Each year the prestigious “Best of Houzz” Awards (Houzz’s version of a people’s choice award) are presented to many top-rated professionals and popular home designs around the world. This year, The Green Cocoon, LLC (Green Cocoon) was recognized as an industry leader with receipt of Houzz’s “Best of Customer Service” award. Green Cocoon is a Massachusetts-based insulation company that delivers energy-efficient, eco-friendly insulation solutions to residences and businesses throughout Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Southern Maine. Equally important, this exclusive award recognizes just 3 percent of the more than 2.5 million active home professionals and interior and architectural photographers on the Houzz platform.
The community-led awards celebrate the very best in-home renovation and designs, and are split across three categories: design, customer service and photography. Furthermore, customer service honors are determined by a variety of factors. These include the number and quality of client reviews. Green Cocoon received five stars for every client review in 2020!
“Earning an award from a company as distinguished as Houzz is truly an honor,” said Green Cocoon President James Materkowski. “This is the first year we’ve won the award and it is a great honor! It instantly builds a level of trust and confidence in our company. The Green Cocoon team is honored to receive the Customer Satisfaction award from Houzz. Thank you to our amazing community of homeowners and partners and the surrounding areas we serve.”
In short, this Best of Houzz award serves to confirm The Green Cocoon’s philosophy of conducting business honestly and with integrity, while sticking to their motto, “For the People, with the Planet in Mind.”
The American Chemistry Council (ACC) released a study in October 2020. The study looked at the contributions of insulation to the U.S. economy in 2019. It showed that the insulation industry—including the manufacture, distribution and installation of insulation—generated more than 564,000 jobs in the United States. Also, it contributed to more than $36 billion in payrolls that support families and local communities around the country. This is great news!
Insulation not only protects us from the heat and cold, it also keeps us employed!
Your attic does much more for your home than store your stuff. It is designed to provide a protective barrier for your home from cold, heat, and humidity. But in order for your attic to do its job, it must be properly insulated.
Traditional Insulation Not Effective
The Green Cocoon has almost two decades installing insulation and has discovered that traditional insulation isn’t effective in most cases! The most common types of insulation used in one’s attic are fiberglass and blown cellulose. The problem with those types of insulation is that many inexperienced contractors install them without sealing to prevent airflow. With fiberglass or cellulose, air can move quickly through the insulation and with that air comes moisture.
Escaping Heat Causes Problems
If heat is escaping into the attic from below, and the attic is not properly vented, the warm air will heat the roof causing ice dams to form. Some contractors try to fix ice dams by increasing the ventilation in the attic. But what they should be doing is putting in proper insulation! It’s all about the R-value.
In New England, the R-value requirements for an existing attic is R-38, but for new construction it requires a value of R-49! That’s because newer construction techniques are becoming more efficient.
Did you know that R-value is measured in an air-tight vacuum chamber and allows researchers to conduct physical experiments without any interference from the environment? Your wall is not a vacuum chamber and the materials do not perform the same in the real world, unless completely air-sealed like the chamber. R-value is not constant, so it’s important to use the right type and amount of insulation.
Closed Cell Spray Foam Recommended
Closed cell spray foam is the only insulation material approved for spraying directly against the roof deck because moisture can’t pass through it. This, along with the fact that the foam fills the holes and crevices, makes it the best insulation choice to prevent condensation in the attic.
If you have properly insulated and air-sealed your attic, you won’t have heat loss or moisture build-up. We suggest installing a soffit and ridge vent, or two gable vents to help with air circulation, if you have an uninsulated roof.
If your attic is insulated with fiberglass or cellulose, and you have insulation covering the roof slopes, you need to have a vent behind it. As mentioned above, moisture can potentially pass through the insulation and condense on the roof causing a host of issues.
Reasons Not to Ventilate
If you have HVAC and/or ductwork in the attic, you don’t want to vent the attic because you will lose a lot of efficiency. The heating system will try to warm the house from a 10-degree attic and cool it from 130! A conditioned attic will prolong the life of your equipment as well as save you money with your heating and cooling bills.
Start Right and Properly Ventilate
If you have fiberglass or cellulose insulation already installed, then it is crucial that you have adequate and proper ventilation. But, upgrading your insulation saves money and efficiency in the long run. Don’t use ventilation as a way to solve inefficiencies with subpar insulation. That’s like putting a band aid on a bullet wound!
If you want more information on how we can help you, contact us.
