Fiberlite Salutes U.S. Energy Efficiency Month

October is Energy Efficiency Month

Fiberlite Tech salutes the Energy.gov official U.S. Energy Efficiency Month of October.

Energy.gov Energy Efficiency Month Page Preview from FTIOfficially the first Wednesday in October is ENERGY EFFICIENCY DAY. This year it was October 6, 2021. But the entire month of October is recognized as Energy Efficiency Month.

Energy efficiency can provide many benefits. To the homeowner or tenants, it will lower their utility bills. To the community it will create jobs.  To the climate, it will reduce pollution and curb climate change. This is also considered the cheapest, quickest way to meet our energy demands as country.

We encourage everyone to promote Energy Efficiency Month by using the hashtag #EEMonth2021. Learn more about Energy Efficiency on the DOE’s Energy.gov website. Fiberlite also has extensive information for homeowners and businesses on its website with a broad menu of cellulose insulation and other related products. Upgrade or add insulation to your home or building and reap the benefits of greater energy efficiency including a Federal Tax Credit and lower utility bills every month for the life of the dwelling or structure.

Cost Vs Value Of Adding More Attic Insulation

Installing & Finished Cellulose Insulation Attic from FIberliteTechHomeowners considering “topping off attic insulation” likely weigh the pros and cons and wonder if it is truly worth it. Other “sexier” energy efficient home improvement might appear to provide greater bang for the buck. Additional insulation lowers your energy bill – but is it worth it for homeowners who may be planning to sell their house in the near future?

Remodeling Magazine has asked the same questions. In fact, they conduct a yearly survey comparing the job cost, resale value and cost recouped (ROI) on many common home improvement projects.  They have conducted this survey by region and by city. Consistently through their survey history, the one improvement that provides a higher ROI than any other is insulation upgrades.  Below is a list of some standard upgrades as a comparison:

Project Cost Recouped (ROI)
Additional Insulation 108%
Manufactured Stone Veneer 92.1%
Windows Replaced 68.6%
Roofing (Asphalt Shingles) 60.7%

Upgrading insulation in a home is an excellent choice because the cost relative to other projects is nominal. It offers a quick return on the investment and provided savings every month for the life of the home, no matter who owns it. While other energy efficient upgrades are more visible, such as new thermal windows, appliances or roof shingles, none can match the ROI or effectiveness of adding insulation. And there are no esthetics to consider for when selling the home to a future buyer Maybe the buyer who may prefer a different style window or shingle color. Every homeowner wants a lower utility bill and listing updated insulation when putting a home on the market is a great selling point.

Whether planning to live there for years or selling in the near future, adding energy saving cellulose insulation to the attic of a home is a win-win. Fiberlite Tech Attic Pro Plus is perfectly suited for topping off existing attic insulation regardless of whether the current product is cellulose, fiberglass, mineral wool or even sprayed foam.

Contact FTI to learn more about the saving potential of adding cellulose insulation to your attic.

Cellulose Insulation For Commercial Projects

Fiberlite SATAC Perfect For Insulating Commercial Buildings

Fiberlite SATAC Commercial Building InsulationSpray Applied Thermal Acoustical Cellulose “SATAC” is the perfect product for commercial spray applications. It’s one of the few cellulose insulation products designed specifically for applications such as insulating garages, warehouses and gymnasiums.

Any building that would require the insulation product be exposed could be a suitable application for “SATAC.”  This product meets different ASTM standards than traditional residential ASTM.  As evident by its name, it is excellent for acoustical control.

SATAC Commercial Building Insulation Color ChartThis product is sold in several different colors as shown to the left. Each color offers the same benefits so the only difference is customer preference.

Customers rave about the sound control that this product can offer. Since the insulation product is exposed, it is easy for sounds to bounce off different surfaces throughout the building. “SATAC” will absorb the sound waves.

Like any residential cellulose insulation product, SATAC is a Class 1 Building Product.  It exceeds these ASTM standards and meets a variety of additional ASTM standards specifically for open and exposed areas.  FTI attains these higher standards by manufacturing this product through a proprietary blend of fire retardant ingredients.

Learn more about SATAC or contact us to find product and installers.

