What is Mechanical Insulation?

Mechanical insulation (MI) is insulation applied to pipes, ducts, and mechanical equipment (such as boilers, storage tanks, and air handling equipment). It is different from the insulation found in the walls, basement floor, and roof of a building.

Mechanical insulation is found in both industrial facilities, as well as larger commercial, institutional and residential buildings—typically referred to as ‘Part 3’ buildings.

Mechanical insulation best practices help achieve Triple Bottom Line objectives

Mechanical insulation can not only reduce energy consumption and the associated greenhouse gas emissions, but can reduce operating and maintenance costs. Installing high quality mechanical insulation using best practices typically costs 1% or less of construction costs and yet can have a significant impact on energy consumption; consequently, paybacks for mechanical insulation best practice are often very short, whether in new construction or in retrofitting existing buildings.

Social, health & safety

  • Providing protection of people who may come in contact with pipes, ducts or equipment, and
  • Reducing potential health risks such as mold caused by condensation.


  • Providing protection for pipes, ducts and equipment to prevent damage and extend service life, and
  • Reducing energy spending over the lifetime of buildings and improving returns on investment.


  • Reducing energy consumption and associated greenhouse gas emissions through reducing unintended heat transfer.
Software analytical tools can help designers to determine the appropriate amount of insulation in order to optimize thermal performance and cost. Online tools include the following:

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