Doing it right with polyurethane insulation_IMG1Doing it right with polyurethane insulation_IMG2

Doing it right with polyurethane insulation.


BASF helped Palm Harbor Homes, a leading American builder of energy-efficient homes, to find a cost-effective method to optimize energy performance, using Autofroth Spray Polyurethane Foam System.


The best insulation materials for the best energyefficient houses.

Palm Harbor Homes, a leading American builder of energy-efficient and storm-resistant modular homes, has always had a green competitive edge. Formerly known as Palm Harbor Energy Miser Homes, the company has focused on energy efficiency as a key selling point since 1978. In today's market Mike Draper, Division President for the Southeastern region, wanted his homes to meet the most exacting green building standards including LEED, National Green Building Standard, Energy Star, the Florida Green Building Council Green Home Standards and others. That meant finding a cost-effective method to optimize energy performance.


Draper needed an alternative to fiberglass. "There are always problems with fiberglass — voids, crushing, compression," he said. "In order to improve our HERS score (Energy Star's energy efficiency rating system) we needed a significantly better thermal seal, something we couldn't achieve with conventional batt insulation."


The polyurethane solution.


In consultation with the Florida Solar Energy Center, based at the University of Central Florida, Palm Harbor chose to insulate with the Autofroth® Spray Polyurethane Foam System. Draper believes foam insulation is the quickest and easiest way to meet the various green standards. "We chose Autofroth because we felt it was the best in its class," he said. "The product not only provides superior insulation, it offers numerous other benefits as well." He cited the advantages:

    As a closed-cell foam, Autofroth functions as an air barrier creating a truly tight building envelope; eliminating drafts is essential for maximizing energy efficiency.
    Compared with traditional fiberglass insulation, homes built with Autofroth are much quieter. For example, take two identical Palm Harbor homes located on busy Interstate 4, one insulated with fiberglass, the other with Autofroth. The result: Autofroth significantly reduced the intrusion of noise.
    Palm Harbor personnel can apply Autofroth themselves, eliminating the need for contract applicators.
    Autofroth can be applied allowing factory operations to continue uninterrupted beyond a seven-foot radius, minimizing safety concerns for surrounding workers. In addition, prospective buyers can observe the spray foam being applied.
    Autofroth also adds structural strength to the building envelope, something other insulations cannot provide — an essential feature for Palm Harbor homes which must be capable to withstand hurricane force winds.
    As a closed-cell foam, Autofroth is water-resistant. Draper notes the importance of this feature for protection from Florida's driving rain.


Palm Harbor now uses Autofroth in six of its eight product lines but the insulation is optional for all homes. Eventually, every Palm Harbor home will be insulated with Autofroth. "Greening our product with Autofroth has made it unique and more desirable," said Mike Draper. "We also think it's the right thing to do."


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