Transcript: Space4U podcast, Garrett Harwood

Written by: Space Foundation Editorial Team

Hello, I am Carah Barbarick with Space Foundation, and you’re listening to the Space 4U Podcast. Space 4U is designed to tell the stories of the people who make space exploration today more accessible to all. Today we are joined by Garrett Harwood of Eagle Shield Technologies, Inc. Mr. Harwood has 31 years of sales and marketing experience.

He founded Eagle Shield in 2002 to be the premier provider of energy-saving products for the home and business, including a space-inspired insulation. Garrett has extensive experience building large organizations with rapid market penetration and higher customer satisfaction. Prior to Eagle Shield, Garrett was vice president of sales for a billion-dollar fitness center with locations in the United States, Europe and Asia.

He is a graduate of Harvard business school with a degree in administration and an MBS in green sustainability from San Francisco Institute of Architecture. He and his wife, Tracy, have five kids and four grandkids.

Welcome Garrett. My privilege. Thank you for having me. Yes, definitely. Well, I’m excited to hear more of your story and hear more about your connection to space.

So, let’s just dive right in and hear a little bit more about your background. So, it sounds to me like you spent a great deal of time in the fitness industry, even founding your own innovative new fitness center. How do you think that laid the groundwork for you starting Eagle Shield?

Just business processes on I’m all about data. I’m about being able to measure things. And I have a sign in my office kind of explains my personality. Well, it says in God we trust for everything else we data. And so the, the beautiful thing about being vice president of a 24-hour fitness worldwide is, uh, it allowed me to see business processes and action and adjust the knobs and, you know, balanced scorecards and drivers and measures, and just helped me have a well-rounded business model to build my own company.

Very nice to feel like there were any standout lessons from that era. Yes. Uh, I think the standout lesson for me is that the people who caused you the most trouble in business are not the people you fire, but the people you don’t fire. So, uh, hiring well and incentivizing. And measuring well and making sure that you have processes and procedures in place to be able to adjust on the fly is paramount.

I cannot agree more. I mean, that sounds critical. No matter what your business venture is. Correct. So, then you have been in the business of helping people for a long time. How did you transition out of the fitness realm into Eagle Shield and energy-saving products?

Well, it’s going to sound corny, but ever since I was a kid, I was a huge Trekkie and, um, I loved Star Trek and I loved space and I read every science fiction book made. My two favorite science fiction books of all time are Stranger in the Strange Land by Robert Heinlein and Doom by Frank Herbert. And I just had a passion for science, and I interned when I was a kid at Chabot Observatory in the Bay Area. And I love space.

So, but I’m six foot three, 230 pounds. Am I going to be fitting in any, uh, spacecraft? So, I joke and say reflective insulation from NASA in my business model. This is as close to space as I’ll ever get. Uh, yes, the launch vehicles are very tiny, but don’t blink at six three would work in there like fighter pilots as well.

So you’ve always had this deep passion for space. Then did you hear about this technology and create your, your business to match that? How did that work? I’m very blessed to have known and had a relationship as a friend with Walter Cunningham, chief of the Skylab branch. Yeah. Uh, and he did his doctoral dissertation on, uh, reflective technology and it was used in the Apollo program, and he introduced me to the technology.

And I was so amazed by the fact that the entire world uses, you know, for lack of a better term, they use sponges for installation. So if you look up inside of an attic, on a wall cavity, you have this thick, either blown-in or bad fiberglass or cellulose or walk or foam insulation. Think of it, Carah, it’s no different than the kitchen sponge.

It just soaks up heat like a sponge. And when it can’t hold any more then it radiates into the home. So it’s like, people will interview me like you’re doing, and they’ll say, Garrett, I get miserable for and a half. And I say we have three inches of sponge insulation in your attic. So why get miserable at seven at night?

I say, well, you have five inches of sponge insulation in your attic. Take a sponge, pour water on it. 30 seconds of pills up, then it goes through, well, if you double the sponge, you get a little bit more time. The triple is a little bit more time, but it always goes through. That’s why everybody, you know, tends to comment in the summer.

Late in the afternoon, evening, they wonder why am I hotter inside the home when it’s cool outside or in the wintertime though, in the wintertime though, wonder, you know, why the cats jump on the roof? So you go to the snow area and you can always tell who’s home, running the heater. You see the steam melting the snow on the roof.

You’re paying your money to heat the world. So, what always fascinated me was. Okay. For hundreds of years, we put sponges to slow down the heat coming in the home or leaving in the winter, but we never fixed the problem. Well, now here comes NASA who of course doesn’t care about your utility bill or mine, but they were dealing with life and death and space and dealing with minus 460 below zero.

On the cold side, shadowy side, all the way up to 250 degrees above zero facing the sun. So the astronauts experienced a 710 degree temperature swing. Yeah. At one moment at one time. And so that’s, you know, uh, it’s a crazy, so it’s. Uh, it’s very important to be able to keep the heat out and keep the heat you want back in.

And so now it’s building codes. So the funny thing in the building industry is now since 2011, you put reflective installation and all new construction. So my business model is just taking care of those existing resonances that don’t know that they can actually fix the problem. Not just deal with the symptom.

Yeah, not just add more of something that is not necessarily fixing the problem, but actually put something in that works. Uh, many, many people will say, Garrett, should I upgrade my air conditioner heater? And my standard answer’s always the same. So you can more efficiently waste energy. So you choose to keep the summer heat out that you do not want.

And then not only choose to keep the winter heat you want to keep in, but you’re the one that pays for the heater. If you don’t insulate right, then you’re just more efficiently wasting energy. You’re cycling air flow, trying to feel better without fixing the problem with the source. The beautiful thing about reflective insulation that was originally invented by NASA is now you keep 97% of the summer heat out in the summer, you keep 97% of the winter heat back in the winter.

You’re now 10 to 12 degrees cooler in the summer. Warmer in the winter, you save literally 44% off a utility bill, simply because you’re not taking it into your high tier anymore. And the way you could tell it was real simple. If your air or your heater is on for an hour, off for five minutes, now it’s on for 5, 10, 15 minutes off for an hour because you’re not wasting.

Yeah, it’s actually staying the temperature in the space rather than moving, and you’re, and you’re used to it. You know, the funny thing is people don’t realize that they’ve been using reflective technology their whole life. Think about a thermos.

A thermos bottle is made out of pure aluminum. It just keeps cool keeps you warm. What you want. Warm. Why aluminum? Well, gold and aluminum are nature’s natural reflectors of heat. There’s a reason your farmers follows pure aluminum. And if you live in a hot climate, you’ll see people put the exact same thing and the wind shoulder to the car to keep the heat out.

The. How do you go with it versus not having it? So the beautiful thing about reflective technology is now you’re fixing an age-old problem rather than choosing to slow it down. The original technology was it used in just the space capsules, or was it also used in the, the suits of the astronauts? Oh, absolutely both.

So if you look at any, you ever notice you watch any space shows everything’s rapid gold or aluminum. Mainly because of its reflective properties. Well, inside the craft is wrapped with a reflective insulation. It’s called MLI multilayered installation. It’s also a radiant barrier. Uh, reflective insulation is all the same.

And so what it does is just keep that. Uh, know when you’re facing the sun and keep the heat you create back in on the shadowy side when it’s minus 460 below zero. So you’re turning that spacecraft and the astronaut uniform into a thermos. So if you, you can Google and look up the interior of a spacesuit and you’ll go right there and you’ll see the reflective insulation.

And I find this actually very interesting Carah. Uh, this is funny. So the average. Astronaut uniform, a caution $200,000 plus. Now they have everything in these things. They have computer chip technology, they have waste disposal. They have radio communication. You name it. They put it inside these astronaut uniforms.

Guess what’s the one thing they never put in an astronaut uniform? Aluminum. No. A heater.

