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blanket on supply and return Shannon Enterprises

Shannon reusable insulation saves $1 million for George Mason University

More than 725 custom-engineered reusable blankets were affixed to boilers, valves, pumps, fittings and expansion joints.

North Tonawanda, N.Y.  – Shannon Enterprises of W.N.Y. Inc., the world-leading designer and maker of reusable thermal and acoustic insulation, has helped George Mason University save more than $1 million since 2009 with an insulation solution for the university’s heating and cooling system. The university’s energy manager calculated the milestone based on annual energy savings accumulated from using a self-contained, reusable insulation system.

From 2009 to 2017, George Mason University’s Fairfax, Va., campus installed more than 725 custom-engineered reusable blankets on: boilers, valves & pumps in the Central Heating & Cooling Plant (CHCP); valves, fittings and expansion joints in tunnel vaults; and fittings and valves in mechanical rooms.

“By reducing heat loss and energy, we got a payback in under 15 months with our reusable blankets,” said Patrick Buchanan, university energy manager for George Mason. “With the blankets installed we can safely work alongside the valves and fittings, and the ambient temperature has dropped from extreme to comfortable.”

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Pictured are two, 12-in. 600 lb. supply and return valves at the CHCP’s High Temperature Hot Water System, using 350°F hot water at 350 psi instead of steam. Water leaves at 350°F and returns at over 250°F for reheating, making the system efficiency very high compared to other central steam systems.

In early 2009, Shannon and its Virginia manufacturer’s representative CVA Energy & Industrial Products, Inc. teamed up to survey the university’s equipment for radiant heat loss and provide a solution for saving energy, minimizing insulation maintenance and eliminating safety concerns across the Fairfax campus. Shannon’s team precisely measured the university’s CHCP equipment and high-temperature-hot-water (HTHW) components, so it could produce a reusable blanket to exactly fit each component or piece of equipment.

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BEFORE: Photo shows uncovered hot water header of a hot water generator at George Mason University’ Central Heating & Cooling Plant (CHCP) in Fairfax, Va.

“We paid for the blankets through a voluntary demand response program with CPower Energy Management, which compensated us for reducing electric load when asked by our utility,” said Buchanan.

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AFTER: reusable insulation blankets installed on the 6-in. hot water header of a hot water generator at George Mason University’ Central Heating & Cooling Plant (CHCP) in Fairfax, Va.

The university’s CHCP equipment and HTHW components provide a heating capacity of approximately 115,000 MMBtu to more than 145 buildings. According to Buchanan, the George Mason facilities footprint grew from roughly 3.5 million square feet in 2006 to 9 million square feet today, yet the university’s energy costs only increased 20 percent.


“Reusable blankets were definitely part of keeping energy costs low during this period,” said Buchanan. “All insulation is not the same; unless you’re working with someone who knows the right approach, you can think you have it handled when you actually don’t.”

“If you accurately identify all the areas of heat loss and engineer and install reusable insulation correctly, an energy manager’s cost of ownership is little to none,” added Frank Kovacs, president of Shannon.

About Shannon Enterprises of W.N.Y. Inc.
Shannon engineers and manufactures insulation products such as blanket insulation, insulation jackets and insulation covers. For more than 30 years, Shannon has developed insulation solutions for energy conservation, thermal and acoustic efficiency, noise reduction and safety. Using a CAD-CNC-ERP approach in design and manufacturing, Shannon is the worldwide market leader. For more information, visit

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