SPFA Research Projects

SPFA engages from time to time in technical research and development activities for the benefit of its members and the SPF industry.  These types of projects are extremely valuable to the industry and ultimately benefit customers by helping the industry to make even better products and services resulting from the knowledge and experienced gained from the project.  As topics for new research projects arise from industry, customer feedback, possible government regulation, or simply as a question emerging from one of SPFA’s various committees, SPFA stands ready to perform these projects which allow for companies populating an industry to invest in projects that may be too costly or too complex for any one company to perform.

These activities are funded, coordinated by, and generally accessible to SPFA members. For more information, please contact SPFA Technical Services,

Energy & Environmental Performance

2013-2018

In 2013, SPFA coordinated an industry-level Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and developed an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for generic SPF formulations that include open-cell insulation and closed-cell insulation and roofing SPF materials using HFC-based blowing agents. The LCA followed the requirements of ISO-14040 and 14044, and the EPD was developed under ISO-14025, using the 2011-2016 North American Insulation Product Category Rules (PCR) available from Underwriters Laboratories Environment (ULe). The results of this work can be found below:

2013 Life Cycle Assessment Study (full version): This is the full SPFA LCA for SPF for the intended audience of energy, environmental and sustainability professionals looking to better understand the details of the quantified “cradle to grave” evaluation of SPF. The LCA was conducted by independent, third-party, professional LCA practitioner with expertise in this field: PE International.

2013 Life Cycle Assessment (summary): This is a short summary report of the SPFA LCA and intended for use by our members in their desire to share the information with sustainability professionals, customers, prospective customers, and other stakeholders in the industry. This report includes use-phase benefits of SPF insulation, developed by Sustainable Solutions Corporation.

2013 Environmental Product Declaration (EPD): This is a series of product descriptions and EPD reports produced by the Program Operator, ULe in conjunction with SPFA that review, assess and validate the energy and environmental claims found in the SPF Life Cycle Assessment. EPDs are used environmental and sustainability experts, architects and other professional customers looking for accurate product information. These documents can be found on the UL SPOT website here.

2018 - 2023

In 2018, SPFA completed the requisite five-year update for the existing LCA and EPD for using three generic SPF formulations that include open-cell insulation, HFC-based closed-cell insulation and HFC-based roofing SPF materials. In this update, a new product class for low-pressure two-component closed cell SPF was added. In addition, foams using HFO-based blowing agents were included (closed-cell, roofing and low-pressure SPF), resulting in a total of seven SPF product classes. The LCA followed ISO-14040 and 14044 requirements, and the EPD was developed under ISO-14025, using the updated 2018-2023 North American Insulation Product Category Rule (PCR) available from ULe.

2018 Life Cycle Assessment Study (full version): This is the full SPFA LCA for SPF for the intended audience of energy, environmental and sustainability professionals looking to better understand the details of the quantified “cradle to grave” evaluation of SPF. The LCA was conducted by independent, third-party, professional LCA practitioner with expertise in this field: The LCA was conducted by independent, third-party, professional LCA practitioner thinkstep (formerly PE International)

2018 Life Cycle Assessment (summary): Coming in 2019 will be a short summary report of the SPFA LCA and intended for use by our members in their desire to share the information with sustainability professionals, customers, prospective customers, and other stakeholders in the industry. This report will include use-phase benefits of SPF insulation.

2018 Environmental Product Declarations (EPD): There are now two EPDs for SPF developed and reviewed by ASTM, the EPD Program Operator in conjunction with SPFA that review, assess and validate the energy and environmental claims found in the updated SPF LCA. Particularly of use by environmental and sustainability experts, architects and other professional customers looking for accurate product information. There are now two separate EPDs. One EPD includes open-cell SPF and closed-cell, roofing and low-pressure SPF using HFC blowing agents, and the second EPD includes open-cell SPF and closed-cell, roofing and low-pressure SPF using low-GWP HFO blowing agents.

Chemical Health & Safety

SPF Installation and Ventilation: These reports are available through the American Chemistry Council’s Center for the Polyurethanes Industry (CPI).  The reports highlight findings of a series of SPF installation and ventilation scenarios dealing with use of proper engineered controls, PPE and SPF.  Information oriented toward professional SPF contractors.

Product Interaction

SPF and cPVC Pipes and Fittings: This report highlights the results of an independently administered research project that debunks the allegations of SPF incompatibility with cPVC piping.  This report is for SPF professionals, building code officials, customers or anyone responsible for a building that contains both SPF and cPVC.

SPF and Lighting:This report demonstrates findings of a research project conducted between SPFA and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) examining the interaction between SPF and “can-lights” or fixtures in a common construction scenario found in residential buildings.

Fire Testing, Code Compliance, and Safety

ICC-ES Acceptance Criteria for Spray-Applied Foam Plastic Insulation (SPFA-377): The report and information contained herein represents the body of work SPFA produced when it performed substantial fire performance testing on SPF, and proposed to ICC-ES that the product not reside in “AC-12”, and Acceptance Criteria for all foam plastics.  SPF is unique in its performance and installation, and as such required a stand-alone, clear and concise Acceptance Criteria documenting acceptable fire testing and performance, performed and validated by independent third-parties.

FM Testing Data: SPFA and Factory Mutual conducted a series of tests (FM 4470 and FM 4880) focusing upon fire resistance, wind uplift and hail damage of various SPF low-slope roof systems.  These tests produced useful industry data that can be used by a company to satisfy FM approval requirements.  As this was an SPFA-member only funded project, release of this data to any company in the SPF industry is conditional upon SPFA membership.

SPFA believes that the path to a healthful, safe, high-quality and performing SPF installation travels through the hands of a knowledgeable, trained, experienced, and ideally PCP-certified professional contractor.