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Closed-Cell Spray Foam is Part of the Rebuilding Effort After Hurricane Sandy

Contractors are receiving numerous phone calls from customers educating themselves about closed-cell spray foam.  By Cameron Prior
Hurricane Sandy Coastal Insulation Brielle Bovio Advanced Comfort & Energy Solutions Air Seal Insulation Systems spray foam sprayfoam spf polyurethane roofing flooding generators energy power outage roof deck storm damage New Jersey New York wind

BRIELLE, NJ – November 8, 2012 – After Hurricane Sandy barreled her way across the Northeast last week damaging buildings and homes with ferocious winds and intrusive floodwaters, many people have been inquiring about the benefits of spray foam insulation. SprayFoam.com has received many phone calls and emails regarding closed-cell spray foam and how to get it, so we contacted spray foam businesses in the hardest hit areas of New York and New Jersey to see how they fared the storm and to get their perspective on how the spray foam industry has been affected.

New York City experienced a great deal of flooding and power outages due to the storm, causing businesses and transportation systems to shut down. Operations Manager Ari Guttman of Air Seal Insulation Systems said, “After our power went out, all our jobs went out with it.” Guttman was grateful that his company, based in Brooklyn, suffered no major damage. However, businesses in the surrounding area suffered a different fate. “A bus company just a few blocks away had buses floating,” he said.

Since Air Seal was unable to conduct business as usual, they decided to give back to the community by lending their generators to others without power. The company helped schools and nursing homes, as well as elderly residents. They lent a generator to a local synagogue full of 1500 people. “I thought, why is it so dark in here? Let’s light it up,” recalled Guttman.

According to Air Seal’s President, Jacob Kloc, the company is receiving calls from customers who are concerned they have to replace the open-cell spray foam Air Seal applied before the storm. “We’re saying no, it just has to be dried out and you’re fine,” he said.

While there is ongoing debate about retaining open-cell foam after the exposure to moisture, it can be prudent to check the manufacturer’s recommendations in such a case.

“The closed-cell customers are saying they’ve had unbelievable results with very little damage to their homes,” Kloc said. “That speaks a lot for the insulation.”

“We’re an industry that’s been facing the challenges of always exceeding the price of conventional insulation and, unfortunately, now we see where added value can sometimes save you a lot of headache in the long run.”

Echoing Kloc’s comment, Guttman added, “We have been doing this for 10 years. Seeing some of the houses we’ve done on the shores and how they’re holding up, it’s unbelievable.”

New Jersey was another state hard-hit by Sandy. The storm had a major impact along the coast, where severe flooding and heavy winds lead to power outages and extensive property damage. As people began to assess the damage, they started reaching out to spray foam companies like Coastal Insulation located in East Windsor. Marketing Administrator Anzhelika Ronis said, “Unfortunately, it takes such a major impact and that kind of fear to generate action. I kept hearing people say over and over again how incredibly vulnerable we are.”

Ronis said she believes people have been educating themselves about insulation since the storm and are calling Coastal non-stop. The majority of the calls are coming from hard-hit coastal areas such as Point Pleasant, Bayside, Toms River, and Mantoloking.

“They’re desperate for help,” she said, “and they don’t know who to call.”

The majority of inquiries have been about closed-cell spray foam, which FEMA classifies as the only acceptable flood damage resistant insulation material for floors, walls, and ceilings in its building design criteria for special flood hazard areas. Unlike fiberglass, closed-cell spray foam can be exposed to moving water and potentially be dried and cleaned following a flood, rendering it free of most harmful pollutants. Closed-cell foam can also improve the strength of structural framing systems and connections in a home or building, making it particularly desirable to those located in high-wind areas.

Ronis said that although it is an important consideration for homeowners and business owners, insulation doesn’t always get the attention it deserves. “People like to look at countertops or maybe a sexy floor – it’s not flashy, it’s not gorgeous, it’s not a beautiful mahogany door,” she said. “Now, people are paying more attention. They want new technology, energy efficiency, moisture resistance, and greater structural integrity.”

Another New Jersey contractor, Bovio Advanced Comfort & Energy Solutions, has also experienced an excess of calls from people inquiring about spray foam. “We’re a multi-trade company, so we’re seeing it across the board,” said Frank Bovio, a principal of the company, which is based in Sicklerville. Bovio said customers who once postponed or opted out of spray foam insulation are now revisiting the idea. “We had a year and a half old estimate of someone wanting to do a roof deck,” he said. “Now, he’s scrambling.”

