DBS Produces Flame Retardant XPS Insulation

Dow Building Solutions (DBS), a business unit of The Dow Chemical Co., has announced it is producing all STYROFOAM Brand Extruded Polystyrene (XPS) Insulation sold in Canada with BLUEDGE Polymeric Flame Retardant Technology, a next-generation sustainable flame retardant solution.
“Building on 75 years of innovation, our researchers continue to innovate STYROFOAM Brand Insulation to offer architects and builders solutions to meet the demands of global energy efficiency regulations and sustainable building design,” says Tim Lacey, global business director for Dow Building Solutions.
DBS has already converted its STYROFOAM Brand XPS foam plants in Japan in 2014 and Europe in 2015 to BLUEDGE. The business will globally convert the remaining STYROFOAM Brand XPS foam plants as soon as it is practically and commercially feasible. This phased approach allows for a controlled conversion process that meets the business’s quality requirements in every region and, at the same time, ensures product availability meeting market demands across regions.
BLUEDGE Polymeric Flame Retardant Technology was invented by Dow in 2004 as a challenge to find a more sustainable flame retardant solution for polystyrene foam. It is a drop-in technology to replace hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) a common flame retardant with a less favorable environmental profile. Today, BLUEDGE technology is incorporated in Emerald Innovation 3000 marketed by the Chemtura Corp., FR-122P marketed by ICL and GreenCrest marketed by the Albemarle Corp. These next-generation sustainable flame retardant alternatives are available to other extruded polystyrene (XPS) and expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation manufacturers transitioning away from HBCD-based flame retardants through these licensees.

Dow Building Solutions Celebrates 75th Anniversary of STYROFOAM Brand XPS Insulation

Dow Building Solutions (DBS), a business unit of The Dow Chemical Co., is celebrating the 75th anniversary of STYROFOAM Brand XPS Insulation, which has continued to facilitate sustainability, innovation and community success in the building and construction industry since its discovery in 1941. Dow marked the anniversary while attending the 2016 NAHB International Builders’ Show, a large annual light construction show that brings together the industry’s important global manufacturers and suppliers.

Builders today face a bewildering number of products and technologies promising better building performance. Dow’s portfolio-based approach offers solutions for the entire building envelope, offering energy efficiency that can stand the test of time. STYROFOAM has a long and rich heritage as a sustainable building product, insulating to meeting core thermal, moisture, air and vapor performance requirements through its rigid foam board technology. Over its lifetime, STYROFOAM can help save more than 30 times the energy embodied in it.

STYROFOAM has been part of Dow’s commitment to sustainable chemistry innovations for the last 75 years and will expand this legacy well into the future through continual optimization of building energy efficiency and performance. Dow has been a proud national insulation partner of Habitat for Humanity, with STYROFOAM donations leading Dow’s pledge to the address the need of affordable housing around the globe. More than 2,500 Habitat for Humanity builds in 2015 used Dow products to help homeowners reduce their home’s overall natural gas and electricity usage.

“New possibilities for resilient, energy-efficient and well-designed homes and buildings are being realized in neighborhoods and communities around the world thanks to imagination, science and engineering,” says Tim Lacey, global business director for Dow Building Solutions. “We are proud to offer 75 years of product innovation that addresses the need for long-term value as a sustainable building solution and look forward to improving, innovating and perfecting building envelope science well into the future.”

Insulation Products from Dow Building Solutions Receive Validation from UL Environment

Dow Building Solutions (DBS), a business unit of The Dow Chemical Co., announced STYROFOAM extruded polystyrene foam insulation products in North America have received validation from UL Environment that they contain 20 percent pre-consumer recycled content on average. This verification marks the latest sustainability milestone for Dow insulation products, which also hold Cradle-to-Cradle certification.

“UL Environment is proud to have worked with Dow Building Solutions to validate the recycled content claims for its STYROFOAM Insulation Products,” says Lisa Meier, vice president and general manager of UL Environment. “Dow’s pursuit of third-party substantiation demonstrates its commitment to scientifically backed, credible communication about this sustainability attribute.”

For more than 70 years, DBS has been recognized in the building industry, delivering energy-efficient solutions that conserve energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including Dow’s flagship STYROFOAM brand. The UL Environment validation underscores the company’s drive to constantly improve, innovate and perfect building envelope science to deliver more sustainable, safer solutions and ultimately help advance a more sustainable planet and society as part of Dow’s 2025 Sustainability Goals.

“This certification is just one more example of DBS’ ongoing commitment to deliver solutions that meet and exceed market demands today and in the future,” says Matthew Marchel, business director, Dow Building Solutions. “This UL Environment validation is one more step in our sustainability journey, one that is deep-rooted, spans decades and is based on our legacy of innovation, leadership and action.”

