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“…before you can control air you must first enclose air.”

July 11, 2011 by Mark · Leave a Comment 

Current research in building science indicates that air sealing the living space is more significant in determining overall thermal performance than R-value alone.

  • Attics
  • Basements
  • Crawl Spaces
  • Walls & Ceilings

How is
Spray Foam Insulation
used in existing homes?

Attics

30-50% of your homes heat and air conditioning is lost through air leaks in your attic. The chimney effect draws in air at the soffit and releases it through ridge and/or gable vents. As air flows upward through your attic, it creates a suction that pulls your homes conditioned air with it. Attic stairs, recessed lighting fixtures, wall outlets and mechanical penetrations (water and gas service, telephone and cable connections, etc.) all provide air flow.

The result: You heat (or cool) the air in your home and your home is designed to draw the conditioned air outside. When energy was cheap, this worked just fine. Times have changed.

MORE INFO – A Scientific Perspective:
Unvented Roof Assemblies, 2007, Chris Schumacher, Building Science Consulting, www.buildingscienceconsulting.com

What about the venting in my attic?

VIDEO Here is a short video from Air Tight Insulation that explains how Spray Foam Insulation changes the game on roof venting.

How does Spray Foam help?

When spray foam insulation is applied to your roof, our technicians seal off the soffit, ridge and gable vents. We air seal the top of your home keeping the conditioned air in the house. HVAC systems run less, last longer and operate more efficiently. Heating and cooling costs are reduced. Dust, dirt and pollen stays outside where it belongs. The EPA estimates that 20-50% of conditioned air escapes through vented attics.

Basements

In below grade spaces, the importance of thermal insulation takes a back seat to water vapor and moisture penetration. Most uninsulated basement walls (block or poured concrete) will be damp because condensation forms when warm air comes into contact with the cool masonry wall. This is why basements feel damp, they are a continuing science experiment demonstrating the effects of warm air contacting a cool surface.

How does Spray Foam help?

Closed cell spray foam insulation creates a complete moisture and vapor barrier that keeps warm air away from cool concrete & masonry surfaces. The result: drier, warmer basements.

Crawl Spaces

Cold floors over top of a vented crawl space is a common problem. Many floors over crawl spaces have no insulation at all while some others have batts that can become damp and moldy from condensation a result of cold air contacting the warmer sub-floor.

How does Spray Foam help?

By creating an insulated air and moisture barrier between the sub-floor and vented crawl space, floors above are warmer, drier and quieter.

Walls & Ceilings

Spray foam insulation in walls and ceilings is most often and easily done before the installation of drywall.

  • Complete, custom fit, permanent air barrier, creates draft free rooms.
  • Eliminates drafts inside wall cavities that rob heat through electrical, mechanical and plumbing penetrations in the framing.
  • Condensation – common source of mold growth is eliminated.

Reclaim Your FROG – Finished Room Over Garage

Bedrooms and home offices are often located in a room over the garage. Many garage ceilings have little or no insulation. Depending on how and how often you use this space, it may worth the effort to remove garage ceiling drywall, install spray foam and reinstall drywall. Benefits include reclaimed living space, warmer floors, fewer drafts, more efficient heating and air conditioning and better blockage of exhaust gasses and other pollutants from the garage.

The application of spray foam insulation in your home will:

  • reduce energy consumption,
  • reduce heating and cooling bills,
  • eliminate potential sources of mold growth,
  • improve indoor air quality,
  • keep your home cleaner,
  • reduce you home’s ecological impact

Homeowners Guide to Spray Foam Insulation – Sprayfoam.com, A concise guide to the benefits offered by spray foam.

*Joseph Lstiburek, http://www.buildingscience.com/documents/insights/bsi-007-prioritizing-green2014it-s-the-energy-stupid/?topic=/doctypes/building-science-insights

Spray Foam Insulation in Your Home

July 11, 2011 by Mark · Leave a Comment 

  • Attics
  • Basements
  • Crawl Spaces
  • Walls & Ceilings
A quick look at how Spray Foam Insulation is used in existing homes.

Attics

Analysis: Most homes are built with vented roofs. Vented roofs draw in air at the soffit and release the air through ridge and/or gable vents. As air flows upward through your attic, it creates a suction that pulls your homes conditioned air with it. Attic stairs, recessed lighting fixtures, wall outlets and mechanical penetrations (water and gas service, telephone and cable connections, etc.)

