Why does insulation fail? 5 common reasons

Industrial insulation experts have noticed that in many cases, thermal insulation in industry is poorly maintained. Some parts are even completely uninsulated, allowing heat to evaporate in large amounts through thermal bridges. This leads to both significant energy losses and increased emissions.

The five most common reasons for the insufficient level of industrial insulation identified by the experts were listed in a research report from the European Industrial Insulation Foundation (EiiF).

1. There is not enough information on the benefits of insulation

There may be a general lack of high energy saving potential for industrial insulation among key decision makers. The level of insulation applied is typically based on requirements that specify the maximum surface temperature that the equipment is allowed to reach to avoid personal injury, or on the generic maximum heat loss rates permitted.

However, according to a study by EiiF, industrial insulation has a tremendous potential for energy savings: If all insulation were made in accordance with VDI 4610 Class C, energy savings would be 14 Mtoe per year (one toe equals one tonne of crude oil). At the same time, it would mean a 40 MB reduction in Europe’s CO2 emissions each year. These are really big numbers and a significant change.

2. Responsibilities are unclear

In industry, insulation and energy management may be areas that are clearly not anyone’s actual area of ​​responsibility. Shared or unclear responsibilities typically result in things not progressing very efficiently, if at all.

3. Insulation is overshadowed by other investments

Insulation is a relatively small part of all industry investment, which can often lead to it not being considered or defined well enough at the investment planning stage.

4. Insulation is not the core business of decision makers

The business of those in the decision-making role of industrial companies is most often concentrated in an area other than insulation. Since insulation is not their core business, the subject may not be familiar enough.

5. Not enough is known about modern insulation

Industry decision makers may lack information on how much insulation materials have evolved recently and how modern insulation systems are designed. Often, the technical requirements for the insulation of industrial plants have not been updated, and therefore their energy-saving insulation solutions are based on energy prices and environmental requirements up to several decades ago.

The group of experts who contributed to this study represents a variety of insulation companies and most of them are EiiF-trained certified TIPCHECK engineers specializing in insulation energy assessments (TIPCHECK = Technical Insulation Performance Check). All of the group’s experts have extensive experience in insulation projects and have held various positions in the insulation industry throughout their careers.

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