A week before the hurricane, Bovio completed a closed-cell spray foam application on the underside of a residential roof deck. When the storm hit, a 200-year-old tree on the property fell and bounced off the roof of the house. “It didn’t budge,” Bovio said. Grateful for the good timing, the property owner commented, “Thank God we had this stuff put up last week.”

Bovio has also been in contact with other previous spray foam customers about how their homes fared the storm. Advantage applied closed and open-cell foam to a house just blocks away from the Atlantic Ocean in Ventnor, New Jersey a week before Sandy.

According to Bovio, the residence stood strong after the storm. The only damage was a sliding glass door seal that failed and leaked. “These are heavy duty sliding glass doors with a great seal on them,” Bovio said. “The reason I tell you this is that it shows how heavy the winds were during the storm to actually make the sliding glass door seals fail, yet there was no house damage or other leakage, and no structural damage,” he said. “So spray foam stood up against Sandy 100 feet off the Bay.”

Having suffered no significant damage from the hurricane, Advanced has remained busy. “We dodged a bullet,” said Bovio. The company just installed a crawlspace in a residence with a major creek system located 40 miles inland. “There was four feet of water in the home and all the fiberglass was washed out,” he said. “It was time to upgrade to spray foam.”

Spray foam is gaining greater recognition for its ability not only to provide better energy efficiency and comfort, but also to give homeowners and business owners piece of mind when it comes to safety and protection as our volatile weather patterns continue.

“People are getting educated,” said Bovio. “It raises awareness – wind sheer, stability – glue your house together, insulate it,” he said. “It’s bringing people around a little bit.”

If you are located in an area affected by Hurricane Sandy and would like further information about spray foam insulation, please visit our contractor directory page, where you will find a comprehensive list of service providers in your area.

Link: http://www.sprayfoam.com/npps/story.cfm?nppage=1303

 

Energy Efficient Home Improvements Could Save New Yorkers Money

NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) – The only thing keeping many people from having a more energy-efficient home is money.

A brand new program allows people to get green upgrades now and pay for them later in their monthly utility bill.

Ruth Lahey told CBS 2′s Elise Finch that poor insulation, inefficient lighting fixtures, and a faulty boiler were causing the utility bills in her Westchester County home to skyrocket.

“Our oil bills were very high. One of my kids’ bedrooms was extremely cold compared to the other bedroom, so I knew something was wrong,” said Lahey.

A new state program allows New Yorkers to make energy-efficient upgrades in their homes without paying any cash up front, it’s called the On-Bill Recovery Loan Program.

John Schott of the New York State Energy Authority explains that, “most of the measures that truly save a lot of energy are expensive. Through on-bill homeowners can now take advantage of upgrading their homes through energy-efficient improvements and make their payments through their utility bill.”

Homeowners first agree to a comprehensive home energy audit to identify areas to save energy. The next step is applying for a 2.99 percent loan. If approved the homeowner will be eligible for up to $25,000 to make necessary changes.

The loan is repaid each month through a line item on the homeowner’s utility bill.

Experts say that using the program can save homeowners money.

“Work that is done is actually paid for by the savings they’re going to realize every month,” said Mario Bruni of Bruni and Campisi Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning.

There are no income limitations for homeowners wishing to participate in the program. Participants must have a credit score of at least 640 or a good payment history for both their mortgage and their utility bills. They must also own the property.

New Yorkers who apply now won’t have to start repaying the loan until June.

Link: http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2012/02/13/energy-efficient-home-improvements-could-save-new-yorkers-money/

 

 

BPI Announces New Standard for Whole House Energy Savings Estimates

Malta, NY, June 7, 2011 – The Building Performance Institute, Inc. (BPI) is pleased to announce that BPI-2400-S-2011: Standardized Qualification of Whole House Energy Savings Estimates Standard, also known as the “Delta Standard”, is now available for public comment.

Created by BPI’s Standards Technical Committee, the Delta Standard specifies a process for the calculation of standardized estimated savings: the difference (delta) between the modeled energy usage before and after an upgrade using approved building energy use simulation software.  The process uses actual home energy bills to estimate savings, and provides a set of standardized operating conditions to be used in the final calculation of estimated savings. The standard applies to residential buildings of 4 units or less.

 

“The Delta Standard will increase homeowners’ confidence in energy savings projected by simulation software used by home performance contractors for homes that undergo energy efficiency retrofits,” said Larry Zarker, BPI’s CEO. “By using actual utility bills to measure pre-retrofit energy consumption, this approach sets realistic boundaries on estimated savings. This is truly a ground-breaking standard for the home performance industry.”

