Metal Architecture Home

Affordable Warehouse Solution

Insulation increases comfort, productivity and aesthetics

Fi Foil Case Study Jan18
Thermal imaging of a building partially installed with RetroShield (as shown on the left-hand side) is evidence of the significant results experienced in metal building facilities. RetroShield has reduced the transfer of energy versus the portion without it (as shown on the right-hand side). The results are temperature readings at 78.9 degrees when using RetroShield versus 102.8 degrees without it. Thermal imaging shows a 23 percent temperature improvement when using the Fi-Foil RetroShield System.

New or existing metal building provisions can support greater energy efficiency with the use of reflective insulation applied to ceilings and walls of the interior. And, Auburndale, Fla.-based reflective insulation manufacturer, Fi-Foil Co. Inc., has a solution that stands apart—helping architects, specifiers and building owners—improve thermal performance, and meet or exceed commercial building codes with an affordable proven system.

Metal buildings are unique primarily because steel is an excellent conductor (metal has essentially no R-value or thermal resistance) of heat and can store and radiate unwanted heat, in summer conditions. In winter conditions, a cold metal roof or purlin can lead to condensation and premature building envelope failure. Ideally, a metal building includes a continuous insulation system and vapor retarder to reduce the potential for condensation.

In one case in a hot-humid southern climate, national building products distributor, Service Partners, needed an insulation solution for one of their warehouses in South Florida. “The main issue with our metal building,” says Roy Machado, senior vice president and regional manager for Florida, “there was no insulation and it was extremely hot, especially during the summer months in Miami.”

The Fi-Foil RetroShield System, an insulation system specially designed for metal buildings, can be used for new construction applications, but the real niche for the system is retrofit applications. The system incorporates Fi-Foil reflective insulation with unique clip-and-pin components, which facilitate an easier, faster installation and labor savings.

Benefits of the RetroShield System beyond thermal performance include: a finished ceiling appearance, reduced sound transmission, an insulated vapor retarder to eliminate purlin sweating and sealed seams to reduce air infiltration in closed buildings. The system also makes sense in cases that call for flexibility and ease of installation around existing structures like skylights, pipes, sprinkler systems or Internet router boxes.

“Being in the industry, we have access to all insulation products,” explains Machado, “but we chose RetroShield because it was the best option due to clearance issues with existing sprinkler head spacing and we were looking for a clean finished look [for the ceiling].”

The Service Partners warehouse in Miami also faced the challenge of finding a cost-effective solution to fit around skylights and still provide the maximum benefit possible in this circumstance.

Due to material flexibility and the clip and pin components, the Fi-Foil RetroShield System works with all types of metal framing, attaches easily to structural purlins and can usually be installed throughout the building with a single pass. The installation is simple and fast. In addition, when installed on the bottom of the purlins the reflective system provides up to an R-16 alone and can be back-loaded or combined with other mass insulation, as a hybrid system, to achieve higher R-values and improve building U-values.

Climate control for a facility is often the primary motivator for insulation; however—increasingly, not the only deciding factor. Some metal building owners look beyond improving thermal performance to also providing an ambiance to their space and ceiling aesthetics to support their brand. With Fi-Foil RetroShield System the owner has color choices for the bottom or side facing the interior space. Colors include black, aluminum and white. White commonly specified and used to create a clean modern appearance and in some cases to significantly brighten the workspace inside the facility.

Even in cases where warehouses remain open most of the day, using RetroShield can reduce the radiant heat flow down to improve comfort and provide a better work environment for employees.

“RetroShield has made a huge difference in temperature in the warehouse,” says Machado. “Warehouse staff has thanked me over and over again. They are working in a cleaner and cooler environment, which has improved productivity.”

Bill Lippy is a building science expert, president and CEO of Fi-Foil Co. Inc., Auburndale, Fla. To learn more visit or call (800) 448-3401.