Despite the fact that the long term benefits ecological insulation thickness can have on people, environment and profits have been tested and proven, most industrial factories are not insulated sufficiently. Better insulation of industrial processes holds huge potential for profitable energy savings and CO2 reduction. The time has come to act – now.
Industry players promote technical insulation
With this key message the European insulation manufacturers and contractors have joined forces to pave the way for energy efficiency in industrial plants. The main objective is to promote the benefits of technical insulation and to create awareness of the close connection between sustainability and profitability.
In order to get things moving, the insulation manufacturers and contractors have formed the European Industrial Insulation Foundation (EIIF), fronted by Frank Jacobs, Managing Director of Rockwool Technical Insulation (RTI). He explains:
Frank Jacobs, Managing Director of Rockwool Technical Insulation.
What could be saved?
Temperatures in hot pipes can reach 500˚C or more. Yet no international requirements exist for the insulation of pipes and industrial processes. Studies from NCTI indicate that just by moderately insulating the 5-10% least effective oil refineries in the EU, annual energy costs worth 3.5 billion Euros and 20 million tonnes of CO2 could be saved. This massive saving is equivalent to the energy consumption and emissions caused by two million households. In less than two months a 500 million Euro-investment would be paid back. In the US, where the number of refineries with no, or poor, insulation is 2½ - 5 times higher, the potential is even greater. In future, free CO2 allowances will be reduced for plants in the EU, increasing the cost of inaction.
Changing minds and industrial habits
Promoting technical insulation to the tradition-bound industry is not an easy job; in order to succeed the foundation will have to change minds as well as industrial habits. “But we are optimistic, that the foundation will be successful in promoting the obvious advantages for everybody. Both the political and the general public’s social interest in energy conservation has never been so great,” says Frank Jacobs.
He continues: “We now know that some 40% of all energy in EU is used for buildings, 33% is used for transport and 26% is used for the industry. However strangely enough, energy efficiency programmes are only carried out in buildings and transport sectors. The great potential in the industry is not taken into respect. And that is exactly what we want to stimulate with the awareness created by the foundation. We want to place energy efficiency in the industry high on the agenda, so that we will finally start harvesting the large savings which are possible.”
Rockassist with CO2 calculation
Heat loss engineering is slowly becoming an integrated part of construction and is included in the very first drafts of specifications. One of RTI’s efforts in raising awareness on energy saving and CO2 reduction is ‘Rockassist’. ‘Rockassist’ is a clever calculation programme, designed by RTI, that easily calculates thermal and CO2 emission savings for different industrial systems. The customer is advised on which RTI products will provide the best solution for the specific installation and how much heat loss can be saved. This is translated into the amount of CO2 that can be reduced and the amount of money that can be saved, thus creating awareness of the long term benefits industrial insulation can have.