On Thursday, December 11, Candace Lord and Joe Marino, vice president and salesperson for The Green Cocoon, attended The Green Alliance’s second annual holiday party. The jam-packed event was held at the Great Rhythm Brewing Company in Portsmouth. Over 100 members and guests attended.
Purpose of The Green Alliance
The Green Cocoon is a member of Green Alliance. Their purpose is to promote local business partners that make serious efforts to operate in a sustainable and environmentally-conscious manner. Furthermore, those business partners offer discounts to Green Alliance Community card-holders. Learn more at https://www.greenalliance.biz/about.
Sales of Artwork Help Fund Research Center
The event was sponsored by Sustainable Seacoast, Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation, and the Great Bay Waterkeeper with Conservation Law Foundation. Local artist Ragko showcased his amazing artwork that connected us to water. Sales of his artwork went towards the creation of an independent Huilliche-Mapuche research center in southern Chile.
We stay involved with groups like The Green Alliance to help towards our goal of making little to no negative impact on the environment.
Many cities across the country were hit with a major winter storm last week, and for some, it was the first big one of the season. One area of the house that gets hit the hardest during a winter storm is the roof. Make sure to monitor the health of your roof during the winter to make sure it is strong enough to take the brunt of bad weather. If the snow isn’t melting quickly, it means that heat from your home isn’t escaping through your attic floors and then transferring from your roof to the exteriors. That means your roof is doing its job!
Bare spots and icicles mean heat is escaping
If your roof gets a decent amount of snow on it, make sure it’s not melting in specific spots. That means there’s heat loss likely due to poor insulation and/or ventilation in the attic. If that is the case, give us a call once the snow melts.
After a snowfall, every homeowner should take a look at their roof and check for hot spots—areas on the roof where the snow has melted. It’s normal for some melting around venting and fireplace exhausts, but you shouldn’t see any bare patches on your roof. A snow-covered roof means your insulation is doing its job. If not, it’s time for a new insulation package!
Also, keep an eye out for icicles—another sign of heat loss. If your roof is warm enough to melt the snow but it’s cold enough outside for snow to refreeze, your roof is losing heat. That’s not healthy for your energy bills or the environment.
Remove some snow if it gets too deep
What about the weight of snow? If there’s ice too, that can be a heavy load. Add the weight of two layers of shingles and that’s one roof no one would want over their head. Generally, most roofs max out at about 20 pounds of snow per square foot, which translates to around two feet of wet snow or up to four feet of light, fluffy snow.
Once you start hitting those levels, you may want to think about removing the snow. Otherwise, it could potentially cause your roof to cave in, which is a terrible experience in any weather, but particularly during subzero temperatures. Still, you can’t exactly get on top of your roof with a snow shovel. If you have an asphalt roof, you run the risk of doing serious damage to your shingles, which can cause your roof to leak afterwards—and all kinds of havoc as a consequence.2
If you don’t have the proper equipment to remove the snow yourself, hire a roofing contractor to safely handle the removal for you. It generally only costs about $100 to $300, and it will save your roof a lot of wear and tear.
Install an ice and water shield
We suggest you install an ice and water shield over the first four feet of roof, on top of the sheathing—not just along the edges near gutters. This adds a second layer of protection against leaks and moisture where ice dams may occur, so if water gets in below the shingles the sheathing is watertight.
Another reason to add an ice and water shield is it seals around nails, unlike tar paper, roofing felt, or asphalt paper. If you have shingles on your roof, as most North American homes do, for every nail that goes through the tar paper there’s a tiny hole — an open invitation for water in your attic.
Check your attic (and garage) after a storm too. If you see frost on the sheathing it’s not a good sign. It means your attic isn’t properly vented for your specific insulation type or it is lacking insulation all together, which could lead to mold or rot. If you see any signs of mold or rot in your roof, call a professional remediation company.
Your roof and attic are crucial when it comes to protecting your home over the winter. Please contact us to schedule an appointment to make sure your insulation package is up-to-date.
 National Post (Feb. 7, 2015). Snow piling up on your house is a good indicator of the roof's condition. Retrieved from nationalpost.com.
