Insulation Pays Off: The Business Case for Insulation Energy Appraisals

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An article written by David J. Cox, immediate past president of the National Insulation Association (NIA), published by POWER Magazine.

Identifying areas in your plant where insulation is inadequate and fixing the problem can save significant amounts of money, eliminate safety hazards for workers, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It’s a win-win-win solution.

Starting the article with a trip down music memory lane, one can reflect on the 1970s classic, “Takin’ It to the Streets,” which was written by Michael McDonald, the keyboard player and lead singer of the Doobie Brothers. McDonald joined the group in 1975 when guitarist Tom Johnston fell ill. Though this song takes one back to high school, it resonates with the current moment as the benefits of sustainability via mechanical insulation, delivered through energy appraisals and inspections, are now gaining momentum. The message of taking this knowledge to the people is clear, “Take this message to my brother. You will find him everywhere.”

David emphasizes the significance of the current moment as the message from the insulation industry that mechanical insulation plays a vital role in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is being well-received. It is clear that the industry is making a positive impact on the world. Insulation is no longer a product that goes unnoticed but is recognized for its crucial role in improving the environment.

U.S. Journey on Global Warming and GHG Emissions

Acting upon climate change regained traction in the U.S. when we rejoined the Paris Agreement in February 2021. The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty adopted by 196 countries in Paris, in December 2015, and entered into force in November 2016. The overall goal of the treaty is to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7F), compared to pre-industrial levels.

The U.S. reentered the agreement upon the first day of the Biden Administration in January 2021. At the Earth Leaders’ Summit in April 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland, many leaders underscored the urgency of other major economies strengthening their ambition to reduce GHG emissions. The U.S. got serious and submitted a new “nationally determined contribution” (NDC) under the Paris Agreement, setting an economy-wide emissions GHG target of a 50% to 52% reduction below 2005 levels in 2030. Furthering the U.S.’s commitment to reduce GHG emissions, Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act in August 2022, which earmarks $369 billion in “energy security and climate change” investments, with the aim of reducing carbon emissions roughly 40% by 2030. The intended aim is for these investments to broadly lower costs by building out existing energy and new renewable systems.

Not only are countries outlining bold strategies to reduce GHGs, but many businesses are also making carbon GHG emissions goals for the end of this decade and many out to 2050. At least one-fifth (21%) of the world’s 2,000 largest public companies have committed to meet net zero targets, according to a report called “Taking Stock: A global assessment of net zero targets,” which was released by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, a UK-based non-profit organization that supports informed debate on energy and climate change issues. The companies making the net zero commitments together represent sales of nearly $14 trillion. As an example, Amazon unveiled a plan in 2019 to make the company carbon neutral by 2040. American Electric Power has a carbon emission reduction goal to reduce CO2 emissions by more than 80%, with an aspiration to be net-zero by 2050. They have already made significant progress in reducing their carbon footprint, cutting emissions by 65% since 2000.

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The Energy Management Association (EMA) administers its ANAB-accredited, DOE’s Better Buildings® recognized Energy Management Professional (EMP) certification and provides an array of training and education programs to support the energy management profession. Visit