Expanded Polystyrene Facts
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 contractors alike.
Long-term Insulation Value
The thermal resistance, or R-value, of EPS may be used without any adjustment for aging.
A study by the Energy Materials Testing Lab (EMTL) has shown that EPS insulation installed in well-constructed roofing does not absorb appreciable moisture, even under conditions characteristic of prolonged, cold, and damp winters.
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.
EPS is Recyclable
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 polystyrene products. Northwest Foam Products, Inc. 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 Safe
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 code requirements.
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 exposure.