Environment & Safety
Energy & Environmental Benefits
SPF can offer important benefits including reducing energy consumption and improving the environment. Energy use reduction from better insulated and air-sealed buildings means less pollution from energy production. But SPF impacts energy and the environment in other positive ways as well.
By sealing the building and utilizing your HVAC system for ventilation, the indoor air quality (IAQ) can improve by reducing interior pollution and allergens. That means a cleaner, less dusty and healthier home. Properly installed SPF, which includes use of a vapor barrier where required, can control the transmission of moisture in the building to reduce the likelihood of condensation and possible mold growth.
SPFA has also performed a rigorous, third-party ISO-standard compliant Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), and corresponding Environmental Product Declaration (EPD). These documents confirmed what the industry and satisfied customers have always recognized, that SPF has rapid payback and is environmentally conscious from “cradle to grave”. The SPF industry is very proud of the product’s performance, now verified in a way that no other insulation industry has gone to these lengths to produce.
Health and Safety Information
SPF is a polyurethane (plastic) product, made with similar materials to with bowling balls, mattresses, your automobile dashboard and the sole of your sneakers. But SPF is created in your building rather than a factory. It requires a detailed installation process using a variety of materials and equipment operated by a knowledgeable and experienced professional contractor. Once the SPF is properly installed, cured and inert, occupants are able to return following a period of time, typically twenty four hours, having allowed the SPF professionals to complete the installation and ventilate the area.
SPF uses two containers of materials that contain chemicals and additives necessary for the reaction that produces SPF, just as other plastic products require multiple components to be properly manufactured. The installation crews typically wear body suits, hoods, gloves and respirators as required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The reason for this is simple – during the installation process the materials used, by themselves, represent possible respiratory and skin contact hazards for the installer.
Particularly with professional high-pressure SPF equipment, the type used to insulate rooms or entire buildings, the SPF materials are heated and pushed through hoses to the tip of the gun where the reaction first takes place. The SPF begins to rise before it even hits the wall. Due to the pressure of the SPF some of the material is temporarily aerosolized around the installer, which is the reason for the PPE and mechanical ventilation. This is also the reason why customers are not allowed in the spray area or the building during and soon after the installation process. By allowing the recommended twenty four hours (consult with your contractor for specific manufacturer recommendations) before re-occupying, curing is able to take place and ongoing ventilation allows for any odors or vapors to vacate the premises.
The SPF professional should be familiar with these topics and be able to discuss with consumers what the expectations are for the project. If the contractor has completed the SPFA Professional Certification Program (PCP), the basics of essential health and safety are covered even at the entry-level Assistant Certification.
Visit this partnering website for more information on installation expectations.
In the case of low-pressure SPF “kits and cans” that are typically used by both SPF professionals as well as weatherization professionals or experienced Do-It-Yourselfers (DIY), it is still important that proper precautions are taken, the manufacturers recommendations are followed for use and handling, fans and ventilation are utilized, and PPE is worn. The “low-pressure” at which these systems operate means that the materials coming from the SPF gun or can are not being delivered at the high pressure of professional equipment. However, the material components and safety considerations are similar to high-pressure SPF and users should follow the recommended PPE requirements as well, or hire a professional.
For guidance on low-pressure installation and related PPE, click HERE.
For a free instruction video on safe use of low-pressure SPF, click HERE.
In the event you still have a specific question, after reviewing the information here and consulting with your SPF professional, please submit that question to SPFA Technical Services.