logo

Energy Efficient Foam Coalition opposes US building code proposals

By: Louise McHenry
URETHANES TECHNOLOGY INTERNATIONAL

April 19, 2013

WASHINGTON — The newly formed Energy Efficient Foam Coalition (EEFC) said it is opposed to two U.S. building code proposals that would side-step the current code requirement for a long-standing fire safety test.

These proposals would allow the use of foam insulation that relies on a thermal barrier as the only means of defense in establishing fire safety in a majority of building applications, EEFC said in an April 18 news release.

The coalition said it believes the use of flame retardant in foam insulation, including polyurethane foam insulation, is essential "to protect occupants and workers from fire-related death and injury, and owners and occupants from property loss." EEFC said that sidestepping the Steiner Tunnel fire safety test would "effectively permit" the use of non-flame-retardant-treated foam insulation in residential applications.

"We have more than 35 years of real-world evidence that the current fire testing requirements in the International Residential Code (IRC) for foam insulation are indispensable," said EEFC spokesman Leonard Greenberger.

He added, "Existing building code fire safety provisions are based on years of careful analysis, extensive testing and a robust development process, yet the proposals pending before next week's International Code Council's Committee Action Hearings are based largely on a single, flawed report. The Coalition urges the IRC Building Committee to reject these proposals."

The coalition, which is part of the American Chemistry Council, was established to educate the building community on the benefits of foam insulation as a sustainable building material. The coalition's current members include the Centre for the Polyurethanes Industry, the Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association and the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance.