Foam blocks form hilly landscape at Maggie Daley Park Site, Chicago Sun-Times

Great story in the Chicago Sun-Times about the use of InsulFoam Geofoam in Chicago’s newest and biggest downtown attractions, Maggie Daley Park.  This is a very large geofoam project, the new park will have a distinctive presence with signature elements like rock-climbing sculptures, an ice-skating ribbon, and play garden.  Read more details and view the project’s job site camera:  Geofoam Helps Mold the Construction of Chicago’s New Downtown Maggie Daley Park.

Originally published on Chicago Sun-Times, suntimes.com, by Tina SFondeles

Geofoam

Maggie Daley Park is being formed using GeoFoam, a plastic foam substance that has been used once the ’80’s to create landscape and hills on others flat land.  – Brian Jackson  |  Sun-Times

Chicago’s shoveling days should be over, but the future Maggie Daley Park kind of looks like a winter wonderland, full of white building blocks.

Those giant blocks of Geofoam will transform flat land into a hilly landscape at the park site, which spans 20 acres and is bordered on the west by Columbus, the north by Randolph, the south by Monroe and the east by Lake Shore Drive.

Landscape architects say the lightweight, cost-effective, environmentally safe and recyclable fill material is key to creativity. The expanded polystyrene is being used around the world and locally to contour flat Midwestern land.

At Maggie Daley Park, crews are using old Geofoam — already part of Daley Bicentennial Plaza — and a lot of new blocks to shape the park. From various vantage points around the park, onlookers can watch as the foam is delivered every day — six truckloads — and crews have already filled the northeast and northwest corners of the park, and are moving south.

The foam installation will be done by early summer. By September, dirt will be placed over the foam. It’s even being used for the park’s ice skating ribbon.

“For the ice ribbon, you’ve got up and down. It’s not just flat,” said Lowell Zarzueta, of Walsh Construction, who is overseeing part of the second phase of the project. “For you to go up high, you almost have to skate super fast, just to get over that little hump.”

He said the foam is being used to create a hill that will be even with Randolph Street, making it easy for people to come into the park. There are also peaks at the northeast corner, where a picnic area is being built.

“With Maggie Daley Park, you’re going to have hills. The park will offer these beautiful vistas of Lake Michigan, which it never had there,” said Bob O’Neill, president of the Grant Park Conservancy. “In order to do that, to get these hills, and these rolling meadows over a whole flat area in Chicago, to get any topography, especially on top of a structure, you need Geofoam.”

Crews on Friday said deliveries of Geofoam are about half done. The mass quantity of snow Chicago received this year did slow work a bit, but crews said phase two of the park — earthwork, utilities, paving, architectural and program elements, soil placement and planting — is on schedule for completion in October.

Here’s how crews are layering the park: First it was excavated, the dirt placed in nearby Peanut Park to be reused. Tar was put over the garage, then a layer of black tarp. It’s then tested to make sure it’s waterproofed to prevent leaks to the garage below. Four inches of stone are placed on top, and then the foam is placed with yet another black tarp over it. Dirt will go over the foam.

Come next spring, the ground will become green again, as landscaping and planting will be in full swing.

This isn’t the first time the product has been used in Chicago. It was also used for the Daley Plaza renovation — where the trees are now planted, and for the Soldier Field remodeling, where Geofoam was placed as fill over the garage, creating a hilly and grassy landscape near Soldier Field and the Field Museum.

Peter Schaudt, the landscape architect behind both renovations, said Geofoam played a major role in the projects.

“I think it allows you the freedom to be creative,” said Schaudt, of Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects. “It allows you to really model the land in an artificial way, and the great thing is when you put the soil and lawn and trees on top of it, it’s an illusion.”

The product also is very strong, he said. “It never dematerializes. It stays the same size. At Soldier Field, it was used to support 18,000 pounds.

“It’s much more substantial than just putting a thin veneer over a roof, and it allows you to create a lot of great and dramatic changes,” Schaudt said.