“This standard also provides contractors with an important alternate approach for evaluating savings in homes where monthly utility data is available, but not of reliable quality,” said Asa Foss, Chairman of BPI’s Standards Technical Committee and a nationally recognized expert in the field of energy conservation.

Click here to view BPI-2400-S-2011: Standardized Qualification of Whole House Energy Savings Estimates.
Comments and suggestions to improve this standard are currently being solicited from stakeholders and the general public until July 21, 2011. To comment on the standard, see: Comment on BPI Standardized Qualification of Whole House Energy Savings Estimates. We suggest viewing the quick video tutorial on using the comment tool.

 

About the Building Performance Institute
The Building Performance Institute, Inc., (BPI) is the nation’s premier building performance credentialing, quality assurance and standards setting organization. BPI develops technical standards using an open, transparent, consensus-based process built on sound building science. BPI is approved by the American National Standards Institute, Inc. (ANSI) as an accredited developer of American National Standards.

BPI offers the following:

 

  • National standards to ensure top quality, consistent protocols are being followed throughout the home performance and weatherization workforce
  • Certification of individuals in building analyst, heating, AC/heat pump, shell/envelope and multi-family designations
  • Accreditation of contracting companies committed to delivering quality home performance improvements
  • Quality assurance to verify conformance with BPI Standards and provide feedback for continuing improvement
  • Affiliation of training organizations that deliver BPI services in their market

For more information on BPI, visit www.bpi.org.

Free Seminar at the Mount Kisco Public Library!

Mount Kisco Publics Library

Learn how to save significant money on your energy bills and reduce your fuel use by 30% to 60%. Larry Nissman, Environmental Director for Phoenix Mechanical will walk you through the process, step by step, of making your home energy efficient and how to receive New York State and Federal cash incentives.

Wednesday, July 28, 6:30 p.m. / Mount Kisco Public Library / 914.666-8041 / 100 Main Street, Mount Kisco, NY 10549

The event is free and open to the public.

Energy Efficiency Coalition Joins Call for Swift Action on HOME STAR Legislation

The Energy Efficiency Coalition, which represents a diverse group of businesses, nonprofits and trade associations, has joined the HOME STAR Coalition in calling for HOME STAR legislation to be included in the Small Business Jobs Bill now under development in the Senate. Efficiency First was among 25 prominent companies and organizations that signed a letter  drafted by the Energy Efficiency Coalition and delivered to the Senate today. Here is the text of the EEC letter, which reinforces the message delivered to the Senate yesterday by the HOME STAR Coalition:

Dear Senators:

We, the undersigned members of the Energy Efficiency Coalition, represent a diverse group of energy efficiency, public interest, and private companies as well as environmental organizations.

We write to strongly urge you to include the bi-partisan HOME STAR legislation (S. 3434) in the pending Small Business Jobs legislation being considered in the Senate. HOME STAR is a triple-WIN helping some of the hardest hit industries in our economy while simultaneously:

  • Rapidly Creating Jobs
  • Contributing to Energy Independence
  • Lowering Household Energy Bills

To date the unemployment level in the contracting sector remains unacceptably high as one out of every four construction workers is out of work. Now is the time to help this important part of the economy. Moreover, a study completed by ICF International indicates that HOME STAR would generate energy bill savings of $627M – $639M in its first year and an additional $812M to $820M in its second year. Savings from the legislation are expected to continue well beyond the two year lifespan of the program.

HOME STAR is a market-driven, low-bureaucracy program that will create jobs fast by scaling the existing home energy efficiency improvement industry. HOME STAR will use rebates and tax incentives to catalyze more Americans to begin making their homes more energy efficient. Consumers nationwide will embrace HOME STAR because it will be simple, accessible and help them save money on energy bills.

The HOME STAR legislation has bi-partisan support and over twenty-one co-sponsors in the Senate. HOME STAR also has the support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).

We strongly urge the Senate to move swiftly to include HOME STAR as part of the Small Business Jobs bill.

Sincerely,

  • Alliance to Save Energy
  • American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy
  • Building Codes Assistance Project
  • Conservation Law Foundation
  • Conservation Services Group
  • Council of the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association
  • Danfoss
  • Direct Energy
  • The Dow Chemical Company
  • Efficiency First
  • Environment America
  • Environmental and Energy Study Institute
  • Green Strategies
  • Knauf Insulation
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Masco Corporation
  • Masco Home Services
  • National Association of State Energy Officials
  • National Association of Energy Service Companies
  • Natural Resource Defense Council
  • Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association
  • Recurve
  • Serious Materials
  • Siemens
  • Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance

Urgent Update on Home Star!

