The cost of energy is on a constant upward trend; it has been for decades now. We’ve seen how society has reacted during that time. Wherever possible, and practical, steps have been taken to save energy. A particular focus has been on the use of fossil fuels, such as oil, gas, natural gas, etc. It’s not just out of a sense of duty or goodwill that governments and companies have adopted an energy efficiency strategy. There are significant dollars to be saved through reduced energy use, and that includes you, the humble homeowner, or small business owner, or property owner. Among the many retrofits to consider for your home or building, one of the most cost effective is your walls. Spray foam insulation is a good, practical retrofit that can yield energy savings almost indefinitely. It is well worth looking into.
Not that long ago, a few decades at most, little attention was paid energy efficiency when a building went up. Legend has it, for example, that large office towers would be built without light switches installed. Electricity was so cheap that it was actually cheaper to simply leave the lights on all the time, rather than to install the infrastructure to dim them or turn them off. The same principle was applied to walls, cavities and the rafters. Heating and air conditioning could handle all kinds of air leakage and inefficiency within the building envelope. There was no need to think about adding something like spray foam insulation to increase a building’s energy efficiency.
When the energy crisis hit in the early-mid seventies, and the price of oil and gas quadrupled, over a very short span of time, the tables were turned. Building owners, architects, and engineers were suddenly pressed to come up with ways to address energy shortcomings in buildings. Suddenly spray foam insulation became one component of an array to retrofit actions that could be applied to any building with positive results - energy savings and of course, money savings.
Spray foam insulation has now become a common component of just about any type of building envelope, whether residential or commercial/industrial. It’s not limited to retrofit applications, either. It is very common practice, and also part of most building codes, to ensure that insulation is included when a structure goes up. Spray foam insulation is no exception.
It is well worth the up-front expense of installing spray foam insulation in your wall cavities, attic spaces, and anywhere else where you want to keep the cold out and the heat during winter, and vice versa during summer. Some estimates, such as the EPA’s estimate that you could save as much as 20% on your monthly energy bill by taking this simple step. Every situation is different, and so your payback period - the time the energy savings pay for the spray foam retrofit - will vary. Nevertheless, over the long haul, there are significant savings to be had. If you plan on staying in your current home for the next decade or two, for example, you will certainly have your spray foam upgrade pay for itself, with ongoing monthly savings from that point forward.
For residential applications, if you have detached garage, with those bare stud walls and rafters, there is another opportunity for a spray foam application with positive results. Once completed, your garage will experience significantly less fluctuation in temperature. You know how hot a garage can get on a hot summer day, and also bitterly cold in winter. Spray foam insulating those walls and attic can seriously mitigate those extremes. Your garage can become a much more functional space the whole year around and far less expensive to heat or cool when needed.
Even your basement can benefit from a spray foam insulation application. By doing so, you create a seamless air and vapor barrier. This will address both air infiltration and moisture issues. You get rid of not only drafts, but dampness and the associate odors, etc. typically found below grade. All this, plus you get the benefit of the money saved through the reduced energy use, and just about every homeowner knows what a money sink the basement can be when it comes to heating.
There are so many opportunities for energy and dollar savings in residential and commercial buildings, through various upgrades, retrofits, and also specification during new construction. Spray foam insulation is one of them, and it is a good one. If you are considering options for what actions to take to save money on your energy bill, take a good look at spray foam insulation. It’s proven, it’s cost effective, and it’s invisible once completed.