How Reflective Insulation Works

Heat flows from a hot or warm medium to a cold medium in three ways:

  1. By radiation, from a warm surface to a cooler surface through an air space
  2. By conduction through solid or fluid materials
  3. By convection, which involves the physical movement of air

Heat Flow by Radiation, Conduction and Convection

Radiation is the transfer of heat (infra-red radiant energy) from a hot surface to a cold surface across an air space or vacuum. All surfaces including those of a radiator, stove, a ceiling or roof and insulation radiate to different degrees. The radiant heat is invisible and has no temperature, just energy. When this energy strikes another surface, it is absorbed and increases the temperature of that surface. This concept can be understood with the following example: On a bright sunny day, radiant heat from the sun travels through a car’s window, strikes the steering wheel and is absorbed, causing it to become hot.

Conduction is the direct flow of heat through a material resulting from physical contact. A typical example of conduction would be the heat transferred from hot coffee, through the cup, to the hand holding the cup. Another example is when the contents of a kettle boils from heat transferred from the burner to the kettle. Also, a poker becomes hot from contact with hot coals.

Convection is the transfer of heat by air circulation or movement. Typical examples are forced convection: warm air rising from a heat register, free convection: warm air rising from a chimney, and finally, warm air rising from all of the hot surfaces of a radiator, furnace or wood stove.

Reflective Insulation & Radiant Barriers

Reflective insulation and radiant barriers have the ability to control the transfer of radiant heat in a variety of different applications including buildings, RVs and temperature-sensitive packaging.

Unlike mass insulation, reflective insulation is able to keep heat in and reflect heat away. Mass insulation material like fiberglass and foam merely slow down the transfer of heat; they do not reflect heat away, nor do they keep heat in.

Reflective insulation has the ability to control the transfer of radiant heat. In fact, Innovative Energy’s products reflect (block) 95 percent of radiant heat. Our products are ideal for:

  • Buildings & home insulation: Heating and cooling systems simply work more efficiently when reflective insulation is installed in key areas of a building.
  • Temperature-sensitive packaging: Keeps perishable and temperature-sensitive items safe in shipping and transportation; helps maintain food safety and quality for prepared food.
  • Insulation for RVs and fleet vans: Thin, light, reflective insulation and duct systems are ideal for efficiently heating and cooling small spaces.
  • Controlling heat transfer in just about any situation: Innovative Energy specializes in creating customized solutions for all types of applications.

Reflective Insulation Products

Among Innovative Energy’s line of reflective insulation products is AstroShield. Watch video below to learn how this reflective insulation product can block up to 95 percent of radiant heat.


If you have a need to control heat transfer, let Innovative Energy help. Contact us to find out how we can develop a solution to perfectly suit your needs.

Foil Insulation Films used by Deep Space Climate Observatory Satellite

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Deep Space Climate Observatory: DSCOVR was launched on February 11, 2015. DSCOVR will fly for 155 days, higher than most satellites, nearly one million miles from earth. It will locate to a position where the gravitational pull from the sun and Earth is essentially in balance, in order to stay within the Earth’s orbit.

DSCOVR will provide critical data for NOAA space weather forecasters to issue timely and accurate warnings of solar storms. Certain storms caused by solar emissions, disrupt our power grid infrastructure, telecommunications systems, and aviation and GPS satellites. DSCOVR is expected to provide an hour or more early warning of solar storms, giving those responsible for maintaining and protecting vulnerable technology the time needed to take appropriate action.

In addition to the space weather instruments, DSCOVR will carry two NASA Earth-observing instruments that gather ozone, aerosol, cloud, and vegetation measurements (EPIC) and changes in the Earth’s radiation budget (NISTAR).

Multi-layer foil insulation was used to protect its critical components from the thermal dangers of space. This high performing reflective insulation is being used to shield the satellite’s propulsion system, the Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) system, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology Advanced Radiometer (NISTAR) system.

Astro-Shield, AstroECO and Astro-Therm products from Innovative Energy are made from similar component materials Dunmore Corporation supplied to NOAA. Setting the standard in performance, reliability and durability, the films have a unique combination of electrical, thermal, chemical and mechanical properties that assures that Innovative Energy products set the standard in the reflective insulation industry.

“I’m proud to see thermal insulating metallizing films being used in such an exciting and important application,” said Bob Wadsworth, president of Innovative Energy. “Our clients don’t need protection to the extent of space travel, but their investments are just as critical.”

Follow the mission: http://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/DSCOVR/

Reflective insulation, radiant barriers pay off

Innovative Energy's AstroShield reflective insulation

With most of the U.S. still suffering from the record-breaking high temperatures, it seems only fitting to take a closer look at how reflective insulation and radiant barriers can help us keep cool and save money during the dog days of summer.

When radiant heat strikes the surface of a building the temperature of that surface increases as the radiant heat is absorbed. Mass insulation merely slows down the transfer of this heat to the interior of the building, but Innovative Energy’s reflective insulation and radiant barrier products feature highly reflective surfaces that can block up to 94 percent of radiant heat transfer. With this heat being reflected away from the building rather than absorbed, the amount of energy required to keep interior spaces cooler and more comfortable is significantly reduced.

Overall benefits of reflective insulation and radiant barrier products include:

  • Reduced energy consumption and costs
  • Improved interior comfort
  • Thin, lightweight products are easy and safe to install; no special equipment required
  • Products available for virtually any type of structure

Innovative Energy offers the most complete line of reflective insulation products — from products for the building industry to materials for OEM and packaging applications. With a wealth of technical expertise, Innovative Energy representatives are always available to direct customers to the products that best fulfill their needs and requirements.

For more information about Innovative Energy or reflective insulation products, call 800-776-3645 or visit www.insul.net.