For more than 30 years, Fi-Foil Company has provided sustainable, high-performance reflective insulation products and systems. Our Emerging Product Category of thermal barriers, air barriers and frame wall insulation systems provide new, innovative, hybrid solutions for your building envelope, while our Mature Product Category of masonry wall insulation, metal building insulation, insulation facings and radiant barriers, help you achieve more cost-effective, energy efficient buildings.
As building envelopes are getting tighter, building scientists, energy centers and research organizations are suggesting that insulation products and facings used in hot humid climates have higher perm ratings for increased water vapor transmission. Fi-Foil's Hi-Perm versions are designed to meet or exceed these recommendations.
A reflective insulation below the roof deck results in an interior surface temperature that is greater than the outside temperature (in cold weather). As the inside surface temperature increases, the conditions for condensation become less likely to occur.
Condensation will occur on any surface when the temperature of the surface is at or below the "dew-point temperature" for an air-water mixture. The dew-point temperature depends on the dry-bulb temperature (measured with an ordinary thermometer) and the relative humidity in the space next to the surface. The dew-point temperature is less than or equal to the dry-bulb temperature. The two temperatures are equal when the relative humidity is 100%. Some examples of dew-point temperature:
As you can see, condensation can occur when the outside temperature is cold. Insulation below a roof deck will have an inside surface temperature that is above the roof surface temperature. The actual temperature of the inside surface depends on the amount of thermal resistance between the roof and the inside surface. The higher the resistance, the closer the interior surface temperature will be to the inside air temperature. Maintaining a reasonable inside relative humidity (less than 60%) is an important factor in preventing condensation.
Yes, but it is a lot more costly due to labor. The time to consider it is in the new construction phase. There are many other energy upgrades, such as additional blown or batt insulation that can be easily added at a later date if current budget is a factor.
No, they work with or without ventilation but will perform better in ventilated attics. According to the building code, all attics in Florida must be vented.
Extended Version: Studies have shown that with or without a radiant barrier, a ventilated attic is best and the same holds true for a radiant barrier. A house will perform better with a radiant barrier and a ventilated attic than a house with a radiant barrier and a non-ventilated attic. Houses must be designed to meet the building code, which has ventilation requirements with or without a radiant barrier. In both cases, it is the ventilation rate that is important, not the method or type of ventilation.
Radiant barriers reduce heat gain (in the summer) and heat loss (in the winter), so it will benefit both winter and summer savings and comfort. In the summer, heat is reflected back to the outside and in the winter, heat is reflected inwards.
R-values relate more to mass type insulations or insulating materials that are installed in an enclosed air space. Radiant barriers are typically designed to work in vented attics, so their performance is not rated with an R-value; however, R-values are not the ONLY way to quantify resistance to heat flow. For example, a tree or an awning doesn't have an R-value, but it certainly can keep you cool. To simply put it, a radiant barrier is like putting a shade tree in your attic. Technically speaking, Silver Shield™ Radiant Barrier reflects 97% of the radiant heat and only emits 3% into the attic so unlike R-value, the lower the "E-value", or the less that it radiates into the attic, the better the radiant barrier. Silver Shield™ is the best-rated radiant barrier on the market.
Various studies including those conducted by the Florida Solar Energy Center have concluded that it would be highly unlikely. In the Sunbelt and specifically Florida, shingles are exposed to roof temperatures of 160 to 190 degrees. Studies have proven that radiant barriers only increase roof temperatures by 2 - 5 degrees. A few degrees more won't make a difference.
To best increase your energy efficiency, you should deal with the problem at its source, the roof, and the best way to address it is by adding a radiant barrier. A radiant barrier is specifically designed for this application and will reduce heat transfer up to 97%. The radiant barrier will improve the performance of both the air conditioning ductwork and the mass insulation and will improve comfort in garages and patios, areas that are typically not conditioned. Studies have shown that the radiant barrier / mass insulation combination out-performs mass insulation alone. Silver Shield Radiant Barrier is installed just below the roof sheathing. The idea is to stop the heat right at the source, the roof, before it gets into the attic or building envelope. Standard mass insulation is almost always installed on the surface of the ceiling, and air conditioning duct systems are almost always installed in the attic space. So without a radiant barrier, the heat would build-up in the attic and reach extreme temperatures, upwards of 140 degrees. Think about it, does it make sense to pump 55-degree air through ducts running through a super-heated attic? And does it make sense to expose insulation to extreme temperatures when the R-value rating is determined at 75 degrees, with the knowledge that the R-value rating drops as the temperature increases? No, of course not! Why let the heat get in the attic in the first place? To summarize, adding a radiant barrier simply provides more benefits over adding more insulation (cooler attic, improvement in duct performance, improvement in ceiling insulation performance, more comfortable areas of the home that are typically not insulated like the garage and patio). If you have extra money in your energy budget, do both; however, the order is radiant barrier first, more ceiling insulation second.
