Insulation is used almost everywhere we look. Great insulation solutions make our lives more comfortable by creating a quieter environment that is healthier for us and enables us to perform better. Insulation solutions also allow us to construct safer buildings that can resist fire and save lives. In industry, insulation is often seen as a smart investment rather than unnecessary cost, because it brings such large savings in energy consumption that the investment can be repaid in mere months. So the real question here is not “Why insulate?” but rather “Why not?”
Several case studies have shown great savings and rapid paybacks when installing technical insulation for energy-intensive processes in industry. The Research Centre for Energy Economics (FfE) confirms the enormous potential for the reduction of annual energy costs in industry. According to an Ecofys study, initiated by EIIF, industrial fuel consumption and emissions could be reduced by more than 4%.
Saving potentials can be reached in all regions, industrial sectors, types of installations and process temperature fields. This places insulation among the most strategic investments, with both short and long-term benefits.
Our free, easy to use calculator of heat losses and energy costs is just a click away. Try the Knauf Insulation Exper-teK with VDI-certified calculation methods, and see what your energy saving potential is.
By making industry more energy-efficient, we also help our planet. For example, if VDI 4610 Energy Class C was a mandatory requirement for industrial insulation, the EU’s CO2 emissions would be reduced by 40 Mt every year. This would save 14 Mtoe of energy, which equals the annual energy consumption of more than 10 million European households.
In the unfortunate event of fire, the extraction of smoke and the limit of the spread of fire and smoke through the ventilation system is key to human safety. Regulations for the passive fire protection of buildings are intended to prevent this spread as much as possible, in order to minimize damage and give people more time to safely evacuate the building.
Based on EN 1366, and in order to ensure performance according to the different fire resistance criteria, it is vital that the fire does not spread to other rooms and that the temperature increases only within the room on fire. A fireproof installation needs to be suitable for two different scenarios, i.e. where the fire is inside or outside the duct. It is also important to prepare for another situation where the duct is installed either horizontally, where it can penetrate different fire compartments, or vertically.
Insulation solutions for HVAC that are non-combustible and heat resistant up to temperatures of 1000 °C, such as our Fire-teK products, are designed especially for these scenarios and are ideal for use in preventative fire protection.
It is no secret that exposure to high levels of noise can affect our health. Not only can it cause loss of hearing, it also affects hormone levels that are responsible for several complex processes in our bodies. A loud noise can raise stress hormones and put our bodies into a state of fight-or-flight, also known as acute stress syndrome.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), one in five people in Europe suffer from noise levels that are a major threat to their health. Furthermore, the Research by the World Health Organisation and the European Commission have found that excessive noise is responsible for millions of lost healthy years of life.
Each year, noise pollution costs Europe €30.8 billion in healthcare treatment, lost working days, impaired learning and reduced productivity.
Insulation can also help create dry, comfortable indoor environments and buildings, and have a major impact on the health and wellbeing of their users. By preventing air leaks, uncontrolled condensation and possible mould spores, mildew or microbial organic compounds, a well-insulated, airtight building envelope also contributes to the health of a building — particularly if combined with efficient installation of the solutions and a controlled ventilation system.
In order to stay healthy we must take action and find the best possible solutions to insulating the working environment in offices and in production facilities and industrial plants. At Knauf Insulation we have developed a wide range of highly effective acoustic insulation products and solutions for use in new buildings and applications, as well as for the upgrade of existing buildings and applications to provide improved sound insulation and acoustic comfort. Our mineral wool insulation solutions provide all of these benefits, but more importantly, thanks to our ECOSE® Technology, they contribute to high levels of indoor air quality and were the world’s first products to be awarded the Eurofins Gold Certificate for Indoor Air Comfort.
Uncomfortable temperatures and loud noises affect our ability to concentrate. It has been shown that we are more likely to take frequent breaks and to get tired more quickly in rooms that are either too hot or too cold. Ideal temperatures and normal noise levels can easily be achieved with a variety of insulation solutions, but the problem here is often (especially with noise) not recognising the true source of the problem. This must be dealt with quickly and efficiently, since more than 40% of office workers have trouble with concentration and efficient task management when noise levels reach 55dB or higher.
It is more likely for accidents to happen in louder working environments in production facilities than in environments with lower levels of noise.
Long periods of exposure to high levels of noise make it difficult for workers to concentrate on complex tasks, and they also make fewer attempts to solve problems. In general, loud noises decrease productivity in workplaces by 60%. The same applies to classrooms, where children in quiet, efficiently insulated classrooms with normal acoustics as a rule outperform children learning in loud classrooms with poor acoustics.
Our Technical Solutions comprise a range of high performance insulation solutions developed specifically for the insulation requirements of HVAC systems and industrial plants. Our range covers solutions for insulating heating systems, piping and air conditioning ducts, insulating industrial plant and power stations, and passive fire protection.
Blog written by: Luka Klemen, DBP Brand Design Studio