ASK THE EXPERT: What differentiates one rigid foam insulation from another?

Originally posted in American School & Hospital Facility e-Newsletter, July 2014 “Ask the Expert”

Q: What differentiates one rigid foam insulation from another? Building design and construction professionals can select from several rigid foam insulations, all of which perform well in helping buildings retain or keep out heat.  Yet, there are important factors to consider when evaluating some of the primary rigid foam products, like expanded polystyrene (EPS), extruded polystyrene (XPS) and polyisocyanurate (polyiso). Beyond product chemistry and manufacturing methods, two of the key differences among these materials are:

  • Insulating performance per unit of measure, and
  • Long-term thermal resistance (LTTR).

Insulating performance per unit of measure A common way to compare various insulations is R-value per inch. While such a figure demonstrates a material’s physical ability to impede heat transfer, it is of limited use when specifying insulation since performance vs. cost is the real driver in many architectural product decisions. To use a cliché, “what’s the bang for the buck?” If one looks at the R-value obtained per dollar spent, EPS rates highest. This property becomes more important once designers realize that insulation suffers from the ‘law of diminishing returns’ – additional insulation, beyond a design optimum, results in a very small net increases in energy savings.

Long-term thermal resistance (LTTR) Specifiers often focus on an insulation’s published R-value, yet might not realize that this figure is the initial value at time of manufacture. Many insulations are subject to R-value degradation over the product’s time in service. This is crucial as a drop in performance over time means higher heating and cooling costs over the life of the building. EPS is one of the few rigid foam insulations with a stable thermal resistance throughout its life. In other words, the published R-value of EPS does not decrease over time, compared to other rigid insulations that typically lose up to 20% or more of their insulating capacity during time in service. The reason some rigid foams have declining R values is they use blowing agents that enhance the initial R-value, but diffuse over time and are replaced with air. A simple way to check for this is to review product warranties, which will confirm a stable or declining R-Value over time. EPS manufacturers warrant a stable R-value.

Other factors The degree to which an insulation absorbs water impacts its thermal performance. Compared to some other insulations, rigid foams as a class resist moisture well. However, one misconception is that EPS readily absorbs moisture. However, when one considers that the material is commonly used in food packaging, it’s clear that moisture absorption is actually quite low. This has been demonstrated in real-world and laboratory tests comparing moisture absorption rates. For example, side-by-side testing of EPS and XPS as below grade insulation on a building foundation in St. Paul, Minnesota, showed that EPS outperformed XPS. When the two insulations were removed after being buried under soil for 15 years, the EPS had 4.8% moisture content by volume compared to 18.9% for the XPS. After 30 days of drying time, the EPS moisture level dropped to 0.7%, while the XPS continued to hold 15.7% moisture. These days, design professionals are focusing more on the ‘life-cycle’ effect of moisture on insulation, namely the ability of an insulation to not only resist moisture, but also to readily release any moisture it absorbs. Over dry/moist cycles that grade-application insulations are commonly subjected to, EPS has shown to be the most optimum performing, through its ability to retain the least amount of moisture among rigid insulations. This helps EPS provide a higher R-value over moist-dry cycles that characterize below-grade applications.

Product make-up and applications EPS, XPS and polyiso can all be used throughout the building envelope – roofs, walls and below-grade – in buildings of all sizes and types. The three insulations are recognized as follows:

  • EPS is typically white and comes in blocks and panels of various sizes and can be faced or unfazed.  Facers enhance physical properties like R-value, fire and moisture protection
  • XPS products are commonly offered as pastel or primary colored foams, depending on the brand.  The product is most commonly available as board stock of fixed size and thickness.
  • Polyiso insulation panels are comprised of foam sandwiched between two facers.

Cost-saving insulation approaches As with other commercial and institutional buildings, in healthcare and educational facilities project teams can minimize rigid foam insulation material and labor costs through careful product specification. Following are two simple ways to help keep insulation costs down.

Better targeting of compressive strength

Insulation manufacturers sometimes market high compressive strength to distinguish their products. As a result, rigid foam insulation is often over-engineered in under-slab and roof applications. Readily available EPS options run up to 60 psi in compressive strength, and are strong enough for almost all building envelop applications. A testimony to EPS’s compressive strength is its use in applications in roadways and structural earthworks as geofoam, which are specified under ASTM D6817 with tighter tolerances than traditional below-grade insulation applications. The cost of using a higher strength insulation than the application requires, can be substantial. For example, specifying a 100 psi XPS product in a below-grade application when a 40 psi EPS product would suffice, can almost double the material cost.

Simplified installation with tapered roof blocks

Building professionals often create positive slopes on flat roof deck assemblies using insulation. Because they are only available in relatively thin sheets, most rigid foam insulations require stacking several layers to build up the desired slope, costing a lot of labor time and material. EPS, on the other hand, is available in individual tapered panels up to 40 inches thick. Some manufacturers have the ability to pre-cut EPS blocks into any slope 1/16 inch or greater and in virtually any custom shape to accommodate roof crickets, saddles, valleys, and ridges, along with all types of drainage systems and layouts. Since fewer separate pieces are needed, building up a slope with tapered EPS blocks requires less on-site material handling and cutting and thus installs much faster. Using tapered EPS can reduce roof insulation costs up to 30% compared to other rigid foam products.

Composite insulation

EPS and polyiso are commonly used in many roofing assemblies, and now manufacturers are producing composite panels that combine these two materials. The EPS provides a lightweight, insulating and resilient foam insulation, while the polyiso serves as an insulating cover board for enhanced durability. Some composite products, such as the InsulFoam® HD Composite panel, carry a UL Class A fire rating for both combustible and non-combustible decks, and are compatible with a range of roofing membranes – including EPDM, TPO, PVC, CSPE, and low-sloped, built-up and modified bitumen membrane systems. As many low-rise healthcare facilities and some schools have wood roof decks, such rated products provide an easy-to-install insulation for fire-rated assemblies.

EPS QUESTIONS?

Ram Mayilvahanan

Ram Mayilvahanan

Contact Ram Mayilvahanan, Insulfoam’s Product-Marketing Manager

A Park with Soil?

Originally published in Site Prep Magazine, September 2014 (digital edition) (pdf)

Lightweight geofoam enables earthworks for new park located atop Chicago parking garage.

Throughout the summer, Chicago residents and visitors saw what looked like acres of piled snow at a construction site bordering Lake Michigan, despite the city’s typical sweltering June and July temperatures..

The “snow” was actually large, white blocks of expanded polystyrene (EPS) geofoam that contractors were installing to form berms and landscaped contours for the new Maggie Daley Park.

Site Prep Challenges

The Chicago Park District decided to develop a 28-acre site adjacent to the city’s renowned Millennium and Grant parks as a “world-class public landscape at a keystone location” to meet the “evolving open space needs of downtown Chicago.”  The Maggie Daley Park, scheduled for final planting in spring 2015, occupies the former Daley Bicentennial Plaza.  The site was a rail yard and surface parking lot for cars until the early 1950s, at which time the city moved the parking spaces underground.

The "snow" on Chicago's famed waterfront in the heat of summer is actually EPS geofoam, being used to construct Maggie Daley Park atop a parking garage that cannot hold heavy soil.

The “snow” on Chicago’s famed waterfront in the heat of summer is actually EPS geofoam, being used to construct Maggie Daley Park atop a parking garage that cannot hold heavy soil.

Therin lies one of the key site preparation challenges for Maggie Daley Park, which will be located on top of the 3,700-car East Monroe Street

Being built at the foot of Chicago, Maggie Daley Park is being constructed using EPS geofoam that will allow the parking garage below to remain in place.

Being built at the foot of Chicago, Maggie Daley Park is being constructed using EPS geofoam that will allow the parking garage below to remain in place.

Parking Garage.  The park’s landscape architects, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates of Brooklyn, N.Y., envisioned extensive earthworks, which they described as “curvilinear, topographically dramatic and relentlessly heterogeneous.”  Contractors typically would use soil to form such landscape contours, but that was not feasible for this project because the upper slabs of the sprawling, decades-old parking garage were not designed to accommodate that much weight.

Instead, crews with Chicago-based Walsh Construction used EPS geofoam as an ultra-lightweight yet durable fill to form the park’s hills and valleys.  Geofoam is approximately 100 times lighter than soil (0.7-2.85 lbs./cu.ft. for geofoam compared to 110-120 lbs./cu.ft. for soil), so it enabled the Maggie Daley Park designers to create a visually interesting landscape and still keep the garage in place.  Walsh installed 65,000 cu. yes. of geofoam, along with some geofoam that had been previously installed in Daley Bicentennial Plaza.

“It allows you the freedom to be creative,” landscape architect Peter Schaudt, whose company Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects has used goefoam in other Chicago projects, commented in a recent Chicago Sun-Times article.

What Makes Geofoam Special?

Despite its low weight, EPS geofoam is strong enough to support heavy loads, such as those imposed by jet aircraft and locomotives, as demonstrated by its successful use as a sub grade for runways, taxiways and rail beds.  Following are the material’s key physical characteristics.

Weight:  In addition to weighing far less than soil, EPS geofoam is much lighter than other lightweight fills, as per the chart below.

site prep_maggie daley3Compressive Resistance:  EPS geofoam is engineered for high strength with compressive resistance values of 317-2,678 lbs./sq.ft. at a 1-percent strain.  The material’s Westergaard modulus of sub grade reaction “k” values indicate that EPS geofoam has better bearing capacity than most foundation soils.  As long as combined dead/live loads do not exceed 1-percent strain, the material will not creep or experience plastic yield.

Buoyancy:  Although this is not an issue in most applications because EPS geofoam is buoyant, it is important to consider uplift forces in applications where the material will be partially or fully submerged.  Buoyancy can be minimized by installing geofoam above the water table and ensuring suitable drainage.  Additionally, the surcharge from overlying soils or pavements is frequently sufficient to offset uplift forces.  Where high water exposure cannot be avoided, supplemental restraints like restraining straps might be required.  The fact that the material’s buoyancy can be readily addressed is seen in its successful use in several levees in the U.S.

Damaging Elements:  EPS geofoam does not decompose, nor is it affected by freeze-thaw cycles or road salts, and is considered  permanent in civil engineering applications.  Petroleum products and other chemicals can damage EPS, so geofoam designs should include a compatible geomembrane or a continuous load distribution slab to protect the material from fuel spills or exposure to hydrocarbons in contaminated soils in applications where these conditions might exist.  EPS is combustible, so it is important to check with the particular manufacturer if the geofoam includes a flame retardant.  Flammability is typically only a concern if open flames are present during installation, as geofoam is usually isolated by membranes, soils or pavement in the finished application.

Working With Geofoam

EPS geofoam greatly simplifies site prep, because it does not require the surcharging, preloading or staging often necessary with other fills.  The material is also easy for crews to place by hand or with small mechanical equipment.  A reputable geofoam manufacturer will provide contractors with detailed information on working with the material, and producers like Insulfoam will provide on-site consultations.

…geofoam is lightweight, durable, easy to use and more consistent that other fills…

Geofoam installation does not require much training.  Among the installation factors to keep in mind:

  • Sizing:  Standard-size blocks are 4 ft. by 8 ft., at various thicknesses.  A well-equipped manufacturer can produce custom sizes and shapes to meet any project need, or crews can easily trim geofoam on the job site using a hot wire cutter (which some manufacturers will supply) or with handsaws or chainsaws.
  • Block Placement:  Typical geofoam designs call for installing the blocks on a level course of sand, pea gravel or any locally available permeable leveling course material.  Similar  to how brick walls are configured, geofoam blocks usually are staggered so their joints are offset and not located in the same vertical plane.  Depending on the engineering requirements, the blocks can be interconnected with either barbed plates or polyurethane adhesive.
  • Wind Protection:  Geofoam is lightweight, so it is important contractors weigh or tie down stockpiles on windy job sites.

A Wide Range of Applications

Crews with Walsh Construction use EPS geofoam as an ultra-lightweight yet durable fill to form the hills and valleys that will comprise Maggie Daley Park on Chicago's waterfront.

Crews with Walsh Construction use EPS geofoam as an ultra-lightweight yet durable fill to form the hills and valleys that will comprise Maggie Daley Park on Chicago’s waterfront.

Because geofoam is lightweight, durable, easy to use and more consistent than other fills, it is being used by building professionals as a fill alternative in numerous large civil projects, as well as in residential and commercial buildings.  Among example installations:

  • I-80 / I-65 Interchange, Gary, Ind,:  To reduce excavation volumes of high-organic content soils at the south end of Lake Michigan, Walsh Construction instead used EPS geofoam for the road sub grade.  “There’s no comparison to using traditional fill,” says Walsh Construction site supervisor Gary Walsh.  “There are no lifts needed; we just unloaded the blocks and it installed fast.”
  • Alaskan Way Viaduct, Seattle, Wash.:  The Seattle waterfront has notoriously soft soils, since much of the downtown area was built on fills created by re-grading the city in its early days.  As part of embankment construction for the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement, project engineers had to ensure that new ramps would not induce settlements on the underlying soft soils, which could impact the stability of adjacent elevated structures.  EPS geofoam provided the necessary load support at a low weight and eliminated the need to surcharge the soil.
  • CRH-UBH Freeway Interchange, Valsayn, Trinidad:  As discussed in an earlier Site Prep article (“Standing on Solid Ground,” March, 2014), contractors used geofoam as a lightweight embankment fill on top of the pile cap for an existing flyover ramp pier, to avoid any modifications of the pier’s seismic behavior in the earthquake prone region.

Beyond such road applications, geofoam is an ideal lightweight void fill on vegetated roofs, which is a similar application to the landscape contouring of Maggie Daley Park on top of the East Monroe Street Parking Garage in the heart of Chicago.

