Spray polyurethane foam (SPF) is becoming more accepted among homeowners, but is experiencing relatively modest growth among the commercial sector. To combat this, forward-thinking industry leaders are reaching out to spec writers in a bid to educate them on the cutting-edge, high-performance benefits of SPF. After all, the key to successful inclusion in project bids is education – not only consumer-based education, but also education for the architects and engineers who draft the specifications for large-scale projects. Spray Foam Magazine recently sat down with Lapolla Industries to discuss the need for education and how they are leading the charge to inform and diversify the SPF industry. In an outreach effort, they have hired Nick Skadberg, as Engineering Department Manager. An energy engineer, Skadberg provides SPF guidance, explaining the nuances of SPF to those who may be more familiar with conventional forms of insulation.
Spray Foam Magazine: Lapolla is reaching out to architects and engineers. How will you help them build a bridge to this audience? Their constant need for information often seems to overlook SPF in favor of more “traditional” methods.
Nick Skadberg: My energy engineering, project development, and general contracting background allow me to see the needs of the customers, architects, and general contractors as well as what they will experience when putting it all together. Furthermore, because I have worked in retrofits and guaranteed savings, I understand the total lifecycle cost and analysis building process that owners and operators must understand when they’re evaluating equipment and processes in construction and renovation. I’ve also worked extensively with professional organizations, and held a chairman position within ASME (the American Society of Mechanical Engineers) for two years, so I am familiar with how these organizations function, and what architects and general contractors are looking for.
SFM: What is your educational background? Can you speak to both the contractor in the field, as well as the engineer in a suit behind a desk?
NS: I have a mechanical engineering degree from Colorado State University. I began my professional career with TransWorld Manufacturing, a crane, rigging, and heavy-haul company out of Las Vegas, NV. I then transitioned on to Czero, a design-engineering and research company specializing in clean technology. More recently, I moved to Texas to work for Siemens as an energy engineer in energy savings performance contracting. At Siemens, we developed large-scale energy and utility conservation projects and reduced costs by millions of dollars a year for our customers. I started working for Lapolla Industries in February as an engineering department manager. This is really an exciting time to be a part of the Lapolla team as we develop new products and services aimed at reducing a consumer’s carbon footprint and saving them money in the process. Our spray foam products are open- and closed-cell, as well as roof coatings. These can be used in renovations and new construction, as well as commercial and residential projects.
SFM: What are some of the benefits of SPF that the spec writers should consider?
NS: To answer this question, let’s think first about what architects and building owners want. The architects want to pursue a design vision, while the building owners want to have the lowest lifecycle cost without compromising on suitability, quality, or occupant comfort. Often, building owners are also interested in pursuing green and sustainability initiatives, such as LEED or Energy Star. Spray foam contributes to all of those factors.
Spray foam is incredibly versatile, and will adhere to almost any construction surface and follow almost any contour.
In physics, there are three types of heat transfer: conduction, convection, and radiation. Traditional insulation ratings – the familiar R values – only consider conduction; however, the contribution by the other two factors is very large, and can make up as much as 50 percent of a building’s heat loss. Even perfectly installed cellulose or fiberglass fails to stop airflow – allowing heat and humidity to pass through the walls at an alarming rate.
Spray foam creates a near-perfect air and vapor barrier, and has excellent thermal properties. This means that convection is eliminated, conduction is reduced, and the overall low differential temperatures cause radiation to be almost nonexistent.
The result is massive energy savings and increased occupant comfort. Air- and vapor-tight walls allow the ingress and egress of air to the building to be exclusively controlled using the HVAC system, greatly improving filtration and humidity control. High humidity can lead to mold and microbial growth, while low humidity can lead to cracked skin, chapped lips, and static electric buildup. By reducing the cooling or heating load, the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing contractor (MEP) can downsize nearly every piece of HVAC equipment, such as boilers, ducts, pipes, pumps and so on. This gives both the customer and the architect the freedom to use this space for occupants and tenants. As an added bonus, the efficiencies will qualify toward getting the structure LEED-certified and may qualify for tax credits.
SFM: How will you spread the word?
NS: I will attend conferences, as well as shows. I will also be hosting a series of Lunch and Learns.
CONTACT LAPOLLA INDUSTRIES
Direct any question about Nick Skadberg and Lapolla’s educational initiatives to Lapolla:
Phone: 1-855-521-7030 / 888-4-LAPOLLA