Lead by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the LEED certification program has quickly become the most widely recognized green design/building programs among architects and builders. The use of certain building materials and technologies such as geothermal energy, can contribute significant credits towards a building achieving LEED Silver, LEED Gold or LEED Platinum certification. These certified buildings distinguish high performance buildings that have less of an impact on the environment, contribute to creating a more positive space to live/work/play and tend to be more profitable than their conventional counterparts.
So can a chemical product like spray foam insulation fit in? Can it contribute to credits in the LEED New Construction rating system? The answer for both of these questions is. For the New Construction rating system, whether they are commercial or multi-residential buildings, there are five environmental categories in which spray foam insulation such as Icynene can contribute.
- Minimum Energy Performance (A2) – In this category, there are three options in which Icynene spray foam can contribute towards meeting minimum energy performance improvements. Option 1 is 10% for new buildings or 5% for major renovations (ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2007). Option 2 concerns ASHRAE Advanced Energy Design Guide for small office buildings/retail buildings/warehouses and self-storage facilities, while Option 3 addresses the Advanced Buildings Core Performance Guide developed by the New Buildings Institute.
- Optimize Energy Performance (EA1) – Up to 11% of overall energy savings can be achieved through the inclusion of spray foam insulation like Icynene versus traditional options.
- Recycled Content (MR4) - The 3.4% by weight of recycled content (normalized by adjusting for pre-consumer versus postconsumer) of Icynene ProSeal and Icynene ProSeal Eco product can contribute towards the 10-20% of building material, based on cost, required to be made of recycled material.
- Minimum Indoor Air Quality Performance (IEQ1) – In this category, Icynene’s ability to reduce air leakage and accompanying moisture movement can contribute to meeting the minimum requirements of Section 4 through 7 of ASHRAE 62.1-2007, Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality.
- Indoor Chemical and Pollutant Source Control (IEQc5) – The low permeance of Icynene’s water-blown closed-cell spray foam innovation, Icynene ProSeal Eco can contribute towards the air sealing and compartimentalization of spaces where hazardous gasses or chemicals may be present.
Considering the inclusion of spray foam insulation into new construction projects working towards LEED certification allows architects and designers to capture valuable LEED credits. Plus, it allows architects to easily capture on the tremendous performance advantages spray foam insulation offers building occupants in the immediate and long-term.