Outside of recycling paper and reducing reliance on disposable plastics, your
home represents one of the biggest opportunities to protect the environment
and achieve an energy-efficient lifestyle. Indeed, a home’s building
envelope—that barrier between your living space and the outside world—is
where genuine “green building” exists. Reflective insulation (also known as
foil insulation) is essentially a barrier usually made from aluminum foil or
aluminized polyester. Much like other forms of insulation, reflective insulation
may help reduce energy costs by blocking the heat that radiates from the sun,
onto your roof, through your attic, and on into your living space. It is that
natural transfer of heat from the outdoors that causes your systems to work
harder and be less energy efficient. By blocking that heat gain in your attic,
reflective insulation will also substantially reduce the air temperature
surrounding your HVAC equipment and duct work.
Unlike insulation that is sprayed in or simply laid in place, reflective insulation
typically requires a ¾ inch airspace to be most effective. The insulation sheets
need room to “sag” along the surface to form little pockets between the
insulation and space to properly reflect and deflect. It is most effective when
kept clean and dust-free. The layer of still air itself gives it a degree of extra
insulation—provided it is still, otherwise it will be taking heat away through
Not only will building or retrofitting your attic with reflective insulation and high-
performance seaming tape help improve energy efficiency, but it also
increases HERS ratings, life expectancy of HVAC systems, and saleability.
5 Benefits of Reflective Insulation
1. Reflective insulation can block 95% of radiant heat and provides
superior thermal performance.
2. Reflective insulation reflects escaping heat back in the direction of your
home’s interior. By harnessing the loss it lowers your heating bills.
During the summer months, it reflects the heat away from your home to
lower your AC bills.
3. Sealing panels and properly taping them with an All-Weather Seaming
Tape or All Purpose Cold Weather Aluminum Foil Tape wards against
leaks and reduces radiant energy loss.
4. Wrapping exposed pipes with reflective insulation will abate potential
condensation issues caused by cold pipes and reduce the loss of heat
from hot ones.
5. Insulating your water heater with the same reflective material and tape
will enable the equipment to function more optimally.