In this economy, people just like you are understandably staying put, choosing instead to remodel their existing homes to maximize comfort while upgrading their living conditions. However, the decision to remodel leads to a myriad of potentially stressful questions, not the least of which is how exactly to invest your hard earned dollars. Using the term "invest" is very appropriate because in today's world of remodeling there are many options that go beyond mere aesthetics. Some solutions pay off dividends in the form of lower heating and cooling bills starting in the very first month-so not only can you improve your existing home but it can save you money in the process.
One such solution is insulation. Not glamorous enough for you? If only your walls could talk. Actually they do. So do your floors and ceilings. They speak in the form of high heating and cooling bills due to energy lost from air leakage-31% of all air leakage can be attributed to walls, floors and ceilings. Conventional, air permeable fiber insulation, regardless of R-value, will have its performance compromised by any gaps and seams where air can get in and out.
More than just insulation, spray foam solutions such as those offered by Icynene are also classified as air barrier materials that expand into cracks, crevices and gaps to reduce air leaks thus providing a more energy efficient and ultimately healthier home or workplace.
So how does this translate into savings? Using the Energy Savings Estimator found at www.insulationsmart.com you can select from various cities, representing various climate zones. In addition, you can select an 1800 sq. ft. or 3000 sq. ft. dwelling to give you the approximate savings you could experience per month by using an insulation/air barrier material like Icynene spray foam instead of conventional insulation.
For example, if you lived in Chicago and installed Icynene spray foam insulation solutions in your 3000 sq. ft. home, you could potentially save $85/month or $1025/year in heating/cooling costs. Will you pay a higher upfront cost to use spray foam insulation instead of something like fiberglass? Yes. However, as you can see from the sample, the potential energy savings are quite dramatic. Does this mean you have to use spray foam in every square inch of your house to experience savings? That certainly would be the ultimate solution but not one that is absolutely required to obtain substantial increases in energy efficiency. Here are a few strategic locations where spray foam can be utilized to improve home comfort as well as give you monthly savings.
Attics- unvented or vented
The defining feature of a conditioned attic assembly is the location of the insulation, which for an unvented attic is installed at the underside of the structural roof deck. By insulating the underside of the roof and sealing the soffits, the attic becomes part of the conditioned space, with temperature & humidity conditions reasonably close to the occupied interior of the house. This type of installation is ideal for homes with difficult to insulate features such as numerous skylights, pot/can lights or a split level attic design. In addition, it is perfect for homes with extensive ductwork and HVAC equipment in the attic space.
For traditional vented attics, Icynene spray foam insulation can be applied directly to the attic floor. This is ideal for homes without extensive ductwork, HVAC systems or hard to insulate features (skylights, pot/can lights) in the attic space.
Crawlspaces and basements
The rim/band joist is an often overlooked source of energy loss. By not properly insulating this area, there is an increased risk of indoor air quality issues as well as damage caused by moisture-not to mention high energy bills. Icynene solutions are both an insulation and air barrier materials, expanding to fill gaps and crevices giving you the peace of mind you need. Thus, spray foam insulation solutions can be utilized in basement walls and crawlspaces with particular attention given to the joist areas.
Floors over unheated spaces
The over-garage bonus room: freezing in the winter, sticky in the summer and noisy year round. Sound familiar? Thousands of people utilize the extra space over garages but needlessly tolerate uncomfortable living conditions. Spray foam is the perfect solution to provide increased comfort while also reducing the infiltration of pollutants and noise from the garage.
These are but a few of the applications where a spray foam insulation solution like those offered by Icynene would allow you to put more green back in your pocket where it belongs. In this era of increased environmental awareness and responsibility, doing things with the mentality of 'It's always been done this way' should not be acceptable. We no longer build like it is 1940 so why should we use insulation principals that are over 70 years old?