Heat can be transferred from place to place by conduction, convection andradiation. Dark matt surfaces are better at absorbing heat energy than light shiny surfaces. Heat energy can be lost from homes in many different ways and there are ways of reducing these heat losses.
All objects emit (give out) and absorb (take in) thermal radiation, which is also called infrared radiation. The hotter an object is, the more infrared radiation it emits.
Infrared radiation is a type of electromagnetic radiation, which involves waves rather than particles. This means that, unlike conduction and convection, radiation can even pass through the vacuum of space. This is why we can still feel the heat of the Sun, although it is 150 million km away from the Earth.
Some surfaces are better than others at emitting and absorbing infrared radiation. This table summarises the differences.
Comparison of surfaces abilities to reflect and absorb radiation
Type of surfaceAbility to emit infrared radiationAbility to absorb infrared radiation dark, matt (dull) good good light, shiny poor poor
Light, shiny surfaces are also good reflectors of infrared…