The result: You heat (or cool) the air in your home and your home is designed to draw the conditioned air outside. When energy was cheap, this worked just fine. Times have changed.

How does Spray Foam help?

When spray foam insulation is applied to your roof, our technicians seal off the soffit, ridge and gable vents. We air seal the top of your home keeping the conditioned air in the house. HVAC systems run less, last longer and operate more efficiently, heating and cooling costs are reduced, dust, dirt and pollen stays outside where it belongs. The EPA estimates that 20-50% of conditioned air escapes through vented attics.

Basements

In below grade spaces, the importance of thermal insulation takes a back seat to water vapor and moisture penetration. Most uninsulated basement walls (block or poured concrete) will be damp because condensation forms when warm air comes into contact with the cool masonry wall. This is why basements feel damp, they are a continuing science experiment demonstrating the effects of warm air contacting a cool surface.

How does Spray Foam help?

Closed cell spray foam insulation creates a complete moisture and vapor barrier that keeps warm air away from cool concrete & masonry surfaces. The result: drier, warmer basements.

Crawl Spaces

Cold floors over top of a vented crawl space is a common problem. Many floors over crawl spaces have no insulation at all while some others have fiberglass batts that often becomes damp and moldy from condensation a result of cold air contacting the warmer sub-floor. In either case, cold damp air enters your house through every seam in the floor.

How does Spray Foam help?

By creating an insulated air and moisture barrier between the sub-floor and vented crawl space, floors above are warmer, drier and quieter.

Walls & Ceilings

Spray foam insulation in walls and ceilings is most often and easily done during construction.

Eliminates drafts inside wall cavities that rob heat through electrical, mechanical and plumbing penetrations in the framing.

Complete, custom fit, permanent air barrier, creates draft free rooms.

Condensation – common source of mold growth is eliminated.

Garage ceilings

Many homes are built with little or no insulation in garage ceilings. And yet bedrooms and home offices are often located above the garage. Depending on how and how often you use this space, it may be worth the expense and effort to remove garage ceiling drywall, install spray foam and reinstall drywall. Benefits include warmer floors, fewer drafts, more efficient heating and air conditioning and better blockage of exhaust and other pollutants from the garage.

 

The application of spray foam insulation in your home will:

  • reduce energy consumption,
  • reduce heating and cooling bills,
  • eliminate potential sources of mold growth,
  • improve indoor air quality,
  • keep your home cleaner,
  • reduce you home’s ecological impact

Energy efficiency: A 21st Century Investment

July 11, 2011 by Mark · Leave a Comment 

For safe, guaranteed returns invest in your own home’s energy efficiency

Homeowners who invest in Spray Foam Insulation will realize financial benefits immediately and for as long as they own their homes. This page focuses on spray foam insulation and it economic return.

Your returns are:

  • Guaranteed return – unlike batt or blown insulation, or the stock market, spray foam will not degrade in performance over time.
  • Perpetual, nontaxable return. Once invested your return will continue, increasing in value as utility rates rise.
  • A more valuable home – invest in the home you live in, no one cares about the investment as much as you do.
Example: The Gale’s live in a well maintained 1750 sq ft home built in the mid 1970s. Mrs. Gale noticed the floors in the old house were cold and damp and wanted to do something about it. During a free insulation audit R-13 fiberglass was discovered in a vented attic.

Energy Expense Analysis

Energy Costs
Winter Summer Annual Total
800.00 600.00 8400.00
Heating and Cooling portion
@60% of total energy bill
5040.00
Dollar Savings @ 20% improved efficency = 1008.00* per year

Problem: Cold floor and room over crawl space, R13 attic fiberglass insulation

Solution: Apply 2″ closed cell foam in crawl space to prevent rising dampness and apply 5.5″ of open cell foam to seal vented attic, Cost: $5400

Cost analysis @ 20% improved efficiency
Total Cost 5400.00
Tax Credit 300.00
Cost After Tax Credit 5100.00
Annual Energy Savings 1008.00
Payback years 5yrs
5 yr Return 5040.00 99.5% (Capital Recovered)
10 yr return 4980.00 98% ROI

ROI Comparison

The chart below compares several investment options. Over a 10year period, a $5400 spray foam investment in home comfort and clean air, will perform on par with a 9% growth stock. The added benefits of cleaner air, draft free comfort and a smaller carbon footprint add to the efficiency side of the equation.

