Polyurethane foam has provided an effective means of insulation in agricultural buildings for the past 30 years, particularly in root crop stores and livestock buildings.

It provides a good barrier against heat loss, meaning less insulation thickness is needed.

It also has the advantage of adhering directly to roof and wall cladding, thereby eliminating voids in which rodents could nest and breed.

The finished surface is non-toxic and odourless, has low water absorption and high resistance to chemical attack.

This allows for best-practice hygiene measures to be adopted.

The surface will withstand power washing up to 80C and 500 psi and BUFCA-approved companies use foams that meet Class 1 Surface Spread of Flame standards.

Class 0 fire-resistant foams are available coated with a water-based intumescent paint.

The material’s sealing capabilities mean air leakage during fogging and gassing is eliminated.

It also helps ventilation systems to operate to their full potential, making it particularly suitable for livestock buildings – especially pigs and poultry – as it allows the farmer to control the ventilation and temperature far more effectively.

Applying the system externally means internal condensation of feed bins can be eliminated.

In the aftermath of spiralling fuel prices, demand for energy-efficient agricultural buildings is on the rise and BUFCA says it expects a jump in demand from farmers for polyurethane foam to cut heating costs.

Initial outlay is recouped very quickly.

One popular use is in redundant buildings converted to non-farming use.

The new building regulations that arrive in April 2006 will tighten thermal insulation standards and need to be taken into account when choosing spray insulation thickness.

Injected systems are also suitable for many farming situations.

The liquid polyurethane foam is injected into pre-formed cavities in crop stores and livestock buildings, eliminating mechanical and stock damage to the lower wall areas.

BUFCA provides technical advice on all aspects of design and application (01428 654 011 or www.bufca.co.uk).

fwfeatures@rbi.co.uk