December 17

What are lenders looking for?

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest During my farm management school in December in Urbana, I invited a panel of ag lenders to answer questions about what they are looking for in a potential client and what can clients do to build stronger relationships with their lenders. The panelists were Greg Kinght with Civista Bank in Urbana, Paul Lensman with Agri Business Finance in St. Paris and Rudi Perry with Farm Credit Mid-America.Here are the questions asked and a summary of their responses.Q: What characteristics do you look for in a potential client?A: Character is a big part of the lending decision. Is the person honest? Trustworthy? Do they have the responsibility, knowledge and experience to be successful? Q: How does the current economic outlook for agriculture affect the lending decision?A: The big questions is: what is the producer doing to protect themselves? We don’t see crop prices increasing anytime soon. Having a contingency plan is a great way to show us that they are planning for future and not taking each day as it comes. Q: What about debt re-structuring? What does that look like and what are the options?A: It is very situational dependent. We are proponents of constructive credit but sometimes it does not make sense. Replenishing working capital through selling assets or spreading debt out over several years can also be an answer. FSA guarantee loans may be an option or restructuring loans on longer terms can work for some farm operations. Q: What land value, dollar per acre, are you willing to finance?A: We mostly prefer not to put a dollar figure on land value and look more at loan to value. That figure has been reduced somewhat from five years ago and the borrower will likely have to make a larger down payment or add more equity than in recent years. Overall land will be a good long-term investment. Q: What is your first impression of the new tax law and how it might impact agriculture?A: It likely will not have an effect on lending but there is a concern about the overall increase in the deficit. The legislature could look to make the deficit up in the farm bill by cutting farm programs. Q: Do you have programs for young and/or beginning farmers?A: Farm Credit has recently created a Young and Beginning Farmer program. Some benefits include up to 85% loan to value and not quite 50% equity for loans. It also has a two-day farm finance educational program. Lenders also work with FSA guarantees and are willing to work with new farmers. Q: What information do you need from niche or specialty crop producers?A: We want to make sure the producer has a very good understanding of producing and marketing that product. If the farmer knows what they are doing and can back it up with data, we will definitely consider it for a loan. The farmer just needs to be prepared to educate their lender. If the equipment being used as collateral is very specialized, it will likely have a lower loan to value ratio because it is a lot harder to move that equipment. Diversification can be a good thing! Q: How do you determine the operating line of credit for a farm?A: We want the customer to establish that number based on their farm and cash flow. Q: How do you determine the value of collateral?A: We use several different sources such as local sales, online equipment listings such as tractorhouse.com, Hot Line Farm Equipment Guide and even some outside appraisers. When using real estate as collateral, we always use an appraiser. Q: What about if I’m putting it on my balance sheet?A: Farmers can do it as cost less depreciation but most lenders prefer the market value using recent sales. We just ask that the farmer is consistent from year to year and if changes are made, be prepared to tell the lender why the value was increased or decreased. Q: Where do you see farmers making errors on their balance sheets?A: Missing pre-paid expenses on the assets side and missing accounts payable to go with them. Credit card debit is also often left off. Remember that long-term loans have a portion that is due each year and that portion of the loan needs to be moved up to current liabilities. Accrued interest is another that can be missed.Sole proprietorships have assets and liabilities for non-farm assets that need to be reported on the balance sheet or create a second balance sheet for the non-farm portion. We start looking into everything after meeting with the borrower. It is better for the borrower to bring up everything rather than us find it in our research afterwards.It is important to the lender to know what the ownership structure is: LLC, sole proprietorship, corporation, etc. If you are making some risk separation business decisions using these entities, it can help us make a lending decision in your favor. Q: How often would you like customers to communicate with you?A: It depends on the situation but definitely when major life events occur and it is always better to share something with your lender before we hear it from someone else. It is also nice to hear from the farmer when they are considering purchasing a new piece of equipment, making changes to planned crops, or what their marketing plan might be. Q: If a farmer participates in the FINPACK program, does that add value?A: We are impressed when someone uses the program. It shows that they have attention to detail and discipline in record keeping. The benchmarking piece also allows them to discuss with us areas where they excel and where they would like to make improvements. Q: What should a client bring to a meeting?A:• Entity paperwork such as articles of incorporation, bylaws, partnership operating agreement, LLC setup, etc.