Radiant Barrier

Radiant Barrier

  • HOW DOES IT WORK?
  • WHAT ABOUT INSULATION?
  • QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
How does a Radiant Barrier reduce energy costs?
Heating and cooling costs are a very large portion of your energy bill. The most effective way to cut these costs is to lower the amount of heat transferred into your home in the summer and out of your home in the winter. Heat is transferred in three ways: radiation, conduction, and convection. All heat transfer begins with radiation. Infrared rays or heat waves are radiated in a direct line from any heat source whether it be the sun, a fire, or the electric element of a space heater. These heat waves are either reflected or absorbed by any object that they come in contact with. If they are absorbed, the process of conduction (heat passing through solid materials) or convection (heat movement by air currents can occur.) Your roof, insulation, walls and ceiling are all materials that absorb and conduct these heat waves.

Radiant Barrier which, when simply laid on top of existing ceiling insulation, helps reduce heating and cooling bills, extend the life of heating and cooling systems, and increase the comfort level of a home.

Radiant Barrier consists of two sheets of 99.5 percent industrial grade aluminum adhered together and tri-laminated to a thermal break to create a two-sided reflector. It cuts heating and cooling costs by lowering the amount of heat transferred into a home in the summer and out of a home in the winter.

The Radiant Barrier Reflective Insulation technology used was developed by NASA over 40 years ago to protect astronauts in the Apollo program from temperatures that ranged from 250 degrees above zero to 460 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. Radiant Barrier Reflective Insulation has been applied to every spacecraft since then, including unmanned spacecraft with delicate instruments that need protection from temperature extremes. The same technology is also applied to astronaut's space suits, protecting them during space walks.

Since the 1970's private industry has had the opportunity to apply Radiant Barrier Reflective Insulation technology to various commercial applications. This NASA technology has been applied to energy conservation techniques for home and offices, and even specialty applications such as candy wrapping, thermos bottles, coolers, windshield covers for automobiles, fire suits, space blankets for forest rangers and fire departments, race cars, air conditioning and heating units and ducts, boilers, water pipes, poultry farms, survival blankets, and refrigeration trucks to name a few.
How does it work?
Radiant barrier is made with two sheets of aluminum adhered together to create a two-sided reflector. When installed directly on top of your insulation, heat waves put off by your roof decking in the summer are reflected by the radiant barrier before they have the opportunity of being absorbed by your ceiling insulation, thus keeping your home cooler. In the winter, the radiated heat waves from within your home are absorbed by your ceiling and conducted up through your insulation into your attic. In this case, the down-facing side of the radiant barrier reflects the radiant heat waves emitted from your insulation back down toward your living area instead of allowing them to simply escape into your attic. This process eliminates heat loss through your ceiling, thus saving you dollars. Radiant Barrier is also perforated with tiny holes that allow moisture to pass through so it doesn't create a moisture barrier for your existing insulation.
What about insulation?
Insulation is designed to absorb heat passing through your ceiling. Radiant Barrier reflects rather than absorbing heat. In fact, insulation with no radiant barrier can be a detriment during the cooling season because after absorbing heat during the day, it can continue to conduct that heat into your home throughout the evening.
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