Eco-Friendly Extruded Polystyrene Insulation Panels

SOPREMA, Inc. releases its new SOPRA-XPS product line, a mix of extruded polystyrene thermal insulation panels, with applications in inverted roofing membrane assemblies (IRMA roofs), foundations, walls and civil engineering projects.

Thanks to its dense closed-cell composition, SOPRA-XPS has a consistent long-term R-value (LTTR) of 5 per inch, even at low temperatures, and offers one of the greatest compressive strengths in the insulation market, making it efficient, versatile and even more eco-friendly. 

The line has even earned the coveted GREENGUARD Gold certification, which incorporates stringent selection criteria and the most demanding safety factors for volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions. GREENGUARD Gold-certified insulation is part of the solution for improving indoor air quality. It ensures that a product is acceptable in high-risk environments, such as schools and healthcare facilities.

The SOPRA-XPS product line is also produced without HFC-134a gas as a blowing agent, meaning it will have no effect on the ozone depletion potential and a much lower global warming potential (GWP).

“In fact, the impact on the global warming potential is reduced by more than 95 percent,” said Tom Stuewe, SOPREMA product manager for liquid products and SOPRANATURE. “Thanks to SOPREMA’s exclusive and innovative process, the SOPRA-XPS line contains up to 70 percent recycled content, making SOPREMA the leading XPS insulation manufacturer in terms of recycled content.”

SOPREMA has manufactured the following products in the SOPRA-XPS line:

  • SOPRA-XPS 20 is designed to insulate above-grade exterior walls and residential applications on exterior foundation walls and under foundation slabs.
  • SOPRA-XPS 25 CW is ideal for the insulation of cavity walls, and it fits perfectly between wall ties because of its convenient sizes and thicknesses.
  • SOPRA-XPS 30 is designed for the insulation of exterior foundation walls and under foundation slabs.
  • SOPRA-XPS 35 is ideal for the insulation of new or refurbished inverted roofs to improve their thermal resistance.
  • SOPRA-XPS 40, 60 & 100 are designed for heavy load applications requiring high-density insulation. These include inverted roofs, such as green roofs and roof terraces, and certain applications under foundation slabs that support dead or live heavy loads.

“Its resistance to water and moisture makes SOPRA-XPS an ideal choice in all applications, even in areas exposed to moisture,” Stuewe added. “Even when exposed to moisture, SOPRA-XPS is mold and bacteria resistant.”

For more information, visit www.soprema.us.

Extruded Polystyrene Insulation Reduces Embodied Carbon

On January 1, 2021, Canada and several U.S. states enacted stringent new environmental regulations to address concerns about high-Global Warming Potential (GWP) hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) blowing agents. With this change, sustainability and smart material performance are coming together in FOAMULAR NGX (Next Generation Extruded) insulation. Developed by Owens Corning, the latest innovation in extruded polystyrene (XPS) insulation contains a proprietary blowing agent that completely eliminates HFC 134a. FOAMULAR NGX delivers a 90 percent reduction in blowing agent GWP compared to legacy FOAMULAR insulation and is optimized to demonstrate a greater than 80 percent reduction in embodied carbon. 

Owens Corning’s efforts to achieve a higher level of sustainability in rigid foam building materials predate this latest regulatory moment. More than six years of research and development and the evaluation of over 100 blowing agent formulations support the introduction of FOAMULAR NGX. In developing the new insulation, research and development teams sought to reduce the blowing agent’s GWP without sacrificing the material’s many performance attributes including high R-value per inch, a wide range of compressive strengths, superior moisture resistance and durability. 

Manufactured with patented Hydrovac technology, FOAMULAR NGX is highly resistant to moisture and retains its high R-value even after prolonged exposure to moisture and freeze/thaw cycling. The product is available in many compressive strengths, up to 100 psi, and is well suited to applications across the enclosure, from load-bearing vegetative roofs and foundational supports to wall assemblies. And as a further measure of confidence, FOAMULAR NGX offers a limited lifetime warranty guaranteeing a minimum 90 percent of R-value for the life of the product.