Malta, NY, July 7, 2010 – Efficiency First has posted a crucial update on the proposed Home Star Bill (also known as ‘Cash for Caulkers’) to its website at http://www.efficiencyfirst.org/home-star. The proposed program would bring $6 billion to the energy efficiency and residential contracting industries.

Last week, the U.S. Senate began considering a legislative package targeting job creation in the small business sector. Efficiency First is trying to ensure that the proposed HOME STAR energy retrofit program – with over 1,500 small businesses as part of the Home Star Coalition – will be included as part of this important legislation.

What You Can Do

You can learn more about this very important development regarding Home Star on the Efficiency First website at http://www.efficiencyfirst.org/home-star.

Revised Home Star Legislation Introduced in U. S. Senate

Revised Home Star Legislation Introduced in U. S. Senate
Malta, NY, May 28, 2010 –  A revised version of the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010 (S. 3434) was introduced in the United States Senate yesterday.  Home Star, the legislative proposal designed to create a U.S. energy retrofit rebate program, recently passed through similar legislation (H.R. 5019) by the United States House of Representatives on May 6, 2010 by a vote of 26 to 161. 
 
BPI personnel certification and company accreditation credentials – along with many BPI national technical standards – are cited in the draft legislation for the Home Star Act of 2010. 
 
Co-sponsored by 16 senators, this bill is now being examined by the Administration, the Senate leadership and the Senate Finance Committee. 
 
The Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010 has substantial economic, energy and environmental benefits.  It is a sustainable initiative that has gained widespread support in all states – from labor and construction groups to environmental and energy efficiency organizations.  The bill, if passed, will strengthen the American economy by providing close to $6 billion in incentive programs to American homeowners for energy efficiency home improvements.
 
Economic Advantages
Save U.S. consumers money on energy bills
Put construction workers back to work by creating ~168,000 jobs in an industry with a 25% unemployment rate
Provide new opportunities for certified contractors and other skilled workers
Energy and Environmental Advantages
Cut consumer energy use and reduce greenhouse gas emissions
Reduce America’s dependency on foreign oil
Improve America’s energy security
Home Star incentives include the Gold Star and Silver Star Rebate Programs. The Silver Star program provides incentives ranging from $50 to $1,500 for various prescriptive energy efficiency improvement measures. The Gold Star program follows a performance-based path for incentives, offering $3,000 for a 20% improvement in a home’s energy efficiency and an additional $1,000 for each additional 5% reduction, capped at $8,000 or 50% of the total retrofit cost (including the cost of audit and diagnostic procedures).
 
For a detailed, concise summary of the Home Star bill, see the United States Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources press release, entitled Generating Home-Grown Jobs for American Workers While Lowering Energy Costs for Cash-strapped Homeowners. 
 
The Building Performance Institute, Inc. (BPI) is a nationally recognized standards development and contractor credentialing organization for residential energy efficiency retrofit work. BPI sets the standard for the residential energy efficiency retrofit and weatherization workforce and stands ready to certify individuals and accredit companies for whole-home energy efficiency improvements. Visit www.bpi.org to learn more about BPI and the Home Star Incentive Programs. 
 
For BPI media inquiries, contact Stephanie Inglis at: [email protected] or (416) 598-7573.
 
About the Building Performance Institute
The Building Performance Institute, Inc. (BPI) is the nation’s premier building performance credentialing, quality assurance, and national standards setting organization. BPI supports the development of a highly professional building performance industry through individual and organizational credentialing and a rigorous quality assurance program.
 
BPI offers the following:
certification of individuals in building analyst, heating, AC/heat pump, shell/envelope, and multi-family designations
accreditation of contractors committed to delivering quality, home performance improvements
quality assurance to verify conformance with BPI Standards and provide feedback for continuing improvement
affiliation of training organizations that deliver BPI services in their market
open, transparent, consensus developed national technical standards based on sound building science
BPI, in cooperation with the building performance industry stakeholders, establishes a professional performance bar at a level appropriate to ensuring the consistent delivery of exceptional building performance services for those entrusting the BPI brand. 
 
For more information about Home Star and BPI, visit: www.bpi.org.
 
Building Performance Institute, Inc.
107 Hermes Road, Suite 110
Malta, NY 12020
Phone: (877) 274-1274
Fax: (866) 777-1274
[email protected]
www.bpi.org