Spray Foam Helps Light Commercial Projects Achieve Multiple Goals

Green Building

Bill Abballe and David Smedick, contributed to this aticle.

The installation of continuous thermal barriers and air barriers along the building envelope are two high-impact strategies for energy efficiency. Spray foam insulation (SPF) is an exciting option for commercial buildings due to the combined benefits of air sealing and insulation in a single product, complete filling of cavities, relative ease of installation and superior noise reduction.

A spray foam application along the roof line will allow for inclusion of mechanical HVAC equipment and ducts within the thermal envelope. This can prevent significant temperature fluctuations in the space, thereby decreasing the stress on the equipment and eliminating major energy loss between conditioned air in the ductwork and unconditioned air in the attic.

Envelope Leakage Ratio

EarthCraft Light Commercial (ECLC), Southface’s point-based certification program for light commercial buildings, highly values tight and well-insulated envelopes. The ECLC team performs visual inspection and diagnostic testing of a project’s envelope. The rating system highlights an entire point category on high performance building envelope measures, including specific points for spray foam insulation on the roofline and/or the walls. Spray foam can have a direct impact on other point items including sealing drywall penetrations and placing all ductwork within the thermal envelope.

The ECLC team has tested a number of projects that have used spray foam as their primary insulator and air barrier for the roof line and/or the wall cavities. Using our blower door testing methodology for light commercial spaces, the team has consistently seen low leakage rates in projects that have used spray foam. The results for each test are recorded as an Envelope Leakage Ratio (ELR), which is a measure of air flow across the building’s envelope. The maximum ELR for a building allowed in ECLC v1.0 is 0.5, with an average of 0.31.

The table (above) shows ELR results for six ECLC projects that used spray foam.



This annual technology highlight is provided by EarthCraft Grand Partner Sponsor, Icynene.

Icynene® insulation products feature continuous insulation solutions compliant with ASHRAE 90.1-2010. These products conform to unusual geometry and provide a continuous, protective barrier that significantly reduces air leakage, minimizes airborne moisture transfer and optimizes energy efficiency.

Icynene Classic™ (LD-C-50) and Icynene MD-C-200™ are approved for commercial building types I, II, III, IV and V construction. Icynene Classic™ is a light density open cell spray foam suitable for interior applications. It will accommodate long term creep and seasonal movements. Icynene MD-C-200, a medium density closed cell spray foam, is suitable for both interior and exterior applications. Its rigid design can add structural reinforcement. Neither product is considered a food source for mold.

Icynene has tested and qualified an intumescent coating, DC-315 as an approved spray applied thermal barrier over the open-cell Icynene Classic™ and closed-cell Icynene MD-C-200. This provides architects, designers and commercial building owners with a cost effective option for exposed applications such as acoustical ceiling plenums, exposed roof assemblies, and attics connected to habitable space.

Icynene Classic™ and Icynene MD-C-200 have passed NFPA 285 Fire Test in compliance with Chapter 26 of the IBC for installation in exterior walls of many types I, II, III, IV & V multi-story buildings.

Icynene is committed to environmentally-preferable spray foam technology that provides superior energy efficiency.

For immediate assistance on technical inquiries, contact Icynene at: 1-800-758-7325

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