News Analysis

Passive House Group Bans Certain Spray-Foam Insulation

The Passive House Institute U.S. (PHIUS) will no longer give its blessing to projects incorporating spray polyurethane foam insulation (SPF) that uses blowing agents with high contribution to global warming, according to executive director Katrin Klingenberg.

“It does not make any sense at all to use them if one of the major overarching goals of energy conservation in buildings is to counteract and decrease global warming and climate change,” Klingenberg told EBN. “There really is no point to go through all the trouble of detailed Passive House design calculations if you use high-GWP [global warming potential] spray foam.” In the past, Klingenberg said, projects have been permitted to use small amounts of SPF, but now that the U.S. group has started its own certification program, PHIUS+, even small amounts will no longer be allowed (see “Passive House U.S. Develops Separate North American Certification,” EBN Dec. 2011). For the time being, projects using low-GWP spray foam can still be certified as long as the “balancing requirements” that weigh material performance against carbon emissions are met.

Published December 27, 2011