You're probably wondering what a Smart House Radiant Barrier is, let alone why it would be in your attic. It's the most cutting-edge version of home insulation, and using the technology -- along with other advanced home-building techniques -- can amount to a 50 percent increase in heating and cooling efficiency [source: Smart Houses].
In fact, the Smart House Program, a business venture started by Guaranteed Watt Saver Systems, Inc. and Smart House Consultants, often guarantees a ceiling on your energy usage each month.
The technology was first used to create an airtight Apollo spacecraft. Efficiency has much larger implications in space, where outside temperatures range from 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204.44 degrees Celsius) to 400 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (minus 240 Celsius) [source: Smart Houses]. The advanced seal kept the temperatures inside the vessel comfortable.
The main component of the technology, an aluminized heat shield, translates to highly efficient residential construction. The barrier keeps warm and cold air out -- along with water vapors -- and reflects 95 percent of the sun's radiant heat [source: NASA Benefits at Home].
Is your interest in NASA beginning to reach new heights? You're in luck -- we have lots more information below.
- Black and Decker. "Dusting Off a Bit of History." (March 10, 2011)http://www.blackanddecker.com/dustbuster/dustbuster_innovation/default.aspx
- Chang, Kenneth. "Space Tourism May Mean One Giant Leap for Researchers." The New York Times. Feb. 28, 2011. (March 6, 2011)http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/01/science/space/01orbit.html?_r=2&pagewanted=1&ref=science
- Consumer Home Recreation NASA Web site. "High Tech, Low Temp Insulation." (March 8, 2011)http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20020064734_2002103728.pdf
- Energy. "Smart Houses." (March 10, 2011)http://electra.ihmc.us/rid=1J205DDXJ-27ZRJZ9-1ZFZ/insulation.pdf
- Marshall Space Flight Center Web site. "At Home With NASA." (March 10, 2011)http://techtran.msfc.nasa.gov/at_home/home3.htm
- NASA Spinoff. "Forty-Year-Old Foam Springs Back With New Benefits." 2005. (March 8, 2011)http://www.sti.nasa.gov/tto/Spinoff2005/ch_6.html
- NASA Spinoff. "Home Insulation." 1994. (March 8, 2011)http://www.sti.nasa.gov/spinoff/spinitem?title=Home+Insulation
- NASA Spinoff. "NASA Podcasts" Aug. 25, 2008. (March 8, 2011)http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/podcasting/nasa360/nasa360-0101.html
- NASA Spinoff. "Spinoff Frequently Asked Questions." (March 8, 2011)http://www.sti.nasa.gov/tto/spinfaq.htm
- NASA Tech. "25 Years of NASA Tech Briefs." (March 10, 2011)http://www.nasatech.com/Features/timeline/timeline.html
- NASA Web site. "NASA Benefits at Home." July 29, 2004. (March 10, 2011)http://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/k4/features/F_NASA_Benefits_at_Home_prt.htm
- Nikon Web site. "Vol. 12. Special titanium Nikon cameras and NASA cameras." (March 7, 2011)http://imaging.nikon.com/products/imaging/technology/history/rhnc12ti-e/index.htm
- Otto, Sasjkia. "Apollo 11 moon landing: top 15 NASA inventions." The Telegraph. July 22, 2009. (March 7, 2011)http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/space/5893387/Apollo-11-moon-landing-top-15-Nasa-inventions.html
NASA's HiDyRS-X camera was built for rocket science tests. Learn more about the rocket camera in this HowStuffWorks Now article.