To best increase your energy efficiency, you should deal with the problem at its source, the roof, and the best way to address it is by adding a radiant barrier. A radiant barrier is specifically designed for this application and will reduce heat transfer by up to 97%. The radiant barrier will improve the air conditioning ductwork and the mass insulation performance. It will improve comfort in garages and patios, typically not conditioned areas.

Studies have shown that the radiant barrier/mass insulation combination outperforms mass insulation alone. Silver Shield™ radiant barrier is installed just below the roof sheathing. The idea is to stop the heat at the source, the roof, before it gets into the attic or building envelope.

Standard mass insulation is almost always installed on the surface of the ceiling, and air conditioning duct systems are almost always installed in the attic space. So, without a radiant barrier, the heat would build up in the attic and reach extreme temperatures upwards of 140 degrees.

Think about it: does it make sense to pump 55-degree air through ducts running through a super-heated attic? And does it make sense to expose insulation to extreme temperatures when the R-value rating is determined at 75 degrees, with the knowledge that the R-value rating drops as the temperature increases? No, of course not! Why let the heat get in the attic in the first place?

To summarize, adding a radiant barrier simply provides more benefits over adding more insulation (cooler attic, improvement in duct performance, improvement in ceiling insulation performance, and more comfortable home areas that are typically not insulated, like the garage and patio). If you have extra money in your energy budget, do both; however, the order is radiant barrier first, more ceiling insulation second.