Editorial Contributions by Profoam Corporation
SPRAY FOAM INSULATION
BY PE TER CAN TONE, NOR THEAS T SALES DIREC TOR, PROFOAM
ARE YOU READY?
R-Value requirements have changed. Are you in compliance?
The Energy Codes have changed for much of the Northeastern United States. As of late 2016, R- 21 is the required R-Value in residential walls. As with all code changes, increased restrictions mean environmental protections, which leave some
buildings – and some contractors – falling short. If you
spray foam, especially if you spray open-cell foam in New
England, you need to have the facts about the code change.
If you are installing an air barrier system in new construction
or are performing renovations to single-family homes
or residential buildings that are three stories or less, this
code change directly affects your work. As of late 2016,
the walls in these structures must meet R- 21. Further,
these structures are only allowed three air changes per
hour at a pressure differential of 50 pascals (3ACH50). As
explained in an outstanding video produced by the Urban
Green Council of New York ( www.urbangreencouncil.org/
blowerdoor), this means that in a standard 2,500-square-
foot building, if all the cracks, gaps, and tiny holes in the
entire structure were combined, they could only equal the
size of a 150-square-inch hole. Moreover, it is important to
note that certain areas of the country follow Passive House
Standards, which are even more stringent. These Standards
allow leakage from an area that is the size of an average cell
phone. Regardless of leakage allowance, to prove tightness,
now all affected structures must pass a blower door test to
pass during final inspection.
R- 21 AND A COMPLETE SEAL?
Planning for a continuous air barrier involves multiple
players: The specifier, the builder, and all involved
contractors and subcontractors who must follow an
integrated work plan that properly schedules coordinated
air-sealing jobs. This way, if your spray foam is on a wall
that has to be penetrated by the electrician for example, you
can be on hand and immediately reseal it.
Energy Codes are changing.
In most of the Northern and
Northeastern United States,
wall cavities in single-family
homes and residential
buildings must meet R- 21.