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Chilled Water Pipe Insulation Supporting Solar Power

ArmaFlex® insulation helps keep chilled water systems icy cold at a brand new solar panel manufacturing facility.

Project: Chilled water piping and air handling insulation installation for a new 1 million sq ft solar panel manufacturing facility
Location: Ohio, US
Engineering Firm: Superior Industrial Insulation
Scott Leonard, Superintendent
Paul Justen, Operations Manager
Distributor: Bay Insulation

CHALLENGE: A massive mechanical room with 98 air handling units, 6 chillers and 18 pumps with supporting pipes needed efficient insulation at a new facility within a tight time crunch. Insulation contractors needed planning assistance and training to get the best possible fit on such a large installation.

SOLUTION: Steve Johnson, Applications and Training Manager at Armacell, performed AQIP training and supported contractors through insulation pattern fabrication creation which saved installation time and ensured the best possible fit resulting in a clean, professional install.

Large scale building construction ignites the need for effective installation planning and design ingenuity. A newly constructed facility that manufactures solar panels installed an impressive 98 air handling units and 6 chilled water systems, which included 18 pumps. This level and size of machinery required a spark of creativity when it came to properly insulating and maintaining energy efficiency, which of course is a large priority for a solar panel company.

Resourcefulness and quality were the main focus for Superior Industrial Insulation Superintendent, Scott Leonard. “I prefer ArmaFlex® products over the competitors because of its usability. It doesn’t dull our knives and it flattens out easier, even though it comes in roll form.

Efficiency was another focus, especially for Paul Justen, Operations Manager at Superior Industrial Insulation. Justen had the challenge of insulating a hefty mechanical system and relied on Armacell’s Applications and Training Manager, Steve Johnson, to provide AQIP training to new apprentices.After the training, the contractor teams brainstormed best practices and technical application ideas to effectively manage the planning of such a large install. The support of Armacell through training and development resulted in the contracting teams creating templates which allowed the installers to fabricate large sections of ArmaFlex insulation into piece kits, saving many hours of install time.

This innovative approach to a mass insulation application allowed installers to dedicate their focus on perfecting joints and seals, without having to worry about meeting time sensitive deadlines.

We chose an elastomeric product because of the sheer size of this job,” explained Justen. “Fortunately we could streamline our process ahead of time by creating packs of pre-cut installation pieces; you can’t do that with fiberglass.

In the end, the chillers, air handling and piping were insulated cleanly and professionally, but also within the tight time frame, thanks to pre-cutting the fitting kits. Ingenuity and technical expertise were key to the successful insulating of these chillers, pipes and fittings. ArmaFlex pipe insulation is ideally suited for cold water applications where chances for condensation are high. Low thermal conductivity and water vapor permeability of 0.050, ArmaFlex effectively prevents the formation of condensation and spread of moisture, which can lead to mold and significant losses of thermal efficiency. Not only does our closed-cell foam insulation possess a low permeability rating, but it is also much less vulnerable to punctures and tears that can impair the thermal effectiveness of open cell and fibrous materials. Its smooth, flexible surface also fits tightly against the equipment, allowing close-fitting joint seams and termination points, preventing openings where condensation might form.

This install with the help from Armacell was just a novel approach to doing this type of work,” Justen concluded.

Download the Case Study PDF here.

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