Like any other industry, marketing claims for spray foam insulation often go to the extreme. In general, product claims can be more confusing than informative. For example, what does it mean when an insulation product (or any product) is “green” or “eco-friendly” or “bio-based”? This type of terminology is more about marketing and promotion than it is about describing a product’s attributes. In the end, its best to be an informed consumer, and that applies especially to spray foam insulation.
Spray foam insulation is often labeled as a “green” product. There is definitely some justification here – after all, a spray foam application will contribute to significant reduction in energy consumption because it insulates so well. As a result, reduced energy consumption reduces electricity demand, greenhouse gas emissions, and fossil fuel consumption. Clearly, if all of the above contribute in a positive and constructive way to the environment, there is a “green” effect.
A common product claim in the insulation industry focuses on R-Value. It’s the industry measurement that relates to heat flow resistance – the higher the R-Value, the better the insulation effectiveness. But to properly assess the R-Value of a space, numerous variables must be considered – it’s not good enough to just throw around a number. A reputable contractor can provide facts and figures to substantiate an R-Value. However, industry wide, it’s agreed that spray foam has the highest R-Value.
In general, government agencies and industry groups oversee product claims. They set the guidelines for product manufacturers and marketers, and design them for several purposes: to lessen deceptive practices; to ensure installation compliance; and to protect the consumer. Again, a good contractor will deal with a customer openly, outlining the benefits of their products and their installations. The good news about spray foam is that the benefits are impressive and widely published.
Because we have become so focused on energy consumption and energy savings, the market has filled with insulation products for every possible application. For the average consumer, things can get quite complicated – every manufacturer has the “best” product and every contractor has the “best” installation approach. For the consumer, the best way to decide is to be well informed. And having a reliable contractor is a bonus – one who provides honest answers and viable solutions.
The most puzzling of all product-marketing claims surrounds cost. There’s the cost of product and the cost of installation – but there’s also the cost-benefit. Spray foam insulation is a good example. It’s considered more costly than other products at the outset, but in the long term the benefits make the overall project cost worthwhile. A spray foam application lasts a lifetime, needs no maintenance, and doesn’t need to be replaced or replenished – that’s long-term value well beyond short-term cost.
At the end of the day, the informed consumer makes better decisions. And when it comes to spray foam insulation, being informed allows for a better understanding of product, installation, and cost – without relying on the product claims and promises.