Savings Account @3% Stock Market @9% Spray Foam Insulation**
Investment 5400.00 5400.00 5400.00
5 yr Earnings 839.01 2690.94 1140.00
10 yr Earnings 1817.40 6705.48 6180.00
Return on Investment
@10 years
41% 123% 114%
Amount at risk Safe – FDIC Insured 100% None
Taxable 100% 100% No tax
Other Benefits None None Draft free, comfortable living space
Improved Indoor Air Quality
Reduced carbon footprint

Energy cost reductions depend on many factors including HVAC equipment, non-HVAC energy usage, lifestyle and other factors.

* Energy reduction figures are based on EPA estimates
** Based solely on energy savings at current utility rates

In the example above, energy costs are computed at steady utility rates. Any increase in energy costs will improve performance of Spray Foam column.

Insulation Fundamentals

July 11, 2011 by Mark · Leave a Comment 

In recent years, much of what we do and how we do it is brought on by new technology and new ways of looking at old problems, This is as true in the building and construction industry as it is in communications. New concepts and technologies change the game. Spray Foam Insulation is a game changing concept. Spray Foam does several things other insulation options cannot.

The Game Changers

  • Air Sealing, Spray Foam conforms to the building envelope, and fills otherwise inaccessible areas in your homes’ framing.
  • Improved Indoor Air Quality, by eliminating moisture transfer through walls, the source of most mold growth is eliminated
  • Easy on the Environment, Spray Foam contains no harmful chemicals and it does not off-gas after application. No CFCs, HCFCs or other greenhouse gasses are released during manufacturing or application of spray foam insulation. And it will reduce heating and cooling costs by 20%-50% for the life of your home. That’s a huge savings of CO2 over the life of your home!

Building Envelope Technology

Home building just like cars, cell phones and televisions is a developing technology. Until recently, homes were built with vented attic spaces and batt or blown insulation. This insulation is certainly better than nothing but still allows 30% – 50% of your homes conditioned air to escape through the attic. By acting as an air seal, Spray Foam Insulation keeps your heated or cooled air inside your home.

Spray Foam Insulation saves you money by reducing utility bills, it also makes your home:

  • more comfortable by eliminating drafts,
  • healthier by eliminating sources for mold growth and access for bugs and other pests
  • greener by reducing your carbon footprint

Benefits of Spray Foam Insulation

Where does your house leak?

Image courtesy EnergyStar

ACH (air changes per hour) or R-Value: What is important? …and Why

July 11, 2011 by Mark · Leave a Comment 

For years insulators have focused on R-value. Although R-value is an important figure, it’s not the only or most important factor when considering a building’s energy efficiency. Let’s examine the effects of R-value versus ACH.

R-value is a measure of a materials ability to resist changes in temperature. R-value is tested in a wind free environment at 75 degrees F. R-value is a test of material in a laboratory environment.

ACH – Involuntary air changes per hour is a measurement of the “tightness” of a building envelope. ACH is determined with a blower door test. ACH is a test of a specific building’s performance in the real world.

A little bit about Thermodynamics – Heat moves in one of three ways – conduction, convection, radiation.

Conduction – Heat transferred through material. Example: Cooking. When you put a pan on the stove and heat it, it becomes hot by conducting the heat from the burner, through the pan to the food. R-value measures conduction. The higher the value, the better the insulator.

Convection – Heat transferred through air. Example: Heating & cooling your home. Most homes have equipment that heats or cools air which is then distributed throughout the house. ACH measures the convection heat/cooling loss in your home by determining how much air leaks from the building envelope. The lower the number, the lower the heat loss through convection.

Radiation – Radiation is the thermal energy emmitted by an object that is warmer than surrounding objects. Radiation does not require air. The sun heats the earth by radiant heat.

When we examine the overall thermal performance of a building, because buildings are conditioned by convection, ACH is a more significant factor than R-value.

