Installing radiant barriers, factors that impact effectiveness

Heat shield radiant barrier
R+HEATSHIELD radiant barrier can reduce energy costs of a building.

There are several important things commercial and residential building owners can do to reduce energy costs of a building or structure. When insulating a home or adding commercial insulation, it is critical to be sure to install the recommended amount of insulation. In many parts of the U.S., installing a radiant barrier can add significant resistance to the transfer of radiant heat coming from the sun.

A radiant barrier is usually installed on the underside of the roof, to help reduce the flow of radiant heat— the kind of heat transfer that you can feel, such as when the sun shines on your skin. Keeping radiant heat from entering the living space can significantly reduce the air conditioning load of the building as well as improve the comfort of non-conditioned structures.

Factors that impact radiant barrier effectiveness:

  • Climate: Areas that require a lot of cooling will provide the best return on investment
  • Attic insulation: As a general rule, the more insulation in an attic, the less effective a radiant barrier will be
  • Location of ductwork: Radiant barrier systems generate greater savings when HVAC ductwork is located in the attic
  • Installation of the barrier: Radiant barriers are subject to the same guidelines as all building materials – correct installation is required for maximum performance

Radiant barrier material costs tend to be low – around 19 cents per square foot – but installation can add anywhere from 35 cents to $1 per square foot on top of that. Owners should shop around and compare prices and reviews when selecting a contractor to perform the work. Your contractor should be able to supply you with results from tests conducted according to ASTM International that will verify performance of the radiant barrier you’ve selected.

Types of radiant barriers

  • Sheet radiant barrier, the most common type on the market, consists of a low-e, (emissive), highly reflective metalized film, laminated to one or both sides of a substrate that can be of another reinforced film, bubble film or foam. The product is most often stapled to the underside of a roof or across the rafters. Single-sided products should be installed with the reflective surface facing the interior (inside) of the attic. A floor installation requires a perforated product so as to not trap moisture in insulation underneath it. These barriers should only be installed on the floor as a last resort since dust accumulation over time will reduce their effectiveness
  • Interior radiation-control coating systems (IRCCS) are applied as a liquid to the underside of a roof with either a brush or sprayer and are ideal for oddly shaped roofs or attics. Consumers should expect an energy savings of 1 percent to 7 percent. Some IRCCS coatings are designed for exterior walls. While no standard exists for these products, payback will be affected by trees or other features that block the sun’s rays from the side of a home.
  • Reflective insulation consists of a core material with one or more outside layers of low-e metalized film. The core can consist of bubble films, foam or kraft sheets that entrap air spaces. When these products are installed in open applications like an attic, they are considered radiant barriers. When they are installed within cavities with air spaces on one or both sides of the material, they are considered reflective insulations. Reflective insulation products can be used along with other foam and mass type insulation materials to help achieve higher system R-values.

As with many products, independent claims for performance of radiant barriers can be exaggerated and it is important for customers to investigate claims that seem questionable. For radiant barriers and reflective insulation products, a good information resource is the Reflective Insulation Manufacturers International Association – www.rimainternational.org. You can also learn more by visiting our website at www.insul.net, or fill out our Simple Request Form to request a free quote or samples.

Take advantage of the Home Improvement Tax Credit

Home Improvement Tax Credit reinstated through 2013

Federal tax credits for energy-efficient home improvements were reinstated as part of the American Taxpayer Relief Act, which was signed into law Jan. 2 to avoid the “fiscal cliff.” The tax credits DO NOT expire until Dec. 31, 2013.

Our reflective insulation and radiant barrier products qualify for the Home Improvement Tax Credit. Find more details about the Home Improvement Tax Credit by visiting this page from the Alliance to Save Energy.

