Spray Foam is a key element of contemporary building design

Posted By Alvin Brown || 19-Aug-2015

Chart on the advantages of spray foam insulation

By Alvin Brown

To fully understand and appreciate spray foam and its importance to today’s building industry is to take a closer look at one of the main goals of architects and building engineers -- to create sustainable structures which allows maximum design creativity. With an ability to contour into any space or shape and adhere to any surface, spray foam allows such creativity.

For years many designers and building professionals subscribed to a philosophy of “allowing a structure to breathe”. With this in mind they were purposely building structures that were allowing air to flow in and out, and also accepting the reality that for the sake of air ventilation, a certain level of moisture would be acceptable. In short, past structures were not built for energy efficiency, sustainability, nor moisture or temperature control, they were built to properly ventilate.

However, several things changed over the past decade that contributed to a shift in building and insulation philosophies – namely, an increased use of spray foam; especially closed-cell foam, which offers comprehensive insulation, serving as air, vapor and moisture barriers. Additionally, a call for more energy efficient, environmentally friendly, and more sustainable building envelopes, has also played a major role in the contemporary need to tightly insulate structures. Designers are now thinking in terms of energy efficiency, cost effectiveness, and comfort.

Another element demanding the attention of the future-leaning insulation movement is the health aspect. As Industry insiders learned about the dangers of excess moisture, they quickly moved to address the issue. Too much moisture creates the threat of wood-rot, but can also lead to mold growth, which sometimes can produce toxic substances known as mycotoxins, affecting those that are allergen-sensitive and asthmatic. Respiratory ailments such as asthma can be dangerous if not diagnosed in time. Spray foam basically seals off outside moisture, while also keeping unwanted outside allergens from entering and circulating.

The rise of spray foam as an insulation product is attributed to much more than its flexibility and outstanding insulating capabilities, it also has beneficial and attractive eco-friendly properties. In efforts to reduce waste and minimize ozone-damaging carbon emissions from use of petroleum and coal, Demilec, one of the largest manufacturers of polyurethane spray foam, leads in the development of foam products composed of renewable materials such as biodegradable non-toxic soy and plastic bottles.

Whereas buildings were once thought to have a need to breathe, today’s architects and builders are designing air and moisture tight structures with an eye on comfort, sustainability and efficiency. Spray foam is the primary reason for this shift in design and building possibilities.

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