National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Save Energy, Money, & Planet through Better Insulation

At the Kennedy Space Center as with many Government facilities, there are many buildings with spaces that must be kept cool for sensitive equipment and hardware. These facilities include laboratories, workshops, hangars, spacecraft assembly buildings, etc. that tends to be large buildings with much air leakage and high rates of solar heat gain. The air conditioning demands can easily account for 50% or more of the power bills.

 

There improved techniques and materials available today to retrofit these "energy hog" buildings with better insulation. What can be saved is untold millions of dollars as the majority of electrical energy costs are associated with air conditioning.

 

These technologies are readily commercially available to apply after a basic energy audit of the building envelope and an upgrade recommendation for each facility. For example, radiant barrier films can be applied to the underside of roofs to reduce solar heat gain. Spray-on foam insulation systems can be applied to the numerous wall cavities (common to Butler-type buildings and similiar constructions) and to seal the building envelope against excessive air leakage. Conventional fiberglass batting can be added to attic spaces.

 

This insulation retrofit solution for reducing electrical power waste applies equally well to heating or cooling climate zones.

 

Furthermore, new technology aerogel blanket insulation materials should be strongly considered for all new construction, both residential and commercial. These competitively-priced aerogel materials are now commercially available on a large-scale and are by far the highest thermal performance materials in the world. These aerogel systems provide many additional benefits such as sound absorption, hydrophobicity (to eliminate many moisture problems), long-life (no degradation), reusability, and environmentally friendly production methods.

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