Energy Efficiency

of E:zero Spray Foam Insulation

Energy efficiency is a major concern of the 21st Century. Many homeowners have a hard time paying for increasing energy bills, and many fear that this increase will continue indefinitely. In E:zero's opinion, except for normal up and down swings, energy costs will stabilize once major portions of our energy supplies have been converted to renewable sources, such as wind or solar. This indicates that current energy costs can be expected to triple in amount. Nobody knows how long this will take; however, the price of natural gas in Cleveland, Ohio has already doubled during the last two years!

The good news is that it is easy and affordable to improve the energy efficiency of your home. The key factor is the building's air-tightness. The general public has been misled for a long time by claims that R-value is useful as a standard to determine energy efficiency. Now we know that ACH - Air Changes per Hour -- are a much better indicator of insulation performance.

Heat Transfer and Air Control

R-value measures the resistance of a material to heat transfer in laboratory settings. The only thing measured here is conduction, which is comparable to the transfer of heat through the metal of a frying pan to the food in the pan. Houses, obviously are not frying pans, and are in-turn a far more important factor when considering energy savings. The energy lost by convection is when air is released through the walls and ceilings of a home, and is measured by an indicator called ACH.

Houses insulated with spray foam perform drastically better than conventionally insulated homes, since they are much more airtight. It has been shown in numerous studies that comparable homes insulated to the same R-value use up to 50% less energy when they are insulated with spray foam rather than fiberglass.

Air changes per hour (ACH)

(Involuntary) Air Changes per Hour = ACH. This is a measurement of air infiltration, which is the total amount of air lost through the building envelope. The analysis is done with all windows and doors closed. Very tightly constructed homes with spray foam insulation may achieve an ACH of 0.1, while properly constructed homes insulated with fiberglass may reach values between 0.7 and 1.0. The ACH of older, poorly maintained homes may be higher than 2.5. What this means is that homes insulated with foam lose their air 2.5 times per day compared with 17 times for homes insulated with fiberglass, and up to 60 times per day for old homes without insulation.

R-Value

R-value is a measure of thermal conductivity expressed in kelvin square meters per watt (K*m2/W). The test method is defined by ASTM C518. In short, the conductive resistance of the insulation material is measured at 75oF (24oC) in an environment without wind. The problem with this method is that it is not very relevant to real-life situations. In particular, fiberglass shows peak performance at 75oF (24oC), while its performance is seriously diminished at 35oF (2oC) or 105oF (40oC), while foam shows hardly any deterioration. Likewise, homes are not in wind-still environments, and are often subjected to pressure differentials between indoors and outdoors due to temperature differences, forced air heating and cooling systems, etc. As such, we feel that ACH is far more relevant than R-value in determining insulation performance.

   

Environmental Benefits

of E:zero Spray Foam Insulation

Scarce resources

Foam is made from petroleum oil in addition to other products from renewable resources, such as polyols, made from sugar and water. It is important to note that the petroleum is not converted to CO2 emissions; instead it is permanently converted to material like artificial wood. Oil formed from decaying forests is now converted to carbon-rich insulation materials.

Sprayed polyurethane foam is completely safe

SPF does not emit anything, good or bad. It does not disintegrate, unlike fiberglass, nor does it shrink, settle, or crack. Spray polyurethane foam simply performs for the lifetime of the building without needing service, maintenance, or upgrade.

Global warming

CO2 footprint related to production and transport

Like any product, insulation foam has a carbon footprint related to its production and transport; however, it is a smaller CO2 footprint than just about any other product. A set of E:zero spray foam E:500 consists of two drums containing 110 gallons of fluid. Once sprayed, the volume expands to about 13,000 gallons! In terms of transport-related emissions, this is about 1- 2% of the emissions of other insulation products like fiberglass or cellulose, which are expanded at the production site rather than at the end user site. E:zero is studying the actual cradle to grave CO2 impact of sprayed insulation foam, and will publicize the findings once they become available.

CO2 Footprint while in service

There is none caused by the foam, while CO2 emission savings of the HVAC equipment are triggered. Sprayed insulation foams do not emit anything while in service. In fact, the spray foam insulation reduces carbon emissions of the home by lowering the heating and cooling requirements of the house. Typically, home owners experience heating and cooling-related energy savings of up to 50% compared with traditional insulation. Even higher savings are realized in retrofit situations in previously un-insulated homes. The reduction of carbon emissions is directly proportional to the realized energy savings. In a recent study conducted by E:zero, the carbon footprint of a large old home was reduced by 30,000 lbs. annually. This study is not representative for the majority of homes; however, an annual CO2 reduction between 10,000 and 20,000 lbs. per year is a safe assumption. At a meeting on July 8, 2008, the United States pledged to reduce its carbon emissions by 50% by the year 2050. If all homes in the United States were insulated with E:zero foam, our country would reach its goal t for the emissions caused by heating and cooling.

CO2 footprint savings relating to longevity

An often-overlooked fact is that there are carbon emissions caused by products needed to be replaced due to loss of performance or total failure. For example, fiberglass performance suffers as it ages. Serious performance degradation will occur over 10 to 15 years as fibers collapse and are no longer fluffy. Real world R-value performance may diminish by 30% or more. At this point, fiberglass should be replaced, which is cost-prohibitive. Instead, the vast majority of home owners live with higher energy consumption and correspondingly increasing CO2 emissions. Homes insulated with spray-applied foam insulation fare better; E:zero spray foam insulation will never suffer in performance, and homeowners will thus avoid the cost of replacement and related landfill issues or diminished energy efficiency. A brief survey was carried out on various internet sites indicating the average service life expectancy of homes of at least 75 years: under these assumptions, the estimated savings of CO2 emissions for the lifespan of a foamed 2500 sq. ft single-family home amounts to 750,000 lbs.

Replacement of Aging Foam: Never Needed.

E:zeros foam, as well as that of a few competitors is guaranteed for life. It will never shrink, settle, or sag, and will therefore perform for the lifetime of the building. There is a reason that competing systems such as fiberglass or cellulose do not offer these lifetime warranties.

   

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