CanmetEnergy Analysis of Vacuum Insulation Panels

Case revision date: 

CanmetENERGY, part of Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), is involved in research and development for clean energy technology that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and the impacts of climate change. CanmetENERGY focuses on areas such as infrastructure, industrial processes, and transportation. The Renewable & Integrated Energy Systems Division, located in Ottawa, Ontario, is currently improving one of their own office buildings, originally constructed in the 1970’s, as a pilot project to meet ISO 50001 standards. The goal of ISO 50001 is to promote systems and processes that will improve energy efficiency and reduce consumption. One focus for this project is the poor insulation of the building, which results in high space heating costs. An insulation solution that could be implemented on the pre-existing building was desired. Due to the minimal space available, Vacuum Insulation Panels (VIPs) were chosen for their low profile and high insulation performance. A single office was selected to analyze the effectiveness of VIPs. The chosen office was a corner room, with two outside walls. If the results from the VIP installation of this office proved successful, CanmetENERGY could promote this implementation for energy improvements, and continue the implementation of VIPs for the entire building.

Basil Khan, while employed as an engineering co-op student at CanmetENERGY, was asked to evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of incorporating VIPs in Canadian housing construction based on the pilot project. NRCan has licensed the publication of the data used in this case study. NRCan scientists will publish a final analysis of this research in 2014-2015.

3 dimensional depiction of proposed placement of vacuum insulation panels

3D depiction of proposed placement of VIPs

Learning objectives: 

The main objective of this case study is to illustrate the application of heat and mass transfer, and analyze the use of vacuum insulation panels in order to determine if this material choice is effective in reducing energy consumption and costs.  This will require the students to follow ISO 50001 standards, and to understand concepts of heat transfer and sustainable design.

Key words: 
Vacuum Insulated panels; heat transfer; ISO; sustainable design
CEAB attributes: 
Problem Analysis; A knowledge base for engineering; Use of Engineering Tools
Module 01 – Case Study
Module TN – Teaching Note

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