Building Science

There are four key elements that comprise the Building Science arena of spray foam insulation. These elements will ultimately determine the yearly utility and maintenance costs associated with ownership as well as the longevity of your building.

Air Flow Control

Controlling the flow of air improves your building's humidity, health, energy efficiency, and comfort. By sealing out unwanted air flow, you eliminate the corresponding heat loss, air borne dust and pollutants, and noise. This equals lower costs and greater comfort.

Moisture Control

Controlling moisture is essential to ward off your building's deterioration and to ensure its durability. Controlling moisture will also greatly improve your building's indoor air quality - lessening the probability of mold, mildew, and odors.

Temperature Control

Controlling heat flow in and out of your building within and through walls will improve the comfort and health of those inside it. Controlling temperatures will reduce the chance of mold growth, and impact your building's durability. A proper building envelope will also greatly reduce your building's energy consumption, a bonus to any building owner.

Structural Integrity

Improving structural integrity through the use of spray foam insulation systems will ensure your building's durability and sustainability. Our SPF insulation systems continue to surpass industry standards, so they provide the most rigid envelope system for your building or remodeling project.

 

There are six methods by which outside heat or cold can transfer from an exterior wall to an interior wall. Spray foam insulation will block all six methods.

 

Three primary methods

Conduction

Conduction is the transfer of heat within an object or between two objects. Due to spray foam true high –value, it will effectively block heat transfer by conduction. Heat moves through materials such as insulation or metal studs. This is the measure of 'R-value', the ability of a material to resist heat flow. Glass and steel have a very low R-value, while insulation has a much higher value. The higher the R-value, the longer it takes for energy to move from one area to another. R-value is an important consideration, but is not the whole story. The R-value of a material is measured in a vacuum, hardly a real-world scenario.

Convection

Convection is when heat transfer occurs as air moves within the walls. Closed cell spray foam eliminates all air movement within the walls. The Department of Energy states that 40% of heat gain/loss in a building is due to air leakage. Air currents strip energy from a building as they move through it. Good air-sealing using foam insulation and caulking is essential to building performance. Ventilation is good, but we want to control where it occurs. 

Radiant Energy

This is the energy that you feel emanating from a South-facing brick wall after the sun has gone down. Heat is transferred from one object to another by electrometric waves, and can be reflected by a mirror much the same as visible light. It is this infra-red radiation that allows us to take pictures of heat loss with thermal cameras.

For a time in the 50’s and 60’s, it was thought that if we could reflect this energy back with mirrored wall, our home’s energy loss would be minimized. This worked in the vacuum of space, but in the real world conduction and convection have a much bigger impact on a homes energy performance. Radiant energy loss is a factor, but far less than the first two types of energy loss. Spray foam will minimize radiant heat loss.

Three secondary methods

Air Infiltration

Research shows that about 30 percent of central air conditioning and heating energy consumption in a modern home is attributable to air infiltration—air leakage—through a home’s walls and attic space. This can result in a 25-40% reduction of –value. Air infiltration transmits noise, dirt, pollutants, moisture and allergens. Fiberglass and cellulose are full of air spaces and cannot block this air leakage. Spray foam insulation does not allow air infiltration and prevents moisture accumulation.

Air Intrusion

Air intrusion is simply air that enters then exits from the exterior of an insulated area. Spray foam insulation does not allow air intrusion.

Moisture accumulation

Of all the environmental conditions, moisture poses one of the biggest threats to structural integrity and durability. This buildup of moisture accounts for the majority of damage in building envelopes. Moisture accumulation will not occur due to the fact that closed cell spray insulation foam will prevent air infiltration and air intrusion and not allow convection to occur within the insulated space. Without moisture you can not have mold or any other harmful bacteria within your insulated cavities.

 

R-value Fairy Tale: The Myth of Insulation Values
This is a great article by David B. South explaining some of the problems with how R-value is assigned to conventional insulation within our industry. This article also explains how certain insulating materials will loose there abilities to insulate over time, during installation or under certain conditions. Click here to read the article.