Progress Continues on Iowa State’s Solar Decathlon Entry

Fayetteville, AR, April 26, 2009 --( An important piece to the energy-efficient design of the Interlock House, Iowa State University’s Solar Decathlon entry, fell into place when the structure was insulated with BioBased Insulation® on Earth Day.

BioBased Insulation® manufactures and markets spray polyurethane foam insulation that incorporates renewable materials as a replacement for a portion of the petroleum that’s traditionally used in spray foam insulation and is applied using water instead of a chemical blowing agent. It is a more sustainable alternative that performs just like traditional, petroleum-based spray foam insulation.

“The Interlock House showcases a diversity of emerging green principles,” said Eric Smith, Solar Decathlon project manager. “Iowa State’s commitment to sustainable technologies places multiple bio-composite and recycled materials into the house, and the team chose to use BioBased 1701s® because it gave us the best insulation value for the least amount of space.”

BioBased 1701s® is spray-applied as a liquid that quickly expands 30 times in size to fill, seal and insulate in one step. A sealed thermal envelope will help block moisture and air movement in the structure and will give the Iowa State team complete control over the indoor environment of the home.

“This super-insulation gives interior climate control entirely to the solar-powered heating and cooling system.” Smith said. Conceived as a free-standing solar-powered dwelling, the Interlock House incorporates multiple-zones, passive strategies, and efficiently designed active systems, enabling individuals to balance the need for comfort and control while reducing total energy consumption.

Sage Companies, a BioBased Insulation® certified dealer based in Cedar Rapids, donated their time and expertise to install the product in the Interlock House.

“We’re just glad to be part of this project,” said Pat Shey with Sage Companies. “This is the next generation of architects, engineers and designers, and it’s great to be able to show them what a product like this can really do to increase the energy efficiency of a structure.”

The 800-square foot structure was designed and is being constructed in Ames by a multi-disciplinary team of students. Then, it must be taken apart, transported to Washington D.C. and reassembled on the National Mall for the competition Oct. 9-18.

Twenty teams from around the world will compete in ten categories that include architecture, market viability, engineering, lighting design, communications, comfort zone, hot water, appliances, home entertainment and net metering. The event is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and is in its fourth competition cycle.

While this is the first time any team from Iowa has competed in the Solar Decathlon, BioBased Insulation® has been used in a total of four entries spread over three competition cycles. The 2005 Colorado University entry that utilized BioBased 1701 took first place overall.

BioBased Insulation
Jennifer Wilson