Information on article
This article was written by O. Altan Dombaycı of the Denizli Vocational College, Pamukkale University, Denizli, Turkey, received 29 June 2006 and accepted 31 October 2006.
In this study environmental impact of optimum insulation thickness in external walls has been investigated for the case of Denizli, Turkey. In the calculations, coal was used as the fuel source and the expanded polystyrene as the insulation material. The results proved that when the optimum insulation thickness was used, energy consumption was decreased by 46.6% and the emissions of CO2 and SO2 were reduced by 41.53%.
Points included in the paper
The key points in this paper are as follows:
· There are approximately five months of the year in Denizli where there are heating requirements, during this period buildings generally use low quality coal and less oil, because of the costs, which causes high air pollution in the city, especially buildings with inadequate insulation that burn more fuel.
· Environmental problems are due to a combination of several things such as, population increase, increase in energy consumption and the rise in industrial activity (including in the city of Denizli in Turkey, which is the main focus of this article).
· Global warming or the greenhouse gases effects are the biggest environmental problems that face us as a race at the moment.
· The rate of energy consumption related to heating is important when looking at air pollution and is around 30% in Denizli.
The externals walls, in Denizli generally, have a structure called a sandwich wall consisting of 2 cm inner plaster, two pieces of 8.5 cm horizontal hollow brick and 3 cm external plaster.
This article states that the external walls release quiet a large amount of heat but, if they were to be filled with insulation, expanded polystyrene being the recommended one, then the rate of fuel consumption i.e. coal burning, will decrease therefore reducing the amount of green house gases, CO2 and SO2 being emitted.
In a previous work it was found that the insulation thickness currently being used in buildings in Denizli is 0.0225 m. From the figures in the article the use of 0.095 m insulation thickness instead of 0.225 m, would reduce the amount of fuel and emissions by 63%. Therefore it seems, the thicker the insulation the better the results.
The unfortunate thing is that not all the heat is lost through external walls, 65.2% of total heat loss occurs through external walls, ceilings and floors and a further 34.8% is lost through windows. The application of optimum insulation thickness to these sections of the building would contribute to energy savings of up to 65.2% and the amount of fuel consumed and emissions to the environment reduced by up to 41.53%.
The article clearly states that the use of insulation would reap great rewards in relation to the environment and for long term energy savings. However I do have a few issues with some of the points in the article which are;
· The type of insulation being used.
· The optimum insulation thickness depends mainly on the cost of insulation material, cost of energy, yearly heating and cooling transmission loads, efficiency of the heating system, coefficient of performance of the cooling equipment, building lifetime, and inﬂation and interest rates, can everyone afford to insulate their house to the standard required to achieve the requirements and the maintenance that is involved?
· Oil consumption was never looked at, even though it is not used in such quantities as coal.
· If refrigerative air-conditioning is employed in a hot, humid climate, then it is particularly important to seal the building envelope. Dehumidification of humid air infiltration can waste significant energy.