With change bubbling, insulation market continues to grow, evolve

With change bubbling, insulation market continues to grow, evolve

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Insulation is important – and evolving.

Within the last couple of months, there have been changes to requirements in California and New York City and a green insulation standard has been introduced.

Since insulation goes into just about every structure, it also has become big business, reports Energy Manager Today. The Freedonia Group has published a study that predicts that global demand for insulation will rise 3.7 percent annually to reach 26 billion square meters of R-1 — a measure of insulation’s thermal efficiency — in 2020.

In New York City, there will be changes to the Energy Conservation Code that take effect Oct. 3. The website Habitat quotes an engineer from RAND Engineering & Architecture as saying that the new rules will almost double the amount of insulation necessary.

The story says that the rules are projected to create energy savings of 32 percent in residential structures and 9 percent in commercial structures. They are aimed mostly at new builds, but some retrofits fall under the rules, the story says.

Californians are gearing up for more insulation as well. The 2016 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, which take effect Jan. 1, 2017, impact both residential and commercial structures. In a fact sheet specifically addressing the non-residential sector, EnergyCodeAce says insulation mandates are changing:

Prescriptive insulation requirements for roofs and ceilings have become more stringent under the 2016 Energy Standards. Additionally, prescriptive insulation requirements have become more stringent for metal and wood-framed walls in certain climate zones.

The status of New York City and California are illustrative of the fact that the insulation sector is growing in a backdrop of increased attention to the environment. Last month, Green Seal – which describes itself as “the nation’s first independent nonprofit certifier of sustainable products and services” – introduced the GS-54 Architectural Insulation Standard. The standard was developed specifically for the U.S. market, covering multiple types of insulation at all points in their life cycles, a press release said.

People may tend to think of insulation as a passive commodity that sits in a wall or ceiling. It actually is an active and complex area with many options. And, of course, where there are options there is a balance of benefits and liabilities. 

“The major point is that when you install insulation, you can gain benefits, increase comfort and lower liability in terms of potential health hazards in the future,” said Daniel Pedersen, Green Seal’s vice president of science and standards. “You also can be recognized for green building and green branding by paying attention to not just how well insulation performs, but the significant impact on human health. By choosing wisely, you can minimize negative impacts without sacrificing performance.”

Topics: Architectural Firms, Building Owners and Managers, Construction Firms, Energy Saving Products, Engineering Firms, Great Commercial Buildings, Healthy & Comfortable Buildings, Indoor Air Quality (IAQ), Insulation, Interiors, Sustainable Communities, Technology, Thermal Envelope - Building Envelope, Urban Planning and Design, Wall Systems / Curtain Walls

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