Computer with the NAIMA 3E Plus program on it

Understanding the NAIMA 3E Plus Insulation Thickness Calculator

There are many tools available in the industrial insulation industry to help engineers, designers, and specifiers run calculations that are associated with insulation. One of which is the 3E Plus® tool created by the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA). This easy to use tool is free to download from the NAIMA website and has a wide variety of insulation options preloaded into the system based on ASTM material requirements. Perhaps one of the program’s biggest benefits is that it allows you to tailor each calculation to better represent your application by permitting the addition of specific materials that will be used in the actual application, such as an insulation product or a type of jacketing with a certain emissivity. And even better, if you like Johns Manville products, NAIMA has a version of 3E Plus that has Johns Manville mechanical and industrial insulation products preloaded in the materials for you to select from, so you don’t have to add in the specific JM product performance specifications manually. The program is designed to run calculations for three different categories: Energy, Environment, and Economics.

The Energy tab is probably the most popular section of the program. This is where all the most common calculations can be performed, including calculations for things like heat loss per hour or personnel protection. After you have determined which calculation you wish to perform, design parameters like process temperature, ambient temperature, wind speed, pipe/equipment size, and, if needed, maximum surface temperature, will need to be entered in the appropriate line. You will also need to select the base metal type, insulation type, and jacketing – all from drop-down menus, and then the program will show how thick the insulation needs to be to achieve the performance desired for the given scenario.

The Environment tab is a way to help you determine how much carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide your system will release into the environment based on how much energy it uses. This tab can calculate how much insulation is needed to reduce the energy loss and, subsequently, reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses or pollutants that are released into the atmosphere. This tab will require information that is similar to the information used in the energy tab; however, it also requires you to select a fuel type, efficiency for the equipment using the fuel, and the amount of time the equipment is running over the course of a year. The final report that is generated for an environment calculation will show how much carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide is emitted based on the thickness of the insulation chosen. This result can be compared to the carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide that would be released by an uninsulated system to show the reduction in greenhouse gasses and pollutants achieved by adding insulation. You can also compare the potential reductions that could be gained by increasing the amount of insulation on an existing system.

The last tab is the Economics tab. This tab is often underutilized. Calculations from this tab can help provide economic justification to insulating equipment. Many people forget that adding insulation can actually be an investment that offers a return throughout the lifetime of the system in the form of energy savings. This Economics tab uses information from both the Energy and Environment tabs, and it also includes the cost of the fuel and the heat content required to heat the system. The report that the Economics tab provides establishes the cost of the fuel and heat loss and compares it to the savings based on the insulation thickness, ranging from an uninsulated system to varying levels of insulation thickness.

This free program has become the industry standard for determining insulation decisions by owners, engineers, contractors and distributors. It is also is heavily used by Johns Manville Regional Technical Managers to help with daily inquiries. The reports generated from 3E Plus are used to help update insulation master specifications to ensure the right insulation and thickness are used in each application and provide a way to track how an insulation thickness was calculated and selected. Please click here to visit the Tools tab on The Source to download your own version of the JM NAIMA 3E Plus tool or contact your local regional technical manager for assistance using the NAIMA 3E Plus tool.

If you already have a version of the NAIMA 3E Plus tool on your computer, use these instructions to ensure your custom program settings aren’t lost when you download the latest version.