Association for FEF and PEF insulation

Efficient solutions for technical insulation

CEFEP (European FEF and PEF Interest Group) is a syndicate for the providers of technical insulation. As a mouthpiece for the industry the group intends to communicate the benefits of its products to the European market, regardless of the manufacturer. CEFEP was founded under the umbrella of Güteschutzgemeinschaft Hartschaum e.V. (Celle) in 2012. Its expertise is characterised by the long-term market knowledge of its members.

Several EN and ISO standards offer detailed guidance on how to assess just how much additional energy is lost when flanges and other fittings are left uninsulated.

A single uninsulated flange can yield heat loss equivalent to between 3 and 5 m of insulated straight pipe.

EN ISO 12241:2008 suggests that, depending on the exact location, a single uninsulated flange can yield heat loss equivalent to between 3 and 5 m of insulated straight pipe. That’s an increase in energy loss of at least 300% and potentially as much as 500%.

These energy losses are so great that it’s not possible to "make-up" for them in any other way. Increasing the thickness of insulation applied to straight pipes or selecting insulation with lower thermal conductivity values will save only marginal amounts of energy when compared to the energy savings that can be realised by insulating all flanges, valves and pipe supports using FEF and PEF insulation.

Bridging the gap(s) made easy with flexible insulation

Bridging the gap(s) made easy with flexible insulation

An insulation system only can be as efficient as its weakest points, which makes insulating fixtures like flanges, pipe supports and bends essential. These pipework elements often feature diff icult geometry which is why flexible insulation materials that can be easily fabricated to fit should be the preferred choice for consultants and contractors.

FEF and PEF insulation materials are highly flexible. This makes it possible to insulate even the most complex pipework elements but they offer further, crucial, advantages too. These insulation materials can be easily cut to size on site without the need for specialist equipment – nothing else is needed other than a sharp knife. Since the materials are completely free from dust and fibres they are particularly easy and clean to work with, introducing no contaminants into the working environment.

The insulation of all parts of a pipe and duct system is easy to achieve with insulation products made of FEF and PEF. Due to their flexible, closed cell structure they can easily be cut to fit every part of the pipe system. Only if all parts of a pipe and duct system are insulated properly the mechanical building services can perform most efficiently. This is saving energy and reduces the risk of corrosion every day.

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Keeping the surface of an insulation material above the dew-point temperature is key to stopping condensation.  Insulation thickness and thermal conductivity play major roles but, when it comes to controlling the surface temperature of insulation, no material property is more important than the surface emissivity.

Surface emissivity measures the potential of a material to emit energy in the form of thermal radiation.  Black, non-reflective, surfaces with a high emissivity finish are well suited to keeping the surface temperature above that of the dew-point.  Relatively small thicknesses of insulation can be used to reliably prevent condensation if the insulation material presents a high emissivity surface finish.

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Insulation made of flexible elastomeric foams (FEF) or polyethylene foams (PEF) can help to reduce the health risks associated with heating and plumbing pipework. Insulation is especially important when it comes to reducing bacterial growth inside domestic water supply pipes. "The Legionella bacteria grows at an accelerated rate in 'stationary' water at temperatures between 25 ºC and 60 ºC," explains Georg Eleftheriadis, Chairman of the European Association CEFEP.

"FEF or PEF thermal insulation can reduce temperature variations and so support the quality and 'purity' of drinking water.” Closed cell insulation with its in-built water vapour barrier saves energy efficiently and protects against moisture ingress at the same time.

International standards and strict EU regulations define how to supply drinking water in order to guarantee a high level of "purity". The European standard EN 806 defines precisely which measures should be implemented in order to supply safe, clean drinking water.

The legionella bacteria favours temperatures between 25 ºC and 60 ºC, a range that can be encountered in both hot and cold water pipes. When inhaled in small droplets - for example, as an aerosol in the shower - to the legionella bacteria can cause symptoms similar to those of pneumonia. "In order to counteract the risk of microbial contamination it is important that hot and cold water pipes are strictly isolated from each other by the appropriate technical insulation," explains Georg Eleftheriadis.

Reliable insulation protects against contamination

Appropriate pipe insulation helps to minimise the risk of hot water temperatures falling below 60 ºC and cold water temperatures increasing above 25 ºC. These are the safe water supply temperature limits defined within EN 806-2.

