Icynene
Jonathan B.
Oct 3, 2008

Insulation is key to building any kind of green home. Some love Icynene; others think it has no place in a green home. Why such a polar response?

Well, Icynene, like other foam insulation products, is made from petroleum. As you can see above, Icynene is installed in place in the home, so some worry about offgassing as the product cures from a liquid to a solid foam; the manufacturer claims there's "no offgassing once cured." Others see Icynene as a perfect use for petroleum products

Another love-it-or-hate-it quality is Icynene's stickiness. While it cures, it forms a strong bond with just about every common building material, including wood. Because Icynene is resistant to water vapor, this means your home can be better protected from moisture and outside sources of pollution. On the other hand, you are covering perfectly recyclable wood and metal with a hard to remove layer of plastic, drastically increasing the cost and complexity of deconstructing your home in the future.

Partially because it is so sticky, Icynene is very good at reducing noise transfer, so if you live on a loud corner, it's worth considering as part of a larger noise abatement strategy.


Icynene can be pumped into wall cavities in existing construction or sprayed into new construction. It must be installed by a licensed contractor—this is not a DIY product. R-values range from 3.6 to 4 per inch of insulation, and the cost is around 2-3 times that of fiberglass insulation. For more information, check out the Icynene website or product blog 3rings for an architects' point of view on Icynene.

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