The requirements for improvement in the energy efficiency of buildings, mandatory in many EU countries, entail a high level of thermal insulation of the building envelope. In recent years, super-insulation materials with very low thermal conductivity have been developed. These materials provide satisfactory thermal insulation, but allow the total thickness of the envelope components to be kept below a certain thickness. Nevertheless, in order to penetrate the building construction market, some barriers have to be overcome. One of the main issues is that testing procedures and useful data that are able to give a reliable picture of their performance when applied to real buildings have to be provided. Vacuum Insulation Panels (VIPs) are one of the most promising high performing technologies. The overall, effective, performance of a panel under actual working conditions is influenced by thermal bridging, due to the edge of the panel envelope and to the type of joint. In this paper, a study on the critical issues related to the laboratory measurement of the equivalent thermal conductivity of VIPs and their performance degradation due to vacuum loss has been carried out utilizing guarded heat flux meter apparatus. A numerical analysis has also been developed to study thermal bridging effect when VIP panels are adopted to create multilayer boards for building applications.
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