Energy Efficient Incentives 2021

Federal & State Incentives For Adding Home Insulation

Missouri homeowners have incentives to upgrade the insulation in their homes adding to the savings that can be achieved on monthly energy bills.

Federal Tax Credit

Once again, the U.S. Congress retroactively extended the tax credit for insulation through December 31, 2021. Homeowners adding or updating insulation in their primary homes can save up to $500 on their federal income tax. See program detail.

State & Local Incentives

Missouri Dept of Natural Resources Div of Energy Incentives LinkMissouri also offers energy saving incentives to homeowners. There are several opportunities including:

  • Grants & Financing
  • Local Utility Programs
  • Personal Income Tax Deductions

See the Missouri Department of Natural Resources Division of Energy for details. Also check the DSIRE database for other opportunities that might be available to save on energy efficiency home improvements. Programs are also available for other types of home energy improvements.

Then make plans to update your home insulation in 2021 and enjoy any one-time incentives plus monthly savings for years to come. Home insulation offers one of the quickest return on investment of any energy efficient home improvement option. Check with Fiberlite for cellulose insulation products, uses and referrals for retailers and installers in your area.

Congress Approves More Small Business Stimulus

PPP Loans Available Again For Small Businesses

PPP 2021 Loan Program Info from FTIThe final days of 2020 saw a rally in the U.S. Congress for legislation providing additional stimulus to businesses hurt by the continued Corona Virus Pandemic. This includes PPP loans to contractors among other small business sectors.

Many contractors took advantage of the PPP loan option last spring. Some that did not may now be in need of help with the resurgence of COVID-19 with the colder winter weather and holidays. The new legislation by Congress is similar but does include a few changes. The FTI team sorted through the legislation and identified important aspects for small businesses, which include many of our customers in the insulation industry. Business that did not previously apply may do so if they meet the general requirements. Below are the eligibility requirements for businesses interested in applying for the next round of PPP loan funds.

If I already got one loan, can I get another one? is the main question businesses that did previously get a loan are asking. The answer is YES. These are called “second draw” loans, and as long as a business meets the qualifications below, they are eligible and may apply for a PPP loan:

  • Second draw applicants must have used the entire amount from their first PPP loan.
  • Second draw applicant loans are capped at $2 million, new applicants still have a $10 million cap.
  • Deadline to apply is March 31, 2021.
  • Will this impact my existing forgiveness application? If you received more than $150,000, it probably won't. If you received less, the process should be much easier.
  • Can I apply for a second loan, if I already received forgiveness from the first loan? Yes, this is allowed under the new program.

These requirements apply to All Applicants under the new program:

  • Applicants must have no more than 300 employees (instead of up to 500 in the first program)
  • Funds must be used within 24 weeks
  • Funds must be used with at least 60 percent going toward payroll
  • Remaining funds must be used toward eligible expenses like rent and utilities, cloud computing, remote-work software, equipment for government-mandated sanitation and social-distancing.
  • Forgiveness for this round is simplified for loans under $150,000 (versus $50,000 last round). Requires a description of how much loan money was spent on payroll, and how many employees the recipient was able to retain as a result. Affected businesses will not need to submit documentation supporting their claims, but should keep it on hand in case of an audit down the line.
  • Applicants must demonstrate at least a 25 percent drop in quarterly revenues versus the same quarter in 2019.
  • Loans are calculated by multiplying 2.5 times Payroll for one of the two following time periods:
    • Borrower’s average monthly payroll in a one-year period prior to the application date
    • Borrower’s average monthly payroll calendar year during 2019 calendar year, by 2.5 times
  • Deadline to apply is March 31, 2021.

As with the first round, funds are limited and available to qualifying businesses on a first come-first served basis. Business owners interest should contact their bank(s) soon to inquire about availability of funds and participation as lenders in the program.

Good luck to everyone as we all continue to navigate through this ongoing world-wide crisis in 2021.

