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The History of Radiant Barriers

September 30, 2014


Radiant barrier insulation is quickly becoming a popular fixture in homes due to its efficiency in keeping out extreme temperatures, not to mention the money and energy it saves homeowners. Those interested in exploring the benefits of Green Energy Radiant Barriers might wonder where this technology came from; what’s the story behind the science?Similar attic insulation has actually been used in commercial and residential buildings since the 1920’s. In the 40’s and 50’s, a company called INFRA Insulation produced and sold reflective foil insulation designed to stabilize temperatures in the hot summers and freezing winters.The radiant barriers we know today actually developed out of original designs by NASA for the Apollo and Gemini missions. Scientists discovered that traditional insulation would need to be several feet thick to adequately protect astronauts. Recognizing this impossibility, they decided to look into alternative methods. The idea of utilizing a reflective foil material to insulate was born.A man named Clark E. Beck engineered the technology at NASA’s request in 1955 at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The thin aluminum created was able to reflect 95% of the sun’s radiant heat while also reflecting the astronauts’ body heat back at them to keep them warm. The material was lightweight and much more practical than traditional attic insulation designs, and engineers instantly recognized the potential of this new technology. Reflective insulation was then used in spacecrafts, equipment, and astronauts’ suits to protect them from thermal radiation and retain heat in the fluctuating extreme temperatures of outer space. Radiant barriers are still used in our aeronautical equipment today.In the years following this innovation, several companies began to market their own reflective foil insulation for consumer homes and businesses. They were met with opposition from large corporate entities that touted traditional insulative materials like fiberglass and cellulose. Radiant barriers were more affordable, lightweight, and effective--a huge threat to their product. They attempted to sway buyers away from reflective insulation, but engineers and architects continued to learn more about its advantages and incorporate it into their plans. The public became more confident in the science behind radiant barriers as more and more professionals supported them.Today, radiant barrier insulation in San Antonio is commonly used in homes, businesses, and government buildings. The U.S. Department of Energy recognizes radiant barriers as an effective, cost-cutting solution, especially in hot climates. This technology has certainly come a long way since its inception, but it has more than proved that it’s here to stay. For radiant barrier insulation in San Antonio, Choose Green Energy of San Antonio.