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Winnipeg Homes- to breathe or not to breathe

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					Summary:

Over the last half century, homes have become increasingly air tight as mandated by
changes to building codes. This has caused a number of issues in building envelope
performance in Winnipeg and has stoked an ongoing debate. Spray foam insulation is
the solution. Spray foam insulation has a higher R Value than any other insulation
product on the market. Spray foam insulation is a recognized air barrier and vapor
barrier, meaning it is impervious to moisture and prevents the damage water can cause.
These are critical benefits in a climate like Winnipeg, MB.


There has been a long standing debate about home construction and how to build
good, sound, safe, healthy homes. Over the last half century, homes have become
increasingly air tight as mandated by changes to Winnipeg building codes. This has
caused a number of issues in building envelope performance and has stoked the
ongoing debate.

Long standing, experienced home builders often advocate a home that naturally
breathes as being healthier. Allowing a home to naturally breathe in Winnipeg allows
any moisture that accumulates inside the walls or attic space to naturally exit as it
evaporates over time back into the air column around it and is then carried out
through soffits, transitions or simply through a semi permeable wall assembly.

With increasing energy costs and consumer awareness of energy efficiency, Winnipeg
homeowners are calling for more efficient homes and builders and code officials have
responded with tighter envelopes. In an increasingly energy conscious world, it makes
no sense to simply allow a building to leak air naturally when we have to spend an
ever increasing amount of money to heat and cool our homes. Since we have the
technology to make homes more efficient, we should. Any concerns about internal
moisture accumulation can be handled by mechanical equipment and maintaining
humidity in an acceptable range.

With the increasing tightness of code required buildings, there have been situations
where trapped moisture in wall cavities, unable to exit to the exterior of the wall has
collected and resulted in rot, mildew, mold, or structural damage and in extreme cases
caused health related concerns and significant financial hardship. This is a real and
pervasive problem in Winnipeg. The heart of the issue is moisture accumulation.
Moisture does cause damage and needs to be addressed. 99% of modern newly built
homes continue to use a fibrous material to thermally insulate them. This is the core
of the problem. Because fiberglass, Roxol, cellulose or any other fiber based product
is permeable to moisture laden air, and because a vapor barrier is only placed on one
side of the wall or the other (In Winnipeg, this is on the warm, indoor side of the wall),
moisture does enter wall cavities, where it does come into contact with condensing
surfaces and can accumulate to cause damage in tightly sealed homes. While tight
homes are energy efficient, they risk becoming health risks, whereas freely breathing
homes have healthy indoor air quality because of the natural air exchanges that take
place each day, but are costly to heat and uncomfortable to live in. What is the answer?
Fibrous insulation IS the problem and the reason moisture enters wall cavities. What
if the insulation used in homes was impermeable to air & moisture - it would not
matter where the vapor pressure was coming from, moisture could not enter the wall
cavity. What if the insulation was also able to perfectly seal the wall cavity so that no
air could move around it either? Such a wall assembly would by design be vastly
more resilient to moisture damage and its resultant health concerns.

Spray foam insulation is the solution in Winnipeg. Spray foam insulation has a higher
R Value than any other insulation product on the market. Spray foam insulation is a
recognized air barrier and vapor barrier, meaning it is impervious to moisture and
prevents the damage water can cause. Spray foam insulation is custom fit to the walls
of your home because as it expands it wraps itself around every element in your walls
and seals them entirely. Unlike fibrous products which will settle or sag over time,
spray foam will never move, never deform - it is elastic enough to allow for settling of
new homes and moves with the framing members.
With spray foam insulation, the modern mantra "Build it tight, ventilate it right"
results in not only energy efficient homes, but healthy indoor living environments and
durable Winnipeg buildings by preventing moisture and its resultant damage from
entry.
 EcoLogic Spray Foam Insulation

				
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posted:2/8/2011
language:English
pages:2