Insulation Intelligence

Looking for quick advice on State and Federal Rules and Regulations or building codes? Want to find out about the latest services and technologies making our homes and buildings more efficient every day? You’ve come to the right place.

Money-Saving Programs

Visit the BAMBE Website

BAMBE Interest Form : Start the Process

How do I Apply for BAMBE?

  • Building owner completes an interest form and submits to BayREN
  • BayREN reviews and determines if energy goals can be met
  • If the building is a good candidate for the programs, BayREN assigns an assessor to perform the initial test-in audit
  • BayREN or PG&E may tap into other sources such as utility based low income incentive programs for additional funds
  • Assessor completed energy modeling based on test-in data and current utility bills
  • Program makes building improvement recommendations to meet energy savings goals
  • Building owner obtains proposal from participating contractors for improvements
  • BayREN/PG&E approves select proposals
  • Work and inspections are scheduled
  • Assessor completes pot-improvement verifications and testing
  • Post results, paid invoices and inspections submitted to program personnel
  • Final rebate approval and processing

Does my Building Qualify? A list of MultiFamily Building Incentive Pre-Qualification Considerations

If any of the following considerations pertain to your building or tenants, you may qualify for Efficiency Improvement Incentives to help upgrade your Multifamily Building

  • Building is providing tenants with Heat or Hot Water as part of their lease
  • Building receives PG&E Gas and/or Electricity
  • Heating and Hot Water Boilers are older technology
  • Hydronic Heat and Domestic Hot Water pipe insulation is decomposing or non-existent
  • Tenants are complaining about heating or hot water provisions
  • Bottom level units complaining about cold floors – buildings with basements or underground parking may not have insulation in bottom unit floors
  • Tenants complaining about cold units – exterior walls may not be insulated
  • Tenants complaining about cold units – roof cap over top floor may require air sealing and insulation
  • Tenants complaining about uneven heat or intermittent hot water – systems may require current technology sensors and controls for balancing and maximizing distribution efficiency
  • Additional scope measures may be employed to meet energy efficiency goals, such as upgrading common area lighting, and select window replacements with energy efficient windows
  • Additional safety concerns will need to be addressed such as knob and tube wiring, asbestos, lead, etc.

Quick Answers

Yes, absolutely. If you put spray foam insulation in a building, it needs a thermal barrier. That’s what separates it from the occupied spaces. If there’s a fire in the building, a thermal barrier keeps the combustible spray foam from the flames to increase fire resistance. The International Residential Code (IRC) and Internation Building Code (IBC) both include requirements for thermal barriers (and ignition barriers, too; see below).

The standard prescriptive material that can be used as a thermal barrier is 1/2″ gypsum board (a.k.a. drywall or sheetrock). Anything else has to be approved as an ‘equivalent thermal barrier’ by undergoing tests for temperature transmission and fire integrity. In some cases, however, you need only one test. According to the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance (SPFA), “Under specific conditions, the temperature transmission test can be waived if approved by building code authorities on the basis of large-scale fire testing representing actual uses.” (See their pdf document, Thermal and Ignition Barriers For The SPF Industry.)

This is where things get a little tricky. If a home has spray foam insulation in an attic or crawl space, the building code requires using materials or assemblies that offer some fire resistance but not as much as is required for a thermal barrier. If you’ve got spray foam insulation in an attic, for example, it’s probably already separated from the living space by a thermal barrier. Most ceilings are made of 1/2″ drywall. But the spray foam is still exposed to the attic and needs an ignition barrier.

In this case, you have a choice of several prescriptive materials approved by the code as ignition barriers:

  • 1.5″ mineral fiber insulation
  • 1/4″ wood
  • 3/8″ particleboard
  • 1/4″ hardboard
  • 3/8″ drywall
  • 0.016″ corrosion-resistant steel

Again, other materials and assemblies may be allowed based on tests described by the International Code Council Evaluation Service in their Acceptance Criteria 377. The types of spray foam insulation that qualify to be sprayed without an ignition barrier are:

  • Classic Max from Icynene
  • APX from Demilec
  • Staycell One Step 255 from Preferred Solutions

When do you need an ignition barrier? According to the IRC and IBC, an attic or crawl space needs an ignition barrier over the spray foam if the space can be accessed but will not be used for storage or auxiliary living space. You don’t need an ignition barrier if the space cannot be accessed without cutting into it, if it is not connected to other spaces, and if it does not communicate with other spaces.

Insulation Services

Blown Insulation is one of the most cost-effective energy conservation measures you can take

Loose Fill Blown Mineral Wool Insulation offers completely uniform coverage, especially in hard-to-reach attic areas. Because covering is so complete, blown-in materials become an excellent thermal blanket, leaving no nook or cranny exposed for heat to escape.

At SDI we use Premium Blown Mineral Wool Insulation which must be pneumatically installed by a professional contractor – such as SDI Insulation – who is trained and qualified to evaluate insulation needs based on climate and energy standards for the area. This is used primarily in attic applications.

SDI provides you with only the best blown insulation products, chosen based on these key features: Loose Fill Blown Insulation can increase a home’s energy efficiency and help reduce costly heating and cooling loss. It is permanently noncombustible. Unlike cellulose products that contain sulfates, it will not corrode pipes or wiring. When installed in interior and exterior walls, this improves the acoustical performance of the wall assembly.

