Michigan’s Sault Chippewa Tribe Modernizes Housing with US Made InsulStar SPF Insulation to Preserve Tribal Cultural Tradition and Provide for Future Savings

MOUNT AIRY, NC—The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa, or Ojibwe Indians, commonly shortened to the more colloquial Sault Tribe, of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan plans for the future with the past in mind. When Kincheloe Air Force Base, familiar as the airport in Die Hard 2 starring Bruce Willis, closed in 1977 the progressive tribe bought up 400 housing units on the base, which continues as a sort of town-within a-town that includes a correctional facility, manufacturing plants, schools, and the Chippewa County International Airport. The Housing Authority rehabilitated 96 of those units and rent them out to tribal members. So far the Housing Authority has constructed over 400 housing units and now owns and manages just over 510 units in the Upper Peninsula of MI.

With federal funds from the 2009 stimulus program under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Sault Tribe is modernizing and rehabilitating the low-to-moderate income housing by weatherizing them to meet new stricter building codes and be more energy efficient. Joni Talentino, Sault Tribe Housing Authority director, says the program is based on the Sault Tribe’s traditions of caring for human life, especially the elders and those who are considered in the low-to-moderate income range. “The Sault Tribe has over 36,000 members,” says Talentino. “The money we earn from our economic development efforts goes back into tribal health care, education, and well-being. It is tribal tradition of our Ojibwe culture to care for members of the tribe, so we are rehabbing these older units and using sustainable products and methods to provide for their comfort, meet stricter building codes, save them on energy costs, and use our natural resources more wisely.” Talentino says the process includes sealing air leaks, new windows, new plywood and vinyl siding, and newer, better insulation. Talentino says after researching the “best practices” of current and future U.S. building they chose InsulStar spray polyurethane foam (SPF) insulation, made by U.S. company NCFI Polyurethanes. “We work with Great Lakes Roofing and Insulation and they showed us the superior R-value, longevity, product quality, experience of the manufacturer, and water and air barrier qualities of InsulStarSPF insulation, so we chose it for our projects.”

Henry Behling, of Great Lakes Roofing and Insulation, Inc., Sault Ste. Marie, MI, says his company was glad to help. “The Air Force built those units with 2’x4’ walls, not the more commonly used 2’x6’ walls. They crammed as much fiberglass insulation in the smaller wall cavity as they could, but Lake-effect snow causes between 100–250 inches of snow per year in the U.P., and our average daily temperature in January is only 20.5 degrees, so buildings need better insulation. InsulStar is spray foam insulation, which means a few inches of foam can reach higher R-values so 2’x4’ walls can easily meet the R-21 code, and roofs and ceilings can hit R-49.”

Behling says his company chooses InsulStar because they trust NCFI. “We’ve sprayed foam for many years and, unlike other foams, we’ve never had a problem with InsulStar. It’s a superior quality product. They’ve [NCFI] been doing this since 1967, and that long experience, commitment to supporting their customers, and friendly, helpful, on-call support makes it feel more like they are a small company across town instead of the large company with plants all across the U.S. That makes a big difference to our business.”

Talentino and Behling agree InsulStar is the right insulation for making the tribal housing more comfortable, more energy efficient, and to meet strict codes of the U.P. and the traditions of the Ojibwe peoples.

For more information or to arrange an interview on this subject contact Dale McGlothlin, (202) 341-8615


NCFI, headquartered in Mt. Airy, NC since 1964, manufactures polyurethane foam chemical systems for spray foam-in-place insulation (SPF), roofing, marine floatation, packaging, specialty molding, and many other uses. The company also offers a complete line of flexible foams for furniture seating, transportation seating, bedding, carpet underlay, and packaging. NCFI also has manufacturing plants in Hickory, N.C., Dalton, GA., and Salt Lake City, UT. To learn more about NCFI please visit www.NCFI.com.
For more info on companies, people, and products above please visit these sites: