Foam insulation is not a new product, but Icynene has some specific characteristics contractors and homeowners may want to consider:
- Impact on the environment: Because water is the foaming agent for Icynene, installers don't need ozone-depleting chemicals. In years past, chlorofluorocarbons were used to activate foam, and they negatively affected the ozone layer. Currently, foam installation often employs hydrochlorofluorocarbons which, although less hazardous, still have a detrimental environmental effect [source: U. S. Department of Energy]. In addition, Icynene is a low-density product; it's applied in a thin layer and expands significantly. Fewer petroleum products, therefore, are needed in its manufacture than in higher-density polyurethane foams. Another green fact: Two Icynene products substitute renewable or recycled materials for some of the petroleum-based ingredients.
- Air leak prevention: Since Icynene foam swells and spreads considerably, it fits into all the nooks and crannies inside walls, ceilings and floors. This creates what is known in building science as a tight envelope, successful at reducing airflow from indoors to outdoors and sealing a building snugly.
- No R-value lost over time: Icynene remains supple, so it can flex as the building shifts. This flexibility prevents compression. Some insulation, like fiberglass, can gradually compact, allowing more air transfer. Icynene retains its shape and consistency.
- Convenient application: Unlike many foam insulations, Icynene can be installed in less-than-ideal conditions. The professionals don't have to wait until the weather is warm and dry; this advantage could reduce delay during house construction [source: Dura-foam].
- Noise reduction: Again with the nooks and crannies. Since the space is filled between ceilings, walls and floors, Icynene reduces ambient noise.
- Air quality: Icynene doesn't give off gas over time; any smells from the installation disperse within a few days, leaving no residual odor.
- Energy Star: Energy Star is a program of the United States Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency promoting improved energy efficiency in products and appliances, home improvement and new construction. Receiving an Energy Star certification indicates that your product or building meets high standards towards saving energy. New and existing homes insulated with Icynene have often received this qualification.
With all these advantages, why not call up a dealer and insulate right now? Well, that's not how educated consumers function; they examine pros and cons. As we see on the next page, nothing's perfect.