Sanborn House Goes Green!

by David Stirling

The Sanborn House Historical and Cultural Center now has an advanced state of the art roof insulation system and air barrier in addition to the brand ply membrane applied over two thirds of the building roof last fall. Open-cell spray foam insulation has been installed in the dropped ceiling areas directly below the new roof system. The insulation materials were generously donated to the Winchester Historical Society by the product manufacturer, Icynene Inc. (Mississauga, ON.) The Society would like to thank the manufacturer’s representative Jack Sheehan for his help in obtaining this donation. Healthy Homes of Melrose, MA was hired by the Society to apply the spray foam insulation.

One of the great advantages of the Icynene material is that it not only provides a high value of thermal insulation, it also provides an air-seal or air-barrier, effectively minimizing air leakage. This delivers significant moisture control and improved air quality. Before products like this were available, air leakage during the heating season carried warm heated air and moisture from the building, typically resulting in half of the building’s energy loss. The air removed is replaced by infiltration of the unheated air through gaps in the structure. Infiltration also brings outdoor allergens, odors and pollutants into the building. In hot weather with air conditioning systems, air barriers produce similar savings in operating costs. Icynene is 100% water-blown, with no hydrofluorocarbons that can off-gas into the indoor environment. Water, being a non-ozone depleting substance, does not contribute to global warming. Icynene is classified as a green product, which helps buildings qualify for Green Building programs such as LEED and NGBS (National Green Building Standard).

The Winchester Historical Society will continue to implement important and critically needed improvements to the historic Sanborn House. Future priorities include an energy and mechanical systems study, replacement of the current oil fired boiler with gas fired equipment, upgrades to the catering and kitchen facility, facade improvements and a new accessible entrance. If you can help with any of these projects, please contact the Society at 781-721-0135. Volunteers with expertise in any of these priority areas would be welcome.

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