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Vacuum Insulation Panel (VIP)

Special core panel enclosed in an air-tight envelope

Vacuum insulated panels consist of a core of polystyrene, polyurethane, or a combination of silica, titania and carbon, wrapped in a metallic or mylar foil, and then vacuum applied..

The vacuum insulated panel (VIP) is a technologically advanced product that combines high R-value in a relatively thin panel. The vacuum insulated panel consists of a special core panel enclosed in an air-tight envelope, to which a vacuum is applied. This product provides an insulative value of three to seven times that of equivalent thickness of other insulation materials, such as rigid foam boards, foam beads, or fiber blankets. Panels can be fabricated in virtually any size, making them ideal for inclusion within other building products. Currently, it is used in commercial and industrial refrigeration applications, and in specialized container systems.

The core of the vacuum insulated panel is an open-cell material that allows a vacuum to be pulled on the assembly. There are several types of cores that are currently being used in vacuum insulated panels: polystyrene, polyurethane, and a combination of silica, titania and carbon. The core is wrapped in a metallic or mylar foil, and the vacuum applied. The metallic film is sealed to maintain the vacuum for a long period of time. Seals are very important, as they represent the weak point of the envelope assembly. There may be some loss of insulative value as the panel ages, depending on the design of the installation. Desiccants are included in the panels to remove any moisture that may occur in the panel. Special materials known as "getters" are used in the panels to absorb gases that may infiltrate the panels.


Energy Efficiency

This product provides an insulative value of three to seven times that of equivalent thickness of other insulation materials, such as rigid foam boards, foam beads, or fiber blankets.


Easy

As mentioned above, the biggest concern with this insulated panel is its fragile surface. It needs to be enclosed in a protective covering where it will not be damaged during installation or during the occupancy of the home.

VIP’s are available in commercial and industrial refrigeration products. The Dow Chemical Company is currently working with the NAHB Research Center on a PATH program to implement this product into residential construction. Two areas of implementation currently are focused on attic access panels and folding attic stair assemblies.

The Dow Chemical Company produces a VIP under the trademark of "Instill". "Instill" uses an open-celled polystyrene core board wrapped in a foil membrane. Finished panels are usually manufactured by a licensed fabricator.


Panel have been tested with an R-30 in 1" of thickness. Its cost, however, is currently $3 to $5 per square foot. With larger volume of production and precise use and life parameters, the cost of this material may adjust to a more competitive level.


Not Applicable


VIP panels can have an R-30 per inch of thickness, depending on the application. There do not appear to be significant code barriers to VIP products.


Not Applicable


Much of the insulative value is dependent on the vacuum. The foil is fairly durable, but by construction standards, it is fragile. The vacuum insulated panel cannot be punctured during installation or during the use of the panel. In other words, the panel must be protected by a material that is resistant to puncture. This requires that the VIP is contained within another product or protective covering prior to delivery to the construction jobsite.


Not Applicable


Panel have been tested with an R-30 in 1" of thickness. Its cost, however, is currently $3 to $5 per square foot. With larger volume of production and precise use and life parameters, the cost of this material may adjust to a more competitive level. The VIP is ideal for applications with a need for higher R-value but without adequate space for conventional materials. The VIP can be used in areas to complete the insulative envelope, where it has been difficult to insulate in the past.

Disclaimer: The information on the system, product or material presented herein is provided for informational purposes only. The technical descriptions, details, requirements, and limitations expressed do not constitute an endorsement, approval, or acceptance of the subject matter by the NAHB Research Center. There are no warranties, either expressed or implied, regarding the accuracy or completeness of this information. Full reproduction, without modification, is permissible.