spray foam

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Installing Closed-Cell Spray Foam Between Studs is a Waste

Why open-cell foam makes more sense than closed-cell foam between studs

Posted on Mar 17 2017 by Martin Holladay
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Open-cell spray foam has an R-valueMeasure of resistance to heat flow; the higher the R-value, the lower the heat loss. The inverse of U-factor. of about R-3.7 per inch, while closed-cell spray foam has an R-value that may be as high as R-6.5 per inch. If you want to install spray foam in a stud wall, and price is no object, then it would seem to make sense to specify closed-cell spray foam, right?

Not necessarily.


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Image Credits:

  1. Image #1: Icynene Corporation
  2. Image #2: "Musings of an Energy Nerd," Fine Homebuilding

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Does a Bigger Volume Mean More Heating and Cooling Load?

Many people answer this question incorrectly

Posted on Mar 15 2017 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD
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What happens to the heating and cooling loads when you encapsulate an attic? With the insulation and air barrierBuilding assembly components that work as a system to restrict air flow through the building envelope. Air barriers may or may not act as a vapor barrier. The air barrier can be on the exterior, the interior of the assembly, or both. at the ceiling below the attic, you're excluding the attic space. That volume of air up there isn't involved in the conditioning of the home. But when you move the enclosure to the roofline (usually by installing spray foam insulation beneath the roof deck), now the attic's volume is included in the conditioned spaceInsulated, air-sealed part of a building that is actively heated and/or cooled for occupant comfort. .

Occasionally I hear people say the loads will be higher because of the extra volume. Does having more air inside really increase the loads?


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Image Credits:

  1. Energy Vanguard

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Three Reasons to Remove Attic Floor Insulation in a Sealed Attic

Attics insulated with spray foam have different characteristics from vented attics

Posted on Aug 10 2016 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD
prime

I get asked a lot of questions about spray foam. Do I need an ignition barrier? Should I use open-cell or closed-cell spray foam? Will open-cell spray foam really rot my roof?

But the question I get more than any other on this topic is about whether or not the insulation on the attic floor should be removed when insulating the roof deck in an existing home. As you can tell from the title of this article, my answer is to remove it. Here are my three reasons, in increasing order of importance.


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Image Credits:

  1. Energy Vanguard

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When Spray Foam Goes Bad

Make sure that you hire the installer, not the foam manufacturer or foam brand

Posted on Aug 2 2016 by Greg Labbe

When spray foam goes bad, it’s hard not to feel a bit sick. Sick because this high-performance insulation has a big carbon footprintAmount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that a person, community, industry, or other entity contributes to the atmosphere through energy use, transportation, and other means. and proper installation is key to its performance. When it’s not installed correctly, it can get expensive for the client, the contractor, and the planet.


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Image Credits:

  1. BlueGreen Consulting Group

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Will This Roof Design Have Problems?

A homeowner questions his architect’s plans for a standing-seam metal roof

Posted on Jul 4 2016 by Scott Gibson

Planning a new house in Climate Zone 6, Chad Kotlarz is reviewing his architect's plans for the roof — and discovers he has a few misgivings.

The unvented roof will be framed with 2x12 rafters, sheathed with plywood and capped with standing-seam metal roofing. Closed-cell spray foam will insulate the rafter bays, and the interior of the cathedral ceiling will be finished with gypsum drywall. An exposed truss with a collar tie provides structural support.


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Image Credits:

  1. dunktanktechnician/ CC BY 2.0 / Flickr

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How I Fixed My Leaky, Underinsulated Exterior Wall

Rigid foam, spray foam, and fiberglass now give me an airtight, well insulated wall

Posted on Jun 15 2016 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD
prime

When I began remodeling my master bathroom last month, I found the exterior wall ripe for some serious improvement. It had a number of problems, and I was excited to find them.

It was worse than I imagined in some ways. The photo at right shows the wall partially opened up.


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Image Credits:

  1. Energy Vanguard

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More About Global Warming and Insulation

It’s not as straightforward as many seem to believe

Posted on Apr 20 2016 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD
prime

Well, I really stirred things up with my last article on insulation and global warming. My intention was to explain why Alex Wilson's results could be doing a disservice to the green building community. In the end, I was rightly accused of have done a disservice myself.

So, here goes with Part Three of my take on the global warming impact of insulation. Let's see if I can get closer to the truth this time.


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Image Credits:

  1. Alex Wilson

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The Misleading Numbers Behind the Global Warming Impact of Insulation

An article purporting to quantify this effect has misinformed many in the green building community

Posted on Mar 9 2016 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD
prime

I've been reading a lot of BS lately. No, I'm not talking about blood sugar. It's brain science that's captured my attention: understanding how the human brain works, why we do the things we do, and what common illusions often lead us astray.

What I want to talk to you about today, though, is foam insulation and global warming. But first, we have to talk about calamari.


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Image Credits:

  1. Image #1: U.S. National Library of Medicine - Public domain

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Getting Spray Foam Right

Spray polyurethane foam is an incredible material when applied correctly — but in the wrong hands it can be finicky

Posted on Jan 25 2016 by Paul Eldrenkamp and Rachel White

Spray foam insulation scares homeowners more than it should — although this is hardly surprising given the horror stories that abound on the Internet. While some of these stories are legitimate, more are based on skewed perceptions or flawed science. The truth is that spray foam is an incredibly effective insulation material and that failures are incredibly rare.


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Image Credits:

  1. Dunktanktechnician / Creative Commons license / Flickr

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BuildingGreen Names Top 10 Products

This year's list includes a variety of products that save energy or water and do less environmental damage than conventional products

Posted on Nov 19 2015 by Scott Gibson

Two kinds of office chairs, a clothes dryer, bicycle storage equipment, and high-performance panelized homes all found a place on BuildingGreen's Top Ten product list for 2016.

The publisher of Environmental Building News and GreenSpec annually recognizes products that it believes "transform the design and construction industry" by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and saving energy and water. This is the 14th year that BuildingGreen has made the awards.

Here's this year's list:


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Image Credits:

  1. All photos: BuildingGreen

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