 Modernize (2019). Is Snow Good or Bad for Your Roof? Retrieved from modernize.com.
 Cost Owl (2019). How Much Does Roof Snow Removal Cost? Retrieved from costowl.com.
The Green Cocoon was a sponsor of Rett’s Roost (Rett’s) 2019 Superhero 5K held on September 22 at the Throwback Brewery in North Hampton, New Hampshire. Rett’s is a nonprofit that helps children with cancer and their families.
Sponsoring this event has become a tradition for The Green Cocoon. We’ve been a sponsor for the last few years and plan to continue to do so as long as possible.
Because of the theme “Superhero 5K,” there were many people dressed in brightly-colored costumes. Due to the fundraising efforts of so many volunteers, over $18,000 was raised for Rett’s retreats!
Thank you to everyone who came out to run/walk, who donated their time and money and to Capstone Photography for taking such great photos from the day.
Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is. – Ernest Hemingway
Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate life, love, and luck. It is a time to be grateful for family and friends. It is a time to gather around the dinner table and realize how fortunate it is to have food on it.
Days, weeks, and sometimes months go by without giving thanks for what one has, and it is understandable, given how busy everybody’s schedule is these days – especially during the holiday season. We've strayed far away from the meaning of Thanksgiving. We often take for granted our paychecks and possessions, our children and parents, our happiness and health. It is easy to overlook in modern-day society. But, perhaps that is what makes Thanksgiving special.
As we gather together with our loved ones this Thanksgiving, we want to take a moment to share how profoundly grateful we are every day to be working alongside such an incredible team.
For most of us, the centerpiece of Thanksgiving is a wonderful dinner. This holiday is a time for reflection, so it’s a good time to recognize that every meal gives us an opportunity to listen to each other’s stories and share each other’s lives. Gratitude is a common theme in the stories shared in our job sites and break rooms. And we at The Green Cocoon have much to be grateful for: operating in New England with its abundant natural beauty, meaningful work, supportive friendships with our colleagues, and the incredible teamwork that makes our customers happy and content.
Gratitude for each other and the important work that we share is at the top of our list this Thanksgiving. With thanks and appreciation for all our team does and for all of our customers, who put their faith in us every day.
The Green Cocoon will be closed for Thanksgiving Day and the day after to give our team and families a long weekend together.
We recently got a call from a homeowner who wanted their attic insulation replaced. Their old fiberglass insulation was wet and dirty and needed to be replaced. Not only that, it had originally been installed upside down, leading to moisture problems. We weren’t surprised by this situation as we get calls for help all the time. Our advice is to do it right the first time. That's why we say, "Don’t use fiberglass insulation!!
In cold climates fiberglass just won’t do
Fiberglass insulation is significantly cheaper than spray foam insulation, but it is also less effective, especially in extremely warm conditions. Summers in New England regularly hit above 100°F. Spray foam is more expensive, but you get your money back within five years.
Used in roughly 85% of American homes, fiberglass insulation is the most common form of home insulation. Spray foam insulation has less market share, but is increasing in popularity. Why? Because it is MUCH better and you pay once. Professional installation is required for spray foam insulation, but hey, would you have the plumber fix your broken tooth?
Energy efficiency of fiberglass vs. spray foam
The composition of fiberglass insulation does not stop air from passing through it. On average, more than 30% of heat or air conditioning escapes where fiberglass insulation is installed. If poorly installed, fiberglass can also leave spaces around fixtures, allowing even more heating or cooling to escape.
Spray foam insulation fills all spaces, preventing air from escaping. It acts as an air barrier. Spray foam insulation is significantly more efficient than fiberglass and has a higher R-value.
Problems with fiberglass
Incorrect installation – Failing to fill the wall cavities and compressing the batts are two of the most prevalent installation mistakes. They’re also the leading causes of poor performance, which is why some green building consultants, architects, and builders recommend other products. Their answer for total fill: cellulose.
