The buyers of the 510,000 newly constructed homes sold in 2015 were probably not preoccupied about the type of insulation used in the houses. Instead, they were probably more focused on features like attached garages, the number of bathrooms and open-concept kitchens.
Nevertheless, beyond those more visible amenities, the type of insulation in a new building’s attic and walls can have a major impact on the occupants’ quality of life and the building’s energy efficiency. While sometimes perceived as a premium product, spray polyurethane foam has a proven track record of insulating and consistent performance.
Proven Product for Development Building
Arizona-based Meritage Homes understands the benefits of using SPF insulation in homes, using it in more than 50,000 new builds in the last seven years. According to C.R. Herro, vice president of energy efficiency and sustainability at Meritage Homes, SPF provides many benefits.
“Spray foam insulation is one of the most significant products that we think differentiates our homes as a better choice for buyers,” Herro says. “Spray foam’s unique application, which allows the product to expand and help seal a house, clearly provides a level of confidence in the consistency of application and the comfort of homes by reducing the indoor air exposure to pollutants, pollen and dust.”
Since SPF acts as both insulation and an air barrier to seal the building envelope, the need for additional air-sealant materials is also reduced. SPF building assemblies can be tested before the drywall is applied, saving potential time and more burdensome repairs.
A Great Choice in Custom Homes
It is not just large builders like Meritage Homes that benefit from the use of SPF insulation. Zander Homes, a custom homebuilder based in Houston, has also utilized the product to provide unique results for buyers. Since 2012, Zander Homes has built 29 homes using SPF insulation. In addition, owner Justin Henry tells his clients among the greatest benefits of spray foam are the quality of air and comfort of living.
As states and localities continue to adopt codes that encourage or mandate energy efficiency, spray foam meets or exceeds these stringent building codes, providing customers many additional benefits.
Zander Homes noted they are a part of the Greater Houston Builders Association’s green building programs and has homes rated and tested by third-party verifiers. Through these programs and the use of SPF, Zander Homes has seen the energy efficiency of its homes increase.
“We’ve been achieving great HERS ratings (The Home Energy Rating System), without having to do other expensive or extensive items,” Henry says.
A Long-Term Investment
In addition to the benefits of improved energy efficiency and lower maintenance, SPF offers homebuyers an investment opportunity. Buying a home is the major investment for most people, with most owners reselling them after 13 years. When selecting or building a new home, buyers should consider possible expectations for when it’s time for them to sell their house. SPF insulation provides some important features that may help SPF-insulated homes retain more value.
“Because SPF provides a better air seal, the mechanical system and the interior components are less subject to room temperature variations, as well as sand and dirt infiltration, so we believe they will be more durable,” Henry says. “Lastly, because it stops so much uncontrolled air filtration, we believe the overall home is likely to be more durable and maintain aesthetics for longer than a conventionally built home.
“All of these things add up not only to a better environment as you live within the home but a better investment knowing you are likely going to resell the home,” he continues.
The Right Spray Foam for the Right Job
Both Meritage and Zander use SPF throughout a house, or the total thermal envelope. Henry from Zander Homes notes SPF can create conditioned spaces in areas, from the slab to inside exterior walls on to the roof decking and the entire attic.
In addition to the thermal envelope, Meritage gives homeowners the option to use SPF to create more temperate environments in garages and to help reduce noise infiltration for media rooms, children’s rooms and master bedrooms.
SPF offers builders a quality product that delivers value for homebuyers. Whether used in large-scale production of homes, such as with Meritage Homes, or custom builds like Zander Homes, builders praise SPF for the comfort of living and quality investment it passes on to their home buyers