radiant barrier:

Technology that blocks radiant energy from entering a building

The summer routine: Start the ignition, reach for the air-conditioning controls and crank up the fans to subzero temperatures. But it's still too hot to hang on to the steering wheel. The sun pierces your windows, and your steering wheel absorbs its radiant energy, waiting for your fingertips to sizzle. Imagine that same energy beaming into your attic's ceiling and filling your home's head space with 100-plus degree temperatures that warm your air-conditioning ducts, sending your thermostat into hyperdrive to cool down your home-sized microwave. Sound familiar? Thanks to radiant barriers, homeowners have the option to reflect the sun's attic-bound energy, thus reducing the stress on your A/C unit — and your wallet. With our region's particular brand of summertime heat, radiant barrier technology draws attention from as far as the other side of the world (Japanese businesses have struck an interest) and as close to home as businesses like Green Bean Insulation, which offers radiant barrier installation to Louisiana homes and businesses. — Alex Woodward