The use of polyisocyanurate (polyiso) materials can directly contribute to strategies for conserving energy and mitigating the effects of global warming, while also reducing dependence on foreign energy sources. Polyiso insulation is very thermally efficient. LTTR-values for polyiso insulation can range from 6.0 to 6.5 per inch. Polyiso insulation also can be part of a waste management plan, aimed at diverting debris from landfills, redirecting resources back to the manufacturing processes, and allocating reusable materials to appropriate sites.
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The use of XPS products reduces the amount of energy required to maintain comfortable living environments – thus, greatly reducing energy loss in buildings. XPS is manufactured from polystyrene resin, which is a thermoplastic material. This means that it can be melted and re-inserted into the manufacturing process to produce new XPS insulation. In fact, XPS manufacturing plants create virtually no ‘scrap’ or waste material. In addition, post-consumer XPS insulation boards can be reused in many commercial applications. The sustainable benefits of using XPS insulation are numerous, including: high thermal performance, excellent compressive strength, and condensation control. The thermal insulating properties of XPS provide both energy-efficiency and environmental benefits.
Expanded polystyrene is a rigid and tough, closed-cell foam. It is usually white and made of pre-expanded polystyrene beads. Sheets are commonly packaged as rigid panels, which are also known as “bead-board”. Thermal resistivity is usually about 28 m·K/W (or R-4 per inch). Some EPS boards have a flame spread of less than 25 and a smoke-developed index of less than 450, which means they can be used without a fire barrier (but require a 15 minute thermal barrier) according to US building codes. A growing use of EPS in construction is insulating concrete forms. The density range is about 16–640 kg/m3. Expanded polystyrene is often used to insulate the interior of masonry basement walls. The rigid cellular structure provides thermal and acoustical insulation, strength with low weight, and coverage with few heat loss paths.