The Minnesota Department of Commerce issued a consumer alert recently, encouraging Minnesota homeowners to think twice before installing radiant barriers in their attics. The Department’s Division of Energy Resources (DER) has received reports of salespeople pitching radiant barrier products in flyers and at free dinners throughout Minnesota. The Commerce Department wants all local consumers to know that radiant barriers are not an effective means to reduce heating or cooling loads in Minnesota homes.

Radiant barriers consist of a reflective film, usually aluminum installed over the top of attic insulation in existing homes. They are sold as an energy-saving product, with claims of significant reductions in both heating and cooling costs. However, their potential benefit is primarily in reducing air conditioning cooling loads in warm or hot climates — particularly in southern states