Thermablok’s Aerogel Insulation: Based on NASA Technology, a Standard for Energy Efficiency in the Future, and Now!

     

It should be no surprise to hear that aerogel, as a home and building insulation material, will be a standard for energy savings in the not-too-distant future. Aerogel’s cutting-edge insulating capabilities – aerogel is an advanced material with 15 entries in the “Guinness Book of Records, thanks to its unique properties — is the world’s lowest density solid and best protector against thermal bridging.

Aerogel is  popping up in a wide variety of products in addition to Thermablok aerogel insulating strips, including subzero mountain climbing gear, sleeping bags, and even water bottles, for example. When it comes to addressing energy loss from a home or building, the aerogel component in Thermablok breaks conductive “thermal bridging” and can increase the overall wall R-value by more than 40 percent.

Homeowners, architects and builders are all looking for the next-generation answer to increasing energy efficiency, and finding it in Thermablok, thanks to its NASA-technology aerogel. For new construction or renovation, Thermablok aerogel strips install simply in a peel-and-stick application that attaches the Thermablok strips to one side of the stud.

Architects who designed the brand new environmentally sustainable Fabens U.S. Border Patrol Station in Clint, Texas have just completed installing 21,000 linear feet of Thermablok aerogel insulating strips on studs throughout the 51,000 square foot facility.

NASA named Thermablok aerogel insulating material to its prestigious “Spinoff” list of companies that have successfully adapted NASA technology to everyday products and made them available to consumers.

Today, aerogel technology is being adapted to a number of consumer products, from insulation to cold-weather gear, products in the electronics and computer industries. Since aerogel is manufactured by removing the liquid from a silica alcogel and replacing it with nothing but air, it is composed of 99.8 percent air. Some aerogels have a density as low as .001 grams per cubic centimeter (.0005 ounces per cubic inch), making it uber-thin and lightweight, with a lower bulk density that any other type of insulating material.

Architects and builders are just beginning to discover the advantages of aerogel insulating material, and Thermablok is on the forefront of aerogel technology.

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Another look at aerogel

Sweet and simple. The following gem on aerogel was found on a Tumblr blog on January 31, 2012. Photo too. We thought it was worth sharing here:

Thermablok aerogel insulation, Thermablok aerogel insulating strips, aerogel, thermal bridging

Aerogel

Also known as frozen smoke, Aerogel is the world’s lowest density solid, clocking in at 96% air. It’s basically just a gel made from silicon, except all the liquid has been taken out and replaced with gas instead. If you hold a small piece in your hand, it’s practically impossible to either see or feel, but if you poke it, it’s like styrofoam.

Aerogel isn’t just neat, it’s useful. It supports up to 4,000 times its own weight and can apparently withstand a direct blast from two pounds of dynamite. It’s also the best insulator in existence, which is why we don’t have Aerogel jackets: it works so well that people were complaining about overheating on Mt. Everest.

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New Home Buyers Do Well to Include Scan for Thermal Bridging and Other Problems into Pre-Purchase Inspection

thermal bridging,energy loss, aerogel insulation, lower energy costs,home inspection, leaksAre you purchasing a new home any time soon?

Most homeowners-to-be already have plenty to think about when it comes too assessing the best home for their comfort, needs, and budget. It’s what they aren’t looking for, or don’t expect – energy leakage caused by thermal bridging, insufficient or defective insulation, moisture pooling within walls — that can cause real headaches (and budget aches) later.

To avoid any unexpected problems, most buyers hire a home inspector to look the structure over thoroughly. What many people who are purchasing a residential or commercial building may not realize is that an infrared scan (building thermogram) can discover hidden problems that the seller may not even know exist, mainly because they are not visible to the naked eye.

An infrared scan will detect air leakage, thermal bridging, and insulation defects that will cost the homeowner potentially thousands of dollars in high energy bills, and provide the information necessary to take preventative measures before purchasing the property or moving in.