• Three years of tax returns, these are not always needed but if they are, we have them and don’t need to contact you to follow-up.• A current balance sheet is a must and multiple year-end balance sheets are even better.• We don’t always need to see your insurance information up front but we may need it so have it ready.• For new or expanding enterprises, we need to see a business plan.• Cost of production and cash flow or budgets.They summed up the panel by asking the audience what they can do for the farmers. Lenders want to make loans so how can they serve farmers better? There are very few problems you can’t work through with your lender if you have a good relationship.Greg Knight can be reached at 937-653-1165 or gpknight@civistabank.comPaul Lensman can be reached at 937-663-0186 or pelensman@agribusinessfinance.netRudi Perry is a regional vice president for Farm Credit and recommends contacting your local office to speak with a lender.last_img read more

December 17

Twitter’s Psychologist Strikes Again: Analyze Your Lists

first_imgjolie odell The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos When I looked at results for the list of women I follow, I saw they tweet a lot about sex, themselves, the past, anxiety and negative emotions, in that order. It was like watching an episode of Sex and the City flash before my eyes. They tweeted very little about money, learning, control (including self-control) and constructive behavior. Keep in mind, this isn’t a generalization about the state of womanhood on the Internet; I follow a very limited and eclectic group of ladies, all of whom I find very charming in their own fashion.Of course, I had to check out the stats on the ReadWriteWeb crew. We seem to tweet a lot about leisure and activities other than work. Uh, don’t tell the boss? However, tweets about work finished a close third, right behind tweets about ourselves. As a group, we don’t tend to tweet about personal things, such as money, sex or emotions.Other interesting hypotheses can be drawn when examining “social media” and “technology” lists. Many geek-centric lists I examined were shockingly devoid of tweets about leisure, positive or other emotions or physical sensations and dominated by tweets about learning, the self and control. Perhaps this is due to our realization that the personal and professional are quickly merging and our perceived need to present a reasonably consistent face and least objectionable programming-type content.At any rate, Zarrella’s given us another insightful peek into how Twitter reveals interesting snippets of information about various demographics and sociological segments.Give the new lists function a spin, and let us know your findings in the comments! Tags:#twitter#web And my lengthy list of San Francisco/Bay Area people on Twitter gave evidence of a complete lack of interest in celebrities and a preoccupation with self, the future and control.But when I looked at my “Southern Comfort” list of geeks south of the Mason-Dixon line, I got a very different picture. These folks are using the social web to tweet about their emotions, the passage of time, themselves, and dreams of unconscious thoughts, while they tweet less than others about celebrities, sex and money. Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro…center_img Dan Zarrella has long impressed us with his discourses on the science of retweets, as well as his psychoanalytic apps that scan and parse Twitter streams – one for general analysis and one for dreams.His latest project, TweetPsych for lists, is an enlightening and often amusing look at what your lists are talking about, how they view the world, what turns them on (or off), and more. Depending on how you group your Twitter friends, you can make interesting generalizations or conjectures about society as a whole. What do the denizens of L.A. or San Francisco tweet about most? What about women – what’s got them buzzing? Read on for more on precisely that cross-section of the Twittersphere.My “I Heart L.A.” list, a curation of tweets from the L.A. tech scene, shows a hilarious preoccupation with sex and a lack of tweeting about work, for example. A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification Related Posts last_img read more

December 16

What is Apple Without Steve Jobs?

