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Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Pipework insulation

Pipework insulation works to reduce heat losses and gains that result when pipes are left un-insulated

Carbon savings from the use of pipework insulation can be realised on both heated and cooled pipework. Typically, heated pipework is used for hot water delivery, heating systems and processes. Chilled pipework is mostly associated with air conditioning systems, but is also used in commercial refrigeration (supermarket display cabinets) and numerous other process applications. Because most materials used for manufacturing pipes are highly conductive, heat losses and gains can be very large when pipes are left un-insulated. This is particularly the case when pipework runs at a temperature very different to its surroundings and is in use for large proportions of the year. These heat losses and gains increase the amount of energy needed to maintain the pipework at the required temperature and can therefore lead to increased energy bills. Indeed, where pipework heat losses occur in spaces which are otherwise subject to air conditioning, one system can be competing with the other, with all of the inefficiencies that this introduces. Conversely, the same is true for chilled pipework in heated spaces. Therefore, careful planning and control are both keys to minimising energy use and costs.

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