Your Top Radiant Barrier Questions, Answered
Radiant Barrier is a reflective insulation that is usually made of aluminum. Radiant Barrier insulation is installed in attics and inside of buildings, either alone or in combination with other types of insulation. Unlike some other common forms of insulation, Radiant Barrier requires a small airspace in order to be effective – typically, at least ¾ of an inch. Once installed properly, Radiant Barrier is extremely effective, blocking up to 97% of radiant heat transfer.
Radiant barrier is a unique insulation solution in that it reflects rather than absorbs heat, unlike traditional insulation. Heat never stays in one place; it is constantly moving from a warmer to a colder space. This happens through conduction (heat flowing directly through the wall, ceiling, or roof), convection (warm air rising as it heats up and expands) or radiation (heat rays radiating from a warm space to a cooler space, such as when your furnace or coffee mug gives off heat).
Regular forms of insulation only slow radiant heat loss – they cannot stop it. With its unique reflective properties, Radiant Barrier stops the vast majority of radiant heat loss in its tracks, keeping your space cool or warm at a reduced cost.
Unlike other forms of insulation, Radiant Barrier does not usually have a measured R-Value. Since Radiant Barrier is usually installed on top of existing insulation, where it reflects heat back to its source, the R-Value is not an accurate measurement of the energy savings that Radiant Barrier provides.
Since Radiant Barrier eliminates the radiation of heat, it is effective at preserving desired internal temperatures in both the summer and winter months. Insulating your home with Radiant Barrier prevents heat from radiating out to the cold outdoors in the winter. The reverse is true in the summer when the hot sun radiates heat down on the roof of a building. Radiant Barrier insulation installed in the attic will reflect the majority of heat back to its source, making your internal air conditioning more effective.
Scientific experts at a number of institutions have confirmed the reflective properties and effectiveness of Radiant Barrier, including the Florida Solar Energy Center at Cape Canaveral, the University of Mississippi, the Tennessee Valley Authority, Oak Ridge Laboratories in Tennessee, and Northeastern Illinois University. Analysis has found that Radiant Barrier prevents the radiant transfer of heat in both warm and cold conditions, with up to 97% effectiveness. In contrast, ordinary building materials performing under similar conditions only reflect around 10% of radiant heat.
The foil surface on foil-faced Fiberglass insulation is in contact with the floor in the attic, which raises the level of conduction. In contrast, Radiant Barrier makes use of an airspace, which helps reduce heat transfer.
No. Field testing has confirmed that the use of Radiant Barrier does not raise a roof’s temperature.
Yes! Radiant Barrier is easily installed alongside existing insulation. Installing Radiant Barrier with its strong reflective properties will raise the effectiveness of the insulation you already have.