November 26, 2012

Foam Fails

credit: Zerodraft

If we are to address our concerns of health, climate change,  safety, energy efficiency, resiliency and reliability, then we ask you to seriously consider eliminating foam from your next high performance building enclosure.

Why should you contemplate a foam free enclosure?  Because foam fails.  Let us consider the ways foam has failed*:

  1. Dangerous toxic ingredients
  2. Unacceptable fire hazard
  3. Degrading thermal insulation values
  4. Counterproductive vapor retarder/barrier
  5. Excessive shrinkage
  6. Inflexible and prone to cracking
  7. Unhealthy off-gassing and dust
  8. Difficult to identify and repair air leaks
  9. Weak and unpredictable air control
  10. Hypersensitive on-site manufacturing
  11. Irredeemable global warming potential
  12. Intolerant of adverse job site conditions
  13. Terribly hygrophobic

foam boards

Admittedly, this list may cause disorientation – given the near sacrosanct position foam currently holds in the high-performance construction industry.   In future blog posts (linked above as we go) we’ll explore the inherent failures of foam, as listed above, giving each a proper explanation and context.

 

 

We can do better.  Find out how at our blog post:

(Foam Free) Wall Assembly Guidelines by Climate Zone.   

* Note:  List order is in flux per writing flow.  However the the original thirteen reasons remain.  The order is not necessarily an indication of relative importance.

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2 Responses to Foam Fails

  1. Karen Tate July 30, 2015 at 3:52 pm #

    My apt complex uses polyurethane foam as the exterior surface on the roof. not as insulation between the ceiling and roof as most people do. And there’s nothing much between the foam and the wood ceiling. It left me thinking the foam roof coating itself under extreme heat was giving off a toxic odor. Nauseated us last week when we had high humidity and heat like we usually don’t get in CA. Wondering if this could be toxic.

    Without getting the run-around, I was wondering who to pose the question to…..or if there were agencies that might test the air in my apartment free.

    Karen Tate

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