Insulation – A Long-Term Power Saving Investment

dfw insulation, by definition, refers to a mechanism to shield an interior, by using material that prevents either heat loss or gain, or sound transmission. There are varied forms of insulation, such as fire insulation, electrical insulation or impact insulation, however, we would primarily be focusing on thermal insulation, since it plays a major role in raising our quality of lives, and helping us save on power-bills.

Modern day buildings and high-rises are a form of a miniature ecosystem unto themselves. Ideal temperature and humidity levels are maintained to keep the occupants comfortable, irrespective of what the weather outside is. Cities, with their traffic and other distractions can be pretty noisy too, and the interior of our buildings is also somewhat shielded from that noise. Insulation, is thus used to reduce unwanted heat loss or gain, and can decrease the energy demands of air-conditioning systems. Certain effective insulation materials in use are glass wool, cellulose, rock wool, polystyrene, per-liter, wood fiber, plant fiber, urethane foam, vermiculite etc.

Factors like a building’s design, local climatic conditions, prevailing power tariffs, and the client’s budget and requirements are taken into consideration before deciding upon what type of insulation to employ. Building codes pertaining to that region also play a role in the choice or type of building insulation used. Professionals like a qualified home energy auditor are consulted to analyze energy requirements, and decide upon the best insulation procedure. First and foremost, the ‘thermal envelope’ for the building has to be defined. A thermal envelope is the area in the building that needs to be insulated, wherein areas like the attic, and the basement are usually not included. The smaller the area to condition, the lesser the insulation costs and energy bills. It is imperative that proper planning for the layout of the insulation is done before the building work commences, since the retro – fitment of insulation requires parts of the building to be deconstructed to reach the inner layers for placement of the insulation material, which could be a major inconvenience to the occupants.

Often, as part of the insulation procedure, ‘radiant barriers’ are placed to reduce radiant heat transfer across an air space. Radiator insulation works in an effective manner by reflecting the heat, thereby not allowing it to get absorbed by the building. The downward heat flow is, thereby, also reduced, since the upward heat flow tends to be dominated by convection. The major component of building insulation is, however, the bulk insulators which block conductive heat transfer and convective flow, either into the building, or out of it.The bulk insulators are capable of resisting conductive heat transfer using the air spaces found in material like foam, fibers or plastic bubbles. Bulk insulators are particularly effective for air-conditioned buildings.

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