By the year 2020, there are plans in place in the state of California to make all new homes that are built Zero Net Energy homes. A Zero Net Energy home is one where the energy used is equal to the energy produced through renewable sources such as solar and wind. Part of the goal of these same initiatives is to have all existing buildings reduce their consumption of energy by half, thereby doubling their energy efficiency. In nearly every state in the country you will find complementary programs aimed at reducing energy consumption and lower the costs of heating and cooling homes.
While solar and wind power are not practical solutions in some areas of the U.S., there are still ways to reduce the consumption of energy in homes and commercial buildings which is estimated to be 40% of all energy used here. Spray foam insulation is one solution that homeowners and building contractors can employ to substantially reduce the usage of energy year around. Foam insulation is the top choice for not only energy efficiency, but improving the quality of indoor air. Its ability to seal all cracks and gaps in building materials and its superior thermal insulating properties can help reduce energy costs by up to 50% in very cold or very hot climates.
Energy efficient architectural designs can supplement the goal of net zero energy use. Spray foam plays a key role in insulating passive solar buildings because it provides the highest r-value per inch, allowing for design flexibility. It can be sprayed anywhere, on any substrate and this is particularly important when designing for sustainability.
Other sustainable characteristics of spray foam include its longevity and its use of bio-available and recycled materials in its many formulations. Foam never needs to be replaced and will outlast the useful life of other building materials. Sealing out air, thermal properties, moisture regulation, structural support and resistance to high winds are other sustainable properties of foam insulation that no other insulation option can match