In a home without a radiant barrier at the roofline, your roof radiates solar-generated heat, which elevates attic temperatures upward to 150 degrees or higher. These higher temperatures will increase the heat gain in air conditioning ducts and reduce the performance of mass insulation (the R-values of mass insulation are determined at 75 degrees F - higher temperatures lower the R-value). In addition, the extreme temperatures will saturate the building materials in the attic. This stored heat acts as a heat sink and will continue to transfer heat into the living area of a home even after the sun has set, making the air conditioner run longer and consume more electricity. A radiant barrier stops 97% of radiant heat transfer, which improves the performance of insulating materials and lowers attic temperatures as much as 30 degrees F. A cooler attic will transfer less heat into your air conditioning ducts. Radiant barriers lower both cooling and heating costs, reducing energy expenditures throughout the year.
A radiant barrier is a product that features a low emittance surface(s) (normally aluminum foil) that is designed to significantly reduce heat transfer between a very hot and high radiating surface (bottom of a roof deck) and a cooler highly absorbent surface (i.e. insulation on top of a ceiling). Multiple low emittance surfaces, even multiple layers with enclosed air spaces, can further reduce radiant heat transfer. Effective emittance is one term that can quantify the impact of the impact of the additional surfaces. In summary, the lower the emittance (radiation rate), the better the performance. Radiant barriers have been demonstrated to achieve significant energy savings in a wide variety of building types and in multiple climate zones.
Reflective insulation has little effect on heat transfer by conduction through the air between hot and cold surfaces. Air with an R-per-inch of 5.6 is an excellent insulator when radiation and convection are controlled. The installation of reflective insulation in an enclosed space reduces thermal radiation to near zero. When the reflective insulation is installed to subdivide an air-filled region then convection is also reduced.
Hy-Fi is the hybrid insulation system combining spray foam insulation with VR Plus Shield Reflective Insulation. This system defends against all forms of heat transfer at a reasonable price.
These roofs are excellent reflectors of solar reflectance when new but over-time, as they age and get dirty, the reflectivity is lowered. Radiant barriers would still reduce whatever heat flow that penetrates the roof surfaces by the same percentage - there is just less heat coming through these types of metal roofing materials vs. a shingle roof. As the metal roof ages, and the metal reflects less solar radiation, the radiant barrier has a greater impact on energy savings.
Reflective insulation is one or more low emittance surfaces installed in an enclosed air space. The more layers within the air space, the better the performance. Reflective insulation in a wall system can be compared to a double or triple pane window with low-e surfaces. Triple pane windows with low e surfaces perform better than a triple pane window without low e surfaces because of the reduction of radiation (low emittance) across the air spaces.
Air inherently has an R-per-inch value of 5.6, and is an excellent insulator when radiation and convection are controlled. The ASHRAE Handbook has tables with values for various enclosed air spaces (0.5”, 0.75”, 1.5”, 3.5”, etc.) with high emittance surfaces (0.82 for common building materials) and values for air spaces with low emittance surfaces facing the enclosed air space (0.05 for low emittance materials like aluminum). Simply put, adding a low e material makes the enclosed air space perform better. A multilayer reflective insulation system in a wall cavity improves this system by further reducing radiant heat transfer and adding additional “panes”, a two layer reflective insulation could be compared to a double paned window; a three layer to a triple pane window, and so on..
The installation of reflective insulation in an enclosed space reduces thermal radiation to near zero. When the reflective insulation is installed to subdivide an air-filled region then heat transfer by convection is also reduced. Fi-Foil has single layer, two layer, three layer and even honey-comb layer reflective insulation products for various building applications, each with different performance levels and attributes for the particular application. These products also work very well with other types of mass insulation as hybrid systems by using the best attributes of each of the technologies (e.g. spray foam is great for air sealing and can have a high R--value per inch of thickness -- fiberglass and cellulose is an inexpensive material to reduce convection in the cavity). In some wall systems, especially wall cavities larger than 1.5”, a combination of reflective insulation with one or more of these mass insulation products, addresses all the modes of heat transfer -- often more cost effectively than one of the technologies used alone.