Allison--would be very interested in your take on the GHG issues of foams, which have received lots of smart commentary recently. To highlight a few: architect Jesse Thompson's comments on Tom's Good vs Bad post on Energy Circle, the very thorough piece by Alex Wilson on Green Building Advisor and Michael Anschel's cautionary diatribe on Remodeling. 

The average price to cover 200 square feet with a foam insulation kit will run between $300 and $600 (about two to three kits). Inside these kits is something called Icynene, a foam made from two liquids that are heated and pushed through a gun on the can. When Icynene is released, it expands up to 100 times its size as it hits the surface area you're covering. These can contain a lot of gasses, making its installation a dangerous process. Even low-pressure sprayers can be harmful to homeowners' health. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtube_gdata&v=ggLAUsiuI_o


Note: The practice of foam insulating the attic has raised eyebrows in the building industry because "standard" roofing techniques call for the attic to be ventilated; however, in a vented attic situation it will become approximately 130 degrees in the summer. There's no reason for an air-conditioning and vent-ductwork to have to work in that type of severe conditions. By applying Icynene right on the underside of the roof deck, the severe temperatures no longer exist in the attic. In short, the attic is now a "conditioned" space of the house that is just as comfortable as any other room in the home. This is called a "Compact Roof", which means you can frame right up against it. The one drawback of using expanded foam on the inside of the roof is that this will cause the temperature of the shingles to rise, but how much is not yet known. And how much damage a rise in temperatures could cause is debatable.
Air infiltration and exfiltration within a home contributes to almost 99% of moisture migration. Restricting air movement stops moisture accumulation so that the possibility of mold growth is less likely. Combined with a properly sized HVAC system, spray foam insulation helps control the indoor humidity levels to minimize moisture and condensation. Reducing moisture and controlling humidity can also add years to the life expectancy of a home, plus contribute to a healthier indoor environment. Finally, it also deters pests, making it difficult for them to nest.
Spray polyurethane foam (SPF) is a spray-applied plastic that is widely used to insulate buildings and seal cracks and gaps, making the building more energy-efficient and comfortable. SPF insulation is known to resist heat transfer extremely well, and it offers a highly effective solution in reducing unwanted air infiltration through cracks, seams, and joints.
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Simple – we’ve seen experienced contractors work with the separate nitrogen tanks and spray foam rigs and have one heck of a time. These spray foam insulation kits are quick to learn and simple to use. They’re designed to be easy so you get results the very first time you spray. Thorough Instructions, 24/7 Product Support, and videos make it easy to install.

how much for spray foam


This depends on the geographic location, insulation, and cost of electricity. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), and several roofing material manufacturers have computer programs that can estimate the savings. A growing number of energy consultants are available to provide environmental regulation compliance information. http://m.youtu.be/ggLAUsiuI_o
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