When it comes to walk-in coolers, appearances can be deceiving. While they may seem similar from the outside, it’s what’s on the inside that truly matters. Refrigerated Solutions Group (RSG), representing the renowned Master-Bilt and Norlake brands, is all set to unveil the ultimate insulation solution and explain why it’s the best choice at the upcoming NACS Show in Atlanta, GA, from October 4-6, 2023, at booth #C7459.

Exploring Insulation Types

Given that panel insulation significantly impacts the overall cost of ownership, it’s imperative to opt for a manufacturer that employs the most efficient insulation materials.

Two primary insulation materials dominate the walk-in cooler industry: polyurethane and polystyrene, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. However, when it comes to efficiency, polyurethane clearly emerges as the undisputed frontrunner.

Polyurethane’s Advantages 

Let’s begin by discussing a critical factor: R-value. Simply put, the R-value measures an insulating material’s ability to resist heat flow. The higher the R-value, the more effective the insulation.

Polyurethane boasts superior heat-resistant properties, meaning that refrigeration systems need to exert less effort to maintain cold temperatures inside the cooler. This translates to significant energy savings and subsequently reduced operating costs. In fact, polyurethane panels typically boast an R-value of 32, meeting or even surpassing DOE regulations.

But that’s not all – polyurethane offers additional benefits, such as:

  • Permanent adherence to metal panels, enhancing strength and reliability.
  • Outstanding moisture resistance due to its impressive 97% closed-cell content.
  • Maximum utilization of walk-in storage space, thanks to thinner walls compared to other foam alternatives.
  • Remarkable fire resistance, earning polyurethane a UL Class 1 rating. 

In contrast, polystyrene panels may initially appear cost-effective, but their lower R-value ultimately leads to higher operating costs. Polystyrene necessitates thicker walls to match the R-value of polyurethane, consequently reducing available storage space.


Polystyrene’s Drawbacks 

Polystyrene panels come with their own set of disadvantages, including:

  • Inferior resistance to ultraviolet radiation.
  • Limited resistance to chemicals, including organic solvents.
  • Requirement for hard-nose construction types with edges made from wood or high-density foam rails, which are less insulating and less effective at sealing than soft-nose construction, where the edges match the rest of the panel. 


In Conclusion

While opting for cheaper insulation upfront may be tempting, the long-term costs associated with higher operating expenses paint a different picture. When planning your next walk-in cooler, remember that what’s on the inside truly counts. Make the smart choice and invest in the most efficient solution for your business.

Visit Refrigerated Solutions Group at the NACS Show, and our experts will be delighted to assist you in finding the perfect walk-in cooler solution tailored to your business needs.