A soft opening for the $55 million park, named for the late wife of former Mayor Richard M. Daley, is scheduled for fall, and the park will be officially completed by spring 2015. A park district website, maggiedaleyparkconstruction.org features two webcams to view the construction.

Email: tsfondeles@suntimes.com  |  Twitter: @TinaSfon

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

Baltimore Area Bike Retailer Expands with R-Tech Insulation

Photos by Hal Sachs of project’s design firm, Ammon Heisler Sachs, PC and courtesy of Race Pace Bicycles

With five Baltimore area locations, 36-year old bike retailer Race Pace Bicycles isn’t slowing down.  The company’s Ellicott City store, will soon to be relocated to a nearby site at the junction of Centennial Lane and Route 40.  This location houses its retail operation that caters exclusively to women. Called Bella Bikes, the women’s store was the first of its kind in the U.S. when it opened in 2008.

Insulfoam R-Tech was used as the exterior wall insulation for the building’s metal wall panel system , 20 psi, 2″ x 4 x 8 Sheets.  The benefits of R-Tech as an exterior insulation are important:

  • R-Tech has a dense foam structure
  • Water-resistant film skinned surface
  • Integrated weep channeling
  • R-Tech offers a natural barrier against water in any form
  • Air infiltration and moisture penetration are eliminated
  • Thermal bridging and thermal shock is greatly reduced.
  • R-Tech combines versatility and durability for a complete long-term working system.

The Race Pace project has been a beauty and we would like to thank all that have been involved:

Photos by Hal Sachs of project's design firm, Ammon Heisler Sachs, PC and courtesy of Race Pace Bicycles

Photos by Hal Sachs of project’s design firm, Ammon Heisler Sachs, PC and courtesy of Race Pace Bicycles

Photos by Hal Sachs of project's design firm, Ammon Heisler Sachs, PC and courtesy of Race Pace Bicycles

Photos by Hal Sachs of project’s design firm, Ammon Heisler Sachs, PC and courtesy of Race Pace Bicycles

Photos by Hal Sachs of project's design firm, Ammon Heisler Sachs, PC and courtesy of Race Pace Bicycles

Photos by Hal Sachs of project’s design firm, Ammon Heisler Sachs, PC and courtesy of Race Pace Bicycles

Photos by Hal Sachs of project's design firm, Ammon Heisler Sachs, PC and courtesy of Race Pace Bicycles

Photos by Hal Sachs of project’s design firm, Ammon Heisler Sachs, PC and courtesy of Race Pace Bicycles

Photos by Hal Sachs of project's design firm, Ammon Heisler Sachs, PC and courtesy of Race Pace Bicycles

Photos by Hal Sachs of project’s design firm, Ammon Heisler Sachs, PC and courtesy of Race Pace Bicycles

Photos by Hal Sachs of project's design firm, Ammon Heisler Sachs, PC and courtesy of Race Pace Bicycles

Photos by Hal Sachs of project’s design firm, Ammon Heisler Sachs, PC and courtesy of Race Pace Bicycles

Photos by Hal Sachs of project's design firm, Ammon Heisler Sachs, PC and courtesy of Race Pace Bicycles

Photos by Hal Sachs of project’s design firm, Ammon Heisler Sachs, PC and courtesy of Race Pace Bicycles

More on Race Pace Bicycles:

Race Pace Website  |  Race Pace on Facebook  |  Race Pace on Twitter

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

Right-sizing Under-slab Insulation

Structure Magazine, April 2014

Structure Magazine, April 2014

Originally published in Structure Magazine, Structural Economics section, April 2014

Structural Economics:  cost benefits, value engineering, economic analysis, life cycle costing and more…

Applying the Theory of Plates on Elastic Foundations to Save Material Costs.

Article (pdf)  |  Digital Edition

A common, simplifying assumption used for specifying polystyrene insulation under concrete slabs results in material costs that are significantly higher than necessary. Using a design equation based on a more rigorous analysis of the design conditions can help avoid over-engineering the insulation and save thousands of dollars on the project.

Rigid foam insulations, such as expanded polystyrene (EPS), have been used successfully under concrete slabs for more than 40 years. Such insulation helps reduce heat loss to the ground in residences, cold storage units, warehouses and other commercial, institutional and industrial structures.