first_imgRelated Posts From all the little decisions to all the big ones, Jobs has his hand in a lot of it. You can see his name on an array of Apple?s patents for instance. He was even known to pick the music for iPod commercials. Since his return in 1997, Apple has become very dependent on his leadership and vision, and the culture that he infused into the company. As a result, he?s the source of Apple?s greatest strength. But he?s also the source of its greatest weakness, and that?s simply because he’s irreplaceable.Photo credits: top photo by BENM.AT Live Coverage; WWDC 2006, Collin Allen; WWDC 2007, acaben; WWDC 2008, Tom Coates; Newsweek, Business Week and Time magazine covers via Ballistik Coffee Boy; UnixWorld via mrbill.A History of Apple Without Jobs By now you’ve probably seen several reports about how Steve Jobs, 55, has taken a medical leave of absence to focus on his health. According to the New York Times, an anonymous source at Apple stated that Jobs had been looking “increasingly emaciated,” and that he was on a “down cycle” leading up to his medical leave announcement.It’s well-known that Jobs had pancreatic cancer, a rare form called islet cell neuroendocrine tumor with an incident rate of 2 per 1 million people. He was originally diagnosed in 2003 and successfully treated with a variation on the “Whipple” procedure, called a pancreatoduodenectomy, on July 31, 2004. This procedure includes the removal of part of the stomach and small intestine, portions of the duodenum, the head of the pancreas, the gallbladder, the common bile duct and regional lymph nodes.According to a Fortune magazine profile of Jobs, for nine months leading up to his surgery he tried alternative therapies, with reports that he had initially refused traditional Western medicine. He finally acquiesced to pressures from those close to him after a scan revealed growth in his tumor, and went through with the Whipple procedure. Without having to receive chemotherapy or radiation, he ended up recovering, back at Apple shortly after his surgery. WWDC 2006, 2007, 2008Over the next few years, Jobs became noticeably thinner. It’s not uncommon for those who have undergone a Whipple procedure to lose body mass. However, according to The Center for Pancreatic and Biliary Diseases at the University of Southern California, Department of Surgery, it’s usually only around 5% to 10% of the body’s regular weight, and “stabilizes very rapidly”. Based on his appearance, this hasn’t seemed to have been the case with Jobs.When he announced the iPhone 3G on June 9, 2008, about four years after his original cancer surgery, his weight sparked rumors in both the media and the Apple community that his cancer had returned. Apple PR was quick to respond, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that he was suffering from a “common bug.”In January 2009, he took another medical leave of absence. Just like now, the media was buzzing. To quell speculation, Jobs wrote an open letter to the Apple community on Jan. 5, right before MacWorld 2009 San Francisco, explaining that his weight loss was due to a hormone imbalance that had been “robbing” his body of essential proteins, and that he had already begun treatment.Guest author Ryan Vetter is a Project Manager at liquidpubs. He has published articles on MacNN, and is the author of an upcoming book “People, Technology, and Change”. His interests revolve around education, publishing, and technology. One week later, he wrote an email to Apple employees explaining that his health issues were “more complex” than he had originally thought, and that he would be taking a six month medical leave of absence. During his absence, Tim Cook, Apple’s COO became operations manager while Jobs remained CEO and was still involved in all major strategic decisions for the company.The same month in which he was to return from his absence, The Wall Street Journal reported that Jobs had received a liver transplant in Tennessee and was recovering. As Fortune would later report, he flew to Switzerland prior to his transplant to undergo an “unusual radiological treatment” at the University of Basel. According to Fortune, he chose the University of Basel because it had developed a unique form of hormone-delivered radiotherapy to treat neuroendocrine cancer. This treatment isn’t currently available in the U.S.When Jobs appeared on stage at an Apple Special Event in September looking frail and speaking in a soft-pitched voice, he told the world that he had indeed received a liver transplant. It?s still unclear whether the transplant was due to a recurrence of cancer spreading to his liver, or because of some other reason. However, it may have been due to a recurrence of his cancer, since a liver transplant is a treatment option for