Not into tofu?  Get your daily dose of soybeans with innovative locally-produced insulation

The beauty of this blog is that we can show you parts of the design and construction process that the folks who live here will never see. One of those cool things is our insulation.
As part of our commitment to green building, we are insulating all the flats at ECO using a product with Northwest Arkansas roots. It’s not flashy, but the insulation that we are using to seal the exterior walls will keep ECO interiors comfortable and quiet. BioBased Insulation is a product of Fayetteville’s BioBased Technologies. With BioBased Insulation, we bumped up the insulative value at ECO to R-24. Not only does this insulation reduce the demand for heating and air conditioning, it also seals against outside noise.

BioBased Insulation provides all the great energy-saving properties of conventional spray foam insulation with a green twist.  Conventional spray foam insulation uses petroleum.  BioBased Technologies has invented a method to replace a portion of the petroleum with rapidly renewable materials, in this case-soybean oil—a patented process they developed here in the Ozarks.  Conventional spray foam also uses a chemical blowing agent to apply the product—BioBased Insulation has products that are formulated to replace those chemicals with water.

We called Jennifer Wilson at BioBased’s headquarters on Cato Springs Road in Fayetteville for a little more detail.  Here’s what she told us:

“BioBased Insulation entered the market with the idea of taking an energy-efficient product – spray polyurethane foam insulation – and working to increase the sustainable attributes of that product. It is still spray polyurethane foam, and is still created through the reaction of an isocyanate “A” side that is petroleum-based and a “B” side that is made up of polyols, surfactants, fire retarders, blowing agent, etc. What we are doing is taking steps to increase the sustainable attributes of our product compared to traditional spray foam insulation in a variety of ways without sacrificing product performance. We realize that sustainability is a goal, and we are working towards it with each step that we take.

“We also understand that one sustainable attribute of a product does not necessarily make it sustainable. So we have worked in other areas too. All of these products listed are also water-blown instead of using a chemical blowing agent. BioBased 1701 was the first spray foam insulation to attain the stringent GREENGUARD for Children and Schools certification for indoor air quality

“Last of all, the performance of the insulation itself contributes to its environmental advantages. Spray foam insulation sprays in as a liquid that expands multiple times in size to seal stud-to-stud. This creates a sealed thermal envelope that gives the building owner complete control over the air inside the building. It will not break down over time or lose its seal. Finding ways to make buildings more energy efficient will have a huge impact on the environment. According to the USGBC, buildings represent 72% of electricity consumption in the U.S. and account for 38% of all CO2 emissions.”

In addition to knowing that this is a high-performance green product, it also makes us feel good to support a local business employing 50 people in Northwest Arkansas, both in the corporate headquarters in Fayetteville and the manufacturing facility in Rogers.