Smart Roofing Selection Helps a New York House Reach Lofty Sustainability Goals

Built in 1932, the once-grand structure, known as The Beach House, was in need of a major overhaul. The bungalow-style home, located on the west shore of Truesdale Lake in South Salem, a hamlet of Lewisboro, N.Y., was falling into disrepair and showed signs of age throughout. Three years ago, the homeowner called Sylvain Côté, owner of Absolute Green Homes Inc., South Salem, to preserve the home and showcase how sustainability can be embraced. Today, the renovated beach house is Energy Star certified by Energy Star, Washington, D.C., and LEED for Homes Platinum certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, Washington, and, with a score of 30, is a Home Energy Rating System (HERS)-certified home.

Top Down

The roof arguably is among the most important elements of a home. It takes a direct beating from the sun, rain, hail, snow and other elements. It reflects or refracts heat and can make the difference between a comfortable, efficient house and a house where the heating and cooling system is fighting the natural inclinations of the building.

The Beach House features a polymer slate roof.

The Beach House features a polymer slate roof.

The reroof took place in 2011, starting in May with the installation of a 3/4-inch plywood roof deck. Côté did not remove the entire existing roof deck. “We only removed what we had to, so we could accommodate the new dormers,” he explains. Then Côté’s crew of two to three installed a peel-and-stick roof underlayment, followed by a foil-faced 1-inch-thick rigid foam board, which Côté opted for because of its UV-reflecting capacity and ability to reduce heat gain in the summer. The insulation board then was covered with another layer of 1/2-inch-thick plywood and a second layer of the peel-and-stick underlayment, for a total R-value of 41. The fascia installation also was completed alongside this step.

The unventilated attic is insulated with closed-cell spray-foam insulation, which prevents condensation and helps the attic serve as a buffer to outside temperature fluctuations affecting the house. This method nearly eliminates the extreme temperatures in the attic area during hot and cold seasons.

By September, Côté had finished installing a new stone chimney, so shingle installation could begin. An impact- and fire-resistant polymer slate product in black was chosen to replace the existing asphalt-shingle roof on The Beach House. Côté specified the new roof type in part because of its durability, aesthetic appeal and warranty. “I chose this roofing product on my own home and knew it’d be a perfect match for this retrofit project since it’s a very realistic-looking material and has a solid thickness to each tile,” Côté says. “Having this polymer roof makes it possible for the homeowner to collect rainwater runoff from the roof that drops down the gutters and chains into rain-collection barrels. Because there are no particles from the tiles, the rainwater is the highest quality and better suited for landscaping applications.” About 18 squares of the 12-inch-exposure polymer shingles took approximately one month to install.

Then, Côté integrated 450 square feet of solar slates into the south roof where sun exposure is greatest. The 5-kilowatt solar photovoltaic installation blends almost seamlessly with the remainder of the roof. No flashing or connecting element is necessary between the polymer and solar shingles because the solar shingles fill the entire roof plane in the areas where they are installed; a natural divider, such as a hip, makes connecting the roofing types unnecessary.

Although the 15-inch solar slates have a slightly different exposure than the polymer slates, Côté notes the solar area has a gentler slope (6:12) than the rest of the roof (8:12), so the naked eye barely notices the size discrepancy. The south side’s roof system also includes thermal components that are concealed under the solar slates and assist in producing some of the domestic hot-water needs.

One of the biggest challenges Côté encountered was adding two new dormers to the roof and enlarging the existing three. The finished home has five tightly spaced dormers, all of which have three windows; Côté exercised creativity so they wouldn’t appear crowded. “The nice thing about the roof is it dramatically changes the curb appeal,” he notes.

The Beach House before its remodel.

The Beach House before its remodel.

Smart Design

Through The Beach House’s retrofit, Côté demonstrates thoughtful design actually can allow a house to be downsized while still feeling spacious. Originally 1,840 square feet, the house at completion measured 1,780 square feet. Design features include an open floor plan with the kitchen, dining and family/ lounge area on the main floor. Floorto- ceiling glass doors open to views of the waterfront, and the outdoor living space is accented with a wide patio and gas fire bowl. The home’s first level also includes a wet bar that expands outside, a mudroom and half bath. Upstairs, a master suite, which also has expansive views of the waterfront, features a twosided gas fireplace and a free-standing Japanese-style soaking tub. Two other bedrooms, one bathroom and laundry facilities complete the second floor.

Côté reused quite a few materials to create visual elements within The Beach House. For example, he crafted kitchen cabinets from reclaimed tongue-and-groove sheathing from the home’s original roof and attic floors. Wood from a recently disassembled 200-year-old local barn was used to make custom, built-in closets and cabinetry, a bar, three bathroom vanities, tub surround and structural exposed beams.

With a HERS rating of 30, The Beach House is more than three times as efficient and costs about one-third as much as a conventional home of similar size to operate. Côté attributes this in part to the well-designed roof system.

PHOTOS: Sylvain Côté, Absolute Green Homes Inc.

Roof Materials

Polymer slate roof: Bellaforte synthetic roofing tiles from DaVinci Roofscapes
Foil-faced rigid board: Tuff-R from Dow Building Solutions
Underlayment: Peel & Seal, MFM Building Products
Solar tiles and thermal components: Sunslates from Atlantis Energy Systems
White board trim fascia: Kleer from The Tapco Group