Online Resources: Helping You Solve Problems

March 1, 2009 may not be the source for everything you need to know about mechanical insulation, but it’s close! Whether you need technical data about different types of insulation or need to find a trusted manufacturer, distributor, fabricator, or laminator, puts the latest industry information at your fingertips. The National Insulation Association (NIA) continually updates the site to help everyone from novices to experienced professionals learn about insulation, its benefits, and the commercial and industrial insulation industry.

Since there is so much information on the site, here is some advice on where to start. Even if you use the site regularly, you may learn something new!

How Can I Start Learning About Insulation?

The “Techs and Specs” section of the website offers technical information and a handy “Frequently Asked Questions” section with answers to questions ranging from “How Do You Choose the Right Insulation for the Job?” to “What are Firestops?”

The Insulation Science Glossary, contained in a downloadable PDF file, has definitions of terms commonly used in the insulation industry, from “abatement” to “wood fiber,” as well as some frequently used acronyms. It is regularly updated by NIA’s Technical Information Committee to include new terms and expanded definitions.

Clicking on “Technical Articles” links to the searchable database of Insulation Outlook articles. You can do a quick search by technical or non-technical topic, or you can perform a more advanced search using keywords, author name(s), or date ranges.

How Do I Find the Right Insulation Product and Company for My Job?

Under “Techs & Specs,” clicking on “Manufacturers’ Technical Literature” brings you to the MTL Product Catalog, the best way to find the most current information from participating insulation manufacturers. This information can be difficult to find on some manufacturers’ websites, but the MTL Product Catalog leads you right to the data you need to make your decision, saving you time and frustration.

You can search the MTL Product Catalog by type of insulation product and find a list of companies who sell that product, with the product literature conveniently linked beneath each company name; or you can search a manufacturer’s literature by product category. Looking for a specific company? You can read their description and follow a link to the company’s page in the NIA Membership Directory. The MTL Product Catalog also links directly to the Mechanical Insulation Design Guide, which explains in detail the different kinds of insulation and their applications.

The NIA Membership Directory provides you with an easy, instant way to find a company that does the type of work you need. Search by member type, specialties, products, location, or key personnel and find the person or company you’re looking for.

How Can I Find Technical Data for a Specification?

The Guide to Insulation Product Specifications contains current ASTM, federal, and military specifications, and lists manufacturers of products that conform to each specification. Also available is the Insulation Materials Specification Guide, which explains physical and material properties of various insulation materials. Another useful resource is the link to the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association’s 3E Plus® Software, used for calculating heat losses and determining surface temperatures for both hot and cold piping and equipment.

What Else Does
Have for Contractors?

The “Health and Safety” section contains valuable information about insulation’s use for personnel protection and sound control. Additionally, the “Techs & Specs” section has the bulletin Insulation Thicknesses for Economics and Burn Protection from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) available for download.

The “Training & Certification” section has information about NIA’s three training courses: The National Insulation Training Program (NITP), the Insulation Energy Appraisal Program (IEAP), and the 3E Plus Training Seminar. The NITP is designed to educate a broad spectrum of insulation professionals in the proper design, specification, and installation of insulation systems; while those who complete the IEAP can become Certified Energy Appraisers, a valuable service to offer given the recent focus on energy efficiency. By showing companies how much they can save with proper insulation, certified appraisers help promote the entire industry.

The nationally recognized Commercial and Industrial Insulation Standards Manual and CD can be ordered through the NIA “Bookstore” link, or you can consult the text of the manual online. In addition, the NIA online Bookstore offers a variety of other resources, from books to brochures, software, and DVDs.

The “Careers” section contains primers on mechanical insulation contracting and the distributor/fabricator business, as well as links to other construction career sites. It also lists Insulation Stars—articles in Insulation Outlook about plant/facility managers, engineers, and other professionals who have taken the initiative to improve processes through insulation.

Is There Information for Plant Managers?

Yes! There is a link to the Process Industry Practices website (under “Techs & Specs”) and its information on coating and insulation, which includes design, selection, specification, and installation information.

For steam plant managers, Steam Best Practices, also under “Techs & Specs,” offers a list of energy-efficient practices from the DOE and links to further resources designed to help save energy and money.

The “Health and Safety” page can help plant managers learn about insulation’s use for personnel protection and sound control, and it links to tips and suggestions to improve a company’s safety program.

The “Technical Articles” section brings up searchable, full-text versions of articles from Insulation Outlook, the industry’s go-to resource for commercial and industrial insulation information, including plant insulation assessments and solutions. Among its numerous topics are energy assessment case studies that can help plant managers make the argument for energy improvements. Look for “Energy Savings” under “Quick Links.”

How Can I Get Information about My Company’s Product on

The MTL Product Catalog, the only online library of technical literature for the insulation industry, is designed to put your technical literature into the hands of people who are searching for exactly that type of product. Your product information is constantly available on the website thousands turn to each day as their insulation resource. Plus, you can update your information whenever you want, as often as you need. In addition to PDFs of your technical literature, you can upload your company’s logo and description. To learn more, click on the “Advertise in the MTL” link found in the list of companies currently participating.

What Does NIA Do?

You can learn more about the association under the “About Us” link. NIA is constantly involved in efforts to educate the construction industry about the value of insulation, as shown under the “NIA Speaks” link. In addition to learning about NIA’s work on behalf of its members and the industry, you can see what the NIA Foundation for Education, Training, and Industry Advancement is doing, including its new campaign to educate Congress about the value of mechanical insulation.

The “Events” section contains information about NIA’s meetings, including Committee Days and its annual convention. Attendees benefit from educational sessions, roundtables, and networking opportunities.

What Is the Members Only Section of the Site?

This section is for NIA Members and is a benefit of belonging to the association. It contains committee minutes, member information, NIA News, sample human resources documents, and a new Electronic Reprints Library, which contains popular Insulation Outlook articles that members can download free and distribute.

To find out more, visit If you know a company that could benefit from membership, use the handy Suggest a Future Member form at

What Is

This site was developed by NIA’s Metal Building Laminators Committee. It features a state-by-state list of codes and the standards for NIA’s Certified Faced Insulation, in addition to information about metal building design and insulation installation.

What’s on

In addition to direct links to recent articles, the site has everything you need to know to advertise in the magazine, including demographic information in the Media Kit. It also has instructions for authors who would like to submit their article(s) to Insulation Outlook. is designed to be your one-stop shop for industrial and commercial insulation information. It is constantly being updated and evaluated. If you have suggestions or comments, please contact