foam insulation

A Vilified Insulation Material From the 1970s Returns

Posted on March 01,2015 by AlexWilson in foam insulation

In working on a major revision to The BuildingGreen Guide to Insulation Products and Practices (available bundled with a webcast), we’ve had an opportunity to dig into some of the lesser-known insulation materials on the market. Some of what we’re found has been surprising.

California Law Addresses Fire Retardants in Homes

Posted on March 01,2015 by ScottG in flame retardant

A measure signed into law by California Gov. Jerry Brown will require state officials to review California's flammability standards for foam insulation, and may ultimately reduce the exposure of homeowners to two common flame retardants. According to an article posted online at SFGate.com, the state fire marshal and the Building Standards Commission will review current flammability standards and consider whether flame retardants are necessary.

How to Insulate a Flat Roof

Posted on March 01,2015 by ScottG in flat roof

Most of the houses that Atlanta architect Scott West designs are contemporary, and they typically come with flat roofs. Construction often consists of 12-in. deep I-joists or open-web 2x4 trusses capped with oriented strand board (OSB) sheathing. Roofs are unvented, and the use of recessed can lights is probably unavoidable.

Spray Foam Insulation Is Not a Magic Bullet

Posted on March 01,2015 by CarlSeville in foam insulation

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been pretty hard on batt insulation in the past. I feel that my complaints and concerns are well justified, but no matter which insulation product is chosen, it has to be installed properly or it just doesn’t work. Many people mistakenly believe (myself once among them) that spray polyurethane foam (SPF) is the perfect product, is always installed right, and tightens up homes every time.

Do We Really Need 12 Inches of Foam Under Our Slab?

Posted on March 01,2015 by user-961160 in EPS

[Editor's note: Roger and Lynn Normand are building a [no-glossary]Passivhaus[/no-glossary] in Maine. This is the 21st article in a series that will follow their project from planning through construction.]

PODCAST: How to Insulate an Unvented Roof

Posted on March 01,2015 by Daniel Morrison in foam insulation

Attics are a great place to reclaim living space without the expense of an addition. If you have the headroom, you can gain at least one extra room by finishing your attic. But with energy codes requiring more and more insulation, it can be difficult to pack all of that R-value into the skinny little rafters that are common in older houses.

Calculating the Minimum Thickness of Rigid Foam Sheathing

Posted on March 01,2015 by user-756436 in condensation

UPDATED on August 26, 2014 with new information on flash-and-batt requirements in the 2012 IRC If you plan to install exterior rigid foam on the walls of your house, how thick should the foam be? Although the GBA Web site has addressed this question several times in our Q&A column and various blogs, the question continues to perplex readers. New questions along these lines come our way regularly. The last time I answered the question was at the end of a long, very technical blog. In this blog, I'll cut to the chase.

Roofing and Siding Jobs Are Energy-Retrofit Opportunities

Posted on March 01,2015 by user-756436 in foam insulation

Unlike governments in Germany and the U.K., the U.S. government hasn’t yet enacted an energy policy aimed at addressing global climate change. As a result, prices for carbon-based fuels in the U.S. are far lower than in most European countries. If Americans continue along our current energy path, wrenching climate change is almost inevitable. That’s why many energy experts advise Americans to prepare for the eventual implementation of steep carbon taxes on heating fuel and electricity. One prominent environmental organization, the Union of Concerned Scientists, has called for an 80% reduction in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and two states (California and New Jersey) have adopted that target as a state goal. The 2030 Challenge, a program endorsed by the American Institute of Architects, sets a goal of implementing energy retrofits designed to reduce energy use by 50% at 1.5 million U.S. homes annually between now and 2030. It's unclear whether the U.S. will be able to meet these challenging targets. But attaining the targets would require almost every U.S. home to under a deep-energy retrofit. In most cases, the work would require walls and roofs to be covered with a thick layer of exterior insulation. The logical time to do this work is when siding or roofing is replaced.

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