Energy Saving Starts with Thermal Insulation
Energy Saving Starts with Thermal Insulation
Today, there is no need to persuade anyone of economical feasibility of providing thermal insulation for residential and public buildings, equipment, and pipelines. Currently, Russia is among the world’s countries that feature the highest heat losses. In total, the loss of fuel equivalent per 1 square meter of residential area in our country is equal to approximately 600 Gcal. Energy saving becomes the imperative of our time; this determines the importance of the ever-existing problem of selecting thermal insulation materials. It is obvious that “all-purpose” thermal insulation materials do not exist in principle. Each of such materials has its own advantages and disadvantages, which limit their applications and affect their performance throughout the period of operation. Unfortunately, this obvious rule is constantly ignored. Designers and constructors (customers and contractors) prefer to deal with known materials, which have, for some reason, become widely used, in spite of the existing negative opinions and claims. Operating and maintenance companies have to face the already designed and constructed facilities and to rectify the most apparent defects.
Solving energy-saving problems depends, first and foremost, on the aspects of providing various buildings and facilities with highly efficient and easy-to-use thermal insulation. Liquid ceramic coating Isollat was developed in 2002 on the basis of several developments of the military industry sector companies and the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Invention of this material is based on technologies, which were developed back in the 1970s for the USSR submarine fleet. Later, the American Space Shuttle designers followed the same development path, and tested, on their shuttles, a similar technology, which was further employed in commercial production of several liquid ceramic coatings. It so happened that in Russia, developments of domestic scientists became “forgotten” for several decades; thus, we actually had to start “from scratch”. Through generalization of the Soviet and American experiences and a number of experiments and tests, we managed to create a new material, which, in its performance, considerably outmatched the previous specimens. Isollat coating is essentially a polymeric composite material including hollow silicate micro-spheres filled with rarefied air, which makes the material light, flexible, and tensile, and provides for good adhesion to coated surfaces of various shapes.
Isollat coatings were invented just at the right moment. Throughout the many years of dominance of traditional insulation materials – the ones produced by the extremely sluggish Soviet construction industry – many customers have accumulated a lot of complaints with respect to various types of mineral wool, glass-wool, slag wool, and various foamed plastics (such as polystyrene foam or polyurethane foam).
A common disadvantage of all traditional thermal insulation materials consists in their inability to efficiently ensure protection of complex-shaped surfaces, especially in conditions of operating production facilities. When such traditional materials are used on metal structures, there is asl a need to additionally use ant-corrosion materials.
In fact, Isollat coating has low thermal conductivity, and is able to reflect and scatter 90% of radiation. Thanks to use of special filler materials, Isollat coatings provide for high-temperature thermal insulation (operating temperature range from minus 60°C to 500°С), fire resistance, freeze-thaw resistance, seismic resistance, and anti-corrosion protection. The primary advantage of Isollat materials consists in the ease of their application. The material is essentially a liquid substance, which is easily applied to a surface of any shape or configuration by means of a brush or a paint-spray gun, even in space-limited conditions or in conditions of operating facilities. The application process as it is does not call for engaging the services of a specialized contractor. And the thickness of the working layer is only 0.5 – 3 mm. Isollat coatings retain their performance for 10 years minimum, are environmentally friendly, and do not pose any hazard for human health.
It is no surprise, then, that the new material has very quickly found its customers, and is now widely used in multifarious spheres: power generation sector, industry, construction, housing maintenance & utilities, and oil-and-gas sector. Since invented, the material has been successfully tried and used at hundreds of industrial and civil facilities in Russia and adjacent countries.
Use of Isollat coatings allows reducing heat losses quickly and efficiently. This statement can be illustrated by one of the most representative examples.
