Vacuum insulation panels, also referred to as “VIPs” are on the rise and has been slowly making its way to the U.S. This new type of insulation product is more effective than other types of insulation, but it also comes with quite a costly price.
VIPs are almost a perfect vacuum, the panels contain just barely any air inside of them. The lack of air is what makes VIPs such a good and effective insulator because it reduces heat transfer through the panels.
Insulation is rated upon an “R-value”. The higher the R-value the more effective the insulation is. That being said, VIPs have an R-value of R-20. Like any type of insulation, VIP has an expiration date. The lifespan of VIPs is about 25 to 50 years. Over time, air will find its way into the vacuum insulation panel, and when that happens, the R-value will drop significantly.
VIPs are the most effective types of insulation. While the panel as a whole has an R-value of R- 20, other insulation’s fail in comparison; Fiberglass has an R-value of 3.8, Cellulose has an R-value of 3.8 and Stone Wool has an R-value of 4.2.
This type of insulation has to be made in a factory and the size cannot be adjusted outside of the factory. This means, you have to know the exact size of VIPs you need for your home or building which involves some serious planning and calculations. Once produced at the factory, VIPs must be delivered directly to the building site.
Although vacuum insulation panels are more effective, they are also extremely costly. Since there are only a few VIP manufacturers in the U.S. the panels have to be shipped which can add to the price.
During construction, it’s easy to accidentally put a nail in the insulation. With most insulation, this isn’t a big deal, but with VIPs it can cause a costly problem. If a nail punctures a vacuum insulated panel, it is no longer air tight and the R-value will be cut in half.