The sustainability profile of FOAMULAR NGX is validated by a third-party verified Environmental Product Declaration and Optimization Report. A greater than 80 percent reduction in GWP qualifies FOAMULAR NGX as 1.5 products towards LEED 4.1 points for Options 1 and 2 under the Materials and Resources: Environmental Product Declaration (EPD). As a widely recognized standard of sustainability, the EPD can provide even more incentives to integrate sustainability features into the commercial enclosure, such as vegetative roof assemblies or below-grade use. Specifying and installing FOAMULAR NGX can help builders achieve U.S. green building program certifications including LEED, the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR, and the National Home Builders’ National Green Building Standard ICC 700-2008. 

The manufacturing process and material content of FOAMULAR NGX also support sustainability. Manufactured with 100 percent wind electricity, the product is GREENGUARD Gold certified, reusable, and certified by Scientific Certification Systems to contain a minimum of 20 percent recycled polystyrene. 

The potential for this innovation to reduce environmental pressure on the planet can be more fully appreciated when viewed through the lens of more commonly discussed energy metrics. 
Owens Corning’s sustainability team used an environmental calculator to evaluate how switching from a competitive XPS product could reduce GWP. The reduction potential is dramatic. For every 1 million board feet (BFT) of FOAMULAR NGX consumed versus the leading competitor, CO2 levels are reduced by 6,966 metric tons on average. To put the savings in context, that’s like taking 1,500 cars off the road for a year. (EPA. March 2020. Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator. https://www.epa.gov/energy/greenhouse-gas-equivalencies-calculator.) 

FOAMULAR NGX is Underwriters Laboratory (UL) Listed and Factory Mutual (FM) approved. Retaining its same, iconic Pink color, FOAMULAR NGX is now available to order in all U.S. states and Canada.

More information and an interactive map that tracks state-by-state environmental regulations to lower the GWP levels of blowing agents is available on the Owens Corning FOAMULAR® NGX™ resource page.

For more information, visit www.owenscorning.com.

Dow Plans to Construct Extruded Polystyrene Manufacturing Facility

The Dow Chemical Company announces its plans to construct a manufacturing facility to be located in Burley, Idaho. The facility will be operated by Dow Building Solution (DBS), a business unit within Dow, and produce STYROFOAM Brand Extruded Polystyrene (XPS) Insulation – a thermal insulation solution facilitating sustainability and innovation in the building and construction industry since its discovery in 1941.

Building upon its 75 years of innovation, the STYROFOAM Brand Extruded Polystyrene Insulation facility will come on-line utilizing DOW BLUEDGE Polymeric Flame Retardant Technology – an invention that is transforming the market as the industry standard flame retardant for use in polystyrene foam insulation, as it meets the demands of global energy efficiency regulations and sustainable building design.

The construction of the XPS facility exemplifies Dow’s commitment to the DBS growth strategy and strengthens its ability to deliver sustainable insulation solutions to customers, especially in Western Canada and the United States. The facility also demonstrates Dow’s pledge to provide operations performance in natural resource efficiency, environment, health, and safety, as outlined in Dow’s 2025 Sustainability goals.

“The construction of this facility will allow us to respond to market demand and deliver sustainable building solutions to our customers,” said Tim Lacey, global business director for Dow Building Solutions. “The collaboration with the city of Burley has been critical to reach this agreement and we look forward to continue collaborating together into the future.”

“Dow’s decision to build in Burley speaks about the quality of our workforce, the business- friendliness of our state and communities, and the great diversity that we are developing in Idaho’s economy,” Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter said. “It’s always great to welcome a corporate citizen to Idaho, and I’m excited about the opportunities for existing Idaho businesses to help meet the supply chain needs of this new enterprise.”

“We are thrilled to have a company such as Dow locating in Burley” said Director of Economic Development, Doug Manning. “They are a leader in business and innovation, and the immediate and future economic impact on this community will be exceptional. It’s a ‘win’ for the City of Burley to have a Fortune 50 Company locating here. This has been a collaborative effort from the State, the City, Burley Development Authority, Southern Idaho Economic Development Organization, and other local entities. We are excited to have Dow as a new community partner. They have been wonderful to work with to make this project happen,” he said.

Groundbreaking on the 60,000 square feet project is expected to occur in 2016 with project completion targeted for the latter portion of 2017. Manufacturing of STYROFOAM XPS Insulation is expected to begin in early 2018. Construction of the project will employ approximately 80 workers during peak construction and create 21 full-time manufacturing jobs at the height of operation.