VIEWS: 4 PAGES: 2 POSTED ON: 2/8/2011
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
"Winnipeg Homes- to breathe or not to breathe "