ENERGY AND BUILDINGS, vol.77, pp.28-39, 2014 (SCI-Expanded)
Although commercialization is still challenging for superinsulation materials, intensive efforts are being made for cost reduction. They provide superior thermal performance and hence their future potential is notable. Optimizing insulation thickness of superinsulation materials can make a significant contribution to the energy saving in buildings and thus to greenhouse gas abatement. Therefore in this study, optimum thermal insulation thickness of aerogel and its environmental impacts are investigated for the climatic conditions of Nottingham, UK. Insulation thickness dependencies of annual energy cost and energy saving are determined for different energy sources. Degree-day and present worth factor effects on optimum aerogel thickness are investigated. The paper also covers the environmental aspects of aerogel-based retrofitting of buildings by analysing the potential fall in greenhouse gas concentrations. It is concluded from the results that aerogel-based thermal superinsulation provides remarkably slimmer constructions and larger living spaces in buildings compared to the conventional insulation materials. Aerogel insulation is found to be very appropriate as additional internal insulation for the non-insulated cavity walls. The reliability and the feasibility of the theoretical results are also verified by an experimental work carried out in a test house. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.