Different Types of High Thermal Insulation Materials for Commercial Freezers and Coolrooms

28 September 2018

How many system-critical components are there inside a modern commercial freezer? Which key engineering element impacts coolroom efficiency the most? A powerful but energy efficient refrigeration unit is essential, naturally enough. Then there’s the environmentally safe refrigerant to examine, plus a properly sealed door. Just as important as any one of those features, high-thermal insulation materials prevent energy losses.

Consulting a Thermography Expert

Did you know that special services can actually “see” where the heat losses on an insulated coolroom wall are going? They use special thermal imaging cameras to generate infra-red pictures of the heat loss zones. Using this technology, they know substandard wall panels glow red with FLIR (Forward Looking Infra-Red) imaged colour when they’re installed on a commercial freezer. To the touch, the panelling feels ice cold. However, using that special camera, it can tell that there are energy losses taking place all over the sealed enclosure.

Different Types of Insulation Material

If the establishment had access to other types of thermal insulation, what would they install? Well, going back twenty years, they’d use expanded polystyrene. Fibreglass was the other option, but both materials tended to get waterlogged, perhaps due to a defrost cycle. The only way around this issue would be to roll in a massive dehumidifier. What a waste the whole waterlogged debacle must-ve been. Anyway, enough with the history lesson. Contemporary high-thermal materials have crossed off the “expanded” prefix and replaced it with the word extruded. Then, if extruded polystyrene doesn’t quite fit the bill, there’s polyurethane, with its super-efficient thermal insulation feature to appraise.

The High-Thermal Installation Methods

Spray foam insulation offers a higher than average R-value (Heat flow resistance), but spray-on mediums can still trap moisture. Composite panels are next, with their insulating cores blocking water vapour transmission. They also feature an easy-to-install mechanism, plus a rugged exposed outer surface. Last of all, some manufacturers offer poured-in-place materials. Again, this substance is probably going to fill the wall voids as a soft, curable form of urethane. Perhaps most importantly of all, though, this higher R-value rating, which can be twice as high as expanded polystyrene, is offered without broadening the thickness of the insulation. Indeed, high-thermal materials deliver enhanced heat flow resistance without adding clunky waste to a commercial freezer’s wall surfaces.

As an upshot of those thinner design, extruded polystyrene panels and urethane insulants don’t trap water, nor do they promote mould growths. Designed for the present but ready for the future, this small group of high-thermal insulation materials continues to transform the commercial freezer and coolroom sector.

Mark Connelly
C&M Coolroom Services
E-mail: markconnelly@cmcoolrooms.com.au
Mobile: 0412 536 315

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