DALLAS — Global insulation consumption is forecast to rise more than 5 percent annually to approximately 29 billion square meters of R-1 value in 2016, a substantial acceleration from the 2006-2011 rate, according to “World Insulation to 2016” from ReportsnReports.com. In developing countries, insulation demand is expected to expand at a healthy pace due to rising building construction and industrial activity. In most developed countries, insulation sales are expected to rebound after falling in 2008 and 2009 due to housing market collapses in several countries. In addition, governments are expected to adopt new regulations concerning building insulation in an effort to reduce energy consumption, further boosting demand.

Solid residential building construction expenditure gains will be the primary driver of demand for the world insulation market. In North America alone, insulation sales for residential applications are forecast to rise approximately 9 percent annually between 2011 and 2016, primarily due to the recovery of the housing market in the United States. In Western Europe, a rebound in several countries’ housing markets will cause insulation demand to post moderate gains through 2016, as opposed to the decline of the 2006-2011 period. In many Western European countries, government efforts to encourage insulation use in order to lower energy consumption will also contribute to demand. In developing countries in the Asia/Pacific region, Africa/Mideast region, and Central and South America, rural-to-urban migration will stimulate building activity in urban areas, and therefore insulation demand. In some countries, the adoption of minimum insulation requirements will also contribute to demand. Demand for insulation in the industrial, HVAC, and OEM markets will be driven by expanding manufacturing activity, appliance output, and HVAC system installations.

In value terms, worldwide insulation consumption is projected to advance roughly 7 percent per year through 2016, approaching $60 billion. The fastest growth is expected in the foamed plastic insulation segment, as these products will be used more frequently in construction applications because of their high insulation values, allowing them to capture market share from fiberglass and mineral wool insulation. Foamed plastic insulation is also used extensively in refrigerator and freezer manufacture, further boosting demand. Demand for fiberglass insulation will benefit from the rebounding residential construction market in North America, as the material is widely used in the U.S. and Canada. Other insulation materials, such as cellulose, will also see strong gains, as environmentally friendly options continue to gain popularity.

Publication date: 11/26/2012