For half the world temperatures are falling as we move deeper into the winter season. Keeping warm for many of us means turning the heater up (or starting another folding client), but this is not as economical as it could be. For smaller heating bills, homeowners can have insulation added to their house for a onetime cost, but the method is not ideal for some. Using 15 cm of polyurethane foam is not very practical when the building was not built with such an addition in mind. This can require putting a façade on the building which would then require deeper windows sills and possibly extended roofs.
There is another insulation method which could be used, but the current version is quite expensive. Luckily researchers at Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft have developed a cheaper though still affective form of vacuum isolation panels (VIP). Just 2 cm of their VIP is as good at insulating a structure as the 15 cm of foam. Traditional VIP insulation requires expensive films to make the product air tight, but the newly developed film used by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is both cheaper and faster to produce.
Future research will be to simplify the production process further and test the VIP’s lifespan. After all, no one would want the insulation on their house to fail. The films used and production processes involved have already been patented and the market price of the insulation can be expected to drop as production increases.