In a recent project we repaired, the insulation was originally installed incorrectly. As a matter of fact, because it was installed incorrectly, the vapor barrier (the brown paper side) couldn’t do its job – to trap moisture against the floor. The raft paper has to be facing the conditioned space, in this case the attic floor.
It’s cheap – That means that many home builders can offer it to reduce the cost of the home. But don’t be fooled. You may pay less now, but you’ll pay more later, for sure.
Rodents love it! – Rodents prefer safe, warm, and sheltered environments – making the inside of your walls and attic the ideal home. Insulation that can be found in these places can be even more inviting since it is a source of warmth for the scurrying critters. The malleability of fiberglass insulation makes it easy for a nest to be made, and insulation can be moved where ever needed. Once one nest is established and a rodent is comfortable enough, a colony of rodents can soon follow. With the displacement of materials, you could see a difference in the heating as warm air can now escape from your house in those areas.
Length of life
Fiberglass insulation can last several years, but during that time it loses its effectiveness and you never have a complete seal against air flow. The level of effectiveness also depends if any moisture is present. You may need to replace this type of insulation or add to it as it settles and deteriorates over time.
Spray foam, on the other hand, can last as long as 80 years or more. It’s a much more permanent and effective option. While you’ll pay more up front, the longevity and efficiency of spray foam make it a very cost-effective option. 
In closing, when it comes to which is best in the spray foam insulation vs. fiberglass debate, spray foam wins, hands down. If you’re a DIYer, you may be used to installing fiberglass insulation. But if you’re looking for something that will last a lifetime, let a professional install spray foam. 
 The Green Cocoon (2019). Invest in Insulation. Retrieved from thegreencocoon.com.  Diffen (2019). Fiberglass Insulation vs. Spray Foam Insulation. Retrieved from diffen.com.  Diffen, Fiberglass  Probuilder (2015). Home Insulation Choices: Fiberglass, Cellulose, or Foam? Retrieved from probuilder.com.  Apple Pest Control (2017). Rodents and Your Insulation. Retrieved from applepestcontrol.com.  Good Life Energy Savers (2018). Spray Foam Insulation vs Fiberglass: What’s the Difference? Retrieved from goodlifeenergysavers.com.  Good Life Energy Savers. Spray Foam
In our line of work, we come across many “interesting” insulation jobs. But, before you start any project, understanding vapor barriers is a must. Then, the insulation will be installed correctly.
We see work completed by the homeowner who wants to save money. Additionally, we come across some that were completed by licensed professionals who haven’t been educated on proper installation. Similarly, the biggest mistake we see is people installing a double vapor barrier—installing a covering (usually plastic) over an already existing vapor barrier.
Understanding vapor barriers
In the first place, “the function of a vapor barrier is to retard the migration of water vapor. Furthermore, vapor barriers are not typically intended to retard the migration of air. That is the function of air barriers.”
Moreover, a vapor barrier is any material used for damp proofing, typically a plastic or foil sheet. Additionally, these sheets resists diffusion of moisture through the wall, floor, ceiling, or roof assemblies of buildings.
What does a vapor barrier do?
Vapor barriers are installed along, in, or around walls, ceilings, and floors. Of course this is done to prevent moisture from spreading and potentially causing water damage. Additionally, a true vapor barrier is one that completely prevents moisture from passing through its material, as measured by the “moisture vapor transmission rate.” If the material has any porousness, but the barrier still provides protection from moisture, it is called a vapor diffusion retarder. Furthermore, vapor retarders also are commonly referred to simply as vapor barriers. The barrier terminology is less accurate because, in most cases, the products don’t completely barricade the vapor.
What can I use as a vapor barrier?
There are a wide number of materials available to create effective vapor barriers, including:
Polyethylene plastic sheet
Asphalt-coated Kraft paper
Vapor retarder paints
Extruded polystyrene or foil-faced foam board insulation
The IRC divides North America into eight climate areas. This is done for the purposes of determining when a vapor barrier might be needed in a building. Additionally, the IRC recommends builders install a Class-I or -II vapor barrier on the interior side of homes in climate zones 5 and above, and in the Marine 4 zone. However, if you air condition your house in the summer, you might trap condensation in your roof or walls for part of the year. If this is the case, be sure to use a Class-II vapor barrier on the interior of the wall. Moreover, you can use a Class-III vapor barrier on the interior. Pair that with spray foam insulation on the interior of the wall or roof. Furthermore, when building in hot, humid climates (zones 1 to 3), you should not have a vapor barrier on the interior side of the wall.