people whose neuroendocrine tumors have metastasized to the liver itself. This would also explain his trip to Switzerland.Now that he’s on another medical leave of absence, there’s speculation that he has either had a recurrence of cancer or that he’s having difficulty with the immunosuppressants he takes, better known as anti-rejection drugs. Without these drugs, the body would quickly mark and attack any transplanted organs because they contain foreign DNA.Since we’re not at a the point where we can grow new organs from patients’ own stem cells, Jobs has to deal with the side effects of anti-rejection drugs. Those are increased risks of disease and infection, in addition to an increased risk of tumors recurring. Apple is characteristically tight-lipped about Jobs’ medical issues, and has not stated exactly what kinds of medical problems he?s experiencing.There has been much debate about whether shareholders have the right to know more details about the CEO’s condition, including information about a succession plan.Here’s why I’m not terribly interested in succession plans.Let’s assume for the moment that Jobs will not be returning to Apple.Apple Without JobsThere?re two camps when it comes to the topic of Apple sans Jobs. One camp is optimistic. Apple is comprised of great people from top-to-bottom, and because the company has so much depth, it would continue to be successful well into the future – particularly because it’s believed that it has a set of products and services in the pipeline that will carry it for the next two-to-five years.The other camp is not so optimistic. They believe Apple will never be the same company without Jobs. The thinking goes something like this: Apple equals Steve Jobs. Without Jobs, there is no Apple. As many great people as they may have, without a leader to steer the ship, there will be no vision, no navigator.I tend to side more with these folks than I do with the optimistic ones. I don’t think Apple will fall face-first if Jobs is unable to return, but eventually, it’ll lose some ground and focus. Jobs is a special kind of person. He’s one of the few that can lead a company through all the competitive detritus in the world, and make it sing.Thanks to Jobs, Apple is one of the most innovative companies. He’s the perfect blend of a consumer and a businessman all wrapped into one, creative, visionary body. He strives for ultimate perfection and accepts nothing less. With his famous reality distortion field, he?s able to push people to new heights, and shake up entire industries. He’s a Da Vinci and a tyrant all in one. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Jobs the VisionaryHistory doesn’t necessarily have to repeat itself. However, since Jobs is so unique and adept at creating the most innovative consumer technology, if he is unable to return, not only will it be a major loss for Apple, but for the world. We’d be stuck with Microsoft’s wares. Smartphones would likely still be dumb-phones. There’d be no iPad.He’s a change agent. We’ll look back and marvel at his creations.Jobs is one of the only individuals who has the ability to see the future with such sharp clarity, while at the same time is able to deliver that future today in a way that makes sense to consumers. As Sculley stated in Odyssey, his memoir, “What I perceived as symbols of the new technological age, Steve saw as low tech junk, remnants of antiquated technology that polluted the area’s beauty. He was right. Steve was mentally living twenty-five years in the future.”In a now-famous interview in Playboy in early 1985, the interviewer asked Jobs about the purpose of personal computers in the home. Jobs replied, “The most compelling reason for most people to buy a computer for the home will be to link it into a nationwide communications network. We?re just in the beginning stages of what will be a truly remarkable breakthrough for most people–as remarkable as the telephone.” And that’s exactly what happened. The PC industry exploded as soon as the Internet hit critical mass.A more recent example is from an interview Jobs did on CNBC after the announcement of the first iPhone in 2007: “I think the iPhone may really change the whole phone industry… I think this is where the world’s going… This is the future… I don’t see why everybody wouldn’t want one of these.”I hope history doesn’t repeat itself should Jobs end up not returning to Apple. And we may not even reach that point. He could get better, and be right back at the helm full-time. In fact, in a recent study , long-term survival rates for neuroendocrine pancreatic cancer can be as high as 77% post-surgery.Here’s hoping that Jobs makes a speedy recovery. WWDC 2010 photo by BENM.AT Live Coverage. Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… During Jobs’ absence, Apple ended up nearly bankrupt. According to Jobs, when he first got back to Apple, it was within 90 days of bankruptcy. The stock had tanked; its product line was a mess. There was no real business strategy.While anything can happen in the future, we do have some prior knowledge of what Apple was like without Jobs at the helm. Let’s look back to 1983. Jobs et al. were hard at work on the all-in-one Macintosh computer. With sales of its previous computers, like the Apple II, having transformed it from being a basement business into a multi-million dollar company in just a few years, it needed to not only look like a big company, but act like it too.In order to achieve this, Jobs, among others at Apple, decided that they should bring in someone from the corporate world to run things. At this point, Jobs and company were self-aware enough about how hippy-ish Apple’s culture was and that it needed some kind of father to come in and watch over it.Jobs and the company chose John Sculley, the CEO of PepsiCo. Sculley exemplified the cold, withdrawn, hard-nosed CEO they were looking for. In a now famous line, Jobs called up Sculley and said, “Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life or do you want to come with me and change the world?” While they developed a close relationship in the beginning, Sculley was immediately taken aback by how out-of-control both Jobs and Apple as a company was upon his arrival. For instance, as Sculley stated in his memoir Odyssey, at one of his first meetings with Jobs and other Apple executives, there were people interrupting and insulting each other, acting rude. “Many of them traded insults as often as kids used to trade baseball cards,” he wrote.Fast forward two years. At this point, Sculley managed to rally the board against Jobs, which resulted in him being removed from power. Feeling dejected, Jobs left Apple in September, 1985. Shortly before Jobs?s departure, Sculley had also executed a massive layoff, axing 1,200 jobs from Apple?s payroll. Apple wouldn’t be same again until 1997, when Jobs officially came back to Apple.During Jobs’ absence, Apple ended up nearly bankrupt. According to Jobs, when he first got back to Apple, it was within 90 days of bankruptcy. The stock had tanked; its product line was a mess. There was no real business strategy. Sculley was responsible for a lot of the trouble Apple was in. As Jobs said in an interview in Rolling Stone in 1994:center_img Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting guest author 1 Tags:#Analysis#Apple#web A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… “[Microsoft was] able to copy the Mac because the Mac was frozen in time. The Mac didn’t change much for the last 10 years. It changed maybe 10 percent. It was a sitting duck. It’s amazing that it took Microsoft 10 years to copy something that was a sitting duck. Apple, unfortunately, doesn’t deserve too much sympathy. They invested hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars into R&D, but very little came out. They produced almost no new innovation since the original Mac itself.”Billions of dollars were spent under Sculley’s rule, with hardly any product output. For instance, Apple tried to create a new, cutting-edge operating system in the late 1980s code-named “Pink”. Because of problems with memory leaks, processing power and more, they weren’t able to output a product. This was part of the beginning of Apple’s troubles. With other expensive R&D initiatives that didn’t result in any consumer products, the bills added up, and quickly.In 1993, the same year the first Newton MessagePad was launched, Sculley?s pet project that ended up costing the company hundreds of millions of dollars, Apple was beginning to seriously question Sculley’s ability to run the company. It didn’t help that its six-year lawsuit against Microsoft over the ownership of a graphical user interface operating system had just been dismissed. Around this time, Sculley admitted to his secretary that he was tired and was thinking about leaving Apple. In June of that year, the board removed Sculley from power, and placed Michael Spindler as CEO.Shortly after, Sculley left Apple.By the end of 1996, Apple was in disarray, unable to recover from its past mistakes, and was on its third CEO of the decade. Its stock was trading at $5.22.While there were some good things to come out of the company sans Jobs, like the PowerBook, it was losing relevance and desperately needed a new operating system. Windows had most of the world’s market-share. At that point, Windows was more advanced than the Classic Mac OS, since it sort of multi-tasked, whereas the Classic Mac OS, full of legacy code and old technologies, didn’t. The Mac had simply been frozen in time.Since