Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: What is radiant heat?
A: Radiant heat is one of the three ways that heat is transferred. It occurs when infrared rays cross air spaces from one surface to another. Examples are the warmth one feels from the sun and the heat given off by a wood stove. The other two modes of heat transfer are conductive (e.g., a stove burner heating a pot, heat moving through a solid or liquid material) and convective (heat moving through the air like steam rising off heated water). The primary mode of heat transfer in buildings is radiant; the other two come into play only when they interfere with the radiant mode.
Q: What is emissivity?
A: The emittance of a material refers to its ability to release absorbed heat. Scientists use a number between 0 and 1, or 0% and 100%, to express emittance. It is a measure of a material's ability to radiate absorbed energy. In general, the more reflective a material is, the lower its emissivity.
Q: What is a radiant barrier?
A: A radiant barrier is a material that has an emissivity of 0.1 or less and a reflectivity of 90% or greater (according to ASTM materials testing standards). A radiant barrier can effectively block the transfer of heat and is a popular choice for attic insulation. For example, a radiant barrier attached to the roof rafters in an attic will reflect the heat that builds up on the roof shingles on a hot day, keeping that heat from entering the attic space. A cooler attic will result in energy savings because of reduced air-conditioning requirements.
Radiant barriers typically come in sheets with a highly reflective surface on one or both sides, depending upon the application. A good radiant barrier blocks 94 percent of radiant heat transfer. Innovative Energy's R+HEATSHIELD offers outstanding control of radiant heat transfer in a wide variety of applications.
Q: What is reflective insulation?
A: Like a radiant barrier, reflective insulation is a highly effective barrier to the transfer of radiant heat. Typically, reflective insulation comes in sheets composed of polyethylene bubble film sandwiched between two layers of shiny metalized aluminum reflective film (for some applications, only one side is shiny; the other is non-reflective film). The middle layers of bubble film give the structure added strength and provide a thermal barrier against conductive heat transfer. For reflective insulation to block heat transfer, an air space is required. Mass insulations like fiberglass, cellulose and foam merely slow down the transfer of conductive heat; they do not reflect radiant heat away. The AstroShield line of reflective insulation products can be used in many applications as the single insulation source as well as together with other insulation products to make houses and buildings more comfortable and energy efficient.
Q: What is the difference between a radiant barrier and reflective insulation?
A: The main difference between a radiant barrier and a reflective insulation product relates to the manner of installation. Reflective insulations are typically installed within cavities that incorporate air spaces between the insulation and the cavity materials, as in a wall. Additionally, reflective insulation incorporates air spaces in the core material between the two reflective surfaces. Radiant barriers are typically installed with one reflective surface facing a large open air space, such as in an attic.
Q: If a building or house is already well-insulated, is there any benefit to using a radiant barrier or reflective insulation?
A: Yes, because insulation such as fiberglass, cellulose and foam merely slow down the transfer of heat, over time, heat can build up in the mass and conduct into the living space of a building. Conversely, a heated home in the winter can lose much of its heat off the insulation, especially through the ceiling. Radiant barriers and reflective insulation can be used instead of or in combination with many other forms of insulation to create an insulation system that will be more energy efficient, resulting in added comfort and reduced energy consumption and costs. When used in combination with other forms of insulation, the resulting assembly is known as a "hybrid insulation system."
Q: Are there places reflective insulation or a radiant barrier can be installed in an existing structure?
A: Yes, there are many places these products can be used to help lower energy consumption and costs, such as in an attic, around a water heater, as garage door insulation and in crawl spaces, just to name a few. To learn more about how our products can make many different types of structures more energy efficient, click on Industrial & Commercial, Residential & Do-It-Yourself and Agricultural.
Q: What are some other applications in which reflective insulation or radiant barriers can be used?
A: There are many applications aside from the building industry. Because our products are thin and lightweight, they are ideal for controlling temperatures in any space-constricted situation, such as insulation in RVs or inside machinery that requires temperature control in order to function properly. See how our products can be used by original equipment manufacturers by clicking on OEM.
Q:What is the best insulation for a pole barn?
A: Astro-Shield IS ideal for pole barn applications, providing insulation value and a vapor barrier to help reduce condensation.
Q: Can I install foil bubble insulation in an existing pole barn?
A: Yes, reflective insulation and radiant barriers are ideal for retrofitting existing buildings. Both are light weight and easy to install and will block 95 percent of the heat that strikes their surfaces.
Q: Will I notice a difference in my pole barn by installing foil bubble insulation?
A: When you install a reflective insulation or radiant barrier in a building, you will prevent radiant heat gain and heat loss by up to 95 percent. This will help keep the building warmer in the winter and cooler during the summer.
Used as insulated packaging material, our products not only provide excellent thermal performance for shipping or transporting temperature-sensitive items like food, candles and pharmaceuticals, they also help our customers save money on shipping and warehouse expenses because they are lightweight and less bulky than other forms of insulated packaging such as Styrofoam. Innovative Energy's InsulTote insulated packaging products are available in a variety of shapes and sizes; we can also custom-design packaging tailored to suit virtually any requirement.
Innovative Energy specializes in creating all kinds of products that control the transfer of heat; we develop tailor-made products for customers from a variety of industries. Click on Custom Solutions to learn more about how we can address your unique needs.