Published on November 1st, 2016 | by Guest Contributor
Denis Vranich – “Spray Foam Insulation Critical for Net Zero Energy Construction”
The green building sector has gone from a niche industry only a handful of years ago to a rapidly growing, high demand industry that’s expected to bring in more than $245 million in the United States alone during 2016.
Similarly, in Canada the green building industry has been credited with adding to the economy through revenue generation and employment. According to the Green Building in Canada report released earlier this year by the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC), the green building industry has had a widespread impact in Canada over the past decade.
Since 2006, the green building sector has generated more than $23.45 billion in GDP and was responsible for 297,890 full-time jobs in 2014 alone.
“This represents more jobs than Canada’s oil and gas extraction, mining and forestry industries combined, which collectively employed approximately 270,450 workers in 2014,” notes the report.
One of the biggest trends in the green building sector in recent years is the realization of net zero energy buildings. These green-focused buildings are specifically designed and engineered to rely on renewable sources of energy, such as solar and wind power, allowing them to exist with pretty much little to no strain on the power grid.
Net zero energy buildings produce a significantly reduced carbon footprint; they also save energy and prevent the production of additional greenhouse gas emissions. Green buildings also save owners, homeowners and tenants money over the long term.
“The savings are tenfold over the life of the building,” notes Michael Atkinson, president of the Ottawa-based Canadian Construction Association. “More and more, people are understanding that using energy and water efficiently goes right to the bottom line.”
In order for a building to reach net zero energy status, a variety of environmentally friendly tools and technologies have to be put in place long before tenants or homeowners even move in. Some of these technologies include solar cells and panels, natural light design, wind turbines, biofuels, as well as green walls and roofs.
Solar panels are among the most popular and well known of these technologies . In fact, the 2013 World Green Building Trends survey reported that solar power is the most known renewable energy and was used by 67 percent of respondents in their projects.
While solar may be one of the oldest and most recognized green improvement tool, spray foam is also becoming extremely popular in net zero energy design. An average home can lose as much as 40 percent of its energy through cracks and gaps in the walls and roof. Spray foam is designed to seal these small breaches, thereby preventing the seepage of heat and the intrusion of cold air.
Denis Vranich, president of UrbanLife Residential construction company of Hamilton, Ontario, saw the value and potential spray foam offered in the building phase and went through the process of having his business become a certified spray foam insulation installer.
“Spray foam is ideal because it works for both new builds and retrofits and renovations,” explained Denis Vranich. “Because it is so versatile using spray foam is an easy way to cut energy consumption and costs while being environmentally conscious.”
Shifting toward net zero energy homes is one of the more significant things we can do for the environment. Take for example the fact that the average home produces close to 10 metric tons of CO2 per year from electricity and fossil fuel use alone. Net zero energy homes are specifically designed to produce zero net carbon emissions, now multiply that by every house in your neighbourhood or city and the impact could be monumental.