Case 3 - How to choose insulation for a refrigerated cold-room


Insulation is as important a part of any refrigerated space, room or vehicle as the refrigeration system itself. There is a wide range of possible materials for wall insulation. These include:

Steel-faced polyurethane (PUR). Usually in the form of  insulated composite panels which are designed to provide a fast and cost-effective cold room construction system. These systems comprise CFC free polyurethane panels normally faced on both sides with a thick galvanised steel sheet.

Mineral fibre panels are used for wall and ceiling applications in hygienic chill and ambient environments where internal temperatures are above 0C. The panel provides a balance between fire performance, cost and weight. The ideal choice when fire resistance and hygiene are essential.

Polyisocyanurate (PIR) wall and ceiling panels are used in hygienic cold, chill and ambient environments. The panels provide a particularly effective solution in cold environments, where internal temperatures are between 0C and -40C, and where fire resistance, thermal insulation and hygiene are essential. PIR is amongst the most efficient insulating materials in use.

The ability of a material to insulate is often quoted as its R Value (unit:mK/W). This is a characteristic of the insulated panel. It depends on the thickness and the thermal conductivity  of the insulator.

R = thickness in metres / thermal conductivity

The R value qualifies the ability of a material's thickness to stop the transmission of heat. The greater the coefficient, the better the insulator.

More information

Information on insulating material can be found in the Finding data area of the website.

More information on insulation in buildings can be found at London Metropolitan University.