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Value of Insulation Energy Appraisals Gaining Recognition

The Insulation Energy Appraisal Program (IEAP) was developed by the National Insulation Association in the fall of 2000. This program is a major industry initiative designed to give facility/energy managers a better understanding of the true dollar and performance value of an insulated system. The program is a tool that quantifies the amount of energy and actual dollars a facility is losing with its current in-place insulation system. To date, more than 250 industry professionals have earned the title of "Certified Insulation Energy Appraiser."

Students learn how to determine the optimal insulation thickness and corresponding energy and dollar savings; interview customers to gather information for the appraisal; conduct a facility walkthrough; use the 3E Plus® computer software program; determine the amount of greenhouse gases saved through the use of insulation; analyze and complete the appraisal spread sheet; complete a final customer report; and market their new skills to potential customers.

There are a number of reasons why facility managers want to consider an insulation energy appraisal at their location. These reasons include the potential for hundreds of thousands of Btu savings, the opportunity to improve process control and efficiency, contributing to a cleaner environment through the reduction of emissions into the atmosphere, and saving money through reduced fuel costs.

Energy appraisals are starting to gain recognition outside of our industry and association as well. Christopher Russell, a senior program manager for the Alliance to Save Energy (ASE), recently had an article published in Plant Engineering magazine. Here are a few things that Russell had to say about the value of energy appraisals in his article entitled "Insulation Improves Economic Returns in Manufacturing:"

Potential savings from insulation application and upgrades may reduce fuel consumption anywhere from three to 13 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Industrial Assessment Center program. Results are sometimes dramatic: a Georgia-Pacific plywood plant in Madison, Ga. upgraded the insulation on steam lines to its dryers. This allowed the plant to reduce its steam load by 6,000 pounds per hour and cut its fuel bill. The investment paid for itself in six months.

A recent insulation energy appraisal was performed on a chemical plant in Kentucky. They had a nagging maintenance issue, and over the past five years had discussed and re-discussed the cost and value of fixing and upgrading the insulation on their distribution lines. A $300,000 investment in insulation upgrades yielded a $700,000 savings fuel costs. Payback for the investment: three years. An added benefit was reduced emissions.

By conserving thermal resources, insulation not only saves money but improves plant productivity. In this sense, insulation makes money for the plant. In addition, the expense relief that it provides becomes a new source of cash that can be applied to other processes in the plant, or to marketing and administration. All of these benefits make insulation a priority for manufacturers in a competitive marketplace.

An insulation energy appraisal performed by a certified insulation energy appraiser can provide an energy user with a comprehensive assessment of the piping and equipment in a facility and provide recommendations that will help save energy, reduce fuel costs and greenhouse emissions. The DOE has embraced the insulation energy appraisal certification training program.

Check the class schedule to find out if there will be a class offered near you.

This article appeared in the October/November 2002 issue of NIA News.

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