Green Insulation – Soy What’s it All About

By December 9, 2013News
What is “green”?  With all of the “green” products that we are bombarded with in our daily lives, it has become increasingly difficult to differentiate between what is actually green and what is not.  Spray foam insulation is inherently a green product, because when properly installed it virtually eliminates air infiltration and exfiltration in buildings.  Air infiltration and exfiltration is estimated to cost US homeowners over $13 Billion annually.  A product that eliminates air infiltration and consequently conserves natural resources and reduces our dependence on petroleum definitely qualifies as green in my mind.

You may ask how a product like Icynene® that contains petroleum based ingredients can be considered green?  It is true that some spray foam insulation manufacturers do indeed have petroleum-based products in their B component of the foam, however it is in small amounts.  Does this make it less green?  Sometimes you have to give a little to get a lot in return.  The cumulative savings of the product far outweigh the trivial amount of the petroleum-based ingredients.  The United States Green Building Council agrees, as do most other green building associations.  It reduces consumption, reduces other material use, and Icynene® contains no CFC’s, no HCFC’s, no HFA’s, no formaldehyde, or volatile organic compounds.

In recent years some spray foam manufacturers have proclaimed their product to be more green by replacing the petroleum-based products with soy-based products. The reduction of petroleum-based ingredients is beneficial to the environment, however the cumulative net gain in “greenness” over traditional spray foam like ICYNENE LD-C-50™ (formerly known as Icynene® “Classic”) is minimal. The manufacturers like to make people believe that the entire product is soy based, however this far from the truth.

Spray foam insulation is a 2-component product made up of 50% “A” Component and 50% “B” component.  All manufacturers use a similar “A” component. Most manufacturers have their own proprietary blend of ingredients in their “B” component.  In the “soy based” products only a small percentage of the “B” Component contains soy-based derivatives. If 10% of the “B” component contained soy derivatives, that only equates to 5% of the finished product. The finished product still has to be transported via freight, and it will not perform any better after installation.  Yes, it is a step in the right direction, however it is far from perfect.  Soybeans are in demand as a food product; they require insecticides, irrigation, and fertilization.  Unfortunately they are not using organic soybeans.  Most people could not afford that.  Does it still sound greener?

In the first quarter of this year Icynene introduced ICYNENE LD-R-50™.  The letters stand for Low Density – Renewable – .5 pounds per cubic foot.  ICYNENE LD-R-50™ raises the green bar by replacing the petroleum derivatives with oil derived from Castor Beans.  It is not a food source, requires little if any irrigation, is grown on marginal cropland, and requires little if any fertilization.  Castor oil is a benign ingredient that is used in lip balm.  ICYNENE LD-R-50™also has the highest verifiable agribased content of any spray foam manufacturer.  This was determined by the ICC Evaluation Service and published in their Verifiable Attribute Report. ICYNENE LD-R-50™ now can claim to be the greenest spray foam on the market. Period.  Are the soy-based products green?  Yes.  Are the petroleum-based products green? Yes.  But the greenest of the green is the ICYNENE LD-R-50™!  It also has the Icynene name behind it, which means you can sleep well at night knowing you have the greenest, safest, and most thoroughly tested spray insulation on the market.  The Lifetime Warranty doesn’t hurt either.

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