By Martin Solomon
Seen here encased in mineral wool, this vacuum insulation panel will eventually become part of a ventilated rainscreen façade.
Walls can only be so thick, so an R-1-per-inch difference between insulation types has a significant impact on overall performance in energy-efficient buildings. With R-values an order of magnitude above that of many conventional insulation types, Dow Corning’s new vacuum insulation panels (VIPs) could change many previous assumptions. Formerly reserved for such markets as transportation and appliances (especially refrigerators and freezers), VIPs are being designed for the construction market and are currently being installed in pilot projects.
Dow Corning’s VIPs are composed of a fumed silica cake, with silicon carbide and polyester fibers for structural support, encased in an inner layer of polyethylene and an outer layer of polyethylene, polyester, and aluminum. The panels are vacuum-sealed, and the edges are heat-sealed.