Existing Insulation Materials Performance
The Existing Insulation Materials program researches and evaluates the properties and performance of existing insulation materials. We are striving to develop accurate and reproducible data for the building materials community and will offer recommendations for the appropriate use of thermal insulation to conserve energy.
There is intense competition among manufacturers of various types of insulation products, such as fiberglass versus cellulose and mass insulation versus reflective insulation. New insulation products are developed by individuals or other organizations that sometimes have insufficient technical knowledge of thermal performance evaluation. Therefore, an unbiased third party needs to take a leading role in measuring properties of insulation materials, developing test methods, and disseminating information and recommendations about the thermal performance of insulation to the building industry.
- Interact and exchange technical information with the building materials community, professional societies, industrial associations, and federal/state agencies
- Improve test procedures to determine the properties of existing insulations
- Encourage the appropriate use of insulation to reduce energy usage in buildings
A major achievement of the program was the completion and publication of the updated DOE Insulation Fact Sheet, a document that provides consumers with objective third-party recommendations on the use of insulation in residences. A continuing effort is devoted to the activities of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Committee C-16 on Thermal Insulation. Staff members chair task groups that develop and maintain standards on the measurement of the thermal performance of attic insulations under winter conditions, long term thermal resistance of closed-cell plastic foam insulation, material specifications for evacuated panel insulation and stabilized cellulose, measurement of total hemispherical emittance, measurement of thermal transmission properties using the unguarded screen heater apparatus, and measurement of emittance using portable emissometers.
The program will also address the following topics:
— Standard methods for testing the settling of wall insulation
— Temperature dependence of the thermal properties of building materials
— Effects of moisture on thermal properties
— Reflective materials and radiation control coatings
— Composite building panels
— Corrosion issues related to insulation for metal-framed buildings