Question: I’m renovating my plant and need new insulation. What is spray foam insulation? Will it save me money in energy costs in long-term?

Answer: Spray foam insulation is the most energy efficient method of insulation and will result in lower heating and cooling costs for your building.

What is spray foam insulation?

While traditional building insulations such as fiberglass and cellulose were all the rage when it came to filling in wall cavities for over half a century — the 70s brought a new form of insulation that would change the world of construction. In the last decade, spray foam has been considered a major development in the insulation industry. Spray foam benefits buildings through structural quality and is proven to be energy efficient.

The foam itself is polyurethane and is sprayed directly onto its floor or wall destination as a liquid before it rapidly transforms into a thick, hard foaming insulation.

Professional contractors are fans of spray foam because it can seal and insulate in a single application. Structural integrity is maintained when a building is created with an optimal air barrier system. It’s an important element when it comes to the control of heat and moisture transfer. Spray foam is an excellent way to get into those nooks and crannies — it helps to protect buildings from holes, cracks and gaps in the building envelope.

Considered a smart alternative to fiberglass, spray foam is an ideal, newer approach that offers air-sealing insulation that retains heat or cool air — resulting in superior energy efficiency in the home or office.

How can spray foam affect my energy bill?

Going foam will make your building greener, healthier and your budget will also benefit from its long-term savings when it comes your energy bill.

A well-insulated building is an eco-friendly building — by keeping heating where you want it, you’re being energy efficient. Heating and cooling costs add up quickly — and because spray foam doesn’t deteriorate, the savings are big.

Spray foam insulation has a great R-value — measuring high to the resistance of heat flow. Because the insulating power is so strong, buildings insulated with spray foam are considered eco-friendly and can qualify for rebates and green incentives.

Well, it can’t be perfect — so what are the drawbacks?

While a home insulated with spray foam will be eco-friendly when it comes to energy efficiency, the insulation itself is not so ‘green’. Polyurethane is made up of primarily oil or petroleum.

It’s also important that this foam is covered and kept away from UV light as exposure to it will degrade the foam.

Of course, it is more expensive to install initially. While fiberglass insulation will be significantly cheaper to put in — it is also hugely less energy efficient. This means that while spray foam costs more to put in there at the beginning — the insulation will retain more than 30 per cent of the energy and result in energy bill savings in the long term.

Due to the high amount of chemicals that go into spray foam, it’s recommended that you have it installed by a professional. While there are DIY kits out there, to ensure the quality of the installation, it’s better a hired contractor take on the task.

And when you have fans, you have skeptics.

But in terms of energy efficiency, spray foam insulation is the way to go.

Image credit: Goley Insulation