Studies have shown that a majority of U.S. commercial buildings are not as airtight as they should be, which results in much higher heating and cooling loads and increased energy costs compared to buildings that have been retrofitted with a proper envelope seal. The potential energy savings that can be achieved following the establishment of an effective air barrier will typically pay for the additional commercial insulation installation work within a couple of years.
This is particularly true in states like Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, where cost savings ranged between 20 and 36 percent in a recent U.S. government study that compared energy consumption to actual measured envelope air tightness of commercial and residential buildings across five cities. Commercial contractors have the option to insulate most buildings from the outside, which minimizes the amount of retrofitting and work that needs to be done. However, some building styles will require interior insulation installations in order to achieve the same results.
Depending on the job, there are a variety of different insulation materials that can be used to improve the envelope tightness on a commercial building. However, older buildings that have experienced years of air leaks, moisture penetration and structural issues might require additional materials and sealing work throughout the installation. Fortunately, there have been many recent advances in the insulation industry, providing contractors with many more viable options.
Currently one of the best-selling insulation materials for use in both residential and commercial applications, Icynene foam insulation is used throughout New England to provide maximum envelope tightness by creating an advanced air barrier. Spray and pour formulas are available, with both providing a high level of thermal and moisture management.
The spray formula of Icynene foam insulation can expand to 100 times its initial volume, filling every crack and crevice in just a few seconds. After installation, the quality insulation material remains flexible, allowing the integrity of the envelope tightness to stay sealed and intact. The rated R-value of the spray formula is 3.6 per inch, providing complete commercial insulation in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island, without requiring any additional insulation materials in most situations.
Icynene is a 100% water-blown foam insulation that works to improve energy efficiency while minimizing air leaks to create a healthier, more temperature controlled indoor environment. It also acts as a sound reduction material, improving sound quality between rooms and floors, making it a great choice for commercial buildings. Icynene does not lose its R-value over time and will not sag, settle or shrink. It can be applied to most construction materials and is used to insulate attics, ceilings, floors and walls.
The pour fill formula of Icynene foam insulation is used frequently in older buildings to create an airtight insulated barrier while still preserving the original structure and architectural design of the building. It can be used to completely fill wall cavities, starting at the bottom and then expanding upwards, allowing for as much as 60 times its initial value. It is designed to expand to the direction of least resistance, meaning it won’t damage walls during expansion. The rated R-value of the pour fill formula is 5 per inch, making it a very excellent choice for commercial insulation in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
Envelope Tightness Issues in Older Buildings
If your commercial building doesn’t have a proper envelope seal, you will never be able to effectively control the temperature, even with a brand new HVAC system. The ability to control temperature, especially in old New England commercial buildings, is a direct result of the air barrier created by the insulation that is used during construction or renovation.
Commercial insulation in Massachusetts is particularly difficult, due in large part to the old buildings that are popularly used for office and business space. There is no wall cavity by nature in a brick or masonry structure, so any insulation that is used to improve envelope tightness and increase energy efficiency will have to be added on top of the stone.
While most clients will want to keep the stone or brick visible, at least on the outside, commercial insulation installation must be added similarly to the way it is done in a basement. For clients that want to retain the brick or stone look on the interior, insulation and envelope tightness won’t be possible. The client will need to understand what that might mean to the temperature of the building, especially in the winter months.
Commercial Insulation in Massachusetts
If you are looking for commercial insulation in Massachusetts, Connecticut or Rhode Island, contact Richie’s Insulation. Located in Westport, MA, Richie’s serves both residential customers and commercial contractors throughout the South Coast region. For more information on improving envelope tightness, commercial insulation installation or Icynene foam insulation, call Richie’s at 508-678-4474.