Technical insulation materials made of flexible elastomeric foams (FEF) and polyethylene foams (PEF) are among the few industrial products which actually save more energy during their service life than they require for their manufacture. As a result, they can help to meet the latest EU energy consumption reduction targets.
At a local, national and international level, Europe today stands poised to undertake the biggest "energy transition" in more than a century. With ambitious EU commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 40 percent by 2030 and achieve a 27 percent increase in energy saving over the same timeframe, insulation will play an increasingly important role and nowhere will the effects be more felt than in the construction industry.
Buildings currently consume around forty percent of all the energy used within Europe. With space heating and cooling accounting for the majority of this the countries of the EU have tightened their demands on the primary energy requirements of buildings.
Increased levels of structural insulation ensure that buildings retain heat more reliably but there has also been a focus on improving the efficiency of heating, cooling and ventilation systems. Insulation materials made of flexible elastomeric foams (FEF) and polyethylene foams (PEF) offer a sustainable way to reduce the energy use of these systems.
Industrially manufactured products require raw materials and energy for their production but technical insulation materials are a special case as they save energy over the course of their service life. Studies carried out by member companies of the CEFEP Interest Group have demonstrated that FEF pipe insulation materials have a net positive effect.
The analysis shows that the energy requirements for supplying an average residential building with hot water and heat can be reduced by up to 25 percent by installing an optimal thickness of pipe insulation.
Technical insulation materials made of flexible elastomeric and polyethylene foams are highly recommended due to their consistent long-term efficiency and short payback times. "Thanks to their closed-cell structure in conjunction with their low thermal conductivity, synthetic insulation materials help to reduce energy consumption in buildings," Dominique Malache explains. "In many cases, the insulation of pipes, fittings and pipe clamps pays off after just a few weeks."
When it comes to insulating air-conditioning pipes the temperature on the surface of the material must be above the dew point at all times in order to prevent the formation of condensation that could otherwise result in pipe corrosion.
Although this is the main reason to insulation these pipes, there are energy saving benefits too and investing in technical insulation materials soon pays off. “Protection from energy loss and prevention of condensation go hand in hand,” is how Dominique Malache sums up the situation. The global demand for air-conditioning technology continues to rise – forecasts even say that the demand could triple by 2030.