Apple failed at creating a new operating system, it decided to try and buy one.But which one? There wasn’t much choice. They courted a few companies, one being Sun Microsystems. But they soon found themselves on Jobs’ doorstep. It was the little-known NeXT operating system they were after.When Jobs had originally left Apple, not only would he go on to found Pixar, which produced Toy Story in 1995, he started a new computer company called NeXT, Inc. It was there that he created what many believed at the time to be the world’s most advanced operating system: NeXTSTEP. It could multi-task, it supported multiple processors, and had excellent graphics support. It was essentially OS X, born 15 years earlier.Apple came back into Jobs’ life just at the right time. After some 10 years on the market, NeXT wasn’t profitable. But it housed incredible innovation.With Apple now at his mercy, Jobs had the opportunity to make something out of what he created at NeXT, and, most importantly, redeem himself. He seemed particularly focused on the latter. In an interview from Triumph of the Nerds, he had this to say about Sculley: “What can I say? I hired the wrong guy. He destroyed everything I spent ten years working for, starting with me, but that wasn’t the saddest part. I would have gladly left Apple if Apple would have turned out like I wanted it to.”This was Jobs’ chance to turn Apple around, and make it into the company he always wanted it to be. And that was a consumer company. Sculley lacked the unified vision Jobs had for Apple, teetering between a focus on business and an interest in consumers. This confused Apple’s R&D initiatives and product lines. An example is the Newton.As Jobs stated in the above-referenced Rolling Stone interview, “A perfect example is the PDA stuff, like Apple’s Newton. I’m not real optimistic about it…they thought individuals were going to buy them and give them to their families…at $1,500 a pop with a cellular modem in them, I don’t think too many people are going to buy three or four for their family. The people who are going to buy them in the first five years are mobile professionals.” The Newton ended up being used by mobile professionals, and didn’t gain much ground with consumers, just as Jobs had predicted.Jobs had originally built the company around the idea that it was primarily to be a consumer company, betting against Xerox on the idea that personal computers were just that: personal.He made a deal with Apple in 1997, sold NeXT and all its assets to them, and returned to run the company. He swiftly simplified and “consumerized” Apple’s product line, reducing the number of products, and streamlining their marketing.From 1997 until now, the rest is history. Apple’s stock (NASDAQ:AAPL) went from a decade-low of $3.28 at the end of 1997 to a high of $348.60 as of January, 2011, with almost $60 billion in cash and marketable securities. Apple has risen to be the second most valuable publicly traded company in the world, second to Exxon (NYSE:XOM).Shortly after Jobs returned in 1997, industry-changing products and services were spun out incredibly quickly; the Clamshell iBook, iMac and Titanium PowerBooks, Mac OS X, iTunes, the iPod, the iPhone, movie and TV show rentals, the MacBook Air, and the iPad, among others.last_img read more

December 16

Is Tripolymer Spray Foam Insulation a Healthy Choice?

first_img GREEN PRODUCT GUIDE According to C.P. Chemical, the foam won’t melt, and won’t support combustion. Its combustion byproducts are “significantly less toxic” than those of white pine.Like polyurethane insulation, Tripolymer is a two-part compound. Unlike polyurethane foams, Tripolymer 105 does not expand as it’s applied. It solidifies within 30 seconds and has a density of between 0.8 lb. and 1.3 lb. per cubic foot. Cured Tripolymer has a perm rating of 15.5 to 16.9 per inch and R-5.1 per inch. The company says it shows no thermal degradation over time.Here’s where the confusion sets in.Cassie responds that tripolymer is urea-formaldehyde insulation. “It is plastic. Will not burn, but it will melt and the fumes will kill you. Recently marketed in Canada under the name Retro foam. Once the Canadian government found out, the company was shut down and is now in a 500 million dollar lawsuit. Marketed around the US by various names the producer is CP Chemical out of White Plains New York.”Cassie is half right. There is indeed a product called RetroFoam , sold by Polymaster in Knoxville, TN.And it is a urea-formaldehyde insulation that is identified on the company’s Web site as a “tri-polymer resin.”Banned in CanadaHealth Canada in February 2009 issued an advisory warning consumers that RetroFoam of Canada “imported and illegally sold” a product that had been banned there since 1980 under the country’s Hazardous Products Act.