Foam Insulation Sells More New Homes.
When included as a standard feature or offered as an upgrade, foam insulation gives new home buyers the safest, healthiest home and the lowest cost of ownership of any insulation. Period.
New home builders must balance compretitive price pressures with giving new home puyers the healthiest possible indoor air quality, the strongest structure and the lowest possible home energy costs. We get it. But when you fully understand the value added by foam insulation, including some of the construction costs avoided by using foam insulation, you may see foam-in-place insulation in a new light.
Spray Foam Insulation Pros and Cons
- Most LEED points per dollar of construction cost.
- Lowest HERS score per dollar of construction cost.
- HVAC equipment can be downsized by as much as 25%.
- Single product provides both thermal mass insulation and air leakage sealing.
- Fewer water damage losses during construction because foam insulation is hydrophobic and watertight within seconds of application.
- Dramatically lower labor cost and reduced installation difficulty when insulating unique, irregularly shaped building designs.
- Fully adhered, monolithic foam insulation membrane creates a seamless building envelope.
- Bonds to the underside of the roof structure, so attics (and HVAC ducts) stay cooler and have more potential as bonus space.
- More R-value per inch than fiberglass or cellulose.
- Upgrading to closed-cell spray foam insulation strengthens roof and walls, lowering homeowners insurance premiums in high wind zones.
- Upgrading to closed-cell spray foam insulation helps assure structural integrity if nailing schedules and accuracy are inconsistent.
- One inch of closed-cell spray foam is a vapor retarder, and spray foam insulation is the only insulation that qualifies as a flood-resistant material under National Flood Insurance Program regulations.1
- Other trades unable to work in same enclosed spaces during and for a couple hours after installation.
- Installation quality and product performance are highly dependent upon installer training and experience.
- Insulation material and labor are more expensive per square foot than fiberglass or cellulose.
NAHB Research Highlights the Importance of Marketing Energy Efficiency
“What Home Buyers Really Want,” a 2013 research report by the National Association of Home builders (NAHB) Economics and Housing Policy Group, found that the “most wanted” features by new home buyers had themes of energy efficiency and organization/storage.
- Energy-Star rated appliances (94% said most important / 36% essential/must have / 58% desirable
- Energy-Star rating for whole home (91% ranked third most important / 28% essential/must have / 63% desirable
- 77% agreed or strongly agreed that “knowing the projected utility costs of a home is important.”
- 73% agreed that “the projected utility costs of a home would influence purchase decision.”
- 71% agreed they “would prefer to buy a home from a builder that provides home energy ratings.”
- 14% of new home buyers surveyed would pay an average of $7,095 more to purchase a home that saved $1,000 in annual utility costs.
Of course, home buyers will naturally tend to say they want all sorts of features in the absence of constraints. So to get closer to buyers’ true preferences, the survey asked them to choose between alternatives for the same amount of money. The survey results suggest that faced with this dilemma, 9 out of 10 buyers would choose a highly energy efficient home with lower utility bills, rather than one costing 2–3% less ($6,000–$9,000 for a $300,000 home) without the energy-saving features.
Interestingly, the average new home buyer surveyed wanted a home with about 17% more square footage than their current home. This finding highlights an opportunity to market the importance of energy efficient designs, products and materials, as a bigger home will otherwise probably have higher electric bills than a new home buyer is accustomed to.
Note: Building codes require living spaces to be shielded from spray foam insulation by gypsum board or another acceptable barrier, for fire safety.