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The Icynene Insulation System®

Icynene®, the leading soft foam insulation and air barrier system, is becoming the industry standard for providing maximum building envelope performance. Icynene's pour and spray formulations represent a breakthrough in the science of moisture and thermal management.

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

Spray Formula

Applied as a liquid, Icynene® 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. Icynene's 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.

Pour Fill Formula

Icynene®'s pour fill variation is an insulation and air barrier that injects the latest building technology into an older building to maximize energy efficiency while still preserving its original architectural details. Icynene® fills the wall cavity completely, starting at the bottom and slowly expanding upwards to 60 times its initial volume. Since Icynene expands in the direction of least resistance, it will not expand outward and damage the wall. The pour fill formula has an R-value of 4 per inch.

INDOOR AIR QUALITY (IAQ) & MOISTURE MANAGEMENT

When mould spores land on a wet or damp food source and begin growing, severe health problems can occur. Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances (Mycotoxin - Any poisonous substance produced by a fungus.). Inhaling or touching mould or mould spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.

Indoor mould growth can and should be prevented by controlling moisture indoors. If there is mould growth in your home, you must clean up the mould and fix the water problem.

Icynene® and Moisture Control

Icynene creates continuously insulated, tight walls and ceilings - exactly the leak-free building envelope that is needed to minimize the potential for moisture, condensation and mould. Icynene is integral to a moisture management program and professional testing has concluded that Icynene is not a food source for mould.

MOULD ABATEMENT AND REHABILITATION

There has been an alarming increase in the number of "sick building syndrome" cases we hear or read about that result in the closure of homes and large buildings due to poor indoor air quality. The occupants cannot concentrate, lose their productivity, and in certain instances, become extremely ill. Very often poor air quality is the result of mould growth. Mold can grow almost anywhere if the conditions are right, and it is only recently that we have become aware of mould within the wall cavity or building envelope. There are specific environmental conditions required for mould to propagate. A specific temperature range and source of food are basic factors that must be in place, but the most important element is the presence of moisture. Moisture can enter the building envelope by several means. The primary transportation mechanism is water infiltration due to imperfect construction or detailing. Water infiltrating the building via this transportation mechanism can be substantial in quantity. The moisture infiltration is due to gravity or capillary action, and because these two transport mechanisms are efficient, there is immediate and noticeable damage usually associated with weather conditions. The secondary transportation mechanism for moisture to enter the building envelope is air leakage or diffusion. This mode of transport is less visible and the damage takes longer to develop.

Moisture entering the building envelope due to imperfect construction or detailing is usually easy to identify and correct. Experience has shown that when moisture travels by gravity or capillary action, the cause is usually quite evident so the contributing problem can be corrected. Unfortunately this is not the case where the transport mechanism is the more complex diffusion or air leakage. In such cases the approach has often been a short term action to repair the damage by replacing the affected components instead of identifying and correcting the root causes. This approach is used primarily for the following reasons:

  • A lack of understanding of the cause or inability to determine the cause of the damage
  • And/or lack of suitable materials to solve the preexisting condition
  • And/or the high costs involved in retrofit.

Another factor contributing to the presence of moisture within the building envelope is the increased use of HVAC equipment and the way it is used. This equipment maintains a substantial temperature and vapor pressure differential, which enhances both the air and moisture drives, resulting in the potential for condensation within the building envelope. The desire for higher comfort levels, combined with an increased need to conserve energy results in tighter buildings that maintain higher differentials in environmental conditions between the exterior and interior, further aiding the condensation process. In order to minimize the potential for mould growth, a building envelope system has to meet all of the following criteria:

  • The building envelope must prevent water from penetrating. Therefore the structure must be properly sealed and contain an effective drainage plane. A drainage plane in itself will not solve the problem, if drainage away from the building is not provided by proper site positioning and grading. As basic as these principles are, it is surprising how often they are overlooked and lead to severe problems.
  • The building envelope must control the air leakage. Uncontrolled air leakage can lead to condensation and mould growth within the envelope system. In addition to mandatory requirements there are additional performance criteria that an effective healthy building envelope should deliver. All building envelopes have the potential at some time to get wet. It is desirable that the building envelope system have the potential to dry quickly. Therefore, the components of the building should resist moisture and once wetted should have the potential to dry quickly (they should be hydrophobic).

Overall cost and ease of application are the two factors that can not be overlooked. All components should be installed with relative ease and should not be installation-dependent for their ultimate performance. Icynene® spray applied foam insulation comes closest to satisfying the criteria as specified above.

The concept of spray applied Icynene® foam insulation to control air leakage and condensation in one application is the most appropriate approach and the most promising technology to assist in controlling the spread of mould. Developments in soft foam insulation, specifically The Icynene Insulation System®, have taken an excellent concept and eliminated all restrictions. Not only is Icynene® a good investment, it has no application restrictions, and is environmentally safe because there are no emissions to affect chemically sensitive occupants. The material is polyicynene (a water-blown polymeric material in the family of polyurethane). The Icynene Insulation System® is a proven technology that offers the utilization of water only, as the blowing agent. This is important because the use of water as the blowing agent creates a unique set of performance characteristics that are particularly suited for mould control. The most important distinguishing characteristic is that water blown polyicynene is hydrophobic (not only does it resist getting wet, but once wetted it dries quickly under favourable drying conditions, with no deterioration in its insulation or air sealing performance). The use of water as the blowing agent results in a flexible and open celled foam.

Flexibility allows movement with the rest of the building components, thus preventing a potential compromise of the all important air seal. The open celled structure allows for optimum drying and shedding of water. Although open celled, this material controls air movement and increases thermal performance.

Icynene® has a high rate of expansion (100 times its initial volume in seconds) which ensures effective air leakage control by filling all crevices, cracks, seams, and holes, while maintaining continuous and lasting performance. All of the performance characteristics of Icynene® combined drastically reduce the potential for moisture accumulation in the building envelope and within the building itself. Controlling air leakage also significantly lowers the latent heat load on air conditioners; thereby reducing the required capacity significantly (30-50% is not uncommon in high humidity regions). The equipment and energy savings are a supplementary benefit in that the right sizing (reduction both in capacity and short cycling) reduces the relative humidity which is a main contributor for mould proliferation. The superior performance characteristics of polyicynene have made it the material of choice where there is a need for insulation and mould prevention. These same performance characteristics have also made The Icynene Insulation System® the material of choice in mould remediation/rehabilitation projects.


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