How Does Reflective Insulation Work?

When you’re thinking about insulation options, there are several different methods, and finding the best choice for your application really comes down to understanding how each product works. Whether you’re talking foams, fiberglass, cardboards or shiny bubble wrap, each one works to insulate in a different way. Before we dive into products, lets first address that choosing which insulation is appropriate for you starts by understanding what type of heat transfer you are dealing with.

Okay, I promise not to over-do the science lingo here, but let’s cover how heat transfer works. There are three modes of heat transfer: conduction, convection, and radiation (infra-red). Of the three, radiation is the primary mode; conduction and convection come into play once matter interferes with the radiant heat transfer.

CONDUCTION: Conduction is direct heat flow through matter from actual physical contact. For example, an electric stove uses conduction to transfer heat to a pot resting on the surface, which is also conducted to your fingers when you make contact. The more contact, the greater transfer of heat. This movement of heat is always conducted from the hotter surface to the colder surface, never reverse. Generally, the greater density of an item, the better conductor it is; so inversely, the less dense the mass, the less flow of heat by conduction.

CONVECTION: Convection is the transport of heat within a gas or liquid. Think of a group of people in a tiny room. Their body heat will transfer to the air around them making the room feel hot. These warmed air molecules move in a general upward motion.

How does reflective insulation work?

RADIATION: The last and most prominent mode of heat transfer is radiation. Radiation is the transmission of electromagnetic rays through a space. Like radio waves, waves of radiant heat are invisible, and for this article’s purpose we will be referring to inferred rays only. Mostly everything emits infrared radiation, sending rays from their surface in every direction until they are absorbed or reflected by another surface. These rays have no temperature, only energy. When the rays strike another object, the rays are absorbed and only then do they create heat. The heat then transfers through the object by conduction and then new rays are emitted out of that object.

The amount of radiation emitted is a function of the emissivity (or rate at which radiation is given off) of the source’s surface. So, in plain english, an object (or surface) with low emissivity absorbs little rays, but rather has high reflectivity. Insulation layered with metalized film, like our Astro-sheild, has a low emissivity of 5%. This means it is reflecting approximately 95% of the rays that strike it. This high reflectivity is greatly reducing radiant heat from being transferred into the surface, intern working as effective insulation.

TRY THIS EXPERIMENT: Hold a piece of Astro-sheild reflective insulation close to your face without touching the surfaces. You will begin to feel the warmth of your own infrared rays being reflected back towards your face and being absorbed by your skin surface. While your skin and the insulation are both solid surfaces, the insulation has a low emissivity (5%) and your skin has an emissivity of 99%, so the rays are being absorbed by your skin and heat is conducting throughout the surface.

You can imagine how the same principles would apply as this effective insulation is implemented in a building or packaging application to help keep heat transfer to a minimum, and keep your space in a desired temperature range.

*Do you have a building that you’d like to keep cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter? Call us about using reflective insulation. 800-776-3645 or

*Do you have temperature-sensitive goods you’re worried about shipping? Call or email us about using InsulTote packaging to keep your goods safe during transit. 800-776-3645 or

Put Those InsulTotes to Work- Again!

InsulTote liners can keep your rotisserie chicken hot, or your ice cream cold, all the way home! Whether you ordered an InsulTote liner on your own, or received one in a temperature sensitive package you received, put it to work! You may know that the reflective insulation in InsulTote liners stop heat transfer and work to keep items cold or hot, but you might be missing an opportunity to reuse these handy little helpers. Reusing your shipping pouches and box liners will save you money, save your groceries, and help to save the planet. At Innovative Energy, we are committed to sustainability, and encourage you to take every opportunity to get the most out of your products.

We understand that this can require a tiny bit of effort to get into the new routine of carrying InsulTotes with you, but the benefits are so great that we want to help you get started!

Here are a few easy tips to help you remember to re-use your InsulTote liners and shopping bags (before you’re already in the checkout line).

  1. Color Coordinate- Place your InsulTote liners in your brightest colored shopping bag with your other re-usable bags; using the brightest colored bag to store them will make it easier to spot in the car, and harder to forget! They’ll all be in one easy-to grab-bundle. 
  2. Put them on your list!- Add “InsulTote liners” to the top of your shopping list so their on the brain before you head out the door.
  3. Reward yourself!- If you remember to take your InsulTote liner into the store, pick up your favorite frozen/refrigerated/hot treat! Ice cream bar? Pizza slice? Chocolate bar? Your treat may not make it home from the store safely without the help of your trusty InsulTote liner.
  4. Make InsulTote Pay!– Paperclip a little cash to the InsulTote liner when you’re done with it. Next time, if you remember to take the InsulTote in, use that cash for your treat. No bags, no treat! That’ll teach ya!
  5. Unload/Reload!- After unpacking your InsulTote liner and re-usable bags, immediately organize them into the brightest one and hang it on the door handle. This way you will remember to return them to the car the next time you leave the house. 
  6. Have back-ups!-No matter how good our intentions are, we are going to forget the InsulTote liners. Make sure you have a couple of extra InsulTote liners that live in your car (separate for hot and cold items. If you have a favorite trick for re-using your InsulTote liners, or tips to remember to take them into the store; please share with us on Facebook!

Pro Tip: If the tape on the InsulTote flap has seen better days, simply cut that flap off with household scissors. For short trips from the grocery store, you can simply fold the InsulTote liner over to keep closed. For longer trips, or to re-use them for shipping, you can use clear packing tape to seal them closed before shipping.

Innovative Energy Reflects Perseverance

Founders Mary and Robert(Bob) Wadsworth anchoring their (grand)daughter Whitney and husband Jonathon Hagarbome at an employee’s wedding, December 2018.

For over three decades, Innovative Energy, Inc. has been a leader in the reflective insulation industry, fearlessly steered by their own trailblazing leader. With Robert (Bob) Wadsworth at the front of the pack, I.E. has been delivering high-performance reflective insulation products to a growing market of energy conserving industries. From metal building insulation and HVAC materials, to custom packaging, I.E. has been your single source for reflective insulation products.

Bob started the company in 1980 after successfully constructing a solar-powered, year-round greenhouse at his farm in Indiana that peeked his interest in energy conserving products. He and his wife, Mary, began company operations at their farm and chose to make this their life’s work. Little by little, they pushed forward to develop several products and become well-known in the industry. By 1995, they had long outgrown the space the barns provided, and expanded to a plant in Lowell, IN. The company has grown to have several departments and provide nearly 50 jobs to the the local community.

Bob always cared for his business and his people very seriously. During the struggles of the market around 2008, he vowed not only to keep the doors of his small business open, but to do everything in his power to avoid a single lay-off. He persevered.

As the years went on, and the business continued to grow, Bob began to think of the future of the company, and who would carry on the mission after him. Nearing 81, he had considered selling many times, with demands that his employees be looked after. However, the idea of letting go always kept him from pulling the trigger. Bob lived to work. It gave him purpose. He felt responsible, and knew it kept him going. So, rather than retire, when the opportunity presented itself, he called in for reinforcement.

Bob Wadsworth and Jonathon Hagarbome at 2018 Holiday party.

After reconsidering his ideas about mixing family and business, Bob hired his son-in-law, Jonathon Hagarbome, to manage a new warehouse. After a few months of exemplary performance, Bob quickly promoted him to General Manger of the company. They were so different, and yet, two-of-a-kind in that they eat, sleep, and breathe this business. The two worked tirelessly, sharing an office and a home for over a year. Jonathon brought a new passion for success and eagerness to propel the company into the innovative ways of new business practices. He listened intently to learn Bob’s experiences and begin trusted relationships.

Just a few weeks after the company’s holiday party where the pair was smiling and handing out bonus checks together, Bob was unexpectedly admitted to the hospital. On January 20, 2019, his 81st birthday, he passed away.

I can tell you proudly that Bob’s last moments were still spent worrying about his company and his people, and that Jonathon was right there to fill him in and to push the company forward as they were feeling a little lost without their leader. “I wasn’t done learning from him,” Jonathon says of their time working together. Luckily, once again, Innovative Energy will persevere.

While the change came quicker than expected, Jonathon is confident about the future of the company. Moving forward as the new President, Jonathon plans to provide high-quality products with incomparable customer service. He takes the reputation of this company seriously, especially because it is tied to his family. Along with raising business standards, Jonathon is devoting attention to the culture and systems within his team in hopes that Innovative Energy will also develop a reputation for being the area’s best place to work.

We will certainly never be the same, but we will push forward to success.

Worrying is the Worst: How to Protect Your Shipment with InsulTote

Shipping your products is serious business. We understand that when your customer opens their package, that first impression can last a lifetime. That is a lot of pressure riding on a situation that sometimes feels out of your control, and it can be a real source of stress.

Luckily, we take this seriously too. Melted, spoiled, or mushy products are just not acceptable. We want you to feel confident that your temperature-sensitive products will arrive in good condition, and create a lasting image of quality and care. So, let’s take some of that control back! In this video, you will learn a few quick steps to ensure you are getting maximum performance from your InsulTote reflective insulation packaging. That way, you can seal up your precious cargo and send it on its way, knowing you have taken extra care for your care of your customers.


  • You can save money by using an InsulTote Pouch instead of a box liner
  • Slide fitted InsulTote box liner or pouch into your shipping box
  • Pack products in first
  • Add appropriate refrigerant on top (If you need help figuring out what method works best with your product, give us a call, or email, and we’re happy to help you through it. 800-776-3645,
  • Remove tape covering and gently press out remaining air
  • Create air-tight seal for best performance
  • Tape up and ship out with confidence!

If this is all new to you and you have more questions about how to protect your products from temperature changes during shipments, our packaging expert is always willing to lend advice and share experiences on how InsulTote has worked best for similar products. Call or email us today so you can get started on a solution for your stress! 800-776-3645

Read more and order HERE!

Preview Trade Show Banners

We have trade shows throughout the year and part of our booth display includes banners. Check them out below! View larger size by clicking on image.

Innovative Energy 2016 Trade Show Banner
Innovative Energy 2016 Trade Show Banner

InsulTote 2016 Trade Show Banner
InsulTote 2016 Trade Show Banner

Visit for your reflective insulation needs or visit for your insulated shipping needs.