One way to keep the heat or cold from escaping is to insulate roofs and walls with rigid polyurethane and polyisocyanurate foam, manufactured with the help of chlorine chemistry.

Autumn Rituals

As autumn leaves and outdoor temperatures fall, families are preparing their home for cold weather. Furnaces are being checked, air-leaks sealed, storm windows secured, and insulation added. Completing these tasks will help ensure a toasty warm, energy efficient home this winter.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), heating accounts for the biggest chunk of the average household utility bill. Given rising energy costs and environmental concerns, consumers are more interested than ever in conserving energy. One way to keep the heat from escaping this winter is to insulate roofs and walls with rigid polyurethane and polyisocyanurate foam, manufactured with the help of chlorine chemistry.

The Value of Insulation

Investing in proper insulation can increase the comfort of a home while reducing heating and cooling needs by up to 10 percent, according to the DOE website. Only 20 percent of homes built before 1980 are well-insulated, says DOE. Older homes were built when energy was not as costly as it is today, and insulation was not as critical. Besides saving energy, adding insulation can create a moisture barrier to the outdoors, more uniform temperatures indoors, and even muffle outdoor noises, such as traffic.

A 2006 study estimated that using chlorine chemistry to produce rigid polyurethane and polyisocyanurate foam saves U.S. and Canadian consumers $2.2 billion annually. Rigid polyurethane and polyisocyanurate foam insulation also offers benefits to the environment. By replacing heavier building materials, lightweight, rigid polyurethane and polyisocyanurate foam conserves materials and transportation fuel. And in some cases, higher energy efficiency can translate into downsized heating and cooling equipment, opening up usable indoor space.

Chlorine Chemistry:  Think “Out of the Water”

You may be wondering about the connection between chlorine chemistry and building insulation. While chlorine is often associated with safe drinking water and crystal-clear swimming pool water, less well known is chlorine chemistry’s role in producing a wide variety of everyday products. Chlorine chemistry is, in fact, essential to more than 88 percent of pharmaceuticals and 89 percent of crop protection chemicals sold in the United States. Chlorine’s unique chemistry also contributes to products that define life in the 21st century, including electronics, fiber optics, hi-tech medical prostheses and space exploration. When it comes to chlorine chemistry, it’s important to “think out of the water.”

“R”—The Value of Insulation

“R value” is a measure of the effectiveness of insulation. It is a fact of nature that heat energy flows from warmer to cooler areas. Imagine heat flowing out of your home’s furnace, through the duct work, into your rooms and through exterior walls to the great outdoors. Energy savings are possible in winter when we install insulation--barriers to the natural flow of heat to the outdoors.

Good insulation slows the flow of heat energy, but it cannot stop it completely, which is why furnaces work hard on very cold days. The “R” value of insulation is a numerical measure of its resistance to heat flow. The higher the R value, the more effective insulation is at blocking the natural outflow of heat.

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