Blown Mineral Wool Insulation contains no additives that can cause noxious fumes or odors. It won’t absorb and retain moisture that can cause deterioration. Because this is made of glass fibers, it contains nothing to provide sustenance to insects or animals. It complies with federal and local building standards and qualifies as a Type I insulation under ASTM C 764. It has been tested and verified in accordance with approved test methods by recognized independent laboratories in Canada and the U.S. And finally, our Blown Mineral Wool Insulation is GREENGUARD® Certified for superior indoor air quality performance.

SDI is your Blown Mineral Wool Insulation specialist, providing you with top of the line, environmentally responsible products and quality job performance.

Spray Foam Insulation expanding foam is an environmentally safe development in low density, cellular plastics

Once in a while, a new construction material or method comes along that not only complies with all code requirements, it’s capable of raising the standards. Spray Foam Insulation has been making a profound change in the perceptions of insulation’s role in commercial and residential construction for over a dozen years.

Chemically, it is in a class of its own. It allows foam to be sprayed without ozone destroying gases (HFA’s or HCFC’s) or formaldehyde. The micro-cells of this breathing material are filled with air and there are no gas emission hazards.

Spray Foam Insulation is not just an environmentally responsible insulation system, it insulates and air seals.

Building scientists have recognized that air leakage has a greater impact than R-value on the performance of a building. Spray Foam Insulation is becoming the industry standard for providing maximum building envelope performance. Spray Foam’s pour and spray formulations represent a breakthrough in the science of moisture and thermal management.

Spray Foam Insulation is the leading 100% water-blown foam insulation that minimizes air leakage for increased energy efficiency (often as high as 50% of conventional costs), creates a healthier indoor environment, reduces airborne sounds and offers greater design freedom. Spray Foam maintains its performance with no loss of R-value over time. It does not shrink, sag or settle. Spray Foam adheres to most construction materials and is the perfect insulation for walls, attics, ceilings and floors.

Spray Formula

Applied as a liquid, Spray Foam expands to 100 times its volume in seconds to fill every crack and crevice while remaining flexible so that the integrity of the building envelope seal remains intact over time.The spray formula has an R-value of 3.6 per inch. It acts as a complete insulation and air barrier to minimize air leakage and seal the building envelope for optimal air tightness.

Our sales staff is constantly being trained at seminars and conventions, and awaits the opportunity to explain the numerous benefits of Spray Foam Insulation. Please contact either of our offices, or submit an estimate request online.

Cellulose is “green” – It’s made of 80% post-consumer recycled newsprint

The fiber is chemically treated with non-toxic borate compounds (20% by weight) to resist fire, insects and mold. The Cellulose Insulation Manufacturers Association (CIMA) claims that insulating a 1500 ft2 house with cellulose will recycle as much newspaper as an individual will consume in 40 years. If all new homes were insulated with cellulose this would remove 3.2 million tons of newsprint from the nation’s waste stream each year. There’s room to grow. Fewer than 10% of the homes built today use cellulose. Cellulose earns “green” points because it requires less energy than fiberglass to manufacture. Disciples claim 200 times less petro-energy than fiberglass. More realistically, Environmental Building News reports that fiberglass requires approximately 8 times more energy to make when adjusted to reflect energy cost per installed R-value unit.

Cellulose insulation is safe

It is made of paper, but the chemical treatment provides it with permanent fire resistance. There’s been static generated by the fiberglass industry warning that cellulose could burn. But independent testing confirms it’s safe and cellulose is approved by all building codes. In fact, many professionals consider cellulose to be more fire-safe than fiberglass. This claim rests on the fact that cellulose fibers are more tightly packed, effectively choking wall cavities of combustion air, preventing the spread of fire through framing cavities.

Fiberglass batts are high-quality flexible products made from mineral fibers and are used in construction applications for thermal and acoustical insulation of walls, ceilings & floors

Unfaced insulation is manufactured in increased widths to permit frictionfit installation in wall cavities. They are available in widths suited to the standard spacing of wall studs and attic or floor joists, and the continuous rolls can be hand-cut and trimmed to fit. Batts are also available with vapor retarder facings, such as CertainTeed’s MemBrainTM and The Smart Vapor Retarder. Batts with a special flame-resistant facing are available in various widths for basement walls where the insulation will be left exposed. Kraft Faced insulation is manufactured with an integral vapor retarder. Theb kraft facing includes attachment flanges at the edges that are used for either face or inset stapling. The kraft facing, applied with asphalt to the fiber glass insulation, has a vapor transmission (permeance) rating of one perm or less.

At SDI we use CertainTeed Standard Fiber Glass Building Insulation, which is a thermally and acoustically efficient inorganic insulation used for the entire home or office building. It is lightweight and flexible which makes for a quick installation. Because this fiber glass is inorganic it is noncombustible, noncorrosive and will not deteriorate or absorb moisture. And because it is a higher density fiberglass it provides added energy savings to any building. As with all CertainTeed products, fiber glass batts are GREENGUARD® Certified for superior indoor air quality performance.

SDI’s highly experienced sales team is here to help you determine the best insulation system for your residential or commercial project. We will work with your budget and plans to provide you with superior thermal and acoustical performance.

When time, water, rodents, or even live animals are introduced to your crawl or attic space, the outcome often results in damage

When this happens, you will need removal of insulation, vapor barrier, sanitizing, exclusion, ventilation, and an install of new insulation & vapor barrier, or other materials.

The removal of insulation is done in a variety of clean and efficient ways. This service is not recommended for the “do-it-yourselfer” as there are multiple diseases associated with rodents and live animals.

SDI Insulation will use state of the art equipment that moves the insulation from your attic into a filter bag which is located in the back of our vehicle. All materials removed by SDI Insulation are properly disposed of at a local transfer station.

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