Even new houses can have inadequate thermal envelopes designed into their architecture. New homes are the most deceptive, since we all expect a brand new home to have all the modern defenses against energy waste built in, but that is rarely the case.

Even after purchasing the house, the one year warranty on a new home will buy some time to have an infrared scan performed by a licensed inspector, and any defects in the thermal envelope will be revealed.  Before purchasing a new home, talk to the listing agent or builder about the warranty, and explain that you will be having a thermal inspection done before the warranty’s expiration. If there are any loopholes you need to know about first, you can weigh the benefits of conducting the thermal scan before purchasing the home, or after.

Using infrared cameras (thermal imagers), home inspectors measure the surface temperature for finding structural defects that can, under certain conditions, reveal water leaks, moisture intrusion, condensation, air leakage,  thermal bridging, insulation problems, abnormal heating in electrical systems, defects in HVAC distribution systems, and other problems.

Since infrared cameras can not actually see through walls or other solid elements of the building, they are not providing X-rays. In fact, with a thermogram they are simply measuring the surface temperature and thermal distribution of the target objects, passively and non-intrusively.

Once completed, surface temperature patterns are read and interpreted, and those findings are corroborated with further specialist investigation. Similar to a moisture meter, thermography images compliment the traditional inspection and provide an additional peek within the structure’s walls to see if energy is leaking, moisture is collecting or leaking, or defects in the home’s insulation. If thermal bridging is a problem, you can address it immediately with a thermal-bridging specific insulating material like Thermablok aerogel insulating strips.

This type of extra-thorough home inspection can save new home buyers thousand of dollars or more in potential energy loss, damages, and repairs.

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What is Thermal Bridging? Now You Know!

Thermal bridge, thermal bridging, aerogel insulating material  

Thermal bridging is a common issue in all types of construction, and occurs at inefficient locations in a building’s insulating envelope. This decrease in heat resistance results in a higher heat exchange between interior and exterior — heat loss or infiltration, depending on the climate — and thus a decrease in energy efficiency.  A common thermal bridge in residential construction occurs at wall-to-ceiling and wall-to-floor intersections, where wood stud connections are insufficiently insulated (image). In the design of new construction, thermal bridging is more easily planned for and avoided, whereas existing conditions in renovation projects are more difficult to remedy. In addition to wasted heating/cooling dollars, localized surface temperature differentials can cause condensation and subsequent moisture and mold damage.

If you’ve heard the term “thermal bridging” tossed around but are not sure what it means, you’re in good company. Chances are, few of your friends (if any) can define thermal bridging, even though understanding its meaning can be invaluable when it comes to saving money on your energy bill.

Building Envelope (infrared)

A thermal bridge is a passage in a building envelope where heat is transferred at a considerably high rate. Thermal bridging  is a common issue in all types of construction, and occurs at inefficient locations in a building’s insulating envelope. This decrease in heat resistance results in a higher heat exchange between interior and exterior — heat loss or infiltration, depending on the climate — and thus a decrease in energy efficiency.

A common thermal bridge in residential construction occurs at wall-to-ceiling and wall-to-floor intersections, where wood stud connections are insufficiently insulated.  In the design of new construction, thermal bridging is more easily planned for and avoided, whereas existing conditions in renovation projects are more difficult to remedy. In addition to wasted heating/cooling dollars, localized surface temperature differentials can cause condensation and subsequent moisture and mold damage.

It’s easy to fill the cavity with insulation because of all the space you have to work with. It’s common to overlook the wood or steel framing of a building, but ironically, that is where most of the thermal bridging occurs. Reducing or eliminating thermal bridging is key if you want to save energy. Frequently, thermal bridging can lead to condensation or mold, which then leads to future retrofits.

