Why Our Products/Why Low-E Insulation
Here at Environmentally Safe Products, we manufacture Low-E Insulation, the highest quality reflective insulation products on the market.
Reflective insulation is not to be confused with radiant barriers.
A radiant barrier is simply a foil or mylar product that reflects radiant heat. As a product, a radiant barrier has no inherent R-Value and it
cannot add R-Value to an existing system. It merely reflects. Like a radiant barrier, reflective insulation also reflects radiant heat.
However, reflective insulations also provide a thermal break and this is the key difference. A thermal break reduces the load of thermal
energy that transfers between conductive material. Simply put, it keeps the "hot side" from seeing the "cold side". Furthermore, as a product,
reflective insulations do have an inherent R-Value and will add R-Value to existing systems.
Heat Transfer and Energy Efficiency - There are 3 forms of heat transfer: Conduction, Convection and Radiation. Conduction is heat transferring through contact; think touching a stove. Convection is heat attaching to moisture and rising. Radiation is heat that is most commonly associated with the sun. One of the laws of thermal dynamics is hot goes to cold. People often know that heat rises (convection) which is true, but it isn't the whole story. Heat will migrate in all directions, horizontal, vertical etc. seeking to displace cold.
Residential electricity prices in the U.S. have risen from an average of 7.83 cents per kilowatt hour in 1990 to an average of 13.19 cents per kilowatt hour in 2021. Needless to say, consumer demand for energy efficient homes is at an all time high. Because of this, home owners are turning to reflective insulation as the solution. To understand why Low-E Insulation is the answer, it helps to understand the science behind it. Everybody knows about mass insulation (i.e. fiberglass, batt, blown-in) and is familiar with R-Value but not everybody knows what R-Value really means. R-Value is, by definition, resistance to conductive heat flow. This means mass insulation only slows down the transfer of heat by absorbing as much as it can. Eventually it can hold no more and will then release it. Remember earlier when we spoke about thermal dynamics and how hot goes to cold? In this case, where is it cold? Your nice conditioned living space. It's important to note that conduction only accounts for about 3-7% of heat gain and/or loss in a home. So what about that other 93-97%?
As per the chart below, you can see that the biggest culprit of heat gain and/or loss in a home is radiant heat. Here's where our products come into the picture. The "E" in Low-E stands for emissivity. Emissivity is measured in how much heat can re-emit through and out the other side of an object or building material. For example, asphalt shingles have an emissivity of .90 to .96, which means that 90-96% of the heat to hit the top side of a shingle will transfer through it. Low-E Insulation has an emissivity of .03, which means that only 3% of heat will transfer through it. Imagine how much more efficient your insulation system could be with Low-E products reflecting up to 97% of radiant heat before it even gets to your mass insulation!