Three new insulation materials could be powerful solutions on commercial retrofits

January 22, 2013 |
Drew Ballensky

Three innovative insulation materials could soon be used for commercial building retrofits in the U.S., as costs of these products fall and revamped local building codes allow their use, says a senior analyst with Lux Research. These technologies promise to boost thermal performance dramatically while reducing space devoted to insulation materials.

·       Vacuum insulation panels (VIPs) offer thermal efficiency (R-40 per inch of thickness or better thermal protection, compared to just R-4 with many traditional alternatives), while maximizing floor space.

·       Aerogels offer flexibility for interior and exterior use derived from gels and are 90% to 99% air. These materials almost entirely nullify the primary methods of heat transfer: convection, conduction and radiation. They are still cost-prohibitive for most applications, however, prices are expected to decline.

·       Phase-change materials (PCMs), more of an energy storage technology than a purely thermal barrier material, absorb heat as they liquefy at the desired daytime temperature, and then release it when they solidify as temperatures cool at night. This material suits buildings in areas with warm days and cold nights.


Drew Ballensky | Reconstruction Blog

Drew Ballensky is general manager of Duro-Last Roofing, Inc.’s central U.S. facility in Iowa and company spokesman for Duro-Last’s cool roofing, sustainability and architectural education programs. He is past-president of the Chemical Fabrics and Film Association and chairman of CFFA’s Vinyl Roofing Division. Drew earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial technology from the University of Northern Iowa and master’s degree in business administration from Florida State University.
Drew has over 29 years experience in business and industry in various engineering and managerial capacities. He has worked in the U.S. and Canadian operations for a major international manufacturer of pre-engineered steel buildings, was a financial analyst with a major athletic apparel manufacturer and was an owner of a general contracting company.

Related Blogs


January 14, 2014 | Reconstruction Blog

A remembrance area and a new visitor's entrance will be among the changes when the Navy rebuilds Building 1...

Photo: Digidreamgrafix;

January 06, 2014 | Reconstruction Blog

Reducing energy consumption through energy-efficiency retrofits represents an underappreciated way to cut h...

January 02, 2014 | Reconstruction Blog

San Vicente Inn, a cluster of century-old historic bungalows, known as a haven for nudists and drug users,...

December 27, 2013 | Reconstruction Blog

Rings of scaffolding will start to rise this spring around the cast-iron dome of the U.S. Capitol in Washin...

December 16, 2013 | Reconstruction Blog

Minneapolis’s Northwestern Building, originally built in 1914 as a glass factory, is undergoing a major ren...

December 09, 2013 | Reconstruction Blog

Bethlehem, Pa., is a recipient of a 2013 award by Preservation Pennsylvania for a renovation of the oldest...

Photo: Welton Structural Design

December 02, 2013 | Reconstruction Blog

A $47.6 million overhaul of the Huntington Federal Building in Huntington, West Virginia, includes altered...

November 25, 2013 | Reconstruction Blog

The redevelopment of Fort Monmouth, a former New Jersey army base, is likely to be revised on a building-by...

November 18, 2013 | Reconstruction Blog

Key office design trends such as downsizing of overall space, more open floor plans, and the inclusion of m...

November 11, 2013 | Reconstruction Blog

Salzburg, Austria’s Central Station remained in operation during reconstruction, a feat that required compl...

Overlay Init