Reflective Insulation

Reflective insulation is very distinct from most other forms of insulation. Typical insulation materials prevent conductive and convective temperature transfer. Reflective insulation, however, prevents temperature transfers through reflecting heat away.

Reflective insulation is particularly efficient in hot climate zones and areas that receive intensive sunlight. They are particularly efficient in buildings with air conditioning systems located close to the roof.

Components of a Reflective Insulation

Radiant barriers complement other insulation materials. Integrating reflective insulation to a building can reduce air conditioning costs up to 10 %, while the system requires no operation costs and reduced maintenance. It is a very cost-effective passive system of insulation.

Reflective insulation is based on radiant barrier technology. These are two-dimensional reflective surfaces that prevent the radiation of heat past it.

Usually, a reflective barrier is assembled integrating aluminium or other metal material on a backing plate. The backing plate is often made of cardboard, paper, plastic, or other material that also works as a thermal insulation material in its own right.

Uses of Reflective Barriers

In building insulation, reflective barriers are usually located in the attic of the building, or inside the ceiling. This is the most common way of preventing heat transfer. This way, the heat from sunlight does not enter into the building, and heat transfer is prevented. When attached to the attic floor, the barrier has the least impact during winters when it is cold anyway.

It is also possible to integrate the reflective barrier into the external material of the roof. In this case, the reflective material is integrated into the roof panels themselves.

There are also transparent coating agents meant to protect the glass. These barriers reduce the heat transfer from sunlight through windows. The barrier takes the form of a thin film that has aluminium particles in it. The particle content is low enough for the film to be transparent but high enough to reflect sunlight away from the glass surface.