Off-the-Grid Home Features Foam Insulation
3,000 square-foot, ranch-style house project choses InsulStar high performance spray foam insulation by NCFI
Peoria, IL. — William “Bill” Cirone, president of Federal Companies, one of the largest privately-owned moving, storage and logistics companies in the country, wanted to build a dream home on a beautiful piece of property far away from the city. He chose the quiet countryside of Farmington, IL, a rural community 25 miles west of Peoria. There was one small problem: His land had no electricity.
Cirone made the best of the situation by planning what current green advocates call an “off-the-grid, or “off-grid” home—a home completely, or partially, off public utilities—a trend harkening back to rural pioneering and Amish communities. This self-sufficient building style has experience resurgence thanks to celebrities like Ed Begley Jr., and Darryl Hannah who lives off-grid in Colorado. USA Today says in 2006 there were around 180,000 families living off-grid, in the U.S., and according to Home Power magazine that figure that has jumped 33% over the past decade.
For most homeowners, being off-grid by circumstances, not choice, would be a major problem, but Cirone isn’t like most homeowners, and the home he wanted to build certainly wouldn’t be like most homes.
Cirone chose expert builder, Steve Callear of C and L Homes, Peoria, to build the 3,000 plus square-foot, ranch-style house. Callear immediately recognized that the problem would not be creating energy with solar, geo-thermal, wind and two wood-burning fireplaces, but with the efficiency of its use. In other words, he and Cirone had to figure out how to use the energy created with the highest degree of efficiency. And in an area where the average overnight temperature in January is 14°F that would require insulation unlike most other insulation—it would require super insulation.
Callear called in insulation experts Home Comfort Insulation, a Peoria company founded in 1948, to recommend an insulation solution. Home Comfort’s Steve LaFont says, “It was a real challenge. The energy source Bill chose would certainly create enough energy, but if the heat in winter, or the cool in summer was lost to air infiltration, he’d have a tough time creating enough energy to keep the home comfortable. We needed exceptionally high R-value, so we chose InsulStar high performance spray foam insulation by NCFI.”
Home Comfort spayed two inches of InsulStar on the exterior walls of Cirone’s home, then added R-15 fiberglass batt to the inside of the wall. “This unique mix made the exterior walls an R-29 value,” says LaFont. “We also sprayed 3” of InsulStar inside the basement box sill area, 2” on the exterior basement walls, and 1” on the ceiling covered with cellulose blown-in insulation which created a R-60 value. It’s a true high performance insulation envelope.”
LaFont believes changes in the building industry are driven by economics and cultural values, “Sometimes it takes something like an energy crisis or a recession to cause people to look at these products differently, when perhaps we should have been using them all along. Homeowners building now need to realize spray foam insulation is money well spent—it’s a wise investment that pays you back for the life of the home. In fact it’s really the only thing you can put in your house that will pay you those kinds of dividends.”
Callear agrees, “Homeowners re-do their windows, kitchens, floors, but rarely think of insulation. They save a buck on the front-end then lose money on it for the life of the home. Ironically, the stuff they never see is one of the most important things to go into a home.”
Bill Cirone and his family are ready to reap the rewards of Callear and LaFont’s work. Their quiet, country retreat in Farmington is now a model, innovative, off-grid, energy efficient home. Thanks to Home Comfort Insulation, and InsulStar, it’s an investment he and his family may never see, but will certainly enjoy for many years to come.
For more information or to arrange an interview with NCFI, or Steve LaFont of Home Comfort Insulation, please contact Dale McGlothlin (202) 341-8615, firstname.lastname@example.org.