Building More High-Performance Homes for the Future
In May 2021, the Government of Canada launched the Canada Greener Homes initiative, with the goal of enabling more Canadians the ability to afford energy efficient home upgrades. Ultimately, this will combat climate change, create jobs, and help homeowners through monthly energy bill savings.
Buildings, including homes, make up 18 per cent of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, so the government believes energy efficient retrofits to be an essential part of Canada’s 2050 goal of net-zero emissions. To date, over 220,000 applications have been received, with $38.6 million in grants having been sent to 10,291 homeowners. If your project is a new building, or a retrofit, you need to consider ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Now, more than ever, it is essential to commit to the construction of high-performance buildings. If you are a contractor or builder, then you must prepare to meet governmental requirements for buildings. If you are a homeowner, then you will want to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions and your monthly energy bill.
There are a myriad of upgrades and retrofits that can assist in reducing your greenhouse gas emissions, but one amongst them is far above the rest when it comes to making homes more comfortable, healthy, efficient, and durable. The use of a Soya based HFO closed-cell spray foam insulation is the most impactful decision in the construction and retrofitting of buildings.
What are high-performance homes? Why does closed-cell spray foam insulation work so well?
Put simply, a high-performance building or home has four key attributes:
At first, it might not be apparent why closed-cell spray foam is the perfect choice for high-performance buildings or homes. But spray foam insulation effectively helps builders and homeowners achieve these four beneficial attributes.
Spray foam insulation enables buildings to better maintain their internal temperatures, keeping homes warmer in the colder months, and cooler during the hotter months, allowing an increase in year-round comfort. Spray foam insulation also reduces noise pollution from the outside of homes and buildings, and more effectively filters dust and allergens in comparison to other types of insulation, creating a healthier living environment. Since spray foam insulation is a more effective insulation material than alternatives such as fiberglass and polystyrene, it can reduce the heating and cooling costs associated with homes and buildings, rendering them more efficient throughout the year. And finally, spray foam insulation increases the racking strength and structural strength of homes and buildings it is used in. When applied correctly, it can increase wind uplift resistance, which is of great benefit in windstorm and tornado prone areas. It can also be applied and used as a flood barrier in at-risk areas, ensuring your home is, overall, more durable.
More than just a spray foam product, consider a builder program that benefits builders, contractors, and homeowners
When choosing a quality spray foam insulation, seek out a brand that is backed by a strong technical support network, such as a High-Performance Builder Program. A program that benefits builders, contractors, and homeowners alike.
A well-structured High-Performance Builder Program is built on five pillars designed to provide advantages for builders and contractors during the planning, construction, and sales process.
The five pillars are as follows:
Education: A builder program should have presentations regarding spray foam insulation prepared, and expertly trained territory sales managers ready to travel and speak with builders and contractors to inform them about the advantages of using spray foam in their building projects. This educational content reaches both builders and prospective homebuyers, granting advantages for both groups.
Marketing: This encompasses all material which supports the educational pillar. A builder program that is well-supported works with print media, digital media, model homes, and design centres to drive home the benefits of spray foam insulation to homebuyers. These marketing efforts are focused on homebuyers, because if they are walking through a finished home, they cannot see the spray foam insulation behind the walls. Thus, marketing material for the builder and contractor to distribute to homebuyers and inform them of the value inherent in spray foam insulation is helpful to their business.
Building Science: A builder program should house an internal team of top-shelf engineers and architects ready to assist contractors, or more specifically builders, design spray foam insulation solutions for homes. This expert team can evaluate buildings plans, value engineer sites, and, most importantly, are simply there to help. Experts can assist with incorporating proper HVAC equipment, integrating mechanical airflow into projects, eliminating energy trusses, reducing builder materials that are needed, and minimizing jobsite waste. Builders who are using spray foam insulation for the first time will have questions about installation, building codes, and timelines, and the builder program team should be ready to answer those questions and offer advice based on their years of experience.
Third Party Certified Contractors: Through many years of operation, a reputable spray foam insulation builder program should have cultivated a portfolio of trusted and trained contractors with experience installing spray foam insulation. These contractors have gone through their own certification and QAP process and make up the backbone of the spray foam insulation industry. Companies such as Huntsman Building Solutions have a large network of certified contractors spread throughout Canada, ensuring wide geographic coverage. This network serves to help with the education, marketing, and building science pillars.
Diverse Product Portfolio and Brand Legacy: When looking for high-quality offerings of open and closed-cell spray foam, roofing foam, and coating products, its important to consider reputable brands with legacy. Some spray foam insulation brands have large portfolios of open-cell and closed-cell products that work well together and that are available around the world. Such brands have high-quality products that are developed and created using renewable and recycled materials and reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) for a cleaner, greener world. They are also backed by a knowledgeable team of experts who can provide input on building projects.
So, these five pillars constitute a well-constructed High-Performance Builder Program. When partnering with a reputed builder program brand, these are the advantages one can expect.
How does the program work in practice?
In Canada, we run our Builder Program through the contractors, and this is what we have done since its inception. As an example, for the last year in Quebec we’ve had a lot of success working with builders to increase the usage of spray foam insulation. Specifically, we’ve succeeded in convincing builders to spray closed-cell foam under their building slabs. This helps prevent Radon gas from seeping in the home, and the contractors we work with have done an amazing job getting their builders onboard with this initiative.
A closer look at the benefits of the High-Performance Builder Program
Homebuyers and homeowners are increasingly interested in high-performance homes, especially in the last few years. More people are spending more time at home and are looking into ways to make their homes healthier, more efficient, and quieter. Spray foam insulation can tick all three of these boxes, making it a worthwhile investment for contractors and builders.
For these contractors and builders, a Builder Program makes the insulation process painless from beginning to end. Company sales reps can talk to builders and work through the problems they may be encountering. Are they struggling to pass a building code? Are they trying to insulate an intricate church ceiling? Builder programs can identify their pain points and show them ways in which spray foam insulation can make their lives easier.
Once third-party contractors are onboard and onsite spraying the foam, they can explain to builders what they can spray and how they can help. This circles back to the first pillar: education. Builder programs can help builders who aren’t experienced with spray foam and the problems it can solve. Contractors can benefit by expanding their business and their offerings, whereas builders are granted an efficient, fast, and money-saving method backed up by no call-backs from customers, as their customers will end up as happy homeowners.
Traditional insulation methods take much longer when compared to closed-cell spray foam, with spray foam insulation reducing installation times by 3-5 days for some projects. This means builders can move from framing inspection to insulation inspection that much faster, and 3-5 days faster is a lot of time saved for a builder. The manufacturer can help them meet codes, and since spray foam insulation provides higher R-values than traditional insulation materials, the homes and buildings end up performing better. Higher R-values can also translate into savings on other materials, for example, a wall can be built with 2×4 rafters instead of 2×6 studs, since spray foam insulation is more efficient. The required R-value can be reached with less material, and spray foam affords the builder more control of hot and cold spots, draft issues, and moisture issues, granting them oversight of variables which will make the construction process quicker and ultimately provide homeowners with more efficient dwellings.
A mutually beneficial partnership
Overall, the aim of any Builder Program is to strengthen partnerships with contractors and builders. Huntsman Building Solutions’ High-Performance Builder Program exemplifies our company’s commitment to strengthening builder partnerships across Canada.
David Dietrich is the National Managerof the Residential Segment and Builder Programs for Huntsman Building Solutions.
The Huntsman Building Solutions business is a global leader in high-performance, sustainable building envelope solutions. Its systems and solutions are widely utilized to optimize commercial and residential structures worldwide in both new construction and retrofit applications. Formed in 2020 with the acquisition of Icynene-Lapolla and its combination with Demilec, the Huntsman Building Solutions business capitalizes on legacy industry technologies, environmental stewardship, and the power of the Huntsman brand. Visit www.huntsmanbuilds.com.