A New Blowing Agent With a Lower Environmental Impact

Posted on April 25,2015 by ScottG in blowing agent

Honeywell says that it has started full-scale production of a refrigerant and insulating agent with an extremely low global warming potential, a development that could make extruded polystyrene (XPS) and polyurethane foams much more attractive environmentally.

The Best Way to Insulate a Floor

Posted on April 25,2015 by ScottG in cold floor

Jim Wright's house in western Arkansas has a pier foundation that elevates floor framing about 40 inches off the ground. Unlike a house with a basement, crawl space, or slab foundation, there is no enclosure at the bottom of the house, so the floor is more or less like another exterior wall. How, Wright wonders, should this be insulated?

Icynene Has a New Foam With a Higher R-Value

Posted on April 25,2015 by ScottG in Icynene

Icynene is now offering a low-density polyurethane foam insulation with a slightly higher R-value, which the company says will help builders meet stricter energy code requirements. The product is called Icynene Classic Plus. The manufacturer says that the two-part spray foam insulation has an R-value of 4 per inch, compared to R-3.7 per inch for its Classic and Classic Max open-cell foam products.

Does Open-Cell Spray Foam Really Rot Roofs?

Posted on April 25,2015 by ab3 in attic

Murmurs and hearsay about open-cell spray foam insulation have been gaining traction for a while. It rots roofs, people have told me. Not long ago, someone even told me that in Florida, roofing companies won't let their workers go up on roofs with open-cell spray foam because the roofs are so spongy, the guys fall right through. Open-cell spray foam is getting a bad reputation among some people in the construction industry. But is it deserved?

Thermal Barriers and Ignition Barriers for Spray Foam

Posted on April 25,2015 by user-756436 in building code

Do building codes require spray foam insulation to be protected with a layer of drywall or a comparable barrier for fire safety? There is no simple answer to the question, for several reasons. The first reason is that the code is complicated. The second reason is that the code is poorly written. The third reason is that the code is subject to interpretation by local code officials. And the fourth reason is that even when the code clearly requires spray foam to be protected with a thermal barrier or an ignition barrier, many code officials don’t bother to enforce the code.

Sticking With Spray Foam for My Renovation

Posted on April 25,2015 by CarlSeville in atlanta

Over the past dozen or so years my opinion on spray foam insulation has evolved from being a strong advocate to being slightly skeptical. I have come to the conclusion that any well-designed new building can be insulated with any properly installed insulation. When it comes to renovations, however, spray foam often has some distinct advantages.

Spray Foam Insulation Is Not a Magic Bullet

Posted on April 25,2015 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.

Spraying Polyurethane Foam Over an Existing Roof

Posted on April 25,2015 by Olitch in foam roof

When Taya and Stephen Shoup's old tar-and-gravel roof began leaking, the couple hoped to find a replacement roofing that would be energy-conserving, leakproof, cost-competitive, and reasonably green. As the house's roof sheathing doubled as a finished ceiling, the old insulation was scant. They broiled in the summer and hemorrhaged money during the heating season.

Making Healthier, Greener Foam Insulation

Posted on April 25,2015 by AlexWilson in EPS

As readers of this blog know, I’ve come down fairly hard on certain types of foam insulation over the years. The downsides include the blowing agents used in extruded polystyrene (XPS) and most closed-cell spray polyurethane foam and the flame retardants that are added to all foam-plastic insulation to impart some level of fire resistance.

Joe Lstiburek on Spray Foam

Posted on April 25,2015 by ab3 in air barrier

Spray foam insulation evokes some interesting conversation among building scientists, construction professionals, environmentalists, and homeowners who have it in their homes. Many think it solves all problems, no matter how poorly it's installed. Some think it's helping to warm the planet and compromise the health of people and pets. In the middle are those who work with it regularly and see both the warts and the beauty of the product.

Evolving Opinions on Green Building

Posted on April 25,2015 by CarlSeville in fiber cement

I still remember using spray foam insulation in my early green renovation projects – it was almost magic! It sealed and insulated in one shot. It made it easy to finish attics and avoid most of the problems with fiberglass batts that were the common insulation on our jobs.

Weighing the Merits of Spray Foam Insulation

Posted on April 25,2015 by ScottG in polyurethane foam

Scott Jacobs’ 1,100-square-foot Cape is a perfect candidate for an energy upgrade. The 90-year-old house is gutted, and Jacobs wants to insulate it well even if his budget is not unlimited. The house, located in Climate Zone 6, now has a 1/2-inch-thick layer of rigid foam on the exterior walls. Jacobs’ plan is to insulate the house from the inside with spray polyurethane foam.

PHIUS Measures Its Approach to Spray Foam

Posted on April 25,2015 by Fretboard in blowing agent

On December 12, GBA posted an item about a Passive House Institute U.S. proposal to disallow use of spray polyurethane foam (SPF) insulation using hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) blowing agents with a high global warming potential. PHIUS also was considering extending the stricture to other petroleum-based insulation materials whose embodied energy is linked to greenhouse gas emissions.

Passivhaus and Spray Foam

Posted on April 25,2015 by user-945928 in climate change

The Passive House Institute U.S. (PHIUS) has banned the use of spray polyurethane foam (SPF) with high global warming potential (GWP). The discussion on high GWP insulation was elevated in an excellent piece, “Avoiding the Global Warming Impact of Insulation,” written by Alex Wilson, the executive editor of Environmental Building News. During Passivhaus training last year, it was stated that this could potentially be coming down the pipeline – so we weren’t surprised to see this pending regulation.

PHIUS Says No to Some Types of Spray Foam

Posted on April 25,2015 by Fretboard in cellular glass

Passive House Institute U.S. has decided to err on the side of environmental caution regarding the global-warming potential of spray foam insulation and the embodied energy of petroleum-based insulation materials in general, according to a recent post by Environmental Building News.

Spray Foam Jobs With Lingering Odor Problems

Posted on April 25,2015 by user-756436 in bad foam

Should spray polyurethane foam be installed in an occupied house? Hundreds of spray foam contractors around the country are happy to answer “Yes!” In almost all cases, these jobs end successfully: the spray foam improves the home’s thermal performance and the homeowner is happy.

Is It Time to Stop Insulating?

Posted on April 25,2015 by CarlSeville in AAC

Author’s Note: Many readers have mistakenly read this post as a serious suggestion that we stop insulating our buildings, and friends and foes alike have given me large rations of grief over this, all of which can be read below. I am a longtime advocate of high-performance homes and in no way would I ever recommend that we reduce or eliminate insulation. I do believe, however, that we need to consider the potential health effects of various products that we use and how they will affect our decisions on construction methods. Now on to the original post:

Calculating the Global Warming Impact of Insulation

Posted on April 25,2015 by user-756436 in closed-cell

In June 2010, Alex Wilson published a ground-breaking article, “Avoiding the Global Warming Impact of Insulation,” in Environmental Building News. In the article, Wilson examined the implications of the fact that the HFC blowing agents used to make extruded polystyrene (XPS) and most types of closed-cell spray polyurethane foam have a much greater global warming impact than CO2.

Waiting for EPA Action on Spray Foam Insulation

Posted on April 25,2015 by Fretboard in diisocyanate

Spray polyurethane foam is magic to some advocates of energy efficient housing — but black magic to others, who say its toxic potential outweighs its considerable merits as an airtight insulator.

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