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The North American Thermal Insulation Materials Market

June 15, 2001

thermal insulation market seems to be thriving in its The glass fibers segment of the market continues to get domiThe North American Thermal Insulation Materials Market T
own stability. In North America (United States andCanada), the thermal insulation market is mature and therefore a steady contributor. It is experiencing slow but sustained growth in most segments. Since thermal insulation has been around for so long, it is experiencing a high level of competition, while a few companies hold a significant share of the market. However, revenue is expected to be sustained by the retrofit market, new construction, increasing energyefficiency codes, and building specifications that will fuel the market at a steady pace.
The 2000 Executive Summary by Frost & Sullivan, San Jose, CA, reports on the thermal insulation materials market data and trends for the years 19962006, using 1999 as a base year. The following areas are discussed: extruded polystyrene insulation, expanded polystyrene insulation, polyisocyanurate insulation, glass fibers, mineral wool, and cellulose insulation.
Without separating the types of thermal insulation material in North America, the total revenues generated approximately $5.46 billion in 1999. According to these findings by Frost & Sullivan, the market is expected to reach $10.75 billion in revenues by 2006. These revenue figures are based on a compound annual growth rate of 10.1 percent for the period 20002006.
Major Segment Analysis
Figure 1 shows the percentage of revenues by product type for the total North American thermal insulation material market.
nant share with 51.7 percent of the total revenues in 1999. Polyisocyanurate has 14.7%, mineral wood, 11.7%; expanded polystyrene, 10.3%; extruded polystyrene 8.3% and cellulose 3.3%. All of these issues are dependent upon the type of insulation and its demand in the market.
Strong energy codes and utilities savings are major market drivers for the entire insulation industry. New residential construction spurs growth for glass fiber, mineral wool, and cellulose, while the replacement/retrofit segment provides a boost to extruded polystyrene and polyisocyanurate. A rather tight supply of glass fiber opens up room for mineral wool and cellulose in that residential area.
Two important factors are hampering the industry growth potential:

The overall slowdown in construction negatively impacting the entire industry.

The mindset of many who view insulation as a commodity item, and don’t see much differentiation among theproducts—something that affects each individual product’s market.
As with any other market, technology has become a vital tool in the growth of the insulation market. According to Frost & Sullivan, technologies applied to thermal insulation have generally focused on increasing energy efficiency through improved manufacturing techniques. Increases in high efficiencies have been achieved as manufacturers switch from older processes and new blowing agents for insulation production.
The Internet is also playing an increasing role in shaping distribution within the thermal insulation materials market. Most manufacturers now offer product information on the web, and some have incorporated online ordering. The Internet is providing endusers more knowledge and allowing for comparison shopping between companies and product lines.
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Environmental Concerns
Ozonedepleting substances (such as hydrochlorofluorocarbons) remain an environmental concern and will directly affect manufacturers within the extruded polystyrene and polyisocyanurate segments. Manufacturers will have to seek acceptable alternative blowing agents as phaseout implementation dates draw nearer.
Also, recycled content has become an increasingly important concern to home and building owners, specifiers, and architects as everyone seeks more environmentally friendly “green” products for use in construction. The government has implemented comprehensive procurement guidelines designating recycled material content levels.
The Findings manufacturer has moved toward being able to offer complete
According to Frost & Sullivan, the thermal insulation market insulation systems. ■ is continuing to experience growth. Companies are competing with one another for product segments, and the trend for the
This article is reprinted, with permission, fromtheAugust 2000 issue ofRoofingContractor. Frost & Sullivan is an international marketing, consulting, and training company in San Jose, CA. For further information, visit their website at
A worker installs board insulation.
All figures are rounded; the base year is 1999. Source: Frost & Sullivan
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