In April 2011, in the territory of heat supply facilities of a residential house at 26 Dachnaya Street (Samara),Isollat coating (Isollat-Effect combined material) was applied to the surface of a hot water supply pipe. Temperature on the surface of the pipe at the moment of application of the coating was +61ºС. After this, the required calculations were done. Heat flow density for the pipe segment, which was not provided with thermal insulation, was 876 W/m² per hour, whereas for the Isollat-coated pipe segment it was 141 W/m². The difference totaled 735 W/m². If we convert the value in W into heat energy, it will amount to 631 kcal per hour. The heating season in the Sverdlovsk Area, for example, lasts for 230 days. One can very easily calculate that the saving throughout this period will total 3.483 Gcal. We know that the cost of 1 Gcal is RUB 896.8 (inclusive of VAT); thus, the savings will total RUB 3123.66 per 1 meter of the pipe. And it should be mentioned that there are hundreds of such pipes at any ordinary facilities (a boiler house, a heat station etc). Thus, the savings may amount to millions of rubles. This is the money that used to go “down the drain”.
The engineering and economical comparison shows that Isollat-based thermal insulation having thickness of 2 to 20 mm (utilizing combination patterns) is equivalent to 40-60 mm of mineral wool or 40 mm of polystyrene foam, and provides for thermal insulation of facilities and equipment having operating temperature of up to 500˚С, with the estimated cost of insulation of 1 square meter of surface being 20-30% lower.
By using two-layer Isollat coating, you reduce heat losses 2.93 times (According to STROITEST – SIBADI Test Center).
Of no less importance is the use of Isollat materials for restoration (renovation) of building and structures involving elimination of the ill-famed “cold bridges” and negative effect of UV radiation. It is almost not possible to solve the problem using “traditional” thermal insulation materials, such as mineral wool, polystyrene foam etc. On the other hand, modification of the existing project is either not technically feasible or causes substantial financial expenses (for complete removal of façade system and conducting additional thermal insulation activities).
It would be important to note that repair and insulation activities using Isollat coatings can be conducted in various options (depending on the Customer’s available finance and objectives).
The work can be limited, for example, to thermal insulation of panel joints; this allows for solving the problem of frozen-through walls. Or you can provide thermal insulation for an individual apartment. Or, finally, you can perform a set of thermal insulation activities for the entire building and to obtain maximum energy-saving effect.
Use of Isollat coatings for comprehensive renovation of old buildings was first trialed in 2005 in Nefteyugansk. The buildings selected for renovation (Residential District 3, Buildings 1 & 2) displayed, in winter period at ultra-low temperatures (down to minus 50ºC), accumulation of hoarfrost on the side of residential premises. Application of a thin (1.5 mm) layer of Isollat coating allowed eliminating this phenomenon. Thermo-vision survey of the buildings showed that the temperature on the wall surface went down by over 4ºC; heat losses decreased. It is worth mentioning that the obtained effect was of a long-term nature. 5 years later, in April 2011, the specially created commission of the Housing Maintenance & Facilities Administration No.3 (a Municipal Unitary Agency), conducted a repeated inspection of the coated surfaces. The results revealed absence of “mechanical damage of any nature, cracks, displacements, strains at structural interfaces, fissuring or re-settlement of Isollat thermal insulation coating”. Technical condition of the façade of the five-storey residential building was estimated as “good”, and the thermal insulation effect produced by Isollat was found “high”. The coating retained its performance parameters throughout the long period of use, without the need to repair the façade
Similar results were obtained during restoration of multi-storey residential buildings in Perm, Volzhsk, Veliky Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Dimitrovgrad (Ulyanovsk Area), Tyumen, Nyagan, Zheleznogorsk, Closed Territorial-Administrative Facility ZVEZDNY (Perm Territory), Petropavlovsk-on-Kamchatka, Vladivostok, Astana, Kustanay and other cities and towns.Heat insulation of outer walls with Isollat coating (working layer of 1 mm thick) provides for heat energy savings of 25%. The coated surfaces are not susceptive to cracking; the thermal insulation does not peel off the base material even at severe changes in temperatures.