The NASA space program developed radiant materials that would keep astronauts comfortable during space walks and would keep rocket boosters from being destroyed. This technology involves the capture and reflection of radiant heat. One of the best known comsumer adaptations is the space blanket that is a thin metal coated plastic. It is used by emergency rescue squads to preserve body heat. It works by reflecting your own body heat back to you. The same principle can be applied to your house to keep it warm in winter and cool in the summer.
NASA used existing radiant barrier technology to develop the space suits for astronauts, the paint for rocket boosters, the space station and rocket ships. The reflective surface would reflect body heat back to the astronauts and would reflect solar radiation away from them. This technology entered the consumer market as the space blanket.
More interesting uses come in the form of “reflective insulation” or a “radiant barrier” that can be added to new or existing insulation to improve its properties. Adding the double sided reflective material helps homes maintain an even temperature year round and cuts down on energy costs by between 25 and 40 percent. The reflective radiant barrier allows moisture to escape, cuts down on rodent nests while keeping out the heat in Summer and keeping in the heat in Winter. Adding or initially installing a reflective radiant barrier also qualifies for energy tax rebates.
Another way of adding radiant barrier technology to your home is by painting it. The insulating paint used by NASA is Marshall Convergent Coating-1 (MCC-1) which consists of “8-percent hollow spherical glass, 9-percent cork, and 83-percent epoxy” and is spray painted on the outside of the booster rockets. This MCC-1 provides a thermal reflective coating that protects the boosters from the heat from wind resistance and exhaust.
On the consumer side, the same properties of MCC-1 can be added to any exterior or interior paint in the form of Insuladd “in either the Additive Powder Form, or in Pre-Mixed Paints, Primers, and Roof Coatings.” Insuladd provides a ceramic heat reflective coating to any surface you paint it on. It also provides extra insulation improving the comfort of your home during extreme temperatures.
One of the best things about using either a reflective barrier sheet like the Long Attic Mirror and Eagle Shield Reflective Insulation, or reflective barrier paint like those with Insuladd, is that they save you money on heating and cooling bills and extend the life of your heating and cooling systems. All of these products are non toxic and eco-friendly.
Anyone who has ever used a space blanket knows that radiant barriers are not necessarily the same as insulation. Hence the need to continue to use your choice of insulation for your home. Adding the radiant barrier is like adding icing on the cake. It may taste good on its own, but the icing considerably improves it .