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Global warming potential (GWP), as defined by the EPA, is a measure of how much energy the emissions of 1 ton of a gas will absorb over a given period of time, relative to the emissions of 1 ton of carbon dioxide (CO2). Spray foam insulation products that use water as the blowing agent - typically open-cell foam however Icynene’s ProSeal Eco is a 100 percent water blown closed-cell spray foam – have a global warming potential of 1, the lowest possible number. This is because water in the mixture reacts during the application process to release carbon dioxide and heat. The GWP of the blowing agent is that of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide has a GWP of 1.
Air infiltration and exfiltration within a home contributes to almost 99% of moisture migration. Restricting air movement stops moisture accumulation so that the possibility of mold growth is less likely. Combined with a properly sized HVAC system, spray foam insulation helps control the indoor humidity levels to minimize moisture and condensation. Reducing moisture and controlling humidity can also add years to the life expectancy of a home, plus contribute to a healthier indoor environment. Finally, it also deters pests, making it difficult for them to nest.
Spray foam is a chemical product created by two materials, isocyanate and polyol resin, which react when mixed with each other and expand up to 30-60 times its liquid volume after it is sprayed in place. This expansion makes it useful as a specialty packing material which forms to the shape of the product being packaged and produces a high thermal insulating value with virtually no air infiltration.
The United States has adapted to using sprayfoam insulation and a new technology called Wall Injection to retrofit existing wall construction by drilling small holes between wall studs in the structures framing and filling the void with a less aggressive expanding water based foam. This allows existing home and business owners to conserve energy by creating a thermal envelope in their existing structure.