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Green Building News

Spray Polyurethane Business Expected to Grow

The future of the industry may be bright, as long as manufacturers can do a better job of training contractors to overcome concerns about improper installation

Continued growth for foam insulation is “not assured” unless the industry continues to work on installation problems and educates contractors, a market study has concluded.
Image Credit: Paul Norton / National Renewable Energy Laboratory

According to a market consulting company, the use of spray polyurethane foam (SPF) insulation in residential construction could grow 14% a year through 2015, to a total of $1.1 billion, as long as the industry minds its manners. “The future of the SPF business looks bright but not assured,” Ken Jacobson, a partner with Principia, said in a summary of the firm’s findings.

SPF will continue to be viewed as a “premium insulation” for high-end residential building as well as a good choice for commercial roofing and exterior walls. But, he added, “to continue its successful trajectory, the SPF industry will need to support a number of different initiatives including expanded contractor education and certification, property owner and specifier awareness, and R&D for new products with improved yields.”

One particular challenge is the concern the foam can be applied improperly. “The good news is the industry has moved quickly to help mitigate installation issues,” Principia said.

The growth in residential applications through 2015 was forecast at 14% a year; for commercial installations it was 9% annually.

Complaints from homeowners about lingering odors and in some cases health problems following the installation of spray foam are not new. Earlier this year, a law firm in Florida filed suit against a number of manufacturers and installers. Homeowners have also posted their concerns about spray foam odors on GBA.

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