Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering Management


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Alfred E. Thal, Jr., PhD


Thermal building insulation has traditionally been viewed as a means to reduce thermal conductivity through the building envelope. Builders typically choose the least expensive material which meets the specifications in order to remain competitive. Other factors regarding long term health and environmental consequences are typically dismissed. However, a recent shift toward sustainability requires that architects and engineers take a more responsible approach to building design. This research takes a holistic approach to selecting thermal building insulation through the use of a multi-attribute decision model. Several types of insulating products from a variety of manufacturers were investigated in order to determine the best insulation alternative for the new Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) academic facility at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base based upon the objectives of an Air Force decision-maker. Human health and environmental impacts were considered in addition to those traditionally associated with thermal building insulation. A multi-attribute decision model was chosen for this research because of the numerous alternatives and competing objectives. The results show that polystyrene ranks highest according to value; however, polystyrene has the highest upfront cost. Wet spray cellulose ranks lower but a low upfront cost give it highest value per cost ratio in climate zone 3. Climate appears to be a significant factor in extreme climates.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number