INSULFOAM GEOFOAM QUESTIONS

Nico Sutmoller, Insulfoam Geofoam Specialist

Nico Sutmoller, Insulfoam Geofoam Specialist

Contact Nico Sutmoller, Below-Grade & Geofoam Specialist

nico.sutmoller@insulfoam.com

Connect with Nico on LinkedIn

Read more on Insulfoam.com

 

Insulfoam on Home Talk USA with Michael King

home talk usaInsulfoam’s Regional Sales Director, Rick Canaday, joined  Home Talk USA with Michael King to discuss insulation in your home, insulation properties, moisture concerns, energy leaks in and out of the home and more.

Hear it at:
(time stamps 8:53 – 16:35 and 23:19 – 29.50)
_______________________________________

The Dirt on Below-Grade Insulation

Originally posted online at Construction Superintendent

Understanding rigid foam insulation for foundation and under-slab applications

Contractors are increasingly called upon to install rigid foam insulation under concrete slabs and on building foundations.

Contractors are increasingly called upon to install rigid foam insulation under concrete slabs and on building foundations.

Up to one-quarter of a building’s energy loss is due to lack of insulation in below-grade areas, including the foundation and under slabs. Now that high-performance building envelopes are common above ground, the relative amount of total heat lost below grade will grow if these spaces are not addressed.

As a result, superintendents increasingly will encounter below-grade and under-slab insulation on all building types. To help increase understanding of how two common rigid-foam insulations perform in these settings, this article evaluates moisture absorption and thermal performance. It also discusses installation procedures for below-grade and under-slab insulation.

Rigid foam insulation
Two common rigid foam insulations specified for below-grade applications are expanded polystyrene (EPS) and extruded polystyrene (XPS).

EPS

An easy way to recognize EPS on the jobsite is that it is commonly white. This insulation is made of expanded polystyrene beads fused into sheet stock and blocks of various densities, compressive strengths and sizes. Historically used as a stable roof insulation, EPS has gained wide acceptance in wall, below-grade and under-slab applications due to its low-moisture absorption, strength and stable, long-term thermal performance. EPS insulation blocks can be custom-cut into a variety of shapes and sizes to meet wide ranging job specifications.

Building professionals have used EPS successfully in below-grade applications for decades. As of 2013, the International Code Council explicitly permits EPS throughout frost protected shallow foundations, under slabs and any other below-grade application.

XPS
To make XPS, manufacturers combine and melt polystyrene with blowing agents and additives, then force the liquid mixture through an extrusion die in a continuous feed, where it is shaped, cooled and trimmed to size. The product is most commonly available as boardstock of fixed size and thickness. Manufacturers often tint XPS a primary color for brand recognition.

EPS insulation absorbs significantly less moisture than does XPS insulation according to studies of real-world installations.

EPS insulation absorbs significantly less moisture than does XPS insulation according to studies of real-world installations.

Moisture absorption and thermal performance
There is much confusion in the marketplace regarding whether EPS or XPS insulation resists moisture better. This is a key point, as wet insulation has lower thermal performance. While manufacturers of both insulation types tout that their products have lower moisture absorption, in-situ tests indicate that EPS performs better in this regard.

For example, in 2008, Stork Twin City Testing – an accredited independent testing laboratory – examined sheets of EPS and XPS removed from a side-by-side installation after 15 years in service on a below-grade foundation in St. Paul, Minnesota. The XPS was significantly wetter on extraction, with 18.9 percent moisture content by volume compared to 4.8 percent for the EPS. After 30 days of drying, the XPS still had elevated moisture of 15.7 percent, while the EPS had dried to 0.7 percent.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory also reports high moisture absorption levels for XPS. In a 2012 study, the lab reported “all samples of XPS insulation gained much more moisture during the 15 years of contact with soil moisture.” The resulting loss of energy savings performance was 10 percent for a full basement (“deep basement”) and 44 percent for a slab-on-grade installation.

By comparison, the U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory found EPS buried in wetted soil for 1,000 days absorbed only 1.7 percent moisture by volume, which is substantially lower than the XPS rates noted above.

Installing rigid foam insulation below grade
On building foundations, the insulation (whether EPS or XPS) is installed over the damp/waterproofing, after that layer has adequately cured. Crews can use mechanical fasteners or polystyrene-compatible adhesive to attach the insulation. Applying a bead of polystyrene-compatible caulk or mastic to the top of the insulation board minimizes water infiltration behind it.

For under-slab applications, the rigid foam insulation typically should be installed over a gravel base, with a poly vapor diffusion retarder between the gravel and insulation. Additional insulation is applied along the edges of the slab, because that is a primary surface for heat loss. To avoid damage to the insulation, it is necessary to ensure removal of any jagged surfaces or irregularities in the substrate before installing the rigid foam panels.

In either case, it is important to confirm all details with the insulation manufacturer and local building department, and to ensure appropriate construction techniques to drain water away from the building.

In addition to its lower moisture absorption and better long-term thermal performance, EPS has the highest R-value per dollar among rigid insulations. As such, it provides a cost-effective way to insulate building foundations, and under slabs.

Ram Mayilvahanan is the product marketing manager for Insulfoam, which offers below-grade insulation under the Insulfoam and R-Tech brand names. For more information, visit www.insulfoam.com.

 

Ram Mayilvahanan

Ram Mayilvahanan

Contact Ram Mayilvahanan, Insulfoam’s Product-Marketing Manager

Ram.Mayilvahanan@insulfoam.com

Connect with Ram on LinkedIn  |  Follow Insulfoam on LinkedIn

Read more on Insulfoam.com

 

Project Profile: A Missouri Hospital Builds Stronger with EPS

A Montana

A Missouri hospital rebuilds stronger after a tornado largely destroyed most of the health care facility.

Mercy Hospital  |  Joplin, MO.  |  View Project Profile (pdf)

After a force five tornado destroyed St. John’s Regional Medical Center on May 22, 2011, the Joplin, MO. hospital rebuilt with a new stronger facility designed to stand up to devastating wind forces.  After the destruction, architects and engineers analyzed how the nine-story structure reacted to the storm.  Today, a new facility stands stronger with a big tornado in mind….Mercy Hospital.

One of the largest changes to the hospital was the roof in an effort to harden the hospital’s building envelope.  More than any other part of a building, its roof system components must complement each other.  Insulation is a crucial component, because it contributes to a roof system’s thermal performance and overall durability while providing a substrate for the roof membrane.  Tapered Insulfoam was used to help the new hospital roof combat strength, water absorption, stability, stable R-Value and excellent performance.

By using Insulfoam 15″ InsulRoof Taper EPS as part of the roof system on the new hospital, the resulting structure is 30% STRONGER than the requirements for the old hospital.

THE PROBLEM

In the old facility, the design team learned that the metal with insulation on top was removed by the tornado and exposed the inside of the building.  The roof is all concrete decks with a double roof system and a waterproof membrane.  The result, if the hospital loses the roof system, there will still be a watertight and concrete-sealed building.

THE SOLUTION

Mercy

Mercy Hospital, Insulfoam EPS installation

Pre-cut tapered EPS blocks were used to increase roof slope for additional drainage, while offering a long term, stable R-Value, excellent dimensional stability, compressive strength and water resistant properties that meet or exceed the requirements of ASTM C578.  The thick blocks can be factory-cut into single-layer tapered pieces that eliminate the labor of stacking multiple insulation panels.  Tapered EPS can be adapted to accommodate any roof drainage system and roof configuration.

Labor Savings:  There are no complicated filler panel systems.  Tapered InsulFoam can be installed in a single layer for thicknesses up to 40″, making it significantly more cost effective than comparable rigid-insulation tapered systems.  The ultra lightweight nature of Insulfoam EPS further allowed for fast installation.

Promoted Positive Drainage:  Tapered InsulFoam is the ideal insulation for both new construction and re-roofing projects in which positive slope is desired or ponded water is a concern.

Hospital rebuilding

Mercy Hospital, Insulfoam EPS installation

Environmentally Friendly:  100% recyclable if ever removed or replaced.

Stable R-Value:  EPS’s thermal properties will remain stable over its entire service life.  There is no thermal drift, so the product is also eligible for an Insulfoam 20-year thermal performance warranty.

Proven Performance:  The same fundamental EPS chemistry has been in use since the mid-1950’s so the actual performance of the product is well known.

Water Resistance:  Tapered Insulfoam does not readily absorb moisture from the environment.

Code Approvals:  Tapered Insulfoam is recognized by the ICC-ES, and has numerous Underwriters Laboratory and Factory Mutual approvals.

 

 

A Guide to Below-Grade Insulation and Moisture

Originally posted online at Buildings.com in Buildings Buzz!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWet insulation is ineffective insulation – rigid foams that retain high volumes of moisture lose about half of their insulating R-value. Because insulation installed on below-grade building foundations and under concrete slabs is often exposed to moist soil, it is crucial to choose an insulation that has minimal long-term moisture retention and the ability to dry quickly.

For facility professionals that are evaluating insulation for building retrofits or for new construction, paying attention to moisture performance helps ensure effective long-term thermal resistance. Because the insulation will be hidden from view, any problems with degraded materials will not be obvious, although the effect on higher energy bills will be very real.

One challenge in selecting insulation is cutting through the competing claims of insulation manufacturers. Producers of extruded polystyrene (XPS) and expanded polystyrene (EPS) – common below grade insulations – both claim that their products are superior at resisting moisture. In their own ways, each one is right, but it depends on whether one is looking at abstract, standardized tests or performance in actual installed conditions.

Claims that XPS insulation absorbs less moisture than EPS are based on ASTM 272Standard Test Method for Water Absorption of Core Materials for Sandwich Constructions. This test calls for fully submerging an insulation sample in water for 24 hours, then weighing it for moisture absorption immediately upon removal from the water.

How does this test represent reality? The truth is it doesn’t reflect real-world conditions for two reasons:

1) Unless your building is in a lake or river or subjected to severe flooding, the insulation will not be fully submerged.

2) It doesn’t account for how much an insulation dries out or does not dry out between periods of moisture exposure.

Entire marketing campaigns have been built around this test, but when it comes to what really happens on your building, it’s necessary to look at actual exposure during in-situ tests. Studies of insulation exposure to moisture in actual field conditions show that EPS outperforms XPS by a wide margin, largely because EPS dries much faster than XPS.

For example, the independent lab Stork Twin City Testing evaluated the moisture content of EPS and XPS buried side-by-side for 15 years on a building foundation in St. Paul, MN. At the time the insulations were removed, the EPS was four times drier than the XPS – the EPS had only 4.8% moisture by volume compared to 18.9% moisture content for the XPS. After 30 days of drying time, the EPS had dried to only 0.7% moisture by volume, while the XPS still contained 15.7% moisture.

The high moisture absorption of XPS is further seen in a 2012 report from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Researchers found that XPS insulation installed below grade for 15 years had absorbed 67% or more moisture. The resulting loss of energy savings performance for the XPS was 10% for a full basement (“deep basement”) and 44% for a slab-on-grade installation.

Insulation manufacturers are well aware of how their products will perform over the years. Evidence of this is seen in the limitations stated in warranties they offer. This is why XPS manufacturers typically warrant only 90% of the insulating R-value of their products during time in service, whereas most EPS manufacturers warrant 100% of the R-value. Some XPS manufacturers will also void warranties in case of ponding or water immersion, which runs contrary to their highlighting of 24-hour, full-immersion testing.

There are many claims in the market about whether EPS or XPS offers the best moisture resistance. When evaluating such statements, it is important to consider the basis upon which the statements are made. Does the testing involve guys in lab coats dunking insulation into a fish tank for one day, or does it replicate how insulation performs on actual buildings over many years? If facility managers are making the investment in insulation, this is an important distinction to pay attention to, otherwise the product might not perform as desired.

EPS QUESTIONS?

 

Ram Mayilvahanan

Ram Mayilvahanan

Contact Ram Mayilvahanan, Insulfoam’s Product-Marketing Manager

Ram.Mayilvahanan@insulfoam.com

Connect with Ram on LinkedIn  |  Follow Insulfoam on LinkedIn

Read more on Insulfoam.com

Geofoam for Utility Protection and Utility Insulation

Pipeline

Corroded Alyeska Pipeline

For years the problem of corrosion has been on the minds of the engineers who manage the Alyeska Pipeline, a pipeline that transports oil from the fields on the North Slope of Alaska.  One of the several mountain passes that connects the oil-producing areas of the North Slope with interior Alaska and the south is Atigun Pass…some of the most beautiful country on the planet; however, the harshest as well.  Atigun Pass is located at an elevation of 4,739 feet above sea level and is the highest pass in Alaska that is maintained though out the year.  The weather is harsh and highly unpredictable providing many challenges such as freeze thaw cycles and high concentration of seasonal moisture.

The problem was in the original design.  Rigid flat stock was originally used to insulate below grade transitions of the Trans-Alaska Pipe Line.  Over the years the extreme arctic conditions exposed the problem.  Freeze thaw cycles and high moisture destroyed the XPS application.

EPS Goefoam was the perfect solution for this problem for both utility protection and utility insulation simultaneously.  Custom cut geofoam pipe jackets were the answer with low moisture absorption, light weight for ease of installation, stable thermal protection and locally produced.  Geofoam solves a decade long problem for decades to come and extending the life of the Trans-Alaksa Pipe Line one transition point at a time.

Custom

Custom cut geofoam pipe jackets

Cu

Custom cut geofoam pipe jackets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MORE:

New Below Grade Data Released:  EPS vs. XPS Insulation:  The EPS Industry Alliance (EPS IA) has released NEW moisture absorption data regarding XPS, moisture absorption and the effects on R-Value through the latest Technical Bulletin, EPS Below Grade Series 105:   XPS Insulation Extracted After Field Exposure Confirms High Water Absorption & Diminished R-Value, March 2014 (pdf)

INSULFOAM QUESTIONS

Bernard Droege, Insulfoam Territory Manager

Bernard Droege, Insulfoam Territory Manager

 

Contact Bernard Droege, Insulfoam Territory Manager

Bernard.Droege@insulfoam.com

Connect with Bernard on LinkedIn

Read more on Insulfoam.com

PRODUCT FEATURE: R-Tech Insulated Tilt-Up Wall

A Truly Green, High-Performance & Economical Wall Insulation.

Insulfoam Tilt Up Wall

R-Tech insulated Tilt Up (IT)

R-Tech for Insulated Tilt-up (IT) applications is a high-performance, rigid insulation consisting of a superior closed-cell, lightweight and resilient expanded polystyrene (EPS) with advanced polymeric laminate facers.  R-Tech IT is available with factory laminated MR (metallic-reflective) facer on one exterior side, and a white protective facer on the other exterior side.

The R-Tech facers act as the slip sheet to minimize bonding between the foam, Facia Wythe and Structural Wythe wall.  The  core of R-Tech is the same high-quality as our InsulFoam brand insulations and meets or exceeds the requirements of ASTM C578, Standard Specification for Rigid, Cellular Polystyrene Thermal Insulation.  R-Tech has excellent dimensional stability, compressive strength and water-resistant properties.

USES

R-Tech insulated Tilt-up (IT) is designed for both commercial and residential tilt-up wall applications.

SIZES

R-Tech IT is available in 4′ x 8′ sheets with thicknesses ranging from 0.5″ to 4.5″.  R-Tech IT can also incorporate the InsulSnap feature which allows the end user to cleanly break the 4′ x 8′ sheets into a desired width.  Custom sizes are available upon request (lengths up to 16′).

Key Product Comparisons

Key Product Comparisons

ADVANTAGES

  • User Friendly.  R-Tech IT can be ordered with the InsulSnap feature which scores the product longitudinally at any pre-ordered interval (commonly 16″ or 24″ o.c.) to accommodate different locations for the tiles.  The InsulSnap feature minimizes labor by enabling the installer to cleanly break the product at the desired width while also minimizing product breakage and waste.
  • Jobsite Durability.  With a polymeric facer on either side of the R-Tech IT, it is an extremely flexible and durable insulation.
  • Water-Resistant.  R-Tech IT facers provide a surface that is virtually impervious to moisture.
  • Stable R-Value.  R-Tech has no thermal drift.  Designers are well served knowing the R-Tech IT thermal properties will remain stable over its entire service life.  R-Tech is eligible for an Insulfoam 20-Year Thermal Performance Warranty – a warranty that’s not prorated or limited to a percentage of the published R-Value.
  • Cost-Effective.  R-Tech is typically less expensive than other cavity wall insulations.
  • Environmentally Friendly.  R-Tech may contain up to 15% recycled material and the foam core is 100% recyclable.
R-Value Comparison

R-Value Comparisons

Product Feature Summary

Product Feature Summary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tilt Up WallCost-Effective

  • More R-Value per dollar than any other rigid insulation product
  • R-Value doesn’t degrade over time
  • Most cost-effective insulation – typically 25-40% less than other rigid insulations
  • Easy to install – reduces install labor costs by more than 50%
  • Code recognized insulation (ICC-ES, UL) at an economical price
  • Complimentary 20-year thermal performance warranty available

Engineered for Versatility

  • Available in 0.5″ – 4.5″ product thicknesses
  • The right product for any job.  Available in multiple densities, compressive strengths and panels sizes
  • Meet or exceed ASTM C578 requirements.

User-Friendly

  • Lightweight panels -easy to install
  • Highly durable, yet resilient
  • Simple to cut in the field with a saw or hot wire kit
  • Custom, job-specific sizes with no additional lead time

Environmentally Sustainable

  • 100% recyclable, may contain up to 20% recycled content
  • High long-term thermal performance (stable R-Value) conserves energy and operational costs
  • Contributes toward LEED energy efficiency points
  • Does not support old or mildew growth for improved indoor air quality (IAQ)
  • Naturally water resistant – does not readily absorb moisture from the environment
  • Regional manufacturing throughout North America reduces transportation costs to job sites, and environmental impact.

 

 

Geofoam Solves Manhole Soil Erosion & Displacement Problem

Manhole jacking and separation

Manhole jacking and separation

Problem:  Deep water and winter freeze cause manhole jacking and separation.

A manhole located in Class ‘A’ wetlands in the city of Anchorage AK., experiences severe frost damage. Adjacent to a creek and subject to high water table and deep winter freezing, over the years frost pulled the manhole apart causing the lid and grade rings to fall off, the cone section to tilt 35° from vertical, and the 4” thick reinforced concrete barrel section broke away from the base, allowing ground and surface water to flow freely into the manhole. End result, soil erosion around the manhole and in the winter months, jacking of the manhole sections and displacement.

Solution:  To stop the jacking and the movement EPS Geofoam acts as an insulated concrete form and later as a compressible inclusion virtually eliminating the jacking around, separation and erosion.  EPS Geofoam in earthworks applications provides the benefit of reducing both vertical and lateral pressures on below ground structures.

Geofoam installation

Geofoam installation

Geofoam, insulated concrete form

Geofoam, insulated concrete form

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Geofoam Benefits:

Cost effective

  • Reduces associated structural costs

Labor Savings:

  • Does not require surcharging, preloading or staged construction
  • No secondary compaction required
  • Not weather-dependent- can be installed during rain or snow
  • Does not require heavy equipment to move
  • Ease of installation, ease of cutting

Product Attributes:

  • Available in job-specific block sizes
  • Engineered per project specifications – can match compressive resistance with job requirements

INSULFOAM QUESTIONS

Bernard Droege, Insulfoam Territory Manager

Bernard Droege, Insulfoam Territory Manager

Contact Bernard Droege, Insulfoam Territory Manager

Bernard.Droege@insulfoam.com

Connect with Bernard on LinkedIn

Read more on Insulfoam.com

VIDEO: DIY Garage Door Insulation Kit Installation Instructions

Save Energy and Reduce Interior Noise with Insulfoam’s Garage Door Insulation Kit…

The largest uninsulated space in most homes is the garage door.  Insulfoam’s Garage Door Insulation Kit provides one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to increase the energy-efficiency of your home.  Watch our installation video to see how simple it is to install insulation to the inside of your garage door in less than an hour.   These rigid high-impact panels tightly fit standard garage sizes (8′ and 9′ garage doors); however, can be cut to fit non-standard garage doors.  Pick up an Insulfoam Garage Door Insulation Kit at your local Lowe’s or Home Depot home improvement store.

 

INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS

1:  Tools Required:  Straight edge, utility knife, tape measure and safety goggles

1: Tools Required: Straight edge, utility knife, tape measure and safety goggles

2:  Measure length between vertical rail A to the inside edge of vertical rail B.

2: Measure length between vertical rail A to the inside edge of vertical rail B.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3:  Cut each insulation sheet to length

3: Cut each insulation sheet to length

4:  Break off the insulation where cut

4: Break off the insulation where cut

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5:  Insert the excess insulation behind the vertical rails

5: Insert the excess insulation behind the vertical rails

6:  Insert the insulation sheet between horizontal rails C and D with the channeled or grooved side facing the garage door.