Of course now think about that because when you’re facing deep spaces, minus 460 below zero, why wouldn’t you have a heater and an astronaut uniform? Because your own body heat is 98.6 degrees. So by having the reflective insulation in the astronaut uniform, you’re reflecting your own body heat back in keeping you comfortable, even though it’s minus four 60 below zero and deep space. And it’s 250 degrees above zero facing the sun. So that’s 38 degrees above boiling and it’s minus 492 degrees below zero because your well, your body is the heater. Yes, you did put a, a heater in it, just the human body. Yep.

So then tell me, how did you transfer that to your products? I mean, what, what kind of products do you then offer that includes. Well, the most important thing you always do first. So Eagle Shield focuses on what is called by the department of energy, the big three. There’s three things that matter the most when it comes to lowering utility bills, improving comfort, having better air quality, not drying out the air.

Those three things are number one, reflective insulation, primary that’s the foundation. But then number two is ventilation. And then number three is your airflow. So if you think of it like a three-legged stool, If any one leg isn’t functioning, you’re just overloading the other two. So reflective insulation is the heavy lifter because that’s fixing the problem at the source.

If you don’t do that first, every decision you make after that, stealing with the facts, you didn’t do that. Why are you running air? Why are you running heat? Why do you open the doors and windows running fans? Cause she didn’t keep the summer heat out and you didn’t keep the winter air in. So. For reflective installations, the heavy lifter, that’s the most important thing.

But then depending upon the heat index, the ambient air temperature where you live, uh, we highly recommend putting in what’s called a solar attic fan. The benefit of that is it sucks all the hot air out of the attic, creating a vacuum. And this is very interesting because. You know, a lot of people don’t know this, the same Hades hot sunbaking on the roof.

And Arizona is the same sun baking on Alaska’s roof. Well, why is Arizona attics? 80 degrees, but the air is, uh, the Alaska attic might be 45 degrees. It’s. In the climate, you live, you have a secondary measurement of heat, which is called your ambient dry bulb air temperature, the temperature of the air.

So that’s why for example, a husband or a wife will look at a thermostat in their home and they’ll comment to their mate. They’ll go. Why is it? Tell me I’m comfortable. I don’t feel. Well, the reasons, cause your thermostat only measures the temperature of the air. They cannot measure the number one problem, radiant heat, heat from the sun.

So, and the proof is easy. Go outside, stand in the sun, move to the shade. How different do you feel? Yeah, but the air temperatures. So in the sun, you’re getting hit to things, radiant heat, radiation heat from the sun and the ambient air temperature of where you’ve chosen to live. So for example, if you live in Hades hot Sacramento, you definitely need an attic fan.

If you live in Half Moon Bay, you don’t need an attic fan. And so because of temperature, the air is less. So the second thing we recommend is putting in an attic fan and we put in the solar industrial-grade ones because there’s no plastic and they don’t and the government actually pays you a check for almost a third of it back as, as part of the Federal Solar Stimulus.

So I call that to get that keeps on giving. And then the third thing we do is we deep clean and purify all your air conditioning heating ducts. So that way we turn your ducts into a thermos. So when you are running your airflow, uh, it’s instant coal in some hot, you don’t have your lag time.

Uh, it’s also breathing cleaner air. You’re not getting the dust and dirt particulates, and what’s amazing. And you’ll recognize it. She noticed if you go to. Home Depot or Lowe’s or Costco or any new facility. And you look up and you look at the air condition heating ducts. You’d notice how they’re now, lately all wrapped with the aluminum blankets where the old days they were wrapped with the sponges, the old fiberglass, that’s because it’s code now.

So by putting the reflective insulation around your ducting, you turn that ducting into a thermos. You double the life of your air conditioner and heater. Cause you’re not wasting anymore. Uh, you’re also not drying out the air, so you don’t get the dry skin and sinus and allergy respiratory issues, which are pretty prominent too when you deal with seniors.