Example: At a blistering hot fourth of July party, two coolers are used to store cold drinks. One is an expensive brand name cooler with excellent insulation and the other is a cheap styro cooler. Each are loaded with the same amount of ice and drinks. Throughout the day, people help themselves to the drinks in the expensive cooler while the cheap cooler gets set to the side and never opened. Toward the end of the day, the ice has melted and the remaining drinks are getting warm in the cooler that has been opened dozens of times.

Each time the (high R-value) cooler is opened, convection introduces warm air which reduces thermal performance. On the other hand, in the cheap cooler (low R-value) that remained closed all day, the drinks are cold and the ice is solid.

In this example, as in your home, convection plays a more significant role in determining overall thermal performance than does R-value.

HESFoam teams with One Project Closer

July 11, 2011 by Mark · Leave a Comment 

An informative walk through the process of installing spray foam to insulate your home. Adresses popular questions and concerns and shows an in-depth look at how the foam is installed.

Thanks to Ethan and Fred for their fine work producing a very informative video. Visit their blog @ oneprojectcloser.com

Benefits of Spray Foam Insulation

July 11, 2011 by Mark · Leave a Comment 

Up to 50% of your homes conditioned air escapes through the vented attic. Spray Foam air seals the space and retains the conditioned air inside your home. Air sealing creates a complete, custom fit air barrier for your home

Saves You Money

Energy is no longer cheap. And we all need to save where we can. Energy efficiency is an investment with guaranteed and increasing returns. The EPA reports that consumers can anticipate a 20% reduction in heating & cooling expenses by air sealing with Spray Foam Insulation. Depending on what you currently have, retrofit installations can achieve 40%-50% reductions in energy. And, right now you can get up to $1500 tax credits for qualified energy improvements.

Reduces Energy Use & Carbon Footprint

A 20% reduction in heating & cooling costs also delivers a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, reducing your home’s carbon footprint by 100s of tons over the life of your home. Because foam does not shrink or deteriorate, your savings are permanent.

Improved Indoor Air Quality

Spray Foam Insulation improves indoor air quality in several ways.

  • First, by creating an air barrier, warm moist air is prevented from migrating through the insulation. Thus, eliminating the moisture necessary to support mold growth.
  • Second, batt and blown insulation traps dust and dirt and provides an environment for insects and rodents to live. SFI does not trap dirt and serves as an effective barrier for bugs and rodents.
  • Third, reducing dust, dirt, pollen, insects and other pests reduces impact on asthma and allergy sufferers.

Healthier for the planet

There are no CFC’s, HCFC’s, formaldehyde or other toxic chemicals used in the manufacturing or application of Spray Foam Insulation. Spray Foam does not outgass. By saving 1000s of tons of CO2 over the life of your home, you are helping to alleviate shortages and pollution.

Sustainable Building Envelope

By air sealing your home, you create a home that has less impact on the environment and more impact on the comfort of you and your family.

for immediate release…

July 11, 2011 by Mark · Leave a Comment 

In response to growing demand for the healthy, energy efficient homes afforded by spray foam insulation, Hottel Energy Solutions (HES) announces their opening in New Market, MD. HES Spray Foam Insulators serves commercial and residential builders, remodelers, property managers and homeowners.

HES president and certified HVAC system designer, Mark Hottel says, “Even in the high-end home market, we see many homes that require oversized heating and cooling systems to overcome poor insulation and inadequate air sealing. People are wasting money and energy heating and cooling spaces that aren’t closed off to the elements…” “But it can be a win-win game when the building is insulated properly; smaller systems run more efficiently and that saves customers on equipment, maintenance and operating costs, reduces energy consumption, carbon footprints and reliance on dwindling energy resources.”

Located to serve the Washington DC, Baltimore, Frederick, and surrounding areas, HES combines extensive knowledge and experience in HVAC design/installation, energy modeling, and building envelope systems with complete spray foam insulation services. Hottel Energy Solutions offers open and closed cell foam products as well as related building services.

Hottel concluded, “We’ve chosen not to align with one specific supplier or product manufacturer. We want to be able to respond quickly when new technologies become available and offer a wider range of products that are specifically suited to individual customer’s needs.”

Contact Hottel Energy Solutions at 301-882-7233 or sales@HESFoam.com