Archives for April 2013

BC Insulators Speak to NIA

lee NIA blog

Lee Loftus of the BC Insulators along with Jeff Besant form Besant and Associates spoke this morning to the National Insulation Association (NIA). The NIA Annual Convention is the premier gathering for the mechanical insulation industry, offering valuable and unique educational sessions to those in attendance. Mr. Loftus stated it was a wonderful opportunity to address important industry issues, and looks forward to continuing working together building an even stronger relationship with suppliers of mechanical insulation services.

Ontario Insulators speak to Government


In early February, Ontario the Ontario Insulators attended the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Convention and the FCM Sustainability Conference in Winsor Ontario. The BC Insulators spoke to those in attendance about mechanical insulation as a sound sustainable investment that makes sense. Connecting stakeholders from around the province is the first step in a multi-step process aimed at creating a unified message and lobbying goals.

Willingness to invest in sustainability has become more than a fad in the last ten years. But despite good-intentioned investments, green and ethical investors in BC and Ontario are finding that they are not receiving their expected sustainability returns. Anticipated benefits such as long term reductions in energy costs & emissions reduced premature structure loss due to unwanted condensation and increased acoustical benefits have not materialized as expected.

Few people realize that once insulation becomes wet through condensation, its R-Value is destroyed and effectively becomes useless for insulation. The highest airborne mold concentrations are found in buildings with poor mechanical insulation. Additionally, many structures within public buildings have prematurely failed or had to be replaced because unnecessary condensation has rotted structures such as drywall, cement, wood and metal.

Mr Loftus of the BC Insulators stated “As an industry we need to support the government in their commitment to reducing Green House Gas (GHG), but we need to gain their support so that they enforce existing code and best practices and stop greenwashing the oversight the of the industry. We can start by making a strong argument for good sense sustainable investments. We can look at this in the context of home-buyers. When we buy a home, we make certain assumptions. We assume there is insulation in the attic. But as an industry we have to deliver the message that the insulation is not just located in the attic — and depending on the contractor there may be no insulation at all”.

Mr Loftus whent on to say We have an industry that should be poised to reap the rewards of green building designs. We need a commitment from both provincial and municipal government on the need to implement quality, inspected mechanical insulation application in all its forms.

When mechanical insulation systems are applied and then inspected by a third party inspection process, lapses in the application system will be omitted and clients and owners will be able to concentrate on measurements that show savings on operational and maintenance costs. Our commitment to stakeholders should to be that when mechanical insulation is properly installed in their buildings by trade professionals who haven’t circumvented the building code – just work.

Ontario Insulators look to the future as poor practices are being uncovered.

Lee Loftus, Business Manager for the BC Insulators, and Ken Walsh, Business Manager for Insulators 95 joined forces in February 2013 to address the Mechanical Insulation Association of Ontario (MIA) AGM in Toronto. The topic of their talk was the greening the Mechanical Insulation Industry.

MIA members are mostly made up of insulation contractors and suppliers.

Lee Loftus spoke of an urgent need to increase political and public awareness of the insulation trade. Despite a significant culture shift in public attitudes towards green initiatives, the insulation trade has not benefited.

This sentiment couldn’t have better timing for the Ontario MIA members.

Nearly the entire residential condominium insulation market has buckled to the low-bid system. This has created a two-tier system which has driven professionals out of the vocation and encouraged the non-unionization of a significant percentage of our workforce along with the insulation businesses. This two-tiered system has created a collapse in demand for qualified union members who are trained to use high-quality techniques as well as a loss of interest in installing materials in concealed areas.

People and government often ignore the easy green payback that can be achieved with a little strategic investment. Mechanical Insulation unfortunately is a “hidden” trade. Many people don’t know what it is. Mechanical insulation mostly takes place hidden from view behind closed walls. As a result value engineering or “green washing” has become an excellent place for contractors and sub-contractors to skimp and even omit altogether.

Just like the BC Insulators, the Ontario Insulators and the MIA need to invest efforts in their messaging of the benefits of their trade. Our collective prosperity depends on it. We need to play a major leadership role in the future direction of our industry if we want to survive.

Ontario Insulators are beginning to profile construction projects to find poor practices across Ontario. Third party inspection and the enforcement of will be a key component in preventing shoddy construction practices.

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