Winter Prep For Warmer Homes This Winter

Tips For Making Your Home Winter Ready

Ceiling-Fan-Direction-Switch-FiberliteTechCold winter weather has started to descend across regions of the U.S. as the holiday season approaches. With the drop in temperature outdoors, some may experience the cold inside their homes and recall discomfort last winter. Here are a few “gifts” homeowners can give themselves to improve their living environment this winter and beyond:

1. Change The Heater Filter

This is the easiest way to improve indoor air temperature and quality: changing the heater air filter. A dirty heater return air filter can cause inefficient heating in a home. The filter typically needs to be changed between 30 to 90 days depending on the type used, and how much demand and air is run through the system based on the temperature setting. It is also important to check the grate on the return air vent and clean it free of all dust.

2. Reverse Ceiling Fans

This is another very easy one that homeowners can do in a few minutes. Ceiling fans typically have a switch on the motor housing to change the direction of the blades. Usually the switch is set to force air down with the blades turning counter clockwise (most fan direction switches turn this way when in the down position.) Changing the switch to turn the blades clockwise in the winter, and keeping the fan on a lower setting, will move heat rising in the room back down and circulate more warm air through the room.

3. Seal The Home Envelope

Although there is a bit more involved than preparing to send a letter, this is also one of the easiest ways to make a house warmer and most homeowners can handle the task as a DIY project. Here’s how to help keep cold air from entering a home:

  • Caulk – Add or replace the caulk around the exterior of all windows and doors. Use a high quality exterior acrylic caulk product to fill any cracks, gaps or voids. Once way to check for air leaks around windows is to turn off the heater, turn on all exhaust fans and vent fans, then hold an incense stick near each window and doors. The vents will cause negative pressure drawing air and smoke from the incense where there are any leaks.
  • Weather Stripping – For doors, also look under and around all exterior doors where they meet the frame. If light is visible air is also coming through. Add or replace the weather stripping and consider a “door sweep” to block air at the bottom.

4. Have Heater Serviced

If the home heater is older, or has not been serviced in a few years, it may be worth the expense to call a professional HVAC repair company and have the system serviced. Like any other mechanical system, an ounce of occasional maintenance service can be worth a pound of cure if the heater goes out in the midst of a winter storm. Be sure to check references when choosing a service company.

5. Check Attic Insulation

In most cases, homeowners can easily check their attic insulation. Provided there is an attic access door and enough headroom to get a clear view of the insulation, a quick visual check can reveal if the insulation needs topping off or replaced. Learn how here. Cellulose insulation is the best product for adding insulation to the attic. It can be blown in over most any existing insulation. This can be a DIY project for those more handy homeowners; but in most cases it is best to get a professional insulation contractor experienced with cellulose products to achieve the most efficient return on the investment. Although this will be more costly than the simpler steps above, it can also provide the biggest improvement to interior living comfort and savings on home heating bills for years.

Fiberlite has several products that are perfect for attic insulation projects. Contact us for more information and contractor referrals.

 

American Standards Testing Methods For Cellulose Insulation

ASTM Website Link ImageTwo times every year, the American Standards Testing Methods (ASTM) committee meets to review the standards for insulation and to make updates as needed. This is an international organization consisting of stakeholders from multiple perspectives. They include manufacturers/producers, users, consumers and general interest. The goal of the organization is to reach a consensus-based approach to establish clear regulations for everyone in the industry.

For insulation the standards cover every aspect of the product, which include thermal performance, sound, environmental characteristics, physical properties, chemical properties. The standards are also specific for each insulation technology. The standards are very precise. For example, one aspect for cellulose insulation is what type of heat source method should be used when testing products in a lab setting. In the current review, cellulose insulation had no major issues or updates needed.

Every year, the thermal insulation ASTM committee meeting is held in April and October. This fall, the meeting was held virtually due to the pandemic on October 25-29. As an industry leader in the field, Fiberlite team members participate in the following committees:

ASTM Standard       Description

C16                           Main

C16.32                     Batt and Blanket Insulation

C16.23                     Mechanical Properties

C16.3                      Chemical and Physical Properties

Our support helps enable the insulation industry to move forward in a positive and beneficial manner for homeowners, insulation contractors and other stakeholders. ASTM helps all users of our cellulose insulation, and for many other building products, to do so with the confidence that behind the scenes standards are monitored regularly to ensure safety and quality always come first.

