Pipework insulation

Pipework insulation
© Kadmy, image #133760577, 2017, source:
All sectors
Investment cost:
Medium cost
Payback time:
0.2 Year(s)
Cost savings:
4329€ / Annual: € 4 329.48 (£ 3 972)
Resource type:
Resource saving:
Annual: reduced heat loss and energy consumption; 44 129 kWh or 8 140 kg CO2 equivalent
Investment cost:
774€ / € 774 (£ 710) per project, € 15.48 per metre (£ 14.20); the scale of the project is based on length and pipe bore; no discernible risks; maintenance is minimal upon installation
Assumptions taken in the presentation of the above performance indicators:

Provision of insulation for pipework associated with heat raising plant; works on any pipework transferring heated media that is not currently adequately insulated; un-insulated pipe length of 50 m carrying 75° C water bore of 25 mm, heat less at 90 W/m uninsulated, 9.4 W/m insulated; 50 mm thick insulation

Insulating the pipework and valves of a hot-water and heating systems could help cut heat loss or heat gain by up to 90 %. In one or two years, the investment could be recovered, and savings made.

Take an office working on a single-shift system, for example. Fitting insulation to 100 mm pipework would cost around € 23 (£ 20) a metre but save € 23 (£ 20) a metre, assuming a gas price of € 0.03 (2.5 pence) per kWh. That means a payback period of just one year.

An un-insulated valve or flange can lose the same amount of heat as one meter of un-insulated pipe. Insulating a hot 100 mm flanged valve would cost around € 90 (£ 80) and save around € 23 (£ 20), recouping the cost within four years.

There are different insulating materials (glass mineral fibre, aluminium foil faced, pre-formed rock mineral fibre aluminium foil faced, pre-formed polyethylene foam, etc.) suited to diverse applications:

  • Straight pipework is usually insulated with pre-formed lengths fixed with metal bands or high-temperature tape
  • Insulation for external pipework is weather-proofed to stop it absorbing water and losing its insulating properties
  • Valves are best insulated using flexible jackets fixed with quick release fastenings

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