Everyday I learn something new in the home improvement industry. Today, I stumbled upon a product that comes to us straight from NASA. (This is not the first great product to come from the space program, remember the microwave and memory foam mattresses?)
Recently, several manufacturers have brought “aerogel” technology to the market for insulation applications. Aerogel, also known as “frozen smoke”, is a gel substance in which the liquid component of the gel is replaced with gas. Aerogel material is applied in two different forms to insulate buildings; these include a blanket application as well as loose granules.
Interesting properties of the aerogel include:
- Provide 2-4 times the insulating value per inch vs. fiberglass and cellulose
- Allows water vapor to pass through.
- Fire resistant
- Resists settling
- Stiff density like styrofoam
- Can be applied to walls, floors, roofs and many other applications.
Manufacturers currently offering aerogel for insulation applications include: Aspen Aerogels and Cabot. While this material has not yet been widely tested, it will be interesting to observe the industries growth over the next few years. Hopefully economies of scale will drive down pricing and lead to higher adoption rates to increase America’s energy efficiency.
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