Alongside energy saving considerations, environmental factors like humidity, ambient temperature and pipe temperature will influence the pipe insulation thickness selected. Regardless of thickness, insulation should also be resistant to moisture ingress in order to ensure long term thermal performance.

This is where the advantages of FEF and PEF insulation are most obvious. For cold pipes the operating temperature is lower than the ambient air which leads to condensation. Using FEF or PEF insulation with an in-built water vapour barrier at the appropriate insulation thickness no condensation will form, either on the surface of the pipe or within the insulation itself.

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Manufacturers have been obliged to guarantee that their products conform to the requirements of the Construction Products Regulation (CPR) since the legislation was first introduced. Among other requirements a manufacturer must issue a declaration of performance.  This is an integral part of the CE marking process.

Only CE marked products can be marketed in the European trading area. The leading manufacturers of technical insulation materials made of flexible elastomeric foams (FEF) and polyethylene foams (PEF) ensure that their products display the CE mark.

The European FEF/PEF Interest Group, “CEFEP”, strongly supports CE marking.  CEFEP also promotes harmonised standards and provides a definitive source of information from the FEF/PEF insulation industry.

CEFEP was founded in the year 2013 and the ideal of replacing older conflicting, country specific, standards with harmonised European standards has always been close to the heart of the organisation. Today all members produce technical insulation materials which are approved for use in Europe and bear the CE mark. With the CE mark in place, CEFEP manufacturers confirm that their products meet the relevant EU regulations.

The principal standards for FEF and PEF insulation

A CE mark is not a mark of quality but, rather, an acknowledgement that the manufacturer has declared the “essential characteristics” of that product.  The properties that must be declared and the rules for declaring them are defined in a series of European standards.
Two standards are of fundamental importance: EN 14304 is applied for thermal insulation materials that are made of flexible elastomeric foams (FEF) for building equipment and industrial installations. EN 14313 refers to insulation products consisting of polyethylene foams (PEF).
In the case of technical insulation materials, a further distinction is made between flat products (insulating panels) and linear products (hoses).
Information on the thermal conductivity (λ-value) and the fire behaviour is obligatory in both categories. Data on the water vapour diffusion resistance (μ-value) and the release of corrosive substances also play a role for the assessment of the materials and these are often included in the declaration of performance.
Both product standards require inspection methods for factory production control (FPC) and preliminary technical determination (PTD).

Inspiring confidence for users

The CPR and the introduction of harmonized European product standards represents a fundamental change for the construction sector. With the introduction of CE marking it is now necessary to use the same methods of inspection and assessment throughout Europe, removing a potential barrier to international trade within the EU.
For consultants, wholesalers and installers, CE marking makes it easy to compare a wide range of products from different manufacturers. CEFEP members aim to provide all of the information required by EN 14304 and EN 14313 in an unambiguous way to a high level of precision.

Uniform European fire classification

The new European fire classes (A to F), defined within EN 13501-1, are a mandatory part of the EN 14304 and EN 14313 product standards. A European fire classification must be declared for a product as part of the CE marking process.
To classify flammable insulation materials, EN 13501-1 specifies that the SBI (Single Burning Item) testing method should be used. This assesses the contribution that the construction product in question makes to the development of a fire.
Linear products (tubes) are additionally marked with a subscript “L”. Another new feature is the testing of the smoke development using the abbreviation “s” (for “smoke”) and “d” (for “droplets”) in the case of burning droplets. European class E is tested by means of the ignitability test according to EN ISO 11925-2.
In order to offer its customers the greatest possible clarity when selecting technical insulation materials, the members of CEFEP all provide declarations of performance. “With regard to the declarations of performance for our products, we want to create as much transparency as possible and thus achieve a high degree of security in product selection,” confirms Georg Eleftheriadis, chairman of the “Gütegemeinschaft Hartschaum” and chairman of the CEFEP. “We are glad to support dealers, planners and users with our advice.”

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Mind the gap(s) to unleash additional saving potential

Energy losses from un-insulated fitting are so great that it’s not possible to “make-up for them in any other way.


Condensation Control

Learn more about how to prevent condensation forming on cold, 
refrigeration and air-conditioning pipes.

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