National Physical Laboratory

Dynamic insulation tried and tested

New insulation technology tested, approved, and marketed thanks to NPL/NMS model.

Energyflo, a start-up spun out of the University of Aberdeen, are a company commercialising the concept of low cost 'dynamic insulation'. They developed an innovative product which pulls air through channels in the insulation and feeds it back into the interior. This allows the heat that would otherwise have escaped to the environment to be captured and returned. In addition, this flow of air enables efficient ventilation to occur.

Energyflo's dynamic insulation makes external walls act as heat exchangers - recirculating warm air from inside, and warming cold air from outside (image courtesy of Energyflo)
Energyflo's dynamic insulation makes external
walls act as heat exchangers - recirculating
warm air from inside, and warming cold air
from outside (image courtesy of Energyflo
)

The Challenge

Of course, all new building products need to meet strict compliance frameworks, one of which is the assigning of a 'U-value' (indicating how much heat is conducted). Energyflo had a particular challenge on their hands as there was initially no recognised way of assigning a U-value to their product. So they approached NPL and the Building Research Establishment (BRE) to devise and perform the specialised tests needed to achieve this.

The Solution

NPL devised a measurement methodology that utilised its existing hot box facility with precision air flow measurements to determine the net heat transfer through these products. This data, together with BRE's input enabled a U-value to be assigned and written into the Standard Assessment of Performance methodology for the product.

The Impact

As a result, Energyflo were able to quickly market their product to UK consumers. The potential impact of this technology is considerable - it is estimated it could save UK consumers £2.5 million per year in heating costs.


Update: After producing decades of valuable research, the Hot box facility at NPL was closed in March 2016

Find out more about NPL's work in Thermal Performance

Contact: Tamaryn Shean

Last Updated: 13 Apr 2016
Created: 1 Oct 2012

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