Invest in your home with Spray Foam
by: Ken Ashcom –EnergyModelingAgency.com
There is a way to build a new home that will be 50%-60% more energy efficient and we will talk about that in a moment. The real goal should be creating a home that is more comfortable, quieter and healthier for your family. Energy savings is just a bonus.
A new home is usually the biggest investment that you will make. This is a complicated task which is usually full of up-charges. By the time you get around to the insulation, you are usually over your planned budget on just about every item… after all, if you are going to do it, you should do it right!
Here is a question for you;
Now that you are almost ready for insulation, why not do what people have done for years? Just wedge cheap fiberglass in the walls and save money so you can upgrade to granite and a jetted tub?
The simple answer is that your family deserves the best and there’s only one chance to insulate right.
You can add that jetted tub or granite later, but it’s nearly impossible to upgrade your insulation after the wallboard is installed.
Air sealing is the key to comfort and a healthy home. No product does air sealing better than Spray Foam Insulation.
Old Traditional Fibrous Insulations
Let’s look at traditional fibrous insulation products and R-value requirements. Fiberglass or cellulose or rockwool products all work by trapping air between the fibers. Air has an R-value of R1.01 @ 3.5 inches of thickness so, the effectiveness of fibrous insulation is only in its ability to trap air within the insulation. This is why it needs to be installed in a way that is not compressed, providing as much space as possible to trap air to hopefully add to its efficiency. Here’s the problem… fibrous products are also used for filters so it’s not very good for trapping anything (except for moisture). If it was installed in a vacuum then it would actually work but we live and build in the real world where air leakage is abundant. If you calculated all the cracks and seams in a typical new home build, it would be the equivalent to leaving a window open all year long. That amount of unwanted air infiltration will create an uncomfortable environment for you and your family and allow pollens and pollutants to enter the home which will affect the health of your family. The only sensible thing to do is to properly air seal and include a mechanical fresh air makeup system so you are in control.
Back in the 50’s they did some research on the discovered that at R19 they got a 96% heatflow reduction which is the “point of diminishing rate of return” on efficiency. This, of course, was in a closed box where air movement was not considered. efficiency of insulation. They put Fiberglass in a closed hot box unit and put heat below it to calculate the amount of heat flow reduction you would get for each thickness of fiberglass batt they produced. Unfortunately, real world conditions greatly affected the actual performance and over the years, the fiberglass industry has always provided the same answer to this problem… if R19 is not working, you should install R38 and then R49 and in some areas R60. Increased R-values does not solve the air flow problem, it just adds to the corporate profit margins.
Because spray foam is air impermeable, it meets that original R-value study which is why the most you ever need is 3” of closed cell spray foam insulation or 5 ½” of open cell spray foam insulation (R20).
Fortunately, in the United States, we have the energy codes which allows for code compliance with R-13 of spray foam in walls and R20 spray foam under roofs because of the performance instead of the blanket R-value requirements in the IRC building codes.
First and foremost, Spray Foam Insulation will air seal your new home. Eliminating that unwanted air infiltration will greatly reduce your energy consumption.
This is how spray foam insulation will pay for itself in the first 30 days. That’s right, not a typo… a 30 day ROI. Let do some math…
Let’s say the cost of fiberglass for your new home is $3000 and the cost of spray foam is $9000. Then the cost of upgrading to the superior product is $6000.
If you add $6000 to your monthly mortgage payment it would equate to around $50/month. Spray Foam will usually save you over $100 per month in energy costs which puts you in a positive cash flow scenario within the very first month and every month after. A 30 day ROI.