Energy and economic analysis of Vacuum Insulation Panels (VIPs) used in non-domestic buildings

Mahmood Alam, Harjit Singh, S. Suresh, D.A.G. Redpath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The potential savings in space heating energy from the installation of Fumed Silica (FS) and Glass Fibre (GF) Vacuum Insulation Panels (VIPs) were compared to conventional expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation for three different non-domestic buildings situated in London (UK). A discounted payback period analysis was used to determine the time taken for the capital cost of installing the insulation to be recovered. VIP materials were ranked using cost and density indexes. The methodology of the Payback analysis carried out considered the time dependency of VIP thermal performance, fuel prices and rental income from buildings. These calculations show that VIP insulation reduced the annual space heating energy demand and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by approximately 10.2%, 41.3% and 26.7% for a six storey office building, a two floor retail unit building and a four storey office building respectively. FS VIPs had the shortest payback period among the insulation materials studied, ranging from 2.5 years to 17 years, depending upon the rental income of the building. For GF VIPs the calculated payback period was considerably longer and in the case of the typical 4 storey office building studied its cost could not be recovered over the life time of the building. For EPS insulation the calculated payback period was longer than its useful life time for all three buildings. FS VIPs were found to be economically viable for installation onto non-domestic buildings in high rental value locations assuming a lifespan of up to 60 years.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Energy
Publication statusPublished - 8 Dec 2016

Bibliographical note

© 2016. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license


  • Payback period
  • Space heating energy savings
  • Vacuum Insulation Panel (VIP)
  • Fumed silica
  • Glass fibre
  • Non-domestic buildings


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