Radiant Air Barriers

Fi-Foil Company

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8.5" x 11"
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Radiant Air Barriers

Download this free 3-part specification template to specify air barriers for exterior assemblies Fi-Foil Company.

When it comes to optimizing the energy efficiency and comfort of buildings, the importance of insulation cannot be overstated. However, there is a lesser-known but highly effective component called the radiant air barrier that can significantly enhance the performance of insulation systems. In this blog post, we will delve into the world of radiant air barriers, exploring what they are, how they work, and the benefits they offer.

Understanding Radiant Heat Transfer

Before we dive into radiant air barriers, let’s briefly touch upon radiant heat transfer. Unlike conductive or convective heat transfer, which rely on direct contact or movement of air, radiant heat transfer occurs through electromagnetic waves. Radiant energy travels in a straight line, heating any object or surface it encounters.

What is a Radiant Air Barrier?

A radiant air barrier is a reflective material that is installed in the building envelope to impede radiant heat transfer. Installed in attics, walls, and floors, providing an additional layer of thermal protection. Radiant air barriers are designed to reflect radiant heat, preventing it from entering or leaving the building envelope.

How Does it Work?

Radiant air barriers function by incorporating highly reflective materials, such as aluminum foils or metallic laminates, into their structure. These materials have low emissivity, meaning they have the ability to reflect a significant amount of radiant heat.

When installed properly, the radiant air barrier is positioned adjacent to an air space. The reflective surface faces the air space, effectively reflecting radiant energy back towards its source. This prevents heat from penetrating the barrier in hot climates and preserves warmth inside the building in cold climates.

Benefits of Radiant Air Barriers

  • Enhanced Energy Efficiency: By reducing the transfer of radiant heat, radiant air barriers help to stabilize indoor temperatures. This can lead to a reduction in heating and cooling costs, as the HVAC system doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain a comfortable environment.
  • Improved Comfort: Radiant air barriers prevent the infiltration of outdoor temperature extremes, ensuring a more comfortable indoor environment throughout the year. They help minimize hot spots in the summer and cold drafts in the winter, creating a more consistent and pleasant living space.
  • Condensation Control: In addition to their thermal benefits, radiant air barriers can also help prevent condensation within wall cavities or attics. By reflecting heat away from the building envelope, they minimize the chances of moisture buildup and potential mold growth.
  • Environmental Impact: The increased energy efficiency achieved through the use of radiant air barriers translates into reduced carbon emissions. By reducing energy consumption, these barriers contribute to a greener and more sustainable future.

Installation Considerations

When installing a radiant air barrier, it is crucial to ensure proper sealing and alignment to maximize its effectiveness. Careful attention should be paid to sealing any gaps or punctures in the barrier.  To prevent air leakage, which could compromise its performance.

Consulting with a professional insulation contractor or building scientist is recommended.  To ensure that the radiant air barrier is integrated seamlessly into the existing insulation system.


For assistance in the use of products in this section, contact Fi-Foil by calling 800.448.3401 or visit their website at www.fi-foil.com


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