[Greenbuilding] Vacuum insulation panels...

stephen at thermotechfiberglass.com stephen at thermotechfiberglass.com
Thu Nov 3 07:35:46 PDT 2011

My concern is about durability. Builders and owners are used to 
insulating materials having a service life equal to the life of the 
building. As i think Gordon suggested, I'm not sure we can assume this 
for vacuum insulation panels.

I recognize that the environmental challenges are much less severe for 
a VIP buried in a wall than say a vacuun glazing unit. But i don't think 
they are zero. I'd be interested if anyone has any thoughts on this.

I'm also concerned about reduced durability due to mechanical damage - 
nail punctures or retrofitted wall penetrations, say like a hose bib, by 
people unaware of the vacuum panel in the wall.  Admittedly i'm 
influenced by an unlikely, but sad experience of a fellow w/ a solar 
pool heater who in hanging a picture, managed to 'spike' a pipe  -  
apparently it managed to leak for quite some time before it got 

As far as being applicable to housing, i can see some challenges in 
insulators are used to being able to cut to fit onsite. For widespread 
use, VIP's need to be economically custom sized - which to my knowledge 
has yet to be mastered.

More likely they'll niche their way into standard size building 
elements like door panels or factory built wall panels, but that's just 
a guess.

On the other hand this pricing sounds very very good!


On Wed, 02 Nov 2011 08:40:37 -0600, Gordon Howell -- Howell Mayhew 
Engineering wrote:
> A colleague just returned from the 2011 Korean Architectural Festival
> and Fair in Seoul.
> He encountered a display from a Korean company that is now offering
> vacuum insulation panels (VIPs) on commercial basis for appliances 
> and
> buildings under the brand name 'ENERVAC'.  He was impressed. One of
> the products they offer is a VIP encapsulated in a thin layer of EPS
> (see attached photo). It provides improved protection to the VIP when
> handled on the job-site and makes it easier to install when using
> EIFS. They indicated that the cost of ENERVAC VIPs are about 3x 
> higher
> than the equivalent amount of conventional foam insulation. If they
> can get the cost down through higher volumes and also address 
> concerns
> about the long-term persistence of the vacuum, VIPs could be a real
> game-changer with respect to net-zero energy homes and buildings.
> Comments?
> +Gordon Howell
> Edmonton

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