Commercial insulation: how businesses can boost their green profileby Groshan Fabiola I try to cover as many topics as I can
Contrary to popular belief, companies embracing sustainability do enjoy financial outperformance, but this is not the only benefit associated with adopting a “go green” attitude. Other perquisites refer to legal compliance, increased employee morale, green marketing awareness leading to an excellent reputation and new business opportunities. Companies across the globe can become environmentally friendly by making a few changes like minimizing their consumption of natural resources, recycling more and switching to greener alternatives. More specifically, from opting for vintage furniture and green insulation, reducing paper, water and electricity consumption as well as the amount of packaging to recycling cans and tins, businesses have the possibility to control their carbon footprint and the negative mark left on the surrounding environment. Thanks to the good publicity resulted from this admirable transition, businesses can expand their customer base by becoming the first choice of individuals adopting a sustainable and healthy lifestyle.
Things to consider before insulating any type of building
Since this article focuses mainly on commercial insulation, we are going to tackle the reasons for which businesses should insulate, the main types of eco-friendly insulation, health and safety considerations, but also important things that architects and contractors need to consider before initiating or completing such a project. Commercial insulation comes with a few challenges, namely acoustical performance, air sealing and energy efficiency and our main topic of interest – sustainability. According to statistics, over 70% of workers complain about noise affecting their level of productivity. For this reason, businesses must choose the right type of insulation capable of reaching all areas and preventing not just noise, but also allergens and pollutants from entering the building. Apparently, spray foam represents the most suitable option because it does not leave gaps, not to mention that it improves air quality and allows greater energy efficiency. Mineral wool represents an ideal choice for thermal insulation, but it has certain disadvantages in comparison with spray foam; more specifically, it does not act as a water and air barrier, thus requiring another product for this job.
The right type of insulation according to the type of commercial building
Taking into account the various types of buildings, the process of choosing the adequate type of insulation for each commercial construction necessitates in-depth knowledge. For instance, even though wood framed structures are quite rare, mostly because it does not represent the most durable and reliable material in construction, a decent hotel with insufficient or no insulation in the walls and air leakage can suffer great damage in the long term. In order to prevent such a costly and unpleasant consequence, the owner of the hotel should resort to spray foam insulation. In what concerns metal, we can definitely state that, in comparison with wood, probably represents a top choice among business owners and construction firms because apart from being affordable and versatile, it does not require high maintenance. On the other hand, without vinyl-covered blanket insulation, it allows unbearable heat and cold to penetrate the building. As for masonry walls, spray foam, whether added on the interior or the exterior of the wall, comes into play again to fill cavities.
Environmental impact and health risks associated with every type of insulation
It seems like spray foam represents the main choice for commercial buildings, but does it meet the sustainability requirements in order to help businesses boost their green profile? Unfortunately, the answer is “no” because it includes various chemicals in its composition as well as minerals like diabase and basalt. We can automatically add another type of insulation, namely cellulose in the same category because although it has significant recycle content, the ability to reuse the material is non-existent. Moving on to the bright side, mineral wool and fiberglass are great for recycling. Environmental benefits provided by each type of insulation are important, but we cannot overlook health and safety properties.
When choosing insulation in commercial structures, flame resistance should represent a solid criterion. Once again, spray foam and cellulose disappoint because the first one will combust if reaching 700°F and the latter is a fire hazard, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, primarily due to the fact that it contains combustible materials like newspaper. In conclusion, fiberglass and mineral wool win the game because apart from including non-combustible materials, they do not even require fire-retardant chemical treatments. When it comes to health impacts, spray foam contains a specific ingredient capable of causing lung damage and asthma. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health still evaluates the overall safety level of this type of insulation. The same principle applies to cellulose; taking into account the lack of full toxicological testing, we cannot draw conclusions regarding the health risks associated with it. Fiberglass and mineral wool underwent plenty of tests to conclude that they do not represent a threat.
Major benefits provided by insulation for commercial constructions
After assessing the specific characteristics of each type of insulation and choosing the most suitable one, business owners can start enjoying the benefits, which are not very different from those provided by attic insulation to residential buildings. More exactly, adequate insulation provides consistent indoor temperatures because it impedes air leakage, lower energy costs leading to the ability to save great amounts of money in the long term and decreased air conditioner and furnace use. Other perquisites refer to an increased level of comfort, minimization of the acoustic impact, sustainability and responsibility assumption regarding the impact on the surrounding environment.
Of course, each type of insulation come with different benefits that you have to understand before initiating the intense selection process. However, make sure that you keep in mind the type of construction because insulating metal buildings with fiberglass for instance not only controls noise, condensation and heat flow, but it also maximized lighting efficiency. In conclusion, insulation for commercial buildings not only helps business owners meet legal requirements and reduce cooling and heating costs, but also create a pleasant working environment that boosts employee morale and improve their reputation among customers and business partners.
Created on May 30th 2018 05:38. Viewed 110 times.