Incorrect use of vapor barriers is leading to an increase in moisture-related problems. Vapor barriers were originally intended to prevent assemblies from getting wet. However, they often prevent assemblies from drying. In like manor, vapor barriers installed on the interior of assemblies prevent assemblies from drying inward. This can be a problem in any air-conditioned enclosure, below grade space, or a vapor barrier on the exterior. Additionally, a problem can occur where brick is installed over building paper and vapor permeable sheathing.
Building in a Cold Climate While Adhering to Building Codes
Is a vapor barrier required in New England? Yes! Not to mention that as a builder your first step is to consult your local and state building codes. In many colder North American climates, vapor barriers are a required part of building construction.
You may find that vapor barriers are often not required in warmer climates. And, if installed in the wrong climate or on the wrong side of building materials, a vapor barrier can cause more harm than good. By the same token, this circumstance may prevent water vapor from drying, which in turn can cause rot and mold.
If you don’t know the building requirements for your area, ask an expert!
Double Vapor Barrier – Don’t Do It!
What is a double vapor barrier? The insulation in Photo A was installed by an inexperienced insulation installer. Additionally, the brown paper on the fiberglass is a vapor barrier. By putting poly plastic over everything, the installers created a double vapor barrier. Not to mention that this type of installation creates future moisture, mold, and rot problems. Moreover, in Photo B the cellulose netting is not strapped and it is starting to sag. Furthermore, the staples are ripping out and the ceiling could come down at any time!
In conclusion, if you need insulation don’t wonder what type you need. Let us do the thinking for you. Call us today!
 Building Science (2011). BSD-106: Understanding Vapor Barriers. Retrieved from buildingscience.com.  Wikipedia (2019). Vapor Barrier. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org.  Energy.gov (2019). Vapor Barriers or Vapor Diffusion Retarders. Retrieved from energy.gov.  Energy.gov. Vapor Barrier  Fine Home Building (2009). How It Works: Vapor Drive. Retrieved from finehomebuilding.com.  Building Science, BSD-106.  IKO Commercial, (2019). An Introduction to Vapour Barriers and Vapour Retarders. Retrieved from iko.com.
The Green Cocoon, LLC. (TGC) is excited to announce that it was awarded HomeAdvisor's “Elite Service Professional” badge. HomeAdvisor gave TGC the award for having a minimum of five reviews with a 5-star rating, among other criteria listed below.
“We are so excited to receive this award and right on the heels of receiving the Top-Rated Professional badge last month,” said Jim Materkowski, President and owner of TGC. “Thank you to our incredible team and wonderful customers.”
What Must a Business Do to Merit an “Elite Service Professional” Badge?
HomeAdvisor lays out a specific set of guidelines that a business must meet to receive permission to display a badge. Moreover, how does a business earn the title “Elite Service Professional”? HomeAdvisor requires that a business have:
Have a minimum of five reviews with a 5-star rating
Overall customer service rating of 4.5 or better
No homeowner complaints in the last six months
Reviews from homeowners you've done work for
Customers’ Feedback Is Important
In summary, TGC is constantly striving to bring its customers the fastest, most efficient, and friendliest service. The team at TGC pays close attention to customers' feedback. Furthermore, badges like these show us that the company is headed in the right direction.
Contact us for fast, efficient, and friendly insulation services you can trust!
The Green Cocoon, LLC. (TGC) is excited to announce that it was awarded HomeAdvisor’s “Top-Rated Professional” badge. HomeAdvisor gave TGC the award for having a 4.9 out of 5-star rating, among other criteria below.
“Thank you to our incredible team and wonderful customers,” said Jim Materkowski, President and owner of TGC. “These badges aren’t given out to just any company. Not to mention you must meet certain criteria to receive this award.”
