EPS is an ideal choice for green building designs, offering tangible environmental advantages with energy efficiency, recycled content, mold resistance and indoor environmental quality.
EPS can help meet other green building goals via localized manufacturing, which reduces the impacts of transportation and through its use in innovative applications that improve the overall environmental performance of the building envelope. During installation, some EPS applications have shown to consistently reduce jobsite waste and labor costs. And, once installed, the environmen tal benefits continue with superior insulating properties that result in measurable savings.
Beyond the environmental benefits of the installed product, the energy requirements to make polystyrene can be more favorable than some alternative materials. In one study, when compared to fiberglass insulation, the energy required to produce polystyrene foam insulation is 24 percent less than what is needed to make the amount of fiberglass needed to achieve an equivalent R-value at a representative volume.
While all insulation is inherently ‘green’ due to its energy savings capabilities, green attributes will differ based on each material’s physical properties and its subsequent ability to enhance sustainability.
Most significantly, whether used as a stand alone component or part of a highly engineered building system, EPS’ insulating capabilities contribute to increased energy efficiency. Whether for sheathing, roofing or below-grade installations, EPS plays a key role in a building’s ability to comply with ASHRAE 90.1 – 2001, a benchmark requirement for most green building programs.
Key Environmental Attributes
• Since the 1950’s, EPS has always been CFC- and HCFC-Free.
• EPS provides stable R-value and does not need to be adjusted for age.
• Recycled content can be specified for certain building applications.
• EPS mold resistance tests favorably in accordance with ASTM C1338.
• With hundreds of plant locations in North America, EPS is manufactured locally.
• EPS does not adversely affect indoor air quality.
EPS foam insulation can contribute toward green building recognition in a variety of point or credit categories including energy efficiency, recycled content, localized distribution, indoor air quality, sustainable sites and innovation. Several structural system applications, like insulating concrete forms (ICFs) and Structural Insulation Panels (SIPS) that use EPS are commonly recognized by LEED and other green building guidelines as providing key environmental advantages.
Copyright ©EPS Molders Association 2008