Expanded polystyrene (EPS)
isn't just foam insulation, it's an innovative building
material that lends to the design and structural integrity
of many building projects. Since the 1950's, EPS has been
recognized as a mainstream insulation material, but over the
past decade, new applications using EPS have expanded, and
EPS now serves as a powerful design element. Today the EPS
industry uses highly sophisticated processes and
technologies to manufacture cost-effective products.
|EPS insulation products have been the
subject of extensive research and evaluation over a 30-plus
year lifespan. Encompassing a multitude of construction
applications from roofing to below grade, the EPS industry
stands behind its product with real-world test results.
Research data from third party testing laboratories such as
Oakridge National Laboratories, National Research Council of
Canada, Florida Solar Energy Center and Structural Research,
Inc. lend confidence to specifiers, architects and
The thermal resistance, or
R-value, of EPS may be used without any adjustment for
A study by the Energy Materials
Testing Lab (EMTL) has shown that EPS insulation installed in
well constructed roofs does not absorb appreciable moisture,
even under conditions characteristic of prolonged, cold, damp
EPS is able to withstand the
abuse of temperature cycling, assuring long-term performance.
EPS insulation is an inert,
organic material produced from petroleum and natural gas
by-products. EPS insulation does not contain
chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) or hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs).
Energy Savings and the Environment
EPS insulation systems reduce energy
consumption. With energy savings comes environmental
benefits. Specifically, the reduction of fossil fuels burned
to create energy. By reducing our energy consumption, we
reduce combustion by-products that lead to smog and
contribute to global warming.
A home built with EPS construction
systems such as Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) or
Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) can reduce enough energy
consumption to eliminate 2-3 tons of CO2 emissions to our
atmosphere per year when compared to a similar home built
with 2x dimensional lumber. Over the life of a 30 year
mortgage, the home built with EPS building techniques can
save our atmosphere 60-90 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
After its original life as
insulation, EPS is 100 percent recyclable, and can be recycled into a variety of consumer
and industrial products.
Recycled EPS is ground and
reincorporated into new EPS products or thermally processed
to make a resin that can be used to remanufacture new
Northwest Foam has been
reprocessing in-plant scrap for many years.
EPS manufacturing uses little energy and
creates little pollution. EPS products save resources by
reducing energy consumption through insulation systems.
EPS is inert and stable. EPS does not
produce methane gas or contaminating leachates.
Waste to Energy
EPS provides a
clean source for WTE incineration systems. The chemical
makeup of EPS is carbon and hydrogen, elements found in wood
and other organic materials.
The resilience of EPS insulation
board provides reasonable absorption of building movement
without transferring stress to the outer skins at the joints.
EPS insulation typically costs
less than other rigid board insulations when compared on the
basis of R-value.
EPS is combustible. It
should not be left exposed to flame or other ignition sources.
EPS insulation should be covered with a thermal barrier or
otherwise installed in accordance with applicable building
EPS is subject to attack by
petroleum based solvents.
Prolonged exposure to sunlight
will cause slight discoloration and surface dusting of EPS
insulation. The insulating properties will not be
significantly affected under normal usage.
Although EPS provides a high
level of moisture resistance and breath ability, recommended
design practices for walls and foundations should be followed
in the selection of vapor and moisture barriers for severe