So that’s what Eagle Shield does. We primarily go into homes and businesses. And number one, we put in reflective insulation because that’s the heavy lift. That single thing will make it 10 degrees cooler in the summer, warm the winter, save you 44% off utility bill, and extend the life of your heater and air

The number two if you’re in a hot climate, then we recommend an attic fan to improve your ventilation. And then if you have old-style ducting, that’s still wrapped with the old fiberglass, with the vapor barriers around it. We recommend that we come in deep, clean them, purify them with the Environcon. That’s what hospitals used to sterilize the air.

So you’re breathing cleaner. And then we wrap and seal all the ducks with the aluminum blankets, basically turning them into a thermos. So instant, cool, instant hot. So those are the three things we focus on. And you know, in 32 years of doing this, we’re now, uh, past over 45,000 homes installed and they read our reviews.

You know, we’re a plus accredited BBB, five-star rated Home Advisor Angie’s List, diamond certified. I joke and tell people I’m either very good at my job or I’m guilty of massive hypnosis I just pulled everybody over these years, but the good news is building codes. So people pretty much know. Uh, all they have to do is go to any new housing site, look up to the attic and they go, oh yeah, because there’s code different.

Yeah. Wow. So what, what started with NASA and became a product that was kind of novel is now required. Yeah, it’s building code now. Well, and that’s why it’s called a spin-off technology. And if you read the article on us written in the 2004 we’re the featured article in the 2004 spinoff magazine. So let’s what is nice is Eagle Shield.

My company is actually on NASA’s website. You can go to, yeah, you can go to and you can go and type in Eagle Shield. And you read the actual article that NASA wrote about. That to show you, you took space technology and made a consumer product out of it. Wow. Yep. And it seems to me, you know, you talk a lot about how beneficial it is to the consumer, but it seems to me that this is also beneficial to the climate.

If you know, we’re not running our air conditioners as much, we’re not running our heaters as much. I mean, is that something you, you talk about? Oh, quite a bit. In fact, here’s an amazing thing. Most people don’t know this, your home air conditioner and heater. It is the third leading cause of carbon dioxide emissions.

The number one is deforestation. Number two is automobiles. Number three is the home heater. So any time you could run the air conditioner and heater actually the healthier you are. Cause you’re not drying out the air, getting the dry skin sinus issues, but you’re not creating that carbon dioxide build-up.

It’s like a ripple effect. This technology has caused well, and that’s the, and that’s the beautiful thing about running your air conditioner and heater less as you’re not drying out the air. So when you dry out the air, you get your dry skin sinus issues that affect seen. But then more importantly, if you’re not creating the carbon oxide.

So if you run your air conditioner and heater 70% less, because you have reflective insulation and you’re not wasting anymore and you’re comfortable more, so you don’t need to run less, you’re obviously helping the environment, not creating that carbon dioxide. Another piece I’d like to kind of bring out is, you know, NASA was concerned about the temperature regulation for the astronauts, but they were also concerned about protecting them from fires.

Is that a piece of the radiant barrier technology? Oh, yes. It’s a major piece actually. In fact, one of the spinoffs from NASA is reflective insulation actually went into the fire department. So if you ever noticed that when firemen are caught in a fire, they lay down, cover themselves with the emergency space blankets.

That’s the exact same thing. And he ever noticed that in tragedies, first responders wrap people with either a gold or an aluminum. Most definitely. Yeah. And so what that does just keeps her body heat in and regulates temperature. So, uh, it’s so vitally important that there’s a host of benefits, seen you know people you know, water pipes to keep them from cracking they’re used and refrigeration, you know, you see thermos bottles, ice coolers.

I mean, they’re putting reflective technology and clothing. Now I know Uniqlo is very good at doing that. Uh, Uniqlo. If you go to the store, they have a whole line of clothing that has reflective insulation wrapped in.

You know, snow ski equipment, they have reflective insulation side, the jackets to keep your body comfortable. Uh, I mean, reflective technology is not new. It’s been out since the fifties and when the Mercury and the Gemini project started, but now it’s building code and all legal show focuses on is taking care of the mass population that doesn’t know about the technology, because they’re not buying a new home.

