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Soleil (“So-Lay”) Insulation

Definitions, and How this Revolutionary Insulation Technology Works

Opaque radiation-resistant Soleil insulation, U.S. patent #9,982,430 B2, doubles the heat resistance of conventional insulation by employing reflective and Low-E [Emission of heat energy or E-value] technology, which requires air spaces adjacent to both sides of a radiant barrier [a very thin, metalized material]. The front air space enables the radiant barrier to both reflect and evacuate much of the radiant heat energy [electromagnetic heat energy waves] within heated air, preventing much of it from converting to conduction [heat absorption by the excitement of molecules within adjacent solid materials], which occurs when radiant heat energy waves contact a solid surface. A portion of the radiant heat, which would otherwise excessively pass through wall or roof, is resisted by the back air space, inducing re-radiation, [conductive heat energy, after passing through a solid material, converting back into radiation or radiant heat energy when encountering air]. Soleil Insulation Inc. anticipates receiving its E.U. patent in 2019.

Soleil insulation's radiant barrier, adjacent to its exterior air space, reflects radiation back towards the heat source, mirroring heat as a common mirror reflects visible light. Without an adjacent space, no material can reflect. The exterior air space also vents radiant heat and damaging moisture away from a structure when the outside temperature exceeds the inside temperature. Conversely, when those temperatures, and thus the airflow, reverses, Soleil insulation also reverses automatically with the interior air space reflecting radiant heat back into the building, and, with its vent closed, the exterior space inhibiting radiation. Soleil’s radiant barriers are sealed to prevent their contamination and to prevent moisture penetration.

Soleil insulation technology would very effectively augment, rather than replace or seriously disrupt, existing insulation.

The Problem

One half of the 22% of total U.S. electricity consumption used to cool and heat buildings is wasted and polluting unnecessarily. Conventional insulation for opaque walls and roofs – fiberglass, foam sheeting, and structural insulated panels (SIPs) – are graded and code-regulated solely by their R- [Resistance to heat] Value, the only measurement used by building codes to measure resistance to the conduction of heat through opaque walls and roofs. R-Value only measures heat resistance to the adjacent outside air [ambient] temperature, but cannot measure resistance to solar radiant energy, which often superheats wall and roof surfaces to more than 50° F degrees higher. Nearly all of this additional radiant heat, which is addressed and eliminated by Soleil insulation, passes nearly unobstructed through conventional insulation into the building interior.

Before building codes can require the higher insulation standards that Soleil technology makes possible, a protocol other than R-value is needed to measure its resistance to heat. R-value, introduced during World War II, is a reasonably accurate measurement of heat absorption by insulation and other materials; however, since conventional insulation cannot reflect, vent or resist radiant heat energy, R-value was never intended to measure such resistance. Fifty years later, with the development of modern Low-E glass curtain walls and windows that reflect and resist radiant heat energy, a different technology became necessary to measure it. Because of the 21st century introduction of insulation reflecting, venting and resisting radiant heat energy, and the fact that 75% to 85% of most low-rise buildings have opaque external surfaces that cannot resist radiant heat, Soleil technology likewise requires a different measuring protocol. (See “Code Recommendations” on our Technology Page). Opaque building insulation generally in use today and the R-value measuring it, both essentially unchanged since the 1940’s, are obsolete and unable to address today’s climate goals.

The Solution

Soleil insulation can economically cut in half the electricity required to heat and cool both new and existing buildings. In the mid-1980s Michael Leonard began to install early forms of Soleil insulation, employing standard materials, within walls and roofs of new buildings in the Washington, D.C. area. He continued to install more advanced and cost-effective versions of Soleil insulation, reflecting and resisting more than 97% of superheating caused by solar radiation, which passes through conventional insulation almost unobstructed. To date only Australia’s building codes credit resistance to solar radiation. U.C. Berkeley endowed physics chair Professor Paul Wright stated: Soleil insulation is to conventional building insulation as Tesla is to the Model T.

In addition to saving energy, blocking moisture-causing mildew, mold and dry rot, and reducing fiberglass enervation, Soleil insulation can:

  1. Reduce manufacturing, construction, maintenance and replacement costs with smaller, more efficient heating and cooling systems, reducing branch ducting diameters to between two and four inches;
  2. Extend the useful life of insulation several fold;
  3. Reduce expansion and contraction of building materials, thus extending their useful life;
  4. Convert vented surplus heat into usable energy;
  5. Be economically installed in existing buildings without government subsidies;
  6. Greatly reduce environmental impact; and
  7. Reduce the demand and need for new power plants and their costly transmission lines.

Michael Leonard started constructing and retrofitting buildings with early versions of Soleil insulation in the Washington D.C. area. In 2004 Leonard built the below house in brutally cold and stifling hot Keyser, West Virginia with precursor of Soleil insulation augmenting conventional insulation. It consumes 1/3 less cost per square foot for cooling and heating than most homes currently being built, costing only $0.013 per square foot per month.

Soliel Insulation Prototype House

Five engineers with the California Energy Commission and California Building Standards Commission, who viewed a Company demonstration of Soleil insulation, recognized the potential energy savings and moisture elimination that can be achieved with this technology, and expressed the necessity of its building code inclusion with incentives for its use as soon as possible. (See “Code Recommendations” on our Technology Page).

Soleil technology could be effectively and cost-efficiently available and installed now with standard materials and installation in ¾ inch boards or rolls. It could begin saving enormous amounts of energy and expense as soon as public and professional awareness can be generated.

In addition to buildings, Soleil insulation also has many potential industrial, commercial, transportation and defense applications.