A graph of arrows labeled insulation thickness

Multiple Choice, Part 1: Selecting Proper Insulation Thickness Helps Increase Energy Efficiency

An interesting paradox of the past several years is that energy prices have more than doubled while thermal insulation thicknesses for hot piping and equipment have not increased. In fact, most insulation thickness tables for hot service industrial piping and equipment were written before 2000—well before the recent energy price bonanza—and most of these tables have not been upgraded to reflect the higher energy prices.

This has caused facility owners to spend more money for energy than is necessary, when energy use could be cost-effectively reduced with appropriate insulation thicknesses. It also raises the following questions: How should insulation thicknesses be selected, and how should economic thicknesses of insulation be selected (economic thicknesses being that balance of energy savings with first cost plus maintenance cost of the installed insulation system)? This article will answer the first of these questions, and the second question will be addressed in more detail in a follow-up article in the December issue.

Click here to read more about selecting the proper insulation thickness for increased energy efficiency.