Right. Which there’s a lot of, so that’s great. Given its space use, where do you think that tipping point was that brought it into that private and commercial properties? The cost of energy, you know, way back in the old days when kilowatt for electrical charges was very low and firm charges for gas was very low.

There wasn’t the impetus. So remember builders don’t care about energy efficiency as a rule. They want to build a house, that passes code, as quick as possible, as cheap as possible. But when energy costs started skyrocketing and it became paramount, then the industry started paying attention. And then I like to thank humbly that I had a lot to do with the building industry becoming more aware of it because I literally was known as kind of the tinfoil kook way back 25, 30 years ago, you know, you see all the funny commercials about the crazy guy. Who’s putting tinfoil on his head to keep the radiation out. And so I’m sitting here going around, telling the world. You know, if you put this in your attic, you’re going to be 10 degrees cooler in the summer, warmer in the winter and save off your utility bill.

And it’s healthy for you. But everybody has been trained for a hundred years. No, I need to put this thick sponge in the attic. Not realizing that that’s not fixing the problem. It’s just slowing the problem. So if you have three inches of sponge insulation in your attic, all that heat comes in and start soaking in it.

Like your kitchen sponge. Late afternoon or radiates and into the home. If you have eight inches, then it starts making you uncomfortable at nine at night, but that doesn’t fix anything. Well, now with reflective insulation, you can fix the problem. You’ve been the advocate for a long time for fixing, I say back when

Charlton Heston has said let my people go. A long time. You’ve been an advocate for a long time. Where do you dream of taking EagleSshield next? Well, if you ever watched Austin Powers, uh, the evil guy, I said, I want to take over the. I don’t remember. No, no right there on my chin. So my goal right now is we cover Northern California from Bakersfield to the Oregon border half Nevada border and we’ve installed over 45,000 clients.

But at some point I will franchise my business model out into different states and, uh, biggest the, the beautiful thing about my business. Anywhere you’re affected by heat and cold. I can help them. You know, it’s like sometimes you get the occasional client care that they’ll say, well, I’m not sure for the work at my home.

And I basically laugh. I laugh. I say, is your attic anywhere? Uh, in between minus 460 below zero up to 250 degrees above zero in space. Yeah, it’s about a 150 says, well, then it’s going to work and then I’ll tell them, I say, let me ask you a question. What do you think NASA’s failure rate is? And they’ll say, what do you mean?

I said so is it okay if NASA has a 99% success rate? Is that okay? So a hundred ships go into space. 99 come back. One blows up. Is that acceptable to NASA? 100% of the time it works. The beautiful thing about reflective insulation is it’s not mechanical and can’t break down. You can’t put it in wrong. This is two-sided.

And so it’s just like a thermos bottle. So do you think there’s ever a time. That you could put in ice cold liquid, or a hot liquid in the thermos bottle. And that one time the thermos says, you know what, today I’m not reflective. Nope. Today it’s not working. It works 100% of the time. That’s the beauty of what we do.

That is a beautiful thing. Maybe you can’t say that about much else. Well, Garrett, I’ve so enjoyed chatting with you. Is there anything I missed asking you about that you want to share. No, uh, just, uh, if anybody wants more information, please feel free to go look at our link on the Space Foundation through you.

Or you can go to our website, which is And you can also call us at 1-800-88Eagle. You find everything about us on and, uh, I’m everywhere on YouTube and I’m on the radio everywhere. I tell people I have a face for radio. But, uh, you can get me off of YouTube and see my commercials.

Also. It’s been my privilege. Thank you for the opportunity to share what we do. My pleasure. And that concludes this episode of Space Foundation’s Space 4U podcast. You can subscribe to this podcast and leave us a review on Podbean, Apple Podcasts, Google podcasts, and Spotify. Remember to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

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Space4U Podcast: Garrett Harwood – Founder/CEO of Eagle Shield Inc.