Aerogel for Thermal Insulation of Interior Wall Retrofits in Cold Climates

Apr 02, 2012

In this paper, we investigate the economic viability of applying aerogels to supplement (in specific situations) existing building thermal insulation materials for retrofit projects. In the first part of this study, we present a general overview on aerogel synthesis process. In the second part, we evaluate the potential cost-effectiveness of aerogels as thermal insulation for internal wall retrofit applications. We estimate cost for several scenarios where aerogel blankets with different target R-values were installed from the interior side on top of the gypsum board. We further compare these estimates with retrofit costs associated with the application of conventional building insulations on the interior surface of the wall to achieve similar thermal performances. For a target value of R-4, our cost analysis shows that significant savings of ~25% can be achieved employing aerogel method compared to interior conventional insulation method using fiber glass. For a target value of R-8, we determine that aerogel method is cost effective compared to the current price range of conventional insulation methods except the fiber glass method. In addition, we find that for a target value R-12, the aerogel method is ~18-23% less expensive compared to the cases where the conventional insulation is applied on the exterior surface of the wall.

Nitin C. Shukla (Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems)
Ali Fallahi (Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems)
Jan Kosny (Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems)
Steve Harasim (Aspen Aerogels Inc.)
Chris Blair (Aspen Aerogels Inc.)
Presented at: 
Building Enclosure Science & Technology (BEST3) Conference
Published & professionally reviewed by: 
Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems
Building Enclosure Technology & Environment Council (National Institute of Building Sciences)

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