Optimum Insulation Thickness for the Exterior Walls of Buildings in Turkey Based on Different Materials, Energy Sources and Climate Regions
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Thermal insulation improves the strength and longevity of buildings by reducing energy consumption, and as a related result, improved energy use. The selection of insulation material is governed by important parameters, including the average outdoor air temperature, the thermal conductivity of the buildings and the cost of the insulation material. Increases in the thickness of the insulation material will gradually decrease the energy consumption for heating; however, the insulation thickness has an optimum value that minimises the total investment cost, and determination of this optimum value is critical for economic analysis. In this paper, a life-cycle cost analysis is presented to show the optimum insulation thickness, energy savings over a lifetime of 15 years and payback periods for six different fuels and insulation materials for four cities in Turkey selected from climate regions identified by the Turkish Thermal Insulation Standard (TS 825). Muğla (1st region), Kocaeli (2nd region), Ankara (3rd region) and Ardahan (4th region) were selected for analysis of a sandwich-type wall constructed from the following six insulation materials: extruded polystyrene, expanded polystyrene, glass wool, rock wool, polyisocyanurate and polyurethane. The calculations were also made on the basis of six different fuels, such as motorin, natural gas, propane (LPG), electricity, coal (imported), and fuel-oil No. 4. As a consequence, results demonstated that the optimum insulation thickness vary between 2.8 cm and 45.1 cm, with energy savings between 16.4 ₺/m2 and 479 ₺/m2, and payback periods fluctuating between 0.078 and 0.860 years, depending on the city, the insulation material, and the cost of fuel.