“Health Canada issued a ‘cease and desist’ letter to RetroFoam of Canada Incorporated, the Canadian importer of the insulation, to stop all importation and sale of RetroFoam in Canada,” the advisory said. “Health Canada also instructed Enerliv, the Canadian distributor of RetroFoam, to stop all sale, advertisement and further installations of the product and to call back any unused product.”The problem is off-gassing formaldehyde, a chemical that can cause a variety of health problems and is listed by the Environmental Protection Agency as a possible carcinogen in humans.Urea-formaldehyde is found in some pressed wood products, such as particleboard, hardwood plywood paneling and medium density fiberboard.Urea-formaldehyde foam insulation (UFFI) installed during the 1970s resulted in “relatively high indoor concentrations of formaldehyde,” the EPA says. “Few homes are now being insulated with this product. Studies show that formaldehyde emissions from UFFI decline with time; therefore, homes in which UFFI was installed many years ago are unlikely to have high levels of formaldehyde now.”True enough, Polymaster says, RetroFoam is banned in Canada, as well as in California, Massachusetts and Vermont.But, the company adds, the insulation has been reformulated since its original introduction and now meets federal emission standards. Some regulatory agencies just haven’t caught up.No connection, says C.P. ChemicalFair or not, urea-formaldehyde foam insulation has a bad reputation and still makes potential home buyers nervous. RetroFoam’s use of the word “tri-polymer” may be a marketing detour around the problem. Click on “About” at the company’s Web site and you’ll look in vain for any mention of its urea-formaldehyde formulationBut whatever similarities in Web-site jargon, there is no connection between RetroFoam and C.P. Chemical, maker of Tripolymer 105.None, C.P. says. Nor is Tripolymer 105 a urea-formaldehyde product.In the end, we have two different products, both of which differ from polyurethane foams, king of the high-performance insulation market.We asked Alex Wilson, founder of BuildingGreen and publisher of the GreenSpec Directory for his take on the question:First, Wilson says, it’s “remarkably difficult” to get detailed, reliable information from foam manufacturers. Urea-formaldehyde was a real problem back in the 1970s, enough so that the Canadian government launched a program to remove it from houses, Wilson says. As a result, some manufacturers shifted to a phenol-formaldehyde formulation that proved better at chemically binding formaldehyde and lowering emissions.The same can be said of certain wood products: products made with phenol-formaldehyde resin off-gas less than urea-formaldehyde products.Polyurethane foams may be the better choiceWilson says his “expectation” would be that polyurethane foams are, on the whole, healthier choices. After they have cured, VOC emissions are extremely low and the foam should pose no problems to all but those who have chemical sensitivities. In any event, they don’t off-gas formaldehyde. He’s “not as confident” of either phenol- or urea-formaldehyde products.Bottom Line: Third-party testing neededIn the end, he adds, the discussion points to the benefits of a third-party testing program that does not currently exist. That would make it easier for consumers like Cordano to get basic health and safety information about products they’re tempted to put into their homes. VIDEO: Green Builder Won’t Compromise on the Envelope InsulationSprayed Insulation When builders talk about spray-foam insulation, we assume they’re referring to a two-part polyurethane compound. But not always, as a recent Q&A demonstrates.Amanda Cordano launched an interesting but inconclusive conversation when she asked for advice on “Tripolymer product,” which had been told was a green product with no health risks.Cordano found nothing to contradict that in her queries on the web, but she points out that all the sites she found were sponsored by foam companies. “Do you have any information on the potential downside of this foam?” she asks.Which ‘tripolymer’ is it?The first step might be to identify exactly what Cordano is asking about. “Tripolymer” is a product of C.P. Chemical Co. of White Plains, NY, marketed as Tripolymer 105. The company says it is composed of “modified phenolic based methylene bound copolymers” that were first developed by C.P. Chemical in 1966 as a fire resistant thermal and acoustic insulation. RELATED MULTIMEDIA Does Spray Foam Insulation Out-Gas Poisonous Fumes?Insulation ChoicesSpray Foam Insulation: Open and Closed CellPRO/CON: Open-Cell Foam Beats Closed-Cell FoamPRO/CON: Closed-Cell Foam Beats Open-Cell Foam RELATED ARTICLES last_img read more