Custom wallpaper provides insulating qualities

Imagine slapping up wallpaper that insulates, provides sound-deadening qualities and covers up imperfections.

Sounds cool, especially for dwellers of uninsulated apartments.

The product, by German-based Saarpor Group, is called Climapor. It's 4 mm thick and comes in various forms in addition to the unencumbered original: one with a laminated layer of aluminum foil, another with wood chips in the material and a third with a layer of paste board. The company says it offers the same insulating qualities as about 68 mm of brick, 79 mm of lime-sandstone and 210 mm of normal concrete.

That's still not a whole heck of a lot so I'll leave the interpretation to Bruce Mulliken of Green Energy News:
The comparison to brick as an insulating material may seem a little baffling. Here in the U.S., builders, architects, even homeowners, have been trained to think of insulation effectiveness in terms of R-value, a measure of thermal conductivity. Brick has a particularly low R-value of between 0.44 and 0.80 for 4 inches, not 3 inches, of brick. But the Saarpor product reflects heat and we’re not accustomed to thinking in terms of heat reflectivity as another way to retain heat in a building. Retaining heat through reflection can do the same job as insulation.

Mulliken said the expandable polystyrene product is impregnated with graphite particles that behave like mirrors, reflecting thermal radiation and reducing heat loss. "It would be a game changer if it worked as advertised," he wrote. "With that in mind, a real world study or two of the effectiveness of the product would be helpful."

And its domestic availability is in question. The manufacturer's Web site says Climapor is available in "DIY stores," but I couldn't find any sales outlets in the United States.