A very common question is what actually is a Radiant Barrier and how does it compare to standard insulation? Radiant Barrier insulation is a reflective insulation system that offers a permanent solution to reduce your energy costs. The best type of radiant barrier system is a very thin, lightweight, but surprisingly durable material comprised of 99% aluminum foil, which will reflect 97% of the radiant heat coming into the attic. It reduces the loss of heat in the winter through the roof and keeps heat out of your attic in the summer. It is also very effective in reducing radiant heat loss or gain from the walls as a house wrap.
Radiant barriers were originally developed by NASA to protect spacecraft and astronauts from the extreme temperatures in space. Since then, the product has undergone extensive research and development and is now available for residential, commercial, and industrial use to help homeowners and businesses reduce their energy costs and protect the environment.
EnergyAttic Radiant Barrier insulation systems reflect radiant heat energy instead of trying to absorb it like a traditional insulation. EnergyAttic Radiant barrier is a layer of foil facing an airspace that is installed in the envelope of a building. The best installation method is stapling it to the rafters, which leaves airspace to allow for adequate airflow in the attic and to enhance the properties of the radiant barrier system.
Most people are familiar with traditional insulation materials such as fiberglass, cellulose, Styrofoam, and rock wool. These products are used to absorb or resist (slow down) heat transfer of conductive or convective heat. The most dominant form of heat transfer is radiant heat transfer. A 99% aluminum radiant barrier most effectively stops radiant heat. Radiant barriers reflect heat instead of trying to absorb it.
During the winter 50-75% of heat loss is through the ceiling/roofing system and 65-80% of heat loss through the walls is radiant. During the summer, 93% of the heat gain in your attic is from radiant heat.
If you are depending on standard insulation (R-Value or resistance) alone against heat gain and loss, remember that thin layers of fiberglass are virtually transparent to radiant heat energy and are affected by humidity. A 1 1/2% change in the moisture content of fiberglass insulation will result in a 36% decrease in performance (referenced from HVAC Manual 10.6 McGraw-Hill). A pure aluminum barrier is unaffected by humidity and will continue to perform at a consistent level no matter how humid it may be. The product we use in your attic is perforated to allow proper ventilation of the product as well.
By installing EnergyAttic Radiant Barrier in your attic, you can reduce the heat loss in the winter and the heat gain in the summer, increase the efficiency of your current insulation, make your home feel more comfortable, and save up to 40% on your energy costs.