The problem is that designers often do not adequately account for how the concrete slab and underlying subgrade interact. Many designers assume that a concentrated load applied to the slab transfers to the rigid foam subgrade through a triangular load path. This assumption, while not necessarily incorrect, can be very conservative.

Concrete slabs distribute loads in a more even fash- ion, which means that the insulation does not need as high a compressive resistance compared to the typical simplified approach. A more accurate approach to this problem is to use the Modulus of Subgrade Reaction (K) to determine the slab’s deflection and the resultant stress applied to the elastic insulation subgrade. The pressure beneath a given slab under a load can be determined using the following formula, found in the Theory of Plates on Elastic Foundations, as described by Timoshenko and Woinowsky-Krieger:

Pressure on the subgrade = (P/8)√(K/D) Where:

  • P = concentrated load on concrete slab in pounds
  • K = Subgrade reaction modulus of total EPS insulation in pounds per cubic inch (k/t)
  • k = Stiffness of one inch of EPS insulation in pounds per square inch
  • t = EPS insulation thickness in inches
  • D = Eh3 / 12(1-u2)
  • E = Modulus of elasticity of concrete in pounds per square inch (57000√ f’c)
  • f’c = specified concrete compressive strength in pounds per square inch
  • h = Thickness of concrete slab in inches
  • u = Poisson’s ratio for concrete (0.15)

An example illustrates the significant difference in the calculated results.

EPS insulation in an under-slab application

EPS insulation in an under-slab application

Take the case of a warehouse with a 6-inch-thick, 2,500-psi concrete slab on 2 inches of EPS insulation with a rated stiffness of 360 psi for one inch. Forklifts to be used in the building impart 8,000 pounds of force at the wheel, which has a 6-inch by 10-inch tire footprint on the slab. If the designer assumes that this load distributes at a 45-degree angle through the slab, the 8,000 pounds ends up distributed over approximately 396 square inches [(6 + 6 + 6)(6 + 10 + 6)] of the insulation’s surface, for an average pressure of 20.2 psi.

Taking into account the fact that concrete slabs distribute loads more evenly, using the Modulus of Subgrade Reaction method, the pressure on the insulation is actually much lower – approximately 1.85 psi. Since EPS insulation rated for 1.85 psi costs about 50% less than other rigid foam insulations rated for the much higher value of 20.2 psi, using the more precise method reduces insulation costs substantially. In fact, the 20.2 psi value is beyond the elastic range of the EPS material, and long-term creep effects must be taken into account when using that design approach. With:

P = 8000 pounds, h = 6 inches, f’c = 2,500 psi,

E = 57,000√ 2,500 = 2,850,000 psi, u = 0.15,

k = 360 psi for 1-inch EPS

K = 360 psi / 2 inches = 180 pci

D = Eh3/12(1-u2) = 2,850,000 (6)3/12(1–(0.15)2) = 52,480,818 lb-in

Pressure on EPS = (P/8)√(K/D) =

8000/8 √(180 / 52,480,818) = 1.85 psi.

The k value can be found by consulting the insulation manufacturer. One EPS insulation brand available throughout the U.S. has k values ranging from 360 to 1860 psi for one inch of insulation thickness. The specific value depends on the product type selected. Note that increasing the thickness of EPS insulation decreases the overall subgrade modulus.

Using the above method to determine the pressure that a slab transfers to the subgrade allows for proper specification of rigid foam insulation and avoids over-engineering the insulation for compressive strength. In the example application discussed in this article, the simplifying assumption of triangular load transfer through a concrete slab results in a compressive force on the insulation 11 times higher than the result from the more rigorous (but not much more complicated) analysis. Specifying higher compressive resistance insulation than necessary not only is overly conservative for the given design, it also does not improve the insulation’s thermal performance, and the cost to the project is excessive and unnecessary. It is a lose-lose scenario.

