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Mechanical Insulation Estimating

Mechanical insulation estimating services provide engineers with valuable insights. This information can help them write specifications that take durability into account.

Developed by mechanical insulation contractors and computer experts, MIKE(tm) is a complete take-off, estimating, and material/labor reporting system that uses project blueprints and digitized items. It provides detailed and accurate estimates with minimal training.


A popular choice of insulation for residential and commercial applications, fibreglass (American English) or glass wool is a common type of thermal and acoustic insulation. It’s made from recycled glass materials that are melted at high temperatures and spun into long glass fibres that have millions of tiny air-pockets between them, making it very effective at resisting heat flow.

It’s also fire resistant without additives, and is available as blanket (batts), loose-fill, rigid boards, and duct insulation. Specialised acoustic glass wool batts are available to improve soundproofing and energy efficiency.

The National Insulation Association notes that insulating just eight feet of 4-inch pipe at 350degF would offset carbon emissions equivalent to driving a 2.7-liter car 20,000 miles or planting 360 trees. That’s a lot of potential energy savings, and it’s even more possible in commercial or industrial settings. Increasing the amount of mechanical insulation in existing buildings is an opportunity to reduce energy costs, improve working conditions, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Detailed mechanical insulation estimating allows specifiers to make sure that this important work is done correctly.


Cellulose insulation is a very “green” product made of recycled newsprint and treated with mineral borate compounds to make it fire resistant. It is also treated to repel insects and resist mold growth. It has a high recycled content, typically 82% to 85% post-consumer waste. It can be dry blown into open attics or wet sprayed into wall cavities.

Blown cellulose requires access holes in the walls to insert the application nozzle; this method is most often used in new construction and in retrofit applications where the existing wall finishes are removed. It is also used in walls that are not completely air-tight because it can be blown through small cracks and gaps, filling them.

Louisiana-Pacific, which manufactures a product called Nature Guard, has been giving cellulose a big image boost with a program guaranteeing low heating costs for houses that are properly insulated with it. This program is likely to increase demand for the product, benefiting all producers of cellulose insulation. It is important to keep cellulose dry; moisture will cause it to lose its R-value, promote mold growth, or even rot wood framing members.


Foam insulation for mechanical systems is available in a wide variety of sizes and forms. Its low cost makes it an economical choice for many applications. It is typically installed in ducts, piping and other equipment in industrial facilities. It helps reduce energy consumption, control a process, provide safety protection and condensation control, improve worker comfort and meet OSHA noise level standards.

Foam insulating materials such as extruded polystyrene (XPS), polyisocyanurate and phenolic foam are well-suited for mechanical insulation projects because of their low thermal conductivity, affordability and ease of installation. However, their thermal performance deteriorates rapidly over time. This deterioration is caused by the replacement of the highly insulating blowing agent with oxygen from the ambient air.

A skilled mechanical insulation estimator uses a sophisticated computer software system to perform an accurate takeoff of a project’s mechanical insulation requirements. Then, the expert can use this information to generate a professional, detailed mechanical insulation estimate for a project. This will help the general contractor get the job in a competitive bidding environment. A high-quality, comprehensive estimate will save the client time and money and increase their profit margin.


In mechanical insulation estimating, MIKE(tm) is the most complete take-off and estimating system available. This software uses a standard personal computer and a digitizer for quick and accurate take-off of project blueprints. It calculates and displays all take-off quantities on the screen as you work. This makes it three times faster than traditional estimating methods, and it’s more accurate.

Many bare pipe components in mechanical and boiler rooms are uninsulated or have inadequate insulation. This wastes energy, creates health and safety issues (hot components can cause burns), and produces unnecessary carbon dioxide emissions. Insulating these components, however, is a simple solution that can save money and improve energy efficiency in most buildings.

SEN assessments are conducted by independent specialists who use software assessment tools and interview plant personnel to identify opportunities for saving energy and improving bottom-line results. These opportunities include identifying and replacing or repairing mechanical insulation. The resulting savings from insulating these mechanical components often provide a return on investment within a year. This is a win-win opportunity for both the facility and its operators.


GEM is a global network that connects people to ideas, knowledge and opportunities. It offers a wide range of tools and resources, from the GEM global report to national and topic reports. It is supported by more than 150 funding institutions worldwide.

Heat can be transferred in three ways: radiation, convection and conduction. Radiation is most relevant to solid gemstones, while convection and conduction are most relevant to liquids and gases. Thermal conductivity varies with direction, and gems have different properties with respect to this variable.

Other important characteristics of gems include refraction, dispersion and pleochroism. Refraction is the ability of light to bend in a gemstone, and dispersion is the difference in the amount of bending that occurs for different colors. Both of these properties are directional, but they can be measured with simple instrumentation. In fact, many of the commercial probes used to distinguish diamond from cubic zirconia use a meter that can measure the mean value of thermal inertia. This is one property that could be a valuable tool for gemstone identification, but it can be affected by surface quality.