One of the least expensive, and most cost-effective improvements that you can do for your home, is using technology that came from space…

Okay not exactly from space, but space has a lot to do with the story. Reflective insulation, which is what we call our energy shield radiant barrier, can be used in various ways. This radiant barrier has a history that spans several decades. 

Radiant Barrier Development:

The concept of reflective insulation emerged from scientific research and development in the field of materials science and thermal engineering. During the early years of space exploration, NASA faced the challenge of protecting spacecraft and astronauts from extreme temperature fluctuations in outer space. In space there are extreme heat temperatures up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit, and cold temperatures as low as negative 100 fahrenheit. The only way to keep them safe from the harsh atmosphere was to upgrade their space suits.

NASA scientists and engineers developed lightweight materials with reflective properties to control heat transfer. These materials helped regulate temperatures inside spacecraft and inspired advancements in insulation technology.

The concept of radiant barriers as insulation emerged from the understanding of heat transfer mechanisms. Researchers recognized that a significant portion of heat transfer in buildings occurred through radiation, where heat is transferred via electromagnetic waves. To combat this, reflective materials were developed to reflect radiant heat waves and reduce heat gain or loss.

Material Selection and Design:

Aluminum, known for its excellent reflectivity, became a primary choice for creating radiant barriers. Thin layers of aluminum foil or metallized films were incorporated into insulation products to maximize the reflection of radiant heat. Multilayer designs with air gaps were also developed to enhance the thermal performance of the insulation.

Today, you often hear the term “attic foil.” Be warned that a reflective energy shield radiant barrier is not the same thing.

 Our reflective energy shield barrier is the same design that was engineered by NASA, and has the qualifications and durability: 

  1.  Applications in Building Construction: Reflective insulation found its initial applications in specialized areas such as space stations, satellites, and aerospace equipment. However, the potential benefits of radiant barriers for building energy efficiency were soon recognized. Reflective insulation began to be used in homes, primarily in hot climates, to reduce heat gain and improve energy efficiency.  
  2.  Adoption and Advancements: Over time, the use of reflective insulation expanded as its effectiveness and benefits became more widely recognized. Building codes and energy efficiency standards started incorporating provisions for reflective insulation. Continued research and technological advancements led to the development of improved materials, including low emissivity (Low-E) coatings, which further enhanced the performance of radiant barriers.  

Today, reflective insulation is used in various applications, including residential and commercial buildings, agricultural structures, and industrial facilities. It helps to reduce heat gain in hot climates, prevent heat loss in colder regions, and improve overall energy efficiency.

In conclusion, reflective insulation, or radiant barriers, emerged from the need to regulate temperatures in space missions and evolved as a result of research and development in materials science and thermal engineering. While no single inventor can be credited with its invention, the contributions of NASA's space program, scientific research, and advancements in material design have collectively shaped and refined the concept of reflective insulation.