The following tax credits are available:

  •  10% of the cost of insulation materials and systems, excluding installation
  •  10% of the cost of qualifying exterior doors, windows and skylights, excluding installation
  •  10% of the cost of qualifying metal and asphalt roofs, excluding installation
  • $50 for an advanced main air circulating fan
  • $150 for qualifying natural gas, propane or oil furnace or hot water boiler
  • $300 for a highly efficient heat pump or heat pump water heater
  • $300 for a highly efficient central air conditioner or qualifying natural gas, propane or oil water heater
  • $300 for a biomass stove

Innovative Energy offers the most complete line of reflective insulation products — from building insulation products to materials for OEM and packaging applications. For more information, call 800-776-3645 or visit www.insul.net.

Innovative Energy employees raise funds for needy family

Innovative Energy donates items to local family in need
Innovative Energy donated needed items to local family coping with financial hardships.

Innovative Energy employees came together last week for the company’s Christmas party, which included a gift exchange, plenty of food and a silent auction. As it was last year, the goal of the silent auction was to raise money for a local family coping with financial hardships.

Everyone from the production workers and office staff to the executive directors and the company’s president took part in the silent auction. Many also donated additional funds after the auction ended. The funds were then used to purchase clothes and other necessary items for the children of the family as well as toys for the younger children. A $100 gift card to a local grocery store was also purchased.

This is the second year that Innovative Energy conducted a fund-raising silent auction as part of its company Christmas party. After last years’ event raised more than $600 to help a struggling local family, it was decided that such efforts should be a part of every Christmas party at Innovative Energy for years to come.

Innovative Energy has called the Northwest Indiana and Chicagoland area home since the company was formed in 1980. Its headquarters have been located in Lowell, Ind. since 1995. From reflective insulation and radiant barriers to temperature-sensitive packaging, the company has been a leader in developing energy-conserving products through reflective technology. For more information, visit www.insul.net.

Innovative Energy secures trademark on Arctic Package

Arctic Package RV insulation
Arctic Package uses R+HEATSHIELD radiant barrier to enhance the thermal performance of RV insulation.

It was about three months ago that Innovative Energy announced it was launching a program to support RV manufacturers who purchase its Arctic Package insulation. Now, as of mid-October, the Indiana-based manufacture of reflective insulation products has become the principal register of the trademark for Arctic Package.

“The popularity of the Arctic Package program within the RV industry is growing and the feedback we’ve received thus far is very encouraging,” said Eric Baker, executive director for RV & Technical at Innovative Energy. “Arctic Package offers the insulation RV owners need so, of course, RV manufacturers are going to have a strong interest in it.”

Arctic Package is an example of a hybrid insulation system whereby the performance of conventional mass insulation used in RVs is enhanced by the addition of R+HEATSHIELD radiant barrier. Innovative Energy plans to establish Arctic Package as a feature RVers come to recognize as a symbol of energy efficiency and comfort in RVs, while also establishing it as a feature RV manufacturers recognize as marketable.

For more information about the Arctic Package, contact Innovative Energy at 800-776-3645 or visit www.arcticpackage.net.

Reflective insulation is ideal for agricultural buildings

Agricultural building insulation
Reflective insulation makes a great choice for insulating livestock buildings.

Keeping farm animals comfortable with proper insulation is essential to making sure they stay healthy and productive. This is why reflective insulation and radiant barriers make great choices for insulating livestock housing – such as stables, poultry houses, and hog and dairy barns.

Not only will reflective insulation keep farm animals warm in the winter and cool in the summer, it can also improve natural lighting and increase the longevity of your building by reducing building condensation. Reflective products are lightweight, environmentally friendly and non-toxic, making them safe and easy to install.

Already have insulation in your building? Mass insulation material like fiberglass and foam merely slow down the transfer of heat; they do not reflect heat away, nor do they keep it in. Reflective insulation and radiant barriers can be used in combination with other forms of insulation to form a hybrid insulation system. This hybrid system will improve the efficiency of the building envelope since up to 94 percent of radiant heat transfer can be blocked with the addition of a reflective surface.

Learn more about installing reflective insulation and radiant barriers in farm and livestock buildings on the Agricultural Building Insulation page of our website, which includes installation guidelines and product specifications, or give us a call at 800-776-3645.