For more information about ASTM, please contact us.

National Energy Awareness Month

It’s Always National Energy Awareness Month For Homeowners

U.S. Dept of Ed Energy Awareness Month Web LinkThe U.S. Department of Energy(DOE) recognizes October as National Energy Awareness Month. The goal of this government initiative is a good one – promoting the importance of sustainability and the environment. The U.S. Department of Education embraces National Energy Awareness Month as an opportunity to help focus children and students on the importance of energy conservation. Their website lists six ways to help kids learn more about concepts of energy and conservation.

At Fiberlite, we know for homeowners every month is energy awareness month when the home energy bill arrives. It’s the most common recurrent monthly bill for every household in America and in many cases also the most costly. Item number 3 on the Department of Education list suggests having kids looking around the house for ways of reducing energy consumed in their homes. Great idea for kids and also likely for their parents who actually pay those monthly bills.

It is also a good idea for parents to look inside the attic to determine if there is adequate insulation. That is where the most energy is typically lost in homes, which also drives up the cost of energy bills. Learn more about how to check your attic insulation here on the news blog. Then find the cellulose insulation product that is perfect for topping off the attic to conserve energy and reduce monthly energy bills.

Different Cellulose Insulation For Contractors And DIY

Contractors & DIYers Have Different Cellulose Insulation Needs – FTI Has Different Products For Each With Similar Benefits

FiberliteTech-FTI-Product-Pic-AtticPlusRecently, FTI was approached by a research firm wanting to know more about adding insulation to existing homes. This is commonly known as "retrofitting" or "topping off an attic." Specifically, they wanted to know the percentage of homes which are insulated by DIY homeowner vs. insulation contractors. While there is no well-established data to answer this question, FTI is approached regularly by both homeowners/DIY stores and insulation contractors about attic insulation.

The challenge for manufacturers is that homeowners generally want smaller weight bags. By contrast, contractors want fewer bags and are willing to handle larger weight bags. FTI is one of the few manufactures that offers a cellulose insulation to accommodate these two different audiences: ATTIC PLUS and ATTIC PLUS PRO. These two products are similar in formulation but come in packaging and wieghts specifically designed for the DIY and Industry Professional markets.

FiberliteTech-FTI-Product-Pic-AtticProPlusBoth cellulose insulation products have similar thermal, environmental and acoustical properties. The difference is that ATTIC PLUS is smaller in weight than ATTIC PLUS PRO. This meets the needs of both homeowners and contractors, providing great insulation at the size they can handle. Below are some of the similar characteristics between these products:

  • Attic use (both on top of existing insulation or without any other insulation)
  • New or existing construction
  • Walls (dense packed only)
  • Cathedral ceilings

To learn more about these products, or for assistance in finding retail outlets or recommendations for contractors, contact FTI.

What Is Stabilized Attic Insulation

Cellulose Insulation Blown In Attic Stabilized With Water

Stabilized Cellulose Insulation in Attic Fiberlite TechIn certain areas of the country, contractors and homeowners prefer a stabilized attic insulation. What is stabilized and how does it work?

Stabilized attic insulation is cellulose insulation that is blown into the attic with a small amount of water which prevents settling from occurring. Normally, blown cellulose insulation when installed in an attic will settle about half an inch within the first few days. Contractors are trained to install to the installed thickness, not the applied thickness. With a stabilized attic insulation, active ingredients within the insulation interact with water during installation and prevents this settling.

FTI’s R-Plus Stabilized cellulose insulation is formulated specifically for stabilized attics. This product contains specially formulated ingredients that are activated by water, preventing settling. This creates a tough durable finish and will provide excellent thermal performance. R-Plus Stabilized can also be used for wall cavity spray applications.

Either a standard loose fill or stabilized cellulose insulation will provide the necessary insulating properties needed to meet recommended regional R-Values. Homeowners interested in having a stabilized attic should check with their builder or contractor as this is typically a professionally applied product. In regions of the country where stabilized attics are often used, a contractor can purchase R-Plus Stabilized to meet their customers' needs.

Contact FTI for more information about stabilized attics and recommendations about contractors experienced with the product.