Many of you have expressed an interest on the benefits of aerogel insulation. Thermablok is not a product that is meant to fill the cavities, but instead, its purpose is to act, literally,  as a thermal block. Thermablok is applied directly on the stud of the wood or metal frames. Thermablok is hydrophobic, which means it can substantially reduce thermal bridging and reduces the emission of greenhouse gases while maintaining its ability to prevent the growth of mold that will eventually damage your wood framing.

If you are looking to start fresh and “green” when it comes to protecting your structure from thermal bridging, below are some of the things you can do (presuming that you haven’t already):

1)  Do your homework. Understand the different types of insulating materials available, and the function of each product. Common loose fill, batt and blanket, and spray foam insulations do nothing to address thermal bridging. Thermablok, used in conjunction with other types of insulation that is commonly used to fill wall and ceiling cavities is going to produce the best results when it comes to preventing energy loss and combating thermal bridging.

2)  Locate a green contractor. A green contractor will help you determine the most efficient and cost-friendly green products for your project.

The goal is to reduce your energy bills, save you money in the long run, and reduce your carbon footprint on this earth. Feel good about making environmentally sound choices by building green.

Now you know!

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Thermablok Aerogel Insulating Strips: Combat Thermal Bridging With Green Technology

There’s never been a better time to go green. Combat thermal bridging, lower your electric bills and reduce your carbon footprint with Thermablok aerogel insulating strips.               Ask us for more information.

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White Paper | Comparison | Thermablok Vs. Common Continuous Insulation

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Find comparison on Thermablok vs. common continuous insulation here.

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NASA names Thermablok to its Top Product Spin-off List

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NASA named Thermablok aerogel insulating material to its Top 49 list of products in the newly released 2009 edition of Spinoff, NASA’s annual premier publication featuring companies that have successfully adapted NASA technologies to everyday products and made them available to average consumers.
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In NASA’s 2009 Spinoff list, Thermablok joins an esteemed group of companies and technologies that have directly benefitted as a result of the space program.The list includes products in the fields health, transportation, energy consumption and creation, computer chips and environmental technologies.
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Taking the newly discovered aerogel insulation technology developed by NASA – the highest insulating material in existence – Thermablok, Inc. based in Tampa Florida, developed a highly efficient product that may soon become a standard in the building industry. Aerogel, also referred to as “frozen smoke” has been difficult to adapt to most uses because of its fragility.
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The patented Thermablok material overcomes this by using a unique fiber to suspend a proprietary formula of aerogel which allows it to be bent or compressed while still retaining its amazing insulation properties. The process requires saturating the fiber with liquefied aerogel, then extracting the liquid using liquid nitrogen. Lahnie Johnson is president and founder of Thermablok and its sister company, Acoustiblok, Inc. Johnson stated that just one, 1/4-inch x 1 1/2-inch strip of Thermablok added to just one edge of each stud before hanging drywall breaks the conductive “thermal bridging” which occurs through the stud, and can increase the overall wall R-factor by more than 40- percent (US Department of Energy/JM Laboratories).
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Consisting of more than 95- percent air, Thermablok is virtually weightless, making it easy and inexpensive to ship and install. Made in the USA, Thermablok is 100-percent recyclable, will not age, and being hydrophobic it will not combine with or be affected by water. An excellent green product for today’s environmentally friendly new construction and retrofits requiring no structural or permit changes. Anyone can install it.
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The honor could not be more fitting for Thermablok, as NASA is dedicating this year’s Spinoff issue to the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing.
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Thermablok uses the same aerogel technology that NASA applies to its space shuttles, astronaut’s space suits, and other space technology, including more missions. Spinoff also summarizes the ways in which Apollo continues to provide tangible benefits to the lives of people in the U.S. and around the world.
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Since 1976, Spinoff has featured between 40 and 50 of these commercial products annually. These products are just the “tip of the iceberg” when it comes to the thousands of products to which NASA’s research and development has contributed.
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Spinoff maintains a searchable database of every technology published since its inception. “This database is truly inspirational for people of all ages,” Johnson said. For more than 40 years, the NASA Innovative Partnerships Program has promoted the transfer of NASA technology to the private sector in an effort to benefit worldwide competition as well as the nation’s economy. Johnson, an inventor, entrepreneur, and former aerospace associate, is an enthusiastic proponent of NASA’s Innovative Partnerships Program. “The results of the space program have contributed immensely to products and technology we all take for granted in our daily lives,” he said.
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For more information regarding Thermablok, visit our website at www.thermablok.com, e-mail us at sales@acoustiblok.com, or call us at 813-980-1400.
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Thermablok-Insulated House Built By CCA and SCU Students Wins Architectural Award

Thermablok aerogel insulation, aerogel, thermal bridging, green insulation, aerogel, NASA aerogel,architectural competition

U.S. Department of Energy Awards Thermablok-Insulated “Refract House” First Place in Architecture in the 2009 Solar Decathlon Competition

Washington, DC– Tampa, Florida-based Thermablok, Inc. announces that Team California – consisting of students from the California College of the Arts (CCA) and Santa Clara University (SCU) – took top honors in the Architecture category, and third place overall at the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2009 Solar Decathlon competition in Washington, DC. SCU/CCA students’ Refract House featuring Thermablok’s new aerogel insulating material placed third overall among 20 universities from around the world all vying to design, construct and operate the most aesthetic, energy-efficient, and self-sustaining solar-powered house.

Team California took the lead in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon by winning the architecture contest with a score of 98 out of a possible 100. A jury of professional architects praised the Refract House, calling it “beautiful in every respect,” and applauding Team California’s student architects and designers for its “excellent project documentation, crystal-clear concept, and successful translation of regional architecture.”

Thermablok, Inc. President and Founder Lahnie Johnson donated his new aerogel insulation which uses technology developed in conjunction with NASA, to SCU/CCA’s refract House. Aerogel has the highest insulating properties of any known material in existence. While aerogel has been used extensively by NASA including the recent Mars missions, until this recent breakthrough aerogel had not been easily adaptable to the building industry.

Unsurpassed in its insulating properties, impervious to moisture and mold and unaffected by age, Thermablok is a natural ingredient for a project like the Solar Decathlon. Energy-conscious architects may soon be incorporating this latest answer to energy conservation and reducing CO2 emissions. Just one, ¼-inch x 1½-inch (6.25mm x 38mm) strip of Thermablok added to only one edge of each stud before hanging drywall breaks the conductive “thermal bridging” and can increase the overall wall R-factor by more than 40 percent (US Department of Energy/JM Laboratories.)

Consisting of more than 95 percent air, Thermablok is virtually weightless making it easy and inexpensive to ship and install. Made in the USA, Thermablok is 100-percent recyclable and is now available to the public for both commercial and residential building applications.

A prestigious international competition, the Solar Decathlon began in 2002 and is held every two years. Originally earmarked for Architectural students, the competition has grown to include Engineering, Arts & Sciences, Industrial Labor Relations, and students representing other academic concentrations as well.

This year’s Solar Decathlon is represented by teams from Santa Clara University, California College of the Arts; Cornell University; Iowa State; Penn State; Rice University; University of Calgary, SAIT Polytechnic, Alberta College of Art & Design, Mount Royal College; Boston Architectural College, Tufts University; Technische Universität Darmstadt (Germany); Missouri University of Science and Technology, University of Missouri; University of Waterloo, Ryerson University, Simon Fraser University (Ontario, BC); Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (Spain); The Ohio State University; University of Arizona; Universidad de Puerto Rico; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; University of Kentucky; University of Louisiana at Lafayette; University of Minnesota; University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Virginia Tech.

The 2009 Solar Decathlon will be open for public viewing October until October 18.
Thermablok and its parent company, Acoustiblok, Inc. is proud to sponsor energy conservation-related projects in the worldwide community such as the Solar Decathlon. For more information, contact sales@acoustiblok.com or visit our website at www.thermablok.com.

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