Learning how to store spray foam insulation during the winter months takes expertise. “How cold can it be when applied?” and “At what temperature should it be stored?” are just two of the many questions that need to be answered before you can apply spray foam during cold weather.
Use the Correct Material
You must use the correct material for the environment, especially in cold temperatures. According to IDI Distributors, “closed cell foams can be formulated into winter blends that are designed to withstand colder environmental and substrate temperatures. Open cell foams, however, cannot be formulated this way. Therefore, creating a suitable environment in which to apply open cell is critical for product performance.”
Use the Correct Temperature
Before you start applying spray foam insulation in cold weather, the material needs to be properly conditioned. This means maintaining the right temperature on the storage containers (drums). IDI says drums should be stored and used between 70- and 80-degrees Fahrenheit to get the best results.
The Green Cocoon is happy to say that we always heat the product and the job site (we heat the inside of the room before we spray it). The temperature must be at least 40 degrees or we won’t spray. To keep our products warm, we use drum heaters, which are like blankets for the drums. Also, the drums are always stored inside our heated warehouse.
Every product is different, so we suggest you check the technical data sheet for product-specific temperature ranges.
Proper storage of both the applicator and the spray foam is critical for a successful application during cold weather conditions. Both components must be at a minimum of 70°F to ensure that the supply pumps can move the material to the spray machine at an appropriate rate.
At The Green Cocoon, our material and hoses are heated. If your contractor has an older machine, it may not be able to heat the material to the required application temperature. That is why keeping the drums warm is so important.
As mentioned above, heaters should be used to warm up the substrate prior to spraying foam. Indirect heaters are always recommended, but the most common heaters used are “torpedo heaters.” These heaters can work well when properly monitored, but it’s worth noting that they rely on fossil fuels that produce moisture. This humidity may condense on cold substrates creating moisture issues such as poor adhesion or shrinkage. Applicators should avoid the use of gas fired heaters if possible, to reduce this risk.
At The Green Cocoon, we use indirect heaters to heat the space of a spray foam job. Indirect heat does not give off CO2 into the structure. TGC has a heater on the truck and also brings in an electric heater to heat the job site.
It is also important to make sure the heaters get turned off prior to spraying foam insulation in winter. If the fumes from spraying get drawn through the heater, it can put off toxic fumes. Heat should be maintained in the building for at least 24 hours after spraying to allow the foam to complete the curing process.
To sum up, before you hire a spray foam insulation company, ask them what their process is when spraying foam insulation during the winter months. If you have any questions, please contact us. We’d love to answer them!
The Green Cocoon (TGC) is thrilled to announce it recently purchased an IDI DV18 Vacuum + Defender (DV18). The DV18 Gas Vacuum is the first of its kind with the debris containment system integrated directly with the vacuum. The DV18 features a steel fan and chamber and is powered by a rugged 18hp Briggs & Stratton V-Twin engine. This vacuum is intended for removing all types of blown insulation and for recycling damp spray.
New Machine Improves Indoor Air Quality
“We purchased this new machine to remove old insulation before we add anything new,” said James Materkowski, owner and president of TGC. “In the past, we used other contractors to do this work, but now we can do it ourselves! This helps to keep our costs down and also helps with quality control. Removing old insulation before adding new helps to improve indoor air quality and make the new insulation more efficient!
Some of the features of the DV18 are:
6” (15.2cm) inlet and outlet allows for substantial volume
Engineered and designed to eliminate engine vibration and fan blade stress
12-volt Magnetron® Electronic Ignition system
Input/output safety switches
If you’re feeling cold and have been putting off updating your insulation, contact us!
About The Green Cocoon
The Green Cocoon, LLC delivers energy-efficient, eco-friendly insulation solutions to residences and businesses throughout Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Southern Maine. Our first priority is to provide you with the safest, most effective insulation. This helps keep the heat in your house during the winter, and keeps the cool air in during the summer. After all, that’s why you’re considering an insulation solution in the first place. Great insulation means you’ll use less fossil fuel and electricity, thus leaving a smaller carbon footprint.
Building codes are always changing, so it is important to stay up-to-date on recent modifications. Thanks to the Insulation Institute for creating this great guide as a go-to resource for staying in the know on state building codes.
The guide also includes ASHRAE 90.1 Compliance for Metal Buildings, Facts About Certified NAIMA 202-96® Insulation, and more! Read now.