6: Insert the insulation sheet between horizontal rails C and D with the channeled or grooved side facing the garage door

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lighten Up

Originally posted online at Constructor Magazine, Web Exclusive

USING GEOFOAM TO SIMPLIFY COMMON SITE PREP CHALLENGES

Projects built with geofoam include road beds, bridge approaches, levees and other jobs.

Projects built with geofoam include road beds, bridge approaches, levees and other jobs.

Contractors have successfully used expanded polystyrene (EPS) geofoam to simplify site preparation since the 1960s. Projects built with the material include road beds, bridge approaches, levees and other civil jobs. Now, geofoam is increasingly solving a host of construction challenges in commercial buildings and large residential applications.

GEOFOAM OVERVIEW
Geofoam is an ultra-lightweight, engineered, closed-cell rigid foam. The material is about 100 times lighter than soil and weighs substantially less than other lightweight fills.

Even though it is very light, geofoam is high strength, with compressive resistance values of 317 to 2,678 lbs/ft2 at a 1 percent strain. Geofoam is suitable for a range of heavy loading conditions, including sub-base for pavements and railroads bearing jet aircraft and locomotives.

EPS geofoam changes the traditional soil compaction phasing method in which contractors mechanically compact soil to a percentage of dry density and pay for multiple samples and laboratory tests. Unlike other lightweight fills such as shredded tires or wood chips, EPS geofoam is homogenous, which provides uniform load transfer and eliminates differential settlement.

GEOFOAM APPLICATIONS AND BENEFITS
The combination of lightweight and high strength makes geofoam the ideal material for many building applications, including:
• Creating level building pads on steep-sloped lots
• Stabilizing steep slopes
• Remediating soft soils
• Forming swimming pools and pool decks
• Landscaping
• Creating theater/stadium seating

Creating level building pads on steep-sloped lots
Given its lightweight, contractors can use geofoam to simplify construction of retaining walls needed to level steep-sloped lots. Geofoam drastically reduces or can eliminate the lateral load on retaining walls, so walls do not need to be as robust. Material and labor costs are much lower due to reducing forming, structural steel and concrete volume, and lessening or eliminating the need for geogrids or mechanical tiebacks.

Eckhart Construction Services, a Carolinas AGC member, used geofoam to create a level building site for a McDonald’s restaurant. There, a retaining wall was needed that could accommodate the change in grade, as well as reduce the load over extremely soft soils. Typical soil fill would have caused unacceptable settlement of the retaining wall. The use of EPS geofoam allowed for incorporation of a traditional keystone retaining wall while eliminating the need to use the typical geogrid material to reinforce the retaining wall.

Stabilizing steep slopes
Geofoam’s lightweight makes it an excellent option for stabilizing steep slopes, without the need to change the final slope geometry. Since the material is much lighter than other fills, it greatly reduces the weight of a slope’s driving block and lowers the risk of costly and dangerous landslides. An additional advantage of using lightweight geofoam blocks on slopes is that crews can move and place them by hand. This eliminates the need for heavy earth moving and compaction equipment on steep and uneven terrain.

Remediating soft soils
Ground with soft soils or soft clay makes building construction notoriously difficult. To eliminate or greatly reduce the need for time-consuming and costly surcharging of soft soils, EPS geofoam provides high load support at a low weight for projects of all sizes.

An example is the renovation of an existing office building into a city hall in the Pacific Northwest. Building codes required installation of new handicap ramps as part of the upgrade. The challenge was the project site is situated on extremely soft glacial till at the south end of a lake. As such, the ramps needed a very lightweight void fill to avoid post-construction settlement. After evaluating various lightweight fill options, the project team chose EPS geofoam. Crews installed 5,000 cubic yards of geofoam, which played a role in helping the project be completed two months ahead of schedule and nearly $600,000 under budget.

Forming swimming pools and pool decks
Contractors use geofoam to simplify construction of swimming pools in residential, commercial and institutional uses, including hotels, schools and community centers. Project teams can order the blocks pre-cut to precise dimensions or can easily cut them to size and shape on site. This simplifies the concrete forming process, and greatly reduces weight for construction of rooftop pools or on sites with poor load-bearing soils. Once crews form the pool basin and decks with geofoam, they can apply shotcrete directly to the foam.

Landscaping
Because crews can readily form geofoam into a host of shapes, the material provides a simple way to create landscape topography and berms. This is particularly beneficial when loads must be minimized on underlying structures and utilities. Examples include rooftop gardens and landscaped spaces with shallow buried utilities that cannot bear the weight of soil fills.

Creating theater/stadium seating
Geofoam provides contractors a fast and simple way to change slopes within buildings – either creating tiered seating as in auditoriums, movie theaters, churches or gymnasiums, or leveling out such a sloped space for other uses.

For stadium style seating, crews hand place row upon row of geofoam blocks to achieve the necessary profile. They can then either place concrete over the geofoam as shotcrete or as pre-cast panels. Using geofoam greatly simplifies the forming process and eliminates the need for complex tiered compacting of soil to form the stepped profile of stadium seating.

Crews can also use geofoam to quickly level an existing sloped elevation in a building. For example, a university wanted to convert a sloped floor lecture auditorium into a surgical suite at a hospital. The project engineers specified EPS geofoam as a structural void fill to reverse the slope. The EPS supplier cut the blocks to minimize field fabrication on the job site. Because the enclosed auditorium did not have space to accommodate heavy equipment, and as noise from mechanical compaction of soil would have disrupted hospital patients and staff, geofoam was an ideal alternative. The lightweight structural fill provides a strong, stable sub-base for the new, level concrete floor slab.

WORKING WITH GEOFOAM

Even though it is very lightweight, geofoam is high-strength and suitable for a range of heavy loading conditions.

Even though it is very lightweight, geofoam is high-strength and suitable for a range of heavy loading conditions.

Although geofoam can be manufactured in many sizes and shapes, standard blocks are typically 4 feet wide by 8 feet long, and of varying thickness. If contractors do not order geofoam precut to specified dimensions, they can easily trim geofoam to size using a hot wire cutter (which some manufacturers will supply) or with a handsaw or a chainsaw onsite.

When placing geofoam, the blocks are staggered so their joints are not located in the same vertical plane. At times, the blocks are interconnected with either barbed plates or polyurethane adhesive, in accordance with engineering specifications.

Due to geofoam’s lightweight, crews can maneuver and place the blocks by hand or with small mechanical equipment. A typical installation is to place geofoam blocks on a level course over sand, pea gravel or any locally available permeable leveling course material.

Following are points to keep in mind when working with geofoam:

• Geofoam is subject to damage when exposed to certain hydrocarbon chemicals or solvents. If needed, crews can protect the material with hydrocarbon-resistant geo-membranes or concrete slabs.

• Manufacturers treat geofoam with a fire retardant to avoid the rapid spread of fire. However, the material is combustible at high temperatures, so it is important to be cautious when conducting hot work, such as welding, around geofoam.

• Exposing geofoam to sunlight for extended periods can cause superficial discoloration, which does not impact the product’s integrity and can be removed with a broom or very light pressure-washing, if desired.

• Because geofoam is lightweight, it is important to take care when stockpiling the material on job sites where windy conditions exist. Contractors should weigh or tie-down stockpiles, as necessary.

CONCLUSION
Soil fills will continue to factor prominently in construction given their ubiquity and familiarity, but for challenging projects, geosynthetics like geofoam are increasingly popular. Geofoam offers contractors a simple-to-use, engineered alternative to traditional earthen fills. The material solves a host of site preparation challenges in commercial and large residential building projects.

INSULFOAM GEOFOAM QUESTIONS:

Nico Sutmoller, Insulfoam Geofoam Specialist

Nico Sutmoller, Insulfoam Below-Grade & Geofoam Specialist

Contact Nico Sutmoller, Below-Grade & Geofoam Specialist

nico.sutmoller@insulfoam.com

Connect with Nico on LinkedIn

Read more on Insulfoam.com

 

Below Grade and Under-Slab Building Insulation

Originally posted in Modern Contractor Solutions Magazine, June 2014 issue

Modern Contractor Solutions Magazine, June 2014 Digital Issue

MC_june 2014

Modern Contractor Solutions, June 2014

Three tips for choosing the right material for your project

Which insulation is best for use on buried building foundations and under concrete slabs? Sales reps, naturally, will tell you that their company’s product is best. But, what does independent testing and research say?

These three tips will help your firm select a cost-effective and high-performance rigid foam insulation type for your next below-grade insulation job.

1.  CONFIRM LONG-TERM THERMAL PERFORMANCE

Two of the rigid foam insulations most commonly used below grade and under slabs are expanded polystyrene (EPS) and extruded polystyrene (XPS). Although both are closed cell insulations, they perform very differently over the long term.

XPS has a higher initial insulating R-value than does a similar thickness and density of EPS, but the R-value of XPS degrades over time. EPS does not experience such “thermal drift,” and the reported R-value remains the same throughout years of installed service.

This is a crucial point when selecting insulation, as a decreasing R-value means lower thermal performance over time, and thus increased heating and cooling energy and costs for the building owner.

Below Grade

Rigid foam insulation is increasingly common in below-grade and under-slab applications.

A simple way to confirm an insulation’s long-term thermal performance is to review the warranty. Established EPS manufacturers typically warrant 100 percent of the published R-value for 20 years. By comparison, most XPS warranties typically cover only up to 90 percent of the published R-value, to account for the R-value degradation that occurs in the field.

2.  ENSURE MINIMAL LONG-TERM MOISTURE ABSORPTION

In addition to R-value stability, rigid foam insulations differ in their rates of moisture absorption and their ability to dry. Wetted insulation provides lower thermal resistance and can degrade over time. Since insulation installed below grade frequently contacts wetted soil, rates of moisture absorption and the ability to dry is key in these applications.

Independent laboratories have conducted extensive tests of moisture absorption rates for both EPS and XPS. Although XPS often rates better in laboratory short term, fully submerged tests, real-world long term tests show that EPS performs much better. The reason is that EPS has the ability to dry much faster than XPS. This ability to dry at a fast rate helps EPS remain drier during conditions of repeated exposure to moisture.

A 15-year in-situ test of EPS and XPS dramatically demonstrated this point. Stork Twin City Testing evaluated the moisture content of EPS and XPS buried side-by-side for 15 years on a building foundation in St. Paul, Minnesota. At the time the insulations were removed, the EPS was much drier than the XPS—the EPS had only 4.8 percent moisture by volume, compared to 18.9 percent moisture content for the XPS. After 30 days of drying time, the EPS had only 0.7 percent moisture by volume, while the XPS still contained 15.7 percent moisture.

The high moisture absorption rate of XPS in real-world settings is further seen in a 2012 report from the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Their researchers found that XPS insulation installed below grade for 15 years had absorbed 67 percent or more moisture.

3.  TARGET AN APPROPRIATE COMPRESSIVE STRENGTH

EPS insulation resists moisture better than XPS, including on buried foundations where it is in regular contact with wetted soil.

EPS insulation resists moisture better than XPS, including on buried foundations where it is in regular contact with wetted soil.

One of the best ways to save money on rigid foam insulation installed under concrete slabs is to ensure the material is not over-engineered. A common design assumption leads to specification of rigid foam strengths that are many orders of magnitude higher than necessary, which can double the insulation material cost.

Without getting into extensive technical details and mathematical formulas, the problem is engineers often use an overly conservative approach for insulation under concrete slabs. Many designers assume that point loads applied to a slab, such as those from the wheels of a forklift, transfer to the insulation in a triangular load path. Yet, concrete slabs distribute loads more uniformly than this, which means the insulation does not need as high of a compressive resistance as when one assumes a concentrated triangular load path.

An overly conservative design approach often results in specification of a high compressive resistance XPS product, when a more cost-effective EPS would offer sufficient strength. Since XPS typically costs more per inch than EPS, this is wasted money that comes off the contractor’s bottom line.

A simple solution for contractors is to ask the designers if they are using a formula from the Theory of Plates on Elastic Foundations, which take into account how slabs and insulation behave together. A resource to point them to for example calculations is the article “Right-sizing Under-slab Insulation,” in the April 2014 issue of Structure magazine.

CONCLUSION

With building owners’ growing desire to save money on heating and cooling costs, and increasingly stringent energy codes, contractors will be installing below-grade and under-slab insulation on more of their projects. EPS insulation out-performs XPS for both long-term thermal resistance and long-term moisture absorption, and EPS comes in a variety of compressive strengths suitable for nearly all building projects. With the highest R-value per dollar, EPS is the cost effective insulation choice.

Modern Contractor Solutions Magazine, June 2014 Digital Issue

EPS QUESTIONS?

 

Ram Mayilvahanan

Ram Mayilvahanan

Contact Ram Mayilvahanan, Insulfoam’s Product-Marketing Manager

Ram.Mayilvahanan@insulfoam.com

Connect with Ram on LinkedIn  |  Follow Insulfoam on LinkedIn

Read more on Insulfoam.com

 

Maggie Daley Park to Turn Garage into Rolling Hills- ABC Chicago News

More news coverage on the use of InsulFoam Geofoam in Chicago’s newest and biggest downtown attractions, Maggie Daley Park. When complete, the new park will have a distinctive presence with signature elements like rock-climbing sculptures, an ice-skating ribbon, and play garden.  Read more in the latest and on-going news coverage on details and view the project’s job site camera:

Geofoam Helps Mold the Construction of Chicago’s New Downtown Maggie Daley Park.

-  Foam Blocks Form Hilly Landscape at Maggie Daley Park Site, Chicago Sun-Times

Originally aired and published on  ABC 7 Chicago News, by Paul Meincke

chicago abc_maggie daleyBuilding a park on top of a parking garage is an engineering question whose answer rests with the new Maggie Daley Park on Chicago’s lakefront.

In the shadow of towers made of concrete and steel, there are building blocks of a different sort. Thousands of them are being layered together to give shape to what will be Maggie Daley Park.

