Offices are big users of energy thanks largely to the building services that keep the office space at just the right temperature. Throughout the year offices utilise both heating and cooling systems in a diverse range of configurations. The most common and efficient set-up remains to locate a large capacity boiler and chiller in a central plant room and connect every area of the office, however distant, using an array of pipe and ductwork.
Cooled air ductwork and chilled water pipework operates at temperatures between 0 and 10 °C but commercial heating pipework normally operates at temperatures of around 75 °C but can reach up to 150 °C. Operating for long hours at high temperatures and connected to long pipe runs the cumulative energy loss is high.
In most areas of a building insulating pipe and ductwork saves energy. Occasionally heat loss can be considered “useful” when it contributes towards heating the building but, even here, insulation performs a valuable role in maximising control of a heating system.
Insulation should be present along all pipe and ductwork in commercial office buildings to prevent energy loss and should demonstrate the following attributes: