This depends on the geographic location, insulation, and cost of electricity. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), and several roofing material manufacturers have computer programs that can estimate the savings. A growing number of energy consultants are available to provide environmental regulation compliance information.
OK, Peter, I finally went back and read Alex Wilson's article on what he perceives as a serious problem. I haven't seen the full report, but based on the summary he wrote on the Green Building Advisor website, I question the science. It seems to me that he's chosen the wrong metric and he's basing his conclusion on too many assumptions because he doesn't have enough data. You can see my comments at the end of his article.
Closed-cell (aka two-pound foam) is denser than open-cell at about 2 pounds per cubic foot. Its R-Value is between 6-6.5 per inch. As a result, this kind of foam is much more expensive than its counterpart. The reason closed-cell doesn't need a vapor retarder is because it already has one. It's permeance is 0.8 perm, which means it can handle cold climates without the use of an additional board or drywall. Closed-cell uses hydroflurocarbons (HFCs) as part of its makeup. However, this material has been known to have a high global warming effect. If you want a green insulation solution, this is not the material to use. A way to avoid this and still use closed-cell is by installing it alongside fiberglass batts.
Spray Foam Contractors
RetroFoam of Michigan has more than 15 years of experience insulating thousands of homes and pole barns across the lower peninsula. We hear a lot of misconceptions about foam insulation and work to make sure we clear up any wrong ideas about foam insulation. Our staff helped us put together this list of misconceptions adding their insights to dispel any misinformation.