Open-Cell Spray Foam Included in New California Energy Efficiency Standards
The California Energy Commission approved the standards on May 31, 2012
SACRAMENTO, CA–June 20, 2012–On May 31, 2012, the California Energy Commission (CEC) unanimously approved new energy efficiency standards for new homes and commercial buildings. To reach these new standards, spray polyurethane foam will play an important role providing insulation and air sealing these homes and buildings, thanks to the hard work from volunteer members of the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance (SPFA).
In 2009, SPFA created a special self-funded task group of SPF stakeholders in California that included contractors, material suppliers and industry consultants. The initial focus of this Task Group was to include open-cell SPF as an acceptable compliance option under the 2008 Energy Efficiency Standard (Title 24) as an amendment. As a direct result of their efforts, open-cell SPF was added to the Title 24 Quality Insulation Installation (QII) program in December 2011. Open-cell SPF joins closed-cell SPF and fiberglass as insulation systems that qualify for HERS inspected QII and utility energy rebate programs.
Over the past year, volunteer members of Title 24 Task Group actively attended numerous CEC workshops to help develop and refine new language for the 2013 Energy Efficiency Standard. During this process, the Task Group recognized several proposals that were generally unfavorable for SPF insulation in California. Some of these proposals included:
Negative language targeting only SPF insulation
Forcing all closed-cell and open-cell SPF to use low minimum R/inch values instead of third-party manufacturer's data
Prescriptively listing cavity R-values for wood frame walls that effectively eliminate the use of open-cell and closed cell SPF (e.g. R-15 and R-21 cavity insulation plus R-4 continuous insulation for wood-frame walls in most of California)
Contradictions and unclear recognition of unvented attics consistent with the California residential and commercial building codes
According to Jill Ludvickson, Task Group Chair, "These threats were recognized and addressed by the Task Group through educational efforts and several public comment letters to CEC. These threatening proposals have been changed or withdrawn in the final version of 2013 Energy Efficiency Standard approved today by the California Energy Commission. Without the vigilance and hard work of our task group volunteers and the support of SPFA, these proposed onerous changes could have been accepted, significantly affecting the livelihood of all SPF contractors in California."
During the next year, the Title 24 Task Group will be actively working with CEC to update the U-factor tables in JA-4, promote the benefits of unvented attics, educating code officials and HERS Raters on how to evaluate SPF, and updating the product listing categories with the Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings, and Thermal Insulation (BEARHFTI).
Although SPFA is a national trade association for the SPF industry, we have a very active state-level program in California. If you would like more information about SPFA's Title 24 Task Group, or if you would like to join SPFA, please use the contact details provided below.
About Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance: The SPFA is the premiere organization representing contractors, manufacturers, and the complete value chain of SPF on safety, technical, educational, advocacy, promotional and other issues. SPFA is a 501(c)(6) membership-based technical trade association representing the leading SPF companies in the United States and abroad. SPFA offers superior training opportunities for the industry's contractors through its nationally-recognized accreditation training program. SPFA delivers an annual conference and expo serving SPF professionals, and utilizes its exceptional partnerships in industry to deliver various services for its members, and a unified voice for SPF on insulation, roofing and other applications. For more information, please use the contact details provided below.