Blog : New Blowing Agent Ups the Green Profile of Spray Foam

By Anna | Sep 23, 2014 | in

If you wanted the best insulation for your home, the most efficient and effective, it’s no secret that an analysis would most likely bring you to spray foam. With the best R-Value, spray foam has long been the go-to insulator for home owners looking to have the tightest homes and use the least amount of energy to heat and cool them. But for super green-minded folks they may come up against some resistance to the toxicity of the blowing agent used to install that spray foam and to ensure that it performs effectively. Well, greenies now have reason to love spray foam even more. A new and greener blowing agent for spray foam is on the market and it substantially reduces -- almost eliminates -- the toxicity of that foam.

One leading spray foam installer, the Green Cocoon, has jumped at the opportunity to offer spray foam that uses this less toxic blowing agent. “We can’t wait to start using this,” says Candace Lord of the Green Cocoon. “The truth of the matter is, spray foam is unbeatable for effectiveness and efficiency so it already is winning the insulation race in terms of R-value. But now with this new greener blowing agent, we can tell our greenest clients that they can have spray foam with significantly less environmental impact right upfront which means they are seeing the immediate environmental good as well as the long term as the foam starts to save them more and more energy with each passing year.”

The Green Cocoon has always been at the forefront of sustainability and offers a wide range of insulation choices from traditional spray foam to cellulose and even an insulation made from recycled denim. When they saw the new blowing agent hit the market they jumped at the chance to integrate it into their business. “We now can tell folks that spray foam is nearly perfect in terms of its installation footprint and its performance,” adds Lord. The new liquid blowing agent called Solstice is used during the installation of spray foam insulation in eco-friendly homes and structures. It does cost a bit more than spray foam that does not use the greener agent but Lord believes that the benefits will outweigh the costs for certain eco-focused home owners. It has long been understood that spray foam insulation has a superior, long-term sustainability potential by lowering heating and cooling costs, and reducing energy loss and waste.

Think of it like wearing a windbreaker instead of a wool sweater. Like a windbreaker, spray foam insulation prevents conditioned air from escaping your home or office while keeping outside air from passing through. It expands after installation to create a sealed cocoon, drastically decreasing heating and cooling costs while simultaneously reducing dust and airborne allergens in the building. Traditional fiberglass and cellulose insulation work more like a wool sweater, allowing air to pass in and out of the building. They have a tendency to sag over the years, increasing gaps and air leakage, and absorb water, giving mold a great place to grow. Fiberglass and cellulose insulation is easily torn apart by pests and rodents to make nests.

Spray foam insulation is more eco- and economically-friendly than traditional insulation once installed. However, the process required to install spray foam insulation does require chemicals that are harmful to the environment. Solstice Liquid Blowing Agent is a new blowing agent produced by Honeywell that allows companies to install spray foam insulation with a significantly smaller environmental impact than the traditional installation process. By using new chemicals, Solstice LBA has a GWP that is lower by 99.4% than most blowing agents currently used to install spray foam insulation. GWP, or Global Warming Potential, is a relative evaluation of the amount of heat a greenhouse gas traps in the atmosphere. The new Solstice LBA has a GWP of 1 and an atmospheric life of merely 26 days. In comparison, the current most commonly used blowing agents have a GWP of 725 and an atmospheric life of 10.8 years.

Solstice LBA is a near drop-in replacement. This means that it can replace existing blowing agents with little to no modification or testing. The Green Cocoon is ready to work with other green builders and begin using this new blowing agent to install spray foam insulation in eco-friendly structures.

For now the Green Cocoon offers Solstice as an option for spray foam customers but they do look forward to the day when all spray foam will have less toxic agents. “We think this is just the first step toward a greener profile overall for spray foam, this is the progressive movement forward we have all been waiting for,” says Lord. “Soon even the greenest of greenies out there will be choosing spray foam because it will be a win-win option all around.”

In addition to offering the most sustainable home insulation options on the market, the Green Cocoon is a green certified business with the Green Alliance. All Green Alliance members enjoy discounts on the Green Cocoon’s insulation options as well as receive discounts at over 100 other local green businesses.

Green Alliance members save $100 on all foam and denim insulation jobs between $3,000 and $5,000! Or save $200 on all foam and denim insulation jobs of $5,000 or more! Additionally, save $50 on any cellulose insulation job of $2,000 or more!      

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