“We’re going to transform what was a flat, sort of uninviting area into a gem for Chicago that compliments Millenium Park,” said Chicago Park District CEO Michael Kelly.

That transformation has a lot to do with topography. When this 20-acre park is done, its northeast corner will sit 30 feet higher than the southwest. That’s a lot of dirt. And dirt weighs a lot. And a lot of weight would not be welcome atop the two story parking garage that sits directly underneath. So, what do you use? Geofoam.

“Geofoam is essentially Styrofoam. It’s lightweight fill,” Kelly said

It’s 100 times lighter than soil. Geofoam isn’t a new concept. It was used here before, but there’s a lot more of it now, 75,000 cubic yards of it will be sculpted and tacked down to create a rolling terrain.

On top of the geofoam goes the dirt which will be deep enough in spots to accommodate the roots of one-thousand new trees. If you’d never seen the geofoam going in, you’d never know it was there.

“That’s essentially the best compliment we could get once this park is open and that is that people don’t realize that it’s a park constructed on top of a garage,” said project engineer Nichole Sheehan. “It’s a park that people are going to love and hopefully come to all the time.”

The park district has been recording its birth with time lapse camera, from barren garage roof to the building of baby hills, and when the park’s soft opening comes next fall, this is the vision. Three of the 20 acres devoted to a children’s playground. Just up the path, a 25 foot climbing wall, and when the cold months come, a feed of built in refrigerant will convert that path into a 400 meter ice skating ribbon – attracting old Hans Brinkers or perhaps young Blackhawks.

From debris dating back to the great Chicago fire to geofoam, this piece of Chicago has undergone remarkable change over the years.

In the late 40’s and early 50’s, there were lots of railroad, lots of parking that over the years goes went away or went underground.

“Somewhere way down there, there’s fill,” Kelly said. “There’s probably some old railroad scrap. Now we’re standing on geofoam and we’re building a green park. We’re building a 20 acre green roof is essentially what we’re doing with a thousand trees.”

The first of the trees come soon. The grand opening of Maggie Daley Park comes next Spring. Its birthing thus far carries four words welcomed in urban re-design.

Maggie Daley Park carries a roughly $55 million price tag. Most of that comes from parking garage lease money and private contributions along with five million in park district capital funds.

INSULFOAM GEOFOAM QUESTIONS:

Nico Sutmoller, Insulfoam Geofoam Specialist

Contact Nico Sutmoller, Below-Grade & Geofoam Specialist

nico.sutmoller@insulfoam.com

Connect with Nico on LinkedIn

Read more on Insulfoam.com

 

Project Profile: Target Retail Store Saves 25% Cost Savings in Insulation with EPS

Target  |  King of Prussia, PA  |  View Project Profile (Pdf)

R-Tech Below Grade provided 25% cost savings in insulation on the project without sacrificing performance.

November 7 2013 018

The Target store located in King of Prussia, PA was constructed different than most and was not built as a slab on grade.  The bottom level of the building is a parking garage while the retail space is located on the second level.  Target used InsulGrade R-Tech as a between slab insulation as a way of insulating the floor of the retail space and providing a thermal barrier between the concrete planks and the floor slab.

DOW XPS was initially specified on the Target project, however; R-Tech was substituted and provided a substantial cost savings while providing both long-term stable and non-degrading R-Value.

PROBLEM & SOLUTION

Space was a challenge for this Target project as the parking garage is on the ground level and the actual retail floor is on the second level.  Concrete planks were installed as the base substrate.  R-Tech was then installed over the plank to insulate the interior of the retail space from the open parking garage underneath.  A topping slab was then poured over the R-Tech to create the retail floor.  The R-Tech insulation has a long-term stable R-Value and is eligible for an Insulfoam 20-Year Thermal Performance Warranty … a warranty that’s not prorated or limited to a percentage of the published R-Value.

InsulGrade R-Tech features a premium factory-applied laminate polymeric facer that is virtually impervious to moisture, keeps water from entering the insulation, and away from concrete foundations and slabs.  Available in 4′ x 8′ panels and thicknesses starting at 3/8″, with compressive strengths from 10-50 psi.

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target (1)

Target (15)

Target (14)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

View Project Profile (Pdf)

PROJECT DETAILS:

EPS vs. XPS

  • Both EPS and XPS are closed-cell insulations
  • EPS and XPS below grade insulations are covered under the same standard- ASTM C578
  • EPS has a more stable R-value and less long-term moisture retention than XPS
  • XPS is 20-40% more expensive for the same compressive strength

Cost Effective

  • Highest R-value per dollar
  • 100%, 20 year R-value warranty
  • 10-30% less than XPS insulations

Green From the Start

  • Up to 20 LEED points possible
  • 100% recyclable
  • contains up to 15% recycled content
  • Minimal job site waste
  • No thermal drift
  • Helps preserve energy and fossil fuels

R-Tech Uses

R-Tech has been used successfully for numerous commercial, industrial and residential applications:

  • Below grade insulation
  • Waterproofing protection board
  • Cavity walls
  • Interior walls
  • Cold storage & freezers
  • Sheathing
  • Concrete panel insulation
  • Concrete slabs
  • Radiant heated floors

PROJECT OR EPS QUESTIONS

Jason Myers

Jason Myers, Insulfoam Territory Sales Manager

Contact Jason Myers, Insulfoam Territory Sales Manager

Cell:  609-385-8930

Email:  Jason.Myers@insulfoam.com

Connect with Jason on LinkedIn  |  Follow Insulfoam on LinkedIn

 

EPS: Not Just for Insulation Anymore

Moller Field

Moller Field

Moller Field, Geofoam Installation

Moller Field, Geofoam Installation

Expanded polystyrene (EPS) Geofoam has been used as a geotechnical material since the 1960s. EPS Geofoam is approximately 1% the weight of soil and less than 10% the weight of other lightweight fill alternatives. As a lightweight fill, EPS Geofoam reduces the loads imposed on adjacent and underlying soils and structures.

Moller Field, Geofoam Installation

Moller Field, Geofoam Installation

Sitka Alaska has found a solution to an ever present engineering challenge. It’s not just another tool in the tool box, it is the tool… EPS Geofoam. The Geofoam solution has made the reconstruction of Sitka’s Moller Field, the “Field of Dreams”. Dating back to the 50’s, it was considered the premier baseball field of Southeast Alaska. Over its history it became a horrible marsh due to the deep poor soils it was built on. Today it is the only all-turf field in Alaska.

The field’s reconstructionsuccess was due in large part to Geofoam. Geofoams’ use reduced the overall weight of the field and gave rigidity to the otherwise waterbed like third class field that it was. Today it is the field the rest of the state wished it had.

More Geofoam articles and profiles:

INSULFOAM QUESTIONS

Bernie

Bernard Droege, Insulfoam Territory Manager

Contact Bernard Droege, Insulfoam Territory Manager

Bernard.Droege@insulfoam.com

Connect with Bernard on LinkedIn

Read more on Insulfoam.com