Article (pdf)  |  Digital Edition

ARTICLE QUESTIONS

Joe Pasma

Joe Pasma, Insulfoam Technical Manager

Contact Joe Pasma, PE, Insulfoam Technical Manager

800.469.8870 x104

joe.pasma@insulfoam.com

Ask Joe to Connect With You on LinkedIn | Follow Premier SIPS on LinkedIn

Read more on Insulfoam.com

New Mexico Schools Save on Construction Costs with EPS Insulation

 

APS

APS Food & Nutrition Services Kitchen & Storage Warehouse, R-Tech Installation

Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) in New Mexico have been undertaking a massive classroom and educational rebuild and remodel.  All new construction has been designed using sustainable materials and energy-efficient principles with LEED certification as the end goal.

As part of new buildings under construction is a 108,000 sq. ft. central Food and Nutrition Services Kitchen and Storage Warehouse.

Originally specified XPS was replaced with Insulfoam R-Tech VI 40 psi over the sub slab freezer floor.  The project utilized 2 lifts of 3″ R-Tech instead of 3 lifts of 2″ XPS ultimately saving the  concrete contractor approximately $20,000 in material costs.

(More photos below)

Useful industry publications references on specifying EPS in below grade or under slab applications:

APS

APS Food & Nutrition Services Kitchen & Storage Warehouse, R-Tech Installation

APS

APS Food & Nutrition Services Kitchen & Storage Warehouse, R-Tech Installation

APS

APS Food & Nutrition Services Kitchen & Storage Warehouse, R-Tech Installation

PROJECT DETAILS

Questions on this project or application?

Travis Montgomery, Insulfoam Territory Manager

Travis Montgomery, Insulfoam Territory Manager

Contact Travis Montgomery, CSI, Insulfoam Territory Manager

Email: Travis.Montgomery@insulfoam.com

Connect with Travis on LinkedIn | Follow Insulfoam on LinkedIn

Read more on Insulfoam.com

 

Question & Response: XPS, EPS, and Dock Flotation

Useful references to support this article:  NEW moisture absorption data regarding XPS, moisture absorption and the effects on R-Value was released in March 2014.  Read more in the updated summary and in subsequent 2008 test program documents:

Originally posted on Construction Specifier online, Author Response to Reader Question, February 18, 2014

After the feature, “Out of Sight, Not Out of Mind: Specifying Thermal Insulation Below-grade and Under-slab” ran in our December 2013 issue, we received a letter from retired architect, Joseph S. Bond. Mr. Bond wrote that the article in question “seems to reverse the findings” from both his personal and professional experience with expanded and extruded polystyrene (EPS and XPS):

I am a retired architect, and may not have the best current information on EPS and XPS, but when these two products were mistakenly used as ‘flotation’ for lake docks and later removed, the XPS bales were like new and had no water soakage beyond the first (1/8 in.). However, I remember the EPS bales were waterlogged to the extent it took two people to even carry the bales. On top of this, the EPS bales showed a lot of disintegration due to freeze-thaw.

My observations may have been on EPS that had much less density (1-1/2 -2 #) than implied by The Construction Specifier article, but many reading will probably have the same concerns and begin to question the piece’s validity.

We asked the article’s author, Ram Mayilvahanan, to respond.

Mr. Bond raises a frequently discussed point about the long-term problems that arise when using rigid foam insulations that do not conform to ASTM standards.

Since insulation, especially below-grade, is out of sight, it can also be out of mind when it comes to ensuring the product being used at the job site matches the product that was specified.  As with other building products, there are numerous companies making rigid foam insulations, often with varying degrees of quality.  We building professionals share the responsibility in making sure the selected right-foam manufacturer can consistently deliver product that meets the specified performance.

To ensure performance on key factors, including moisture resistance, it is crucial to not only specify foam insulation that has been manufactured and tested to meet ASTM C578, Standard Specification fro Rigid, Cellular Polystyrene Thermal Insulation, but also to ensure the manufacturer supplying the foam insulation can consistently deliver quality product.  A manufacturer’s longevity and track record with past projects should help in assessing this.

As an example, the floating green on the 14th hole in the world-famous Coeur d’Alene Golf resort in Idaho – considered on the of the coolest shots in golf- was