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INSULATION


85


Icynene, a fully breathable, open cell spray-foam insulation has a Global Warming Potential of 1 and an Ozone Depletion Potential of 0 [Zero].


Here, foams are applied as a two-component mixture that come together at the tip of a gun forming a foam that expands 100-fold within seconds of application, sealing all gaps, service holes and hard to reach spaces, virtually eliminating cold bridging and air leakage. When selecting which spray applied insulation to use, it is important to understand a number of factors: Unlike the urethane foams of 20 years ago, modern spray foams such as Icynene FoamLite use water as the blowing agent. This means that the reaction between the two components


produces CO2 which causes the foam to expand. As FoamLite expands, the cells of the foam


burst and the CO2 is replaced by air. Consequently, from an environmental


perspective, Icynene has a Global Warming Potential [GWP] of 1 and an Ozone Depletion Potential [ODP] of 0 [Zero]. Nor does Icynene emit and harmful gases once cured.


reducing U values as required by Building Regs, but rather to combine U value reduction with an air barrier – creating a “sealed box” effect to reduce air [and heat] leakage to a minimum.


Air leakage can be eliminated by the introduction of a vapour barrier.


In England and Wales is remains at a staggering ten, with Scotland at seven. Clearly there is lots of work to be done to improve matters on the home-front. The best way to increase the energy efficiency of a building is not just a matter of


Sealing the box Traditional forms of insulation – mineral fibre and rigid-board type materials – are relatively inefficient in sealing the box, in that they cannot completely fill all voids or seal the interface between the insulation and the building structure. Nor can they cope with small structural movements which will often lead to air-leakage gaps, particularly in difficult to treat situations where access is poor and/or when voids are of complex geometry. This can lead to cold bridging and thermal by-pass, with the consequent risk of localised condensation and inevitable dampness. Air leakage can be eliminated by the introduction of an air barrier but must be installed with great care if it is to perform as desired. It can also add considerably to installation time and costs, particularly in retrofit applications.


Spray applied insulation The modern alternative is a fully breathable, open-cell spray foam insulation, which is applied using a pressurised gun system.


Breathability Modern spray foam systems are also formulated to create an “open cell” composition. Open cell foams such as FoamLite are extremely vapour open and will allow moisture vapour to pass freely through it allowing the building to breathe naturally. Open cell foam will also not soak up or “wick” water. This new generation of spray applied insulation products, when professionally applied by experienced contractors, can result in near zero air leakage through the building envelope. In fact, Icynene has been shown to achieve air tightness standards exceeding those of the world renown Passivhaus system of construction.


Conclusion Clearly, reducing heat loss in our existing housing stock will make a significant contribution to lowering carbon emissions. There are over 25 million homes in the UK, a large proportion of which have seen no improvement to their thermal performance over their lifetime, so improvements made through a combination of better insulation and reduction of air leakage will result in lower energy consumption and therefore help achieve the overarching goal of slowing the rise of global temperatures.


www.youtube.com/watch?v=xn4ZHQJL WHM&feature=youtu.be www.icynene.co.uk


ADF JULY 2019


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