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spray foam education

While spray foam insulation (SPF) is being talked about in the global media as one of the key factors in the world’s quest for more energy efficient buildings, and the “next big thing” in high performance buildings, it’s good to keep in mind SPF insulation has been around since the late 1960s.

Builders first used it to insulate homes and buildings in the 1970s, so we have more than 40 years of building science behind this engineered building product.

Learning about SPF: how it’s used in homes, commercial buildings, hospitals, schools, and on farms around the US is smart. Whether you’re a homeowner planning your build, a builder who wants to provide the best insulation possible for their clients, an architect thinking ahead to what buildings need for the next 100 years, or an insulation contractor who wants to focus his/her business on what will be the driving force in building in the US for the next decade and beyond.

We hope these articles give you a good foundational knowledge of it, and the people who make it, spec it, build with it, and apply it.

  • About Spray Foam Insulation

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  • Benefits of SPF

    The benefits of spray foam insulation are varied and impressive. Not only for home owners and building owners, but also for architects, builder, general contractors, trade contractors, applicators, and state and local building code personnel. It outperforms all other forms of legacy insulations so easily it’s hard to imagine anyone who cares about energy efficiency, building performance, health, and sustainability would choose anything else.
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    • R-Value

      Conventional consumer wisdom and US energy codes lead us to believe higher R-value equates to better insulating value. In theory, materials with higher R-values should be more effective as insulation and thus be more environmentally efficient. But the reality is that R-value is just one measure of insulating quality—and an imperfect one at that. In order to get an accurate gauge of the actual thermal resistance and energy efficiency of an insulating material there are other factors that should be considered.
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    • Health and Safety

      Spray foam insulation, or SPF, has been used regularly in both residential and commercial buildings since the 1970s, so we now have more than thirty years of performance data and scientific testing to analyze when determining the health and safety of this material. As a result, experts agree spray foam is safe and chemically inert if it is:
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    • Architects, Engineers, and Builders Choose SPF

      Architects, engineers, and builders who design and construct residential and commercial buildings consider spray foam insulation an indispensable part of achieving “high performance.” Particularly as adherence to US, and International Building Codes becomes mandatory, and home and business owners demand their buildings be as energy efficient and “green” as possible.
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    • SPF Roofing Systems

      Spray polyurethane foam is often used for commercial roofing (and some flat-roofed residential roofing) because of its energy performance and durability. SPF roofing systems have been around for a long time, but because of a recent focus on energy-efficient building and an increase in code requirements, it is leading the pack in sustainable roofing system options. Unlike some traditional roofing systems, once installed it requires very low maintenance, and its thermal properties stand the test of time.
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  • Energy Savings

    The top concern for anyone involved in the US building industry today is the continually rising cost of energy, and how to design and build a home or building to reduce the overall cost of operating that structure.
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    • US Energy Codes

      The US Department of Energy’s Building Energy Codes Program (BECP) was established in 1991 to support increased energy efficiency in America’s residential and commercial buildings. The BECP coordinates with other governmental agencies, as well as with state and local jurisdictions, to provide minimum requirements for energy-efficient design and construction for new and renovated buildings.
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    • Spray Foam Insulation for Attics

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  • How to Choose a Manufacturer / Contractor

    The SPF industry is changing rapidly. What was begun by a few pioneering firms in the 1960s and 70s has grown to include more than 30 manufacturers of spray foam insulation today. That growth is both good and bad for the architect and builder. You now have more choices, but you also must do more thorough research into the brands and their manufacturers to choose the right SPF product for your job.
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    • Choose a Manufacturer

      As demand for spray foam insulation grows, so does supply. There are new SPF manufacturers popping up every year, including non-US-based companies. Even some companies who once competed with SPF suppliers by selling other forms of insulation have updated their business models and gotten into the spray foam insulation market. Everyone wants a piece of the energy efficient, builder and resident-friendly material known as spray foam.With more competition comes a wider range of quality and a deeper selection, so it’s imperative for architects, builders, general contractors, homeowners, and building owners to do their homework before choosing a brand. Each manufacturer formulates their brands/products differently, thus each brand is different than that of another company. They have different attributes, different R-values, different qualifications, certifications and ICC reviews, and different customer reviews/reputations. Bottom line is, some are better than others, and the same goes for manufacturers.
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    • Choose an Applicator

      The trade contractor who applies your spray foam must be an experienced, diligent professional well-versed not just in general spray foam application but adept at applying the particular brand of spray foam you’ve chosen. For this reason it’s often prudent to select an applicator affiliated with the manufacturer you chose. Different formulations of spray foam insulation require different application techniques and cure times, and abiding by the specific instructions that go along with each formulation is what guarantees the safety and successful curing of the product. Remember, spray foam is safe when applied correctly by an experienced professional.Here are some of the questions to ask when interviewing potential spray foam applicators:
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  • Sustainability

    There can be no doubt sustainability in building is important to everyone: home owners, building owners, architects, builders, and the public at large. If you’re building a home today you‘re thinking of what will be in demand when you sell the home 15-30 years down the road. Office buildings are now being built with LEED standards, and building owners are switching to products like LED lighting to reduce the impact of the building for years into the future. While sustainable features like reclaimed lumber, low e windows, geothermal heating and cooling are still innovative today, tomorrow they will be status quo. Smart people are building with sustainability in mind today.
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    • Save Energy with SPF

      When it comes to residential and commercial building energy costs, heating and cooling the space is number one by a big margin. In fact, according to the US Department of Energy (DOE), the average home spends $1,300 annually on heating and cooling costs. Studies show 40 percent of that energy is lost due to air leaks and heat loss. It stands to reason anything one can do to make heating and cooling systems more efficient would save money on energy.
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    • Building Standards

      As homeowners, business owners, real estate professionals, builders, and architects all became more focused on energy efficient building, the focus is turning toward engineered building materials like spray foam insulation that stand up in both scientific testing in a lab and in real-world conditions over the lifespan of a structure. There are a lot of measurements for how “green” a building material is. Spray foam, also known as SPF, meets the standards for:
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