Question? Just ask us!
Free Encyclopedia of Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, Repair
InspectAPedia ® Home
INSULATION INSPECTION & IMPROVEMENT
ACOUSTICAL SEALANT CHOICES
AIR LEAK MINIMIZATION
ASBESTOS IDENTIFICATION IN BUILDINGS
BASEMENT CEILING VAPOR BARRIER
BASEMENT HEAT LOSS
BUCKLED FOUNDATIONS due to INSULATION?
CATHEDRAL CEILING INSULATION
CATHEDRAL CEILING VENTILATION
CEILINGS, DROP or SUSPENDED PANEL
DEW POINT TABLE - CONDENSATION POINT
DUCT INSULATION, ASBESTOS PAPER
FIBERGLASS PARTICLE CONTAMINATION
Fiberboard Insulation Sheathing Mold
FIBERGLASS INSULATION MOLD
FIREPROOFING ASBESTOS SPRAY-ON
FRAMING DETAILS for BETTER INSULATION
FRAMING DETAILS for DOUBLE WALL HOUSES
FRAMING METAL STUD PERFORMANCE
FREEZE-PROOF A BUILDING
HEAT LOSS in BUILDINGS
HEAT LOSS PREVENTION PRIORITIES
HEAT LOSS R U & K VALUE CALCULATION
HOUSEWRAP AIR & VAPOR BARRIERS
HOUSE DOCTOR, how-to be
HUMIDITY LEVEL TARGET
ICE DAM PREVENTION
INSULATION AIR & HEAT LEAKS
INDOOR AIR QUALITY & HOUSE TIGHTNESS
INSULATION FACT SHEET- DOE
INSULATION INSPECTION & IMPROVEMENT
INSULATION R-Values & Properties
LEED GREEN BUILDING CERTIFICATION
LOG HOME ENERGY EFFICIENCY
MOLD in FOAM INSULATION, RESISTANCE
MOISTURE CONTROL in BUILDINGS
NOISE / SOUND DIAGNOSIS & CURE
RIGID FOAM USE INDOORS
SHEATHING, FOIL FACED - VENTS
SLAB INSULATION, PASSIVE SOLAR
STAINS on & in BUILDINGS, CAUSES & CURES
STRAW BALE CONSTRUCTION
STUCCO WALL METHODS & INSTALLATION
STUCCO OVER FOAM INSULATION
SWEATING (CONDENSATION) on PIPES, TANKS
Thermal Expansion Cracking of Brick
THERMAL IMAGING, THERMOGRAPHY
THERMAL MASS in BUILDINGS
THERMAL TRACKING Indicates Heat Loss
TRUSS UPLIFT, ROOF
VAPOR BARRIERS & CONDENSATION in BUILDINGS
VENTILATION in BUILDINGS
WALL CONSTRUCTION BARRIER vs CAVITY
WIND WASHING INSULATION At EAVES
WINTERIZE A BUILDING
This article discusses the choices of super high-R value building insulation products and other very high R-value insulation products currently available for use on residential and commercial super insulated buildings. Sketch at page top and accompanying text are reprinted/adapted/excerpted with permission from Solar Age Magazine - editor Steven Bliss. Contact us to suggest text changes and additions and, if you wish, to receive online listing and credit for that contribution.
Readers should also see Ceramic Insulation.
Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2013 InspectAPedia.com, All Rights Reserved.
The link to the original Q&A article in PDF form immediately below is followed by an expanded/updated online version of this article.
Information on Advanced Super-Insulation Products for buildings
I recently read an advertisement in which a new "miracle" insulation rated at R-16 per inch had passed initial tests at Oak Ridge National Laboratories.
Do you have any information about this very high-R insulating material? -- Blair Sponaugle, Roswell NM
For in the early 1980's, Oak Ridge National Laboratories began investigating exotic high-R insulations for use in appliances. The most promising contender to emerge was ultra-fine (200 angstroms) "fumed" amorphous silica particles sandwiched in an evacuated panel of aluminumized plastic.
One prototype very high R prototype panel from France consistently tested at R-16.6 per inch for over two and a half years - demonstrating the panel's ability to hold its vacuum, at least in a laboratory setting.
The panel's main drawback was the powder's exorbitant cost.
Preliminary tests on a far cheaper substitute super insulation material - waste product of silicon production - were very encouraging, with test results as high as R-34 per inch.
It is important to note that if the insulating panel is punctured or damaged, the vacuum and the super high-R values are lost. This would likely preclude most building applications for this type of insulation, though its use in appliances is promising.
"Development of Advanced Thermal Insulation for Appliances," Oak Ridge National Laboratories, ORNL/TM-9121 is available from the U.S. Government Printing Office.
As for the super high-R miracle insulation advertisement you cited, we suspect it is a misuse of the Oak Ridge findings, since at the time of your question, those products had yet to emerge from the testing laboratory.
Also see Ceramic Insulation.
Current High-R Building Insulation Products for Super Insulated buildings
The high-R insulating panel building products currently in most common use are POLYSTYRENE FOAM INSULATION and POLYISOCYANURATE FOAM INSULATION panels and also polyurethane spray foam (URETHANE FOAM Deterioration, Outgassing). These materials have a typical R-value of about R-5 to R-6 per inch, though when installed with a radiant surface (that might help) and a 3/4" air gap, the R-value is increased substantially - as we detail below. Fiberglass batts, which are still most-widely used in residential construction, are about R-3 per inch.
Here are some currently-available high-R building insulation products as well as some specialty very high-R insulation materials:
Here we include solar energy, solar heating, solar hot water, and related building energy efficiency improvement articles reprinted/adapted/excerpted with permission from Solar Age Magazine - editor Steven Bliss.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about super high-R building insulation choices & benefits
Use the search box below to ask a question or to search the InspectApedia.com website.
Ask a Question or Enter Search Terms in the InspectApedia search box just below.
Technical Reviewers & References
Related Topics, found near the top of this page suggest articles closely related to this one.