Proper insulation and air sealing are two of the most important ways a home can fight rising energy costs and decreasing indoor comfort and air quality.
Spray foam insulation is a liquid foam material that can be sprayed, injected, or poured and used as insulation for walls, attic rafters, crawlspaces and basements, and more.
With high R-values as well as air sealing and moisture barrier capabilities, spray foam insulation is one of the most effective insulation types on the market. But if you’re thinking about retrofitting your home, it’s possible that you’ve heard that spray foam insulation isn’t great for the environment. Is this true? Are there negative environmental impacts of spray foam insulation, and does an environmentally friendly spray foam insulation exist?
Is Spray Foam Insulation Bad for the Environment?
Spray polyurethane foam (SPF) is highly effective, but since it’s essentially plastic, many homeowners wonder how good it is for the environment.
Another concern is that installing this insulation type comes with the potential to create environmental issues as well as cause health issues, according to the EPA, including:
Skin and eye irritation
Respiratory and breathing problems
These are largely due to VOCs emitted during the installation process, as well as the potential for chemical off-gassing following improper installation, which is why professional spray foam installers take such precautions to wear the proper respiration equipment and clothing while they’re working, and why your home needs to be vacated for 24 hours following installation while the foam cures.
It also emphasizes the need to have qualified spray foam insulation experts work on your home. Spray foam insulation is not a good candidate for DIY home improvement projects, or for contractors who have limited experience working with these chemicals.
What is the Most Environmentally Friendly Insulation?
In response to the health and environmental concerns about SPF insulation, manufacturers like Demilec (Vermont Foam Insulation is a certified Demilec contractor) have developed some environmentally friendly spray foam insulation alternatives, including:
Eco-Pur rigid closed cell injection foam, which is made from a combination of recycled plastic and soy oil
Agribalance open cell spray foam, which contains no ozone depleting chemicals and is made of more than 20% renewable agricultural based materials
These are often called soy insulation, or soy-based spray foam.
And for homeowners that are looking for non-spray foam insulation types, Vermont Foam has you covered there as well. We also offer the following insulation materials:
Blown in cellulose, made from treated recycled newspaper
Mineral wool & fiberglass batting
Reach out to the Leading Spray Foam Insulation Contractors Near You
Vermont Foam Insulation is dedicated to offering a wide variety of the highest quality insulation products installed by experienced insulation professionals. We offer insulation solutions for every type of home in Brattleboro, Keene, and beyond, and take every step necessary to ensure our products are installed properly and bring you years of healthy home comfort and cost savings.
Think you could benefit from upgrading the insulation in your home? Schedule an energy audit today with Vermont Foam. An audit evaluates the amount of heat loss and air movement in your home, and can help pinpoint exactly where and how much insulation and air sealing will make a difference inside your house.