Polyisocyanurate Insulation: 3 Things You Need To Know

polyisocyanurate insulation

Understanding Polyisocyanurate Insulation

Many of the technologies that mankind has invented throughout history has not considered efficiency. But as the negative consequences of this oversight pile up, self-enlightenment has motivated us to prioritize efficiency more than ever.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the creation of housing materials, which have experienced an explosion in efficiency over the last 100 years. Polyisocyanurate insulation, in particular, is a more recent innovation that represents some of the most efficient technology ever created.

polyisocyanurate insulation

3 Things You Need to Know About Polyisocyanurate Insulation

In this article, we discuss 3 things you need to know about polyisocyanurate, focusing on some of its benefits as well as cons.

Dubious R-Value

R-value is a measure of a material’s resistance to thermal heat flow. But R-value only measures one type of heat flow, mainly thermal conduction, and ignores other types of heat flow, like convection or radiation.

Many companies advertise polyisocyanurate insulation as having one of the highest R-values per square inch on the market. But this is misleading and does not necessarily translate to a more efficient insulation system. Other factors, like temperature changes and wind flow, influence how resistant to heat space is.

Additionally, manufacturers of insulation materials are required to perform their tests of R-values at an average temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the temperature surrounding the insulation(see different type of insulation) after it is installed is not always stable. Sometimes the surrounding environment drops to lower temperatures, and in these extremes, R-values can change.

Polyisocyanurate insulation, for example, has a worse R-value as the temperature drops, which means it is less effective at resisting heat flow than some of its counterparts in the industry. This makes it not ideal for colder climates but better suited for warmer climates.

polyisocyanurate insulation

Low Environmental Impact

Polyisocyanurate insulation is known for promoting sustainability and is thus a common choice for green homebuilders. Specifically, it does not include a brominated flame retardant, which is known for potentiating global warming.

In addition, these retardants are considered toxic to humans and can potentially cause learning disabilities in children exposed to them. While these effects have not been fully studied, polyisocyanurate insulation is still considered a healthier, cleaner choice of insulation because it lacks these retardants.

Polyisocyanurate insulation is also recyclable and is made of recycled material, so it has a very low carbon footprint.

Low Energy Costs

Polyisocyanurate insulation is said to save 80 times more energy than the energy used to create it. By using this insulation material, you can help trap heat in your home during the winter, which will make heating in your house more effective.

Additionally, because polyisocyanurate insulation is known to perform better in warmer weather, it would be extremely effective during the summer months. This is because it would help keep cool air inside, thus making the air conditioning unit more effective. This is also critical when paired with proper attic ventilation.

This translates to more saved money as well as a more consistent temperature throughout your house. When there is an imbalance in temperature inside the house, this can create an accumulation of moisture and the presence of mildew, mold, and termites. Polyisocyanurate insulation helps prevent this by protecting your house from the elements.

Final Thoughts on Polyisocyanurate Insulation

We think this is one of the most environmentally friendly insulation materials on the market. This is a crucial distinction for modern housing materials, as many competitors on the market use retardants or other toxic materials that damage the environment in their construction.

Additionally, these toxic materials are thought to cause various neurological disorders in children, which is why it’s more important than ever to invest in green solutions, such as polyisocyanurate insulation. If more homeowners and homebuilders buy this material, over time, companies that sell unsustainable and toxic materials will be put out of business. This is one step in the right direction.

Yet we think there is some dishonest advertising going on when marketing polyisocyanurate insulation, specifically with regards to its R-value. While this is nothing new in the housing industry, it does mean that you have to be extra cautious when doing your research. In particular, R-value only really applies to warm climates rather than cold climates (see Snow Removal Tools for Roof).

Still, we think this is minor when compared with the environmental sustainability of the product. This distinction is more important than ever as the global population increases, and more homes are being built.

Polyisocyanurate insulation promotes a sustainable approach to homebuilding that is unprecedented in the industry. Moreover, it is competitive when it comes to price. When considering how much it allows you to save, its benefits are immeasurable.


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