A Matter of Synergy
SPRAY FOAM MAGAZINE – Can SPF and a correctly sized HVAC system improve energy efficiency, lower utility bills, and improve indoor air quality? The Spray Foam Magazine Team (SFMT), spoke with Synergy SprayFoam & HVAC to find out how their hybrid system, named “FOAM & FIT,” is doing just that.
All qualified spray foam contractors will be aware if a building’s energy is lost due to air leaks from, cracks, crannies, and holes which result in higher energy bills and precious energy being lost. Closed-cell spray foam is both an insulation and an air sealant/barrier, which fills in those gaps and cracks. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Energy Star program says that by adding insulation and sealing air leaks, at least 20% can be saved on an energy bill.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 56% of energy used in a home is from the air conditioning, cooling, heating, and ventilating, with an HVAC system being a crucial element in this calculation. Making sure a building has SPF installed, and a correctly fitted and maintained HVAC, may help reduce the size of the HVAC required. This hybrid system also has the potential of improving indoor air quality due to spray foam insulation acting as a barrier against pollutants like mold, dust, and allergens to help keep them out of a building.
Over a decade ago, Synergy SprayFoam & HVAC was generated through a series of events. Owners Todd Bolton and Clay Jones began a professional relationship as independent HVAC companies that reciprocated sub-contracted projects. Bolton owned and operated Titan Mechanical, LLC and Jones owned and operated Capital Cooling, Inc. In 2020, the companies merged to create Palmetto ProFoam, Inc, and they began the endeavor as a spray foam company. However, after doing business under the name Palmetto ProFoam, the company naturally gravitated towards relating expert HVAC knowledge of building physics and load calculations, with the benefits of spray foam and efficient HVAC products.
This combination of knowledge soon led to national recognition as industry-leading experts in building performance and product application. Bolton and Jones soon realized that they had to convey this concept to clients. The brand therefore needed to be redesigned to project and encompass this unique skill set. Therefore, in early 2023, Synergy SprayFoam & HVAC was born. Focusing on providing high-quality spray foam insulation services corresponding with high-efficient heating and cooling products to customers in the South Carolina area.
With over 40 years of combined experience in the construction industry, both Bolton and Jones acknowledged the need for a reliable and cost-effective insulation solution that could help homeowners and businesses save money on energy bills and improve indoor air quality.
The definition of “synergy” is the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects. “This is exactly what we achieve in building performance with the combination of spray foam & HVAC products; after-all, insulation and air conditioning are simply inverse coefficients of each other,” confirms Bolton. Jones goes on to say, “We realized we needed a term that could become recognized amongst professionals as a higher standard, so we created a name that encapsulated upfitting a home according to the needs of its specific design with HVAC products after spray foam is applied, to create an efficient and clean indoor atmosphere. As a result, we coined the name, “FOAM & FIT.”
When selling their FOAM & FIT systems to a homeowner, Synergy does a basic building performance audit to troubleshoot what is causing the flaw in the building’s existing physics. Having the unique ability of combining their advanced HVAC and spray foam expertise, they really understand thermodynamics and indoor air quality. “We find that homeowners appreciate our progressive translation of what is occurring within the dynamics of their home’s envelope, and from there we couple products that FIT their needs to create a comfortable environment that is both efficient and clean,” emphasize both Bolton and Jones.
Synergy believes contractors should not only understand how to spray foam and what foams are best suited for specific applications, but they also need to really understand why they are spraying foam, and how that application is going to change the dynamics of a building’s physics. For example, when spraying a roof deck of an attic to help reduce hot spots and make the home more comfortable, there needs to be a balance in how the contractor has affected the building’s physics, and in this case, specifically the function of the air conditioner.
Synergy only needed to learn how to spray the materials and operate a spray rig, due to their advanced background in the HVAC field with heat load calculations coinciding directly with foam application. After purchasing their first rig from Profoam Corp, the synergy was flowing. Their natural mechanical inclination and understanding of thermodynamics helps to diagnose and maintain the rig when something fails.
“One of the largest advantages of the rig we purchased from Profoam wasn’t the PH2 proportioner with 400ft of hose, it was the training and support system that came along with it. Profoam employs some of the best people in the industry. I specifically must reference Elliott Turpin for being a man that shows up and refuses to let anyone fail. Also, the unquantifiable benefit is to be associated with Doug Commette. Doug has been a mentor in the fact he is always available to bounce ideas off. His willingness to allow me to tap into his business experience with questions of my own has been a resource that I am truly grateful for. I find our relationship to be crucial in both my personal and professional growth. All those guys have since become friends, and the generosity of Ted Medford is unparalleled. Everyone at Profoam has basically become extended family to us,” emphasizes Bolton.
Many people think an air conditioner just cools their house, however, an air conditioner’s first order of business in any tropical and/or sub-tropical climate, such as Columbia, SC where Synergy is situated, is to dehumidify and have the capacity to effectively cool the space. To dehumidify, an air conditioner needs run time, and when dramatically reducing the heat load of the building by foaming its roof deck, it subsequently reduces the capacity required to cool the space. This results in the HVAC system often becoming over-sized and humidity levels are higher.
The team at Synergy is aware of this issue and if it occurs, they have options. They also make sure to lay out these possibilities around variables, such as the age of the existing HVAC. The question people need to ask is, “Is it time to proactively replace an aging HVAC with something more efficient?” If so, they suggest variable speed heat pumps with inverter compressors, such as the Daikin FIT, for extremely high efficiency and superior humidity control.
If an existing HVAC system has recently been replaced, Synergy still suggest upgrading the HVAC to a more efficient Daikin Fit, but if it is not within the budget parameters, they may suggest a whole house dehumidifier. Either way, they don’t want to spray a roof deck without addressing the changes they have created in a building’s physics.
In addition to dehumidifiers, they target building performance and indoor air quality with other products, such as energy recovery ventilators, crawlspace encapsulations, advanced filtration products, air purification products, and solar ventilation fans.
Their approach is one that combines multiple industries into a single trade, to utilize building science, to find the most effective means of achieving a high level of building performance and indoor air quality. With this viewpoint in mind, they troubleshoot existing homes at a high level to target root causes of poor performance and/or indoor air quality. Then, they design solutions for new homes utilizing their FOAM & FIT system and applications.
Synergy SprayFoam & HVAC is always looking to progress not only their business, but the solutions they can produce for healthy buildings, whether that be a home or a business. Soon, they will be releasing their own private labeled products branded FOAM & FIT to help increase the precision of their applications. With experience under their belts, and a hybrid solution for their clients, this company keeps cool even when demand for their services is hot!
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