What Must a Business Do to Merit a “Top Rated Professional” Badge?
HomeAdvisor lays out a specific set of guidelines that a business must meet to receive permission to display a badge. Moreover, how does a business earn the title “Top Rated Professional?" HomeAdvisor requires that a business have:
A minimum of five reviews
A minimum overall rating of 4.0 or better (we have a 4.9 rating!)
More than 90% of homeowners that leave you a review would recommend you
No homeowner complaints
Reviews only from homeowners you’ve done work for
Customers’ Feedback Is Important
In summary, The Green Cocoon is constantly striving to bring its customers the fastest, most efficient, and friendliest service. The team at TGC pays close attention to customers' feedback. Furthermore, badges like these show us that the company is headed in the right direction.
The fall has officially arrived in New England and winter is approaching quickly! With temperatures already slipping below freezing in some areas, the thought of high heating costs is on our minds. Insulate your home and save money. By adding or upgrading your insulation, you can save money on heating costs, thus making your home more energy efficient. By using Efficiency Maine, you can save up to $3,000 by upgrading the insulation in your home!
The Green Cocoon is located just over the border in Massachusetts, but we also service our sister states like Maine. Maine is known for its diverse landscapes, lighthouses, and its delicious bounty from the sea. However, it is also known for its harsh winters. And, that has many homeowners bracing themselves for indoor drafts, cold floors, and hard-to-heat rooms. What if you didn’t have to put up with these home comfort pains this winter?
Why Upgrade My Home’s Insulation?
Many Maine homeowners don’t realize just how effective insulation can be at making their homes more comfortable and efficient. Insulation in key areas like the attic, basement, and exterior walls slows heat transfer into and out of the home. This means that in the winter, that valuable heat you’ve paid for stays inside your home, right where you want it. Cellulose and spray foam insulation are especially effective insulation materials (which is why we install them in homes here in Maine!)
With the right insulation upgrades, you can expect benefits like:
Fewer drafts and cold spots
Lower annual heating/cooling costs
Enhanced overall comfort
Greater home energy efficiency
Reduced outside noise
When insulation is paired with proper air sealing to eliminate air leaks, the benefits go even further!
Insulate & Save up to $3,800 with Efficiency Maine Rebates
While an insulation upgrade does have an upfront investment, there are valuable local incentives available through Efficiency Maine to offset that cost. As a matter of fact, upgraded insulation helps you save money on your heating bills over time, and insulation has a remarkably short payback period.
Currently, you can receive up to $3,000 on an insulation rebate, $400 on an energy assessment and another $400 when you air seal troubled spots. The Department of Energy graphic below has a useful cross-section diagram illustrating the most common air leakage spots.
Take Advantage of Efficiency Maine Rebates with The Green Cocoon
As a Residential Registered Vendor with Efficiency Maine, we’re here to help homeowners on the southern coast of Maine save on their next insulation project. In addition to assessing the unique insulation needs of your home, we will help you determine the rebates for which you qualify.
The Green Cocoon would love to help you. We are just a phone call away at (978) 462-0082.
The Green Cocoon (TGC) owners Jim Materkowski and Candace Lord attended a breast cancer awareness event, “Evening by the Sea.” The event was held on August 11, 2019 at Wentworth by the Sea in Rye, NH. Moreover, it was a fundraiser put on by My Breast Cancer Support. The nonprofit organization provides financial and emotional support to breast cancer patients. These patients live not only in the Greater Seacoast area of New Hampshire but also in Southern Maine.
“The team at The Green Cocoon not only loves working in our community, but also working with our community,” said Lord, herself a breast cancer survivor. “Awareness is very important to me as I am currently undergoing chemotherapy with one treatment left. Furthermore, my prognosis is great and I want to do whatever I can to help other women going through the same thing. Equally important is early detection.”
At the fundraiser attendees enjoyed music, complimentary champagne, hearty appetizers, dessert tastings, and gourmet coffees. Not to mention they were able to bid on silent auction items as well as win raffle gifts.