Mechanical insulation in commercial buildings is often hidden behind walls, above ceilings, and in mechanical rooms where only a few have access. In manufacturing or industrial facilities, it is more often exposed to the view of all who venture by. Yet, it seems invisible when energy conservation initiatives are investigated, and it is seldom considered from a return on investment perspective. An investment opportunity that can provide over a 100 percent annual return, help reduce our dependency on foreign energy sources, improve our environment, and stimulate our economy by creating thousands of “shovel ready” jobs is hidden in plain sight.
Industry has been estimating for years that between 10 percent and 30 percent of all exposed mechanical insulation becomes damaged or missing within 1 to 3 years of installation. Over time, and depending on the operating environment and exposure to the elements, that percentage is likely higher. Those estimates have been confirmed by recent data in the industrial sector, and there is no reason to think the commercial sector fares better.
A modest increase in the use of energy-efficient mechanical insulation would allow the United States to quickly generate significant energy demand reductions in the industrial sector, create tens of thousands of green jobs, and help cut the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions.