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Is spray foam insulation environmentally friendly?

6 Dec 2022

For environmentally minded homeowners looking to upgrade insulation in their homes, spray foam provides a practical option. But the question is, is spray foam insulation environmentally friendly?

For assessing the environmental impact of any home improvement, there are several factors to consider. Firstly, the credentials of the product itself – including its application process – are important. But to gain a true understanding of green credentials, it is equally important to consider its long-term effects when in situ.

Loft insulation has the potential to bring an array of benefits to a property – and its occupant. At a basic level, a warmer home and improved energy efficiency should be expected, but things such as enhanced air quality and reduced noise ingress are added benefits which are only achieved with certain types of insulation, including spray foam.


Spray foam insulation for lofts

Before we look more closely at the benefits of spray foam insulation in the home, it is important to define the material itself. While spray foam differs between suppliers, there are generally two types of spray foam insulation available – open-cell spray foam and closed-cell spray foam.

In domestic properties, open-cell spray foam is the most used material. That’s because it delivers a vapour-permeable interior seal, supporting breathability while enabling moisture to escape. In practice, open-cell spray foam helps to keep warmth in, while still enabling spaces and roof timbers to breathe, facilitating long-term performance without compromise.


Improved energy efficiency

The primary reason for upgrading loft insulation is to improve energy efficiency. Day-to-day, this means occupants can enjoy warmer and more comfortable spaces which successfully keep warmth. This can lead to a reduced reliance on boilers, cutting energy consumption and slashing heating bills.

Spray foam insulation is specifically designed to minimise air leakage, filling all the cracks and crevices through which heat would typically escape. As well as keeping the heat in, this also minimises draughts to create more comfortable spaces.

To create this layer of thermal protection, open-cell spray foam insulation can be used. Applied in liquid form, the solution is sprayed directly onto the underside of the roof structure, before expanding up to 100 times its original size to fill any gaps and setting to form a rigid structure. This heightens the thermal efficiency of the building envelope while facilitating essential breathability.

The best representation of this is the R-value of spray foam insulation. Conveying how well a material resists the flow of heat, the higher the R-value of insulation, the less heat can escape. With the highest R-value of any insulation type, spray foam is the most effective insulation for keeping homes warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

By maximising the heat retention of a home, less energy is required to keep interior spaces warm, directly contributing to an environmental benefit.


A safe way to improve comfort and indoor air quality

Alongside improved energy efficiency, spray foam insulation can also maximise comfort and air quality, further contributing to its environmental credentials.

As spray foam insulation is applied in liquid form, a reaction is required to support its expansion. Historically, chemicals have been used to achieve this, subsequently being released into the air during installation. While some types of spray foam still use this approach, Huntsman Building Solutions’ open-cell products have developed, enhancing their safety and environmental credentials.

Today, open-cell products are water-blown and they emit only a small volume of CO2 during installation, making them perfectly safe. Besides this, HBS open-cell spray foam has been developed to negate the use of formaldehyde chemicals, toxic chemicals and harmful gases.

Once applied, open-cell spray foam insulation promotes quieter and more comfortable rooms. With a fully sealed roof structure and building envelope, noise ingress is reduced, so the buzz of passing traffic and other outdoor noises is harder to detect. An added benefit of a well-sealed building structure is that fewer dust and allergens can enter the home, thanks to the airtightness of spray foam insulation. This is particularly beneficial for asthma and allergy sufferers.


Superior insulative material

A home insulation material that has been proven over more than three decades, open-cell spray foam insulation contributes to significantly improved thermal efficiency, alongside a host of other benefits.

Huntsman Building Solutions has built on the combined heritage of Icynene, Demilec and Lapolla spray foam to lead innovation in domestic and commercial insulation and create a solution which delivers tangible value for homeowners and building owners. When applied by authorised installers, homeowners and building owners can benefit from a reliable airtight solution which maximises the energy efficiency of their property.

To find out more about open-cell spray foam insulation or to accelerate your home’s thermal efficiency, contact an authorised installer today: