Industrial Insulation Case Studies

State Hospital, PA Steam System Insulation

The Insulation Guy (S & S Industrial Insulation) provided an energy survey of the entire steam system, including supply and return piping, valves, heat exchangers and equipment.

Materials totaling 30,878 ft. of mostly uninsulated steam return and 10% steam supply $28,000
Labor $42,000
Total Materials and Labor $70,000
Anticipated Annual Energy Savings $140,000
Payback — one heating season 5 months
Return on Investment 200%
Cost of Natural Gas $7.20 per MSF

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Central Pennsylvania Commercial Laundries (Multiple locations)

A central Pennsylvania commercial laundry came to us for pipe insulation to reduce the ambient temperature of the buildings. They were also hoping to achieve real energy savings.

We offered to provide our routine energy savings calculation. (We are certified to provide this service by the National Insulation Association in accordance with ASTM accepted standards).

The National Insulation Association is made up of Owens Corning, Pittsburgh Corning, Johns Manville and all major insulation manufacturers.

The owner of the laundries said he would do ALL of his laundries if this panned out! Needless to say, he did the other 2 laundries the following year.

His only comment was we underestimated the payback by about half so the energy savings realized was enough to pay for the insulation in about 2 months. Labor costs were similar to the insulation costs.

While we have no record of the actual ambient building temperatures, we reduced the surface temperatures of the pipes by over 90% (over 300º to approximately 90º) and reduced the number of BTU output from the bare pipe by 148,000 BTU per hour - quite a difference!

The spreadsheet below contains the audit of a commercial laundry service showing energy costs saved of $4,857.89 per year and a materials cost of $1,388 for a pay back of .286 years.


This simple survey is for a plant using steam for heating a couple of vessels and using lower pressure steam for heat. None of the piping is insulated. Material cost is $3,544.96, annual savings $50,727.19 per month. Payback .07 years.


Freeze Protection Insulation

It is important to know that insulation will not keep pipes from freezing in all situations but it will prolong the time it takes for a liquid to freeze in a pipe, tank, or vessel.

While insulation can greatly increase the time it takes liquids to freeze in a pipe or vessel, as long as there is a temperature differential between the pipe or vessel and the ambient air, there will be heat transfer.

To help insure a pipe vessel or tank will not freeze, the heat (BTUs) being lost must be replaced by an outside source such as electric heating cable or circulation heat.

The greater the delta T, (difference between ambient air temperature and operating temperature of the pipe or vessel) the greater the heat loss. Couple this heat loss with a 20 MPH wind and the heat loss becomes exponentially increased.

Often times, insulation will reduce the rate of heat loss to such a great degree the pipe or vessel will not freeze. This can be quantified by a specialist certified to do heat loss analyses.

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