Tuesday November 20, 2012

I attended the Greenbuild conference and related meetings in San Francisco last week. This is the largest conference and trade show in the green building field, and it is increasingly becoming the conference where large manufacturers roll out new building products.

Described below are a few product highlights from the trade show.

Vacuum insulation
moving into the main stream?

Vacuum insulation has been around for a while, but it has never made inroads into the market -- despite a major effort by Owens Corning to do so with its Aura panel way back in 1992. Dow Corning is going to give it a shot. After premiering its Vacuum Insulation Panel (VIP) at the Living Futures Conference in May of this year, the company made a bigger splash at Greenbuild.

Dow Corning’s VIP is sold in 24-by-36-inch panels in thicknesses from a quarter-inch to an inch-and-a-half. The panels have a fumed silica core that is 95 percent pre-consumer recycled content, wrapped with an aluminum skin, and 1-inch-thick panels provide an insulating value of R-39 (center-of-panel).

Dow Corning’s vacuum panels have been used in commercial building facades to insulate spandrel glass (in all-glass curtainwall buildings, the opaque glass that spans between glazing), but I believe the primary application for VIPs will be in appliance manufacturing where high insulation performance in thin layers is desired (refrigerators, freezers, and water heaters). For information visit