Updated November 20, 2020 New Hampshire Governor Sununu issued a statewide mask mandate in an effort to slow spread of COVID-19. Learn more.This is in effect November 20 through January 15, 2021.The mandate applies to all indoor public spaces, in addition to outdoor spaces when social distancing cannot be maintained.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker also issued a statewide mask order on November 6. Governor Baker is requiring face masks or cloth face coverings in all public places, whether indoors or outdoors, even where they are able to maintain 6 feet of distance from others.
Due to the nature of our work, we require our insulation experts to wear protective gear, which protects you and them from the coronavirus. Our sales people also wears masks while inside your home. They also have hand sanitizer in their vehicles.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
March 20, 2020 At The Green Cocoon, the safety and well-being of our employees and our customers is always our priority. We are actively monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and taking steps to help keep our employees and customers safe. We wanted to share with you some steps we are taking.
Protecting our employees and customers
As our employees interact with customers and the general public, we have taken steps to limit exposure to the virus.
The Green Cocoon has 12 employees, so we are a small, but mighty group. We are postponing our team meetings, providing remote-work solutions, and continue to reinforce safe behavior in every environment—from customer homes and businesses to our offices. We are in continuous communication with our employees reminding them about the importance of good hygiene, providing them with health education and support whenever needed. Employees who feel ill have been told to not report to work.
When we first meet you, The Green Cocoon sends one sales person to your home. They have washed their hands and sanitized their vehicles before coming into your home. Once we are hired by you, we send a crew of two people to perform the actual work. Safety regulations mandate that homeowners be absent from the home while insulation is being installed. And, our employees must wear a protective suit, thus limiting your and their exposure while they are in your home.
If you have any questions, please contact us. We are open for business!
The Green Cocoon (TGC) is a member of the USGBC (U.S. Green Building Council). This organization is committed to a sustainable, prosperous future through LEED, the leading program for green buildings and communities worldwide. The USGBC’s vision is that buildings and communities will regenerate and sustain the health and vitality of all life within a generation.
Education and Resources
“USGBC offers a wide-variety of courses and certifications,” said James Materkowski, president of TGC. “I love that they are helping to advance the knowledge of green building and sustainability concepts and practices.”
The Green Cocoon, LLC has purchased a new Cellulose Machine. This machine is ideal for installation of loose fill cellulose insulation throughout any area of the home. The machine has wheels for easier maneuverability and transport and comes with 100 feet of hose (two 50′ sections with connector) to achieve optimum coverage.
The new Krendl 800-G processes 77 bags of cellulose per hour, thus allowing us to become faster and more efficient. That means we are in and out of your home in less time!
Moreover, the 800-G is the only dual power source insulation blowing equipment capable of switching from electric to gas, to assure TGC is NEVER without power. Krendl Machine designed the 800-G for the insulation contractor who may not always have a readily available power source.
Does your house have icicles hanging from the roof during the winter? If so, there is something going on that could potentially cost you thousands of dollars. It is called an ice dam.
What is an ice dam?
If the attic isn’t properly insulated, during the winter the warm air will escape and melt the first layer of snow on your roof. Many uneducated contractors will tell you to increase your attic insulation to prevent ice dams. While this may slow down the build up of ice dams, it will essentially increase the speed of your heat loss. Consequently, the heat loss will make your home less efficient.
DIYers (do-it-yourself) like to solve the problem by putting heat tape on the roof, but that can be incredibly damaging to the shingles. Furthermore, the tape does not solve the problem, which is inefficient insulation and heat loss.
The layer of snow that is against the roof will melt and run down the roof shingles. You can’t see this happening because it is under the pile of snow. Once the water reaches the overhang where it is colder, an ice dam starts to form. This process happens over and over; the ice dam gets bigger; and the water gets higher. Eventually, water will get under the shingles!
As the melting continues, the ice dam and water lift the shingle more and more. Eventually, it hits the top of the shingle. That is when water can get into your house, and potentially cause thousands of dollars in damage.
How to prevent ice dams
Whether you are creating a conditioned or unconditioned attic, we recommend the same things.
Seal the gaps – First you need to air seal any gaps or holes in the floor or roof. There are several products that we suggest you use. Please contact us so we can help you decide which product is best for you.
Use correct R-value – Make sure you have enough R-value. Remember, fiberglass doesn’t have a constant R-value so we don’t recommend it. In southern New Hampshire, you need a minimum of an R-49.
Ventilate the attic – If you plan to insulate the attic floor, make sure to allow for proper ventilation to prevent condensation. If you are not sure you have adequate insulation, give us a call and we will come out and take a look.
Using a spray foam in the attic is the best choice because it fills the holes and crevices. We recommend closed cell spray foam for several reasons: