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How Logistics Impacts Shutdowns, Outages, and Turnarounds

Much of the process industry operates on a seven day per week, twenty-four hour per day schedule, and has one thing in common. The common element being key pieces of equipment cannot be worked on or internally inspected unless they are taken out of service in order to perform the required work. As a result, plants often execute what are referred to as shutdowns, outages, or turnarounds.  For the sake of this article, let’s simply use the word “outages” to identify these significant events. The reason I say these events are significant is due to the fact that the production…

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The Consequences of a “Bad Specification” From the Perspective of the Mechanical Insulation Industry

You continually hear mechanical insulation contractors, and others, complaining about incomplete, outdated, or irrelevant mechanical insulation specifications (i.e., “bad specifications”). Immediately you want to know, what is a bad versus a good specification and what are the advantages or consequences of both? This article is written from the perspective of the mechanical insulation industry and focused primarily on new construction. The comments or opinions addressed herein may or may not apply to all industries. It is not intended to find fault with any specifying organization or individual but to address the confusing or conflicting information that is found in some…

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Overcoming Common Safety Issues with the Installation of Industrial Insulation

There are several concerns industrial insulation contractors must consider when installing products in hazardous power plant environments, including the plant’s heat output, the probability of fly ash and acid gas, the implications of tight operating proximity, and many other issues that are unique to specific types of plants and installations. To combat these potentially dangerous situations for insulation installers, contractors must take the necessary precautions, including undergoing a rigorous pre-planning process, conducting a job safety analysis (JSA), mandating in-depth employee education, and providing employees with all of the required personal protective equipment (PPE). While power plant environments can prove to…

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Buyer Interest in a Net-Zero Home Sags in Survey of Architects

A survey among architects finds interest in solar panels is on the rise among prospective homebuyers. Photot: Green MPs / CC BY-NC-ND / Flickr A quarterly survey by The American Institute of Architects shows rising interest in solar panels and docking stations for electric vehicles but declining interest over time in the number of people who say they want net-zero energy or superinsulated houses. The findings for the third quarter of the year represent information that AIA member architects who design single-family homes gather in their dealings with clients. The survey, which measured changes in interest from 2018 to 2019,…

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What’s the Best Way to Insulate a Basement Slab?

Dave Feldman is building a new house near Boston, Massachusetts, that will have a walkout basement with a tile floor. His goal is to have the floor comfortably warm in this Climate Zone 5 locale even in the dead of winter. Feldman plans to insulate the basement walls with closed-cell spray polyurethane foam. For insulation below the slab, Feldman is considering two types of rigid foam insulation—expanded polystyrene (EPS) and extruded polystyrene (XPS)—as well as closed-cell spray polyurethane foam. He’s uncertain whether to insulate the slab with 2 inches of foam (which he estimates at R-10 to R-14) or invest…

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Wingnut Testing of Soffit-to-Ridge Venting, Round 3

In the first two rounds of soffit-to-ridge vent Wingnut testing (see Round 1 and Round 2 ), I used a simple and small easel test rig to simulate what happens in real cathedral roof assemblies that have soffit-to-ridge venting. At the end of each of those rounds, it seemed pretty clear that we needed to see how real roofs perform. In this post, I am reporting on the first Wingnut testing on real roof assemblies on four northeastern homes (all with more than one roof pitch). How I tested Here is a look at the procedure I followed for this round…

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