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Why Use Spray Foam From An Architect's Perspective?

David Jones - 21 Oct 2019

Why use spray foam from an architect’s perspective? Low GWP, Low VOCs and Low Odour-and that’s just for starters. We explore how spray foam assists architects in their endeavours, and why it proves the perfect choice for those seeking a multi-purpose insulation solution.

The Systems Approach To Design And Construction

The ‘Systems Approach’ to design and construction focuses on how system interdependence determines the overall success of a project. When all building systems work in tandem, architectural aims are actualised.

Other influential factors include: location of the construction site, climate, and the behaviour of residents. These factors should be accounted for during the initial stages of design, in order to prevent potential problems from occurring.

If this approach is followed to the letter, the risk of hidden defects will be reduced, resulting in a healthier habitation, and increased EPC rating as well.

The Importance Of Balance For Buildings

The demand for energy-efficient buildings has never been greater; there’s no denying that properties with higher EPCs are given precedence by prospective buyers. The following suggestions offer some food for thought on how to balance conflicting concerns in construction, to ensure flawless functionality all round:

  1. The importance of air-tightness in construction should not be undermined; though a completely closed environment would quickly compromise the circulation of free-flowing air. In this respect, adequate ventilation is key.
  2. An impenetrable insulation barrier alleviates airborne allergens and pollutants, such as dust and pollen. However, a poor quality spray foam substitute can emit toxic and hazardous chemicals, causing far more problems than it’s solving.
  3. A building needs to be able to breathe, yet simultaneously remain sufficiently sealed.

Key Considerations For Architects

-Open Cell vs.Closed Cell Spray Foam

Although both forms of foam have their merits, your final decision should be informed by the overall purpose of the project at hand. For confined or crawlspace applications, closed cell would prove preferential. However, if tackling noise transmission is your top priority, opt for open cell spray foam instead.

-Low GWP: The Architect’s Holy Grail

As the ‘Architect’s Holy Grail’, achieving low GWP (Global Warming Potential) through design is the ultimate accolade. Spray Foam possesses an ultra-low GWP equal to 1, enabling you to insulate your project effectively, without compromising your carbon-footprint.

-PBDEs: What They Are And Why Architect’s Are Best To Avoid Them

Known for their fire resistant composition, Polybrominated Diphenylethers (PBDEs) are inherent in polyurethane foam, with adequate research into their future effects terrifyingly thin on the ground.

For despite their protective properties, the long term health implications of using these chemicals remains to be seen, making a PBDE-free insulation material like spray foam the preferential product of choice.

-Low VOCs And Low Odours

VOC’s have been extensively studies, and in the opinion of third party toxicologists, after two hours, buildings sprayed with specialist foam are deemed safe for re-occupancy. Such products also possess remarkably low odour levels, ideal for those with chemical sensitivities.

How Spray Foam Helps Controls Sound Transmission

In terms of acoustic performance, spray foam’s ability to reduce the transmission of noise is unrivalled. Here’s a list of the main noise pollution niggles, and why use spray foam from an architect’s perspective to tackle these problems.

-Airborne Sound

In the world of property development, location is everything. Homes situated on a flight path, or near to a busy main road experience external noise infiltration, making it challenging to sell them at a later date. To combat this, spray foam creates a superior seal, stopping sound transmission in its tracks.

-Flanking Sound

It’s no secret that sound travels, and in some situations, a multi-purpose method is mandatory. Unlike traditional insulation, spray foam expands up to 100 times its original size, rendering it the ideal option for reducing flanking sounds between rooms, by filling every exposed cavity with ease.

-Reducing Plumbing Noise

Plumbing noise can be be persistent, with running water causing piping above ceilings, and behind walls, to shake. This inevitably translates into strong structural vibrations-vibrations which can be felt in other parts of the building.

Thankfully, spray foam’s fail-proof flexibility works wonders in this regard, as it can be applied around hard-to-reach places (such as pipework), reducing plumbing noise in the process.

-Impact Noises And Structure Borne Variations

Noise pollution not only plays havoc with peace of mind; in extreme cases, it can also interfere with the structural integrity of a property as well. High-impact vibrations can affect the building assembly itself, resulting in unpleasant reverberations that can challenge even the most sturdy construction.

To combat this challenge,spray foam works in tandem with drywall mounted on resilient channels, isolating impact noises to lessen their far-reaching effect.

Looking at ‘Why use spray foam from an architect’s perspective’ has certainly added a new value to modern techniques of insulating commercial buildings. With proven effectiveness of spray foam applications for commercial buildings in Canada, this system is becoming the first choice for industry experts of UK.

Embarking on an eco-friendly project? Spray foam enables architects to put their plans into practice-with unrivalled, long-term results. Get more information regarding closed-cell spray foam insulation for your new project today by calling: 0800 1700 135.

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