Insulation prevents the loss of heat, electricity or sound from a source to its surroundings. It is also applicable otherwise for protecting the source from being affected by the surrounding conditions. This is achieved with the help of insulators or insulating materials that contain the further loss of energy from the source. Acoustic and thermal insulation are linked with preventing loss of sound waves and heat energy respectively. Insulation makes it easy to control energy efficiency of structures; industrial, residential or commercial. By controlling the amount of heat escaping to the environment, insulation helps in effectively reducing carbon footprint. Increased awareness towards its energy efficiency and benefits has resulted in increased demand and application of insulation in the growing construction industry. Government support has encouraged many end user segments to extensively take up insulation usage. However, few agents in insulating materials contain harmful chemicals, causing depletion of ozone layer, contemplating alternatives for further use. Limited compatible options have confined the raw material market. The resultant price fluctuations of raw materials pose another challenge to the growth of this industry.
Insulators are non-conducting materials that prevent the loss of energy. Several options of insulating materials are available, yet their usability features are not suitable for widespread application. Few insulating materials are used on a large scale due to their user need compatibility. Fiberglass is one such material, providing necessary strength without the weight and expense. It is easily mouldable, less brittle and provides excellent insulating capacity being highly heat and weather resistance. Foam plastic provides insulation options in the form of spray application or rigid boards. Either way, this segment is linked with fire safety concerns from regulatory bodies. Stringent guidelines need to be adhered to when using this material as insulation in construction projects. Mineral wool may be natural or synthetic and is widely used for thermal and acoustic insulation.
Application of insulation in construction has been long followed in developed countries owing to basic awareness and effective policies of regulatory bodies. As a result, retrofit (reinforcing buildings) market is a major application segment for insulation market. As construction incorporates newer technologies to deliver energy efficient and comfortable homes, insulation is finding increased application in this market. Non-residential segment is demanding increased insulation applications with upcoming construction projects in many developing countries. Booming real estate segment has been contributing as a major growth driver for the insulation market. Industrialization and growing OEM market have resulted in significant demand growth owing to numerous technological developments and dynamic nature of this market.
North America is one of the leading consumer markets for insulation owing to its advanced architectural technologies and related government regulations. While limited scope is provided by upcoming constructions in the heavily developed regions, retrofit segment (home energy, seismic, etc.) forms a major demand market. The increase in demand for insulating materials in industrial and OEM markets in this region has witnessed an increase to keep up with the evolving technological trends; driving insulation market growth. Europe is another significant insulation consumer market with industrial countries of Germany, France, UK and Italy leading in insulation demand. Asia Pacific is expected to be an emerging market for insulation with its booming industrial and real estate markets. Rise in awareness of insulation coupled with unpredictable climate changes are expected to drive insulation market growth. Government policies to combat environmental issues have encouraged use of insulation in many regions globally.
Companies operating in the insulation market include Armacell, Atlas Roofing Corporation, Basf Polyurethanes GmbH, Bayer AG, Celotex Ltd., Cabot Corporation, CECA, Cellofoam North America Inc., Certain Teed, Carlisle Insulation Inc., Dalian Rockwool Co. Ltd., Dow Building Solutions, GAF Materials Corp., Hebei Renqiu Jinglian Group Co. Ltd., Huntsman Corporation, Johns Manville Corp., Knauf Gips KG, Kingspan Group PLC, Thermal Insulation & Sealing Co. Ltd., Owen Cornings Corp., Rockwool Group, Saint-Gobain SA and Xtratherm Ltd.