attic temps decreased, and ceiling temps were decreased by nearly 15 degrees. Overall, the home temperatures are more moderate, and the air conditioning does not have to be turned on until late in the day.
Can You Have an Energy Efficient Desert Home?
With the more manageable temperatures, the Fletcher’s were also able to reduce the size of their air conditioning unit. In total, the decrease in power usage in the home went from 75-kilowatt usage per day to approximately 40-45 kilowatt usage per day. That’s up to 40% less energy usage every day!
The Fletchers were so pleased with the results, they have referred other customers from their desert community and the list continues to grow. In the last two years ReHome Solutions has helped dozens of homeowners with their energy efficiency needs. By providing a comprehensive strategy of attic and wall insulation, radiant barrier and Metacrylic cool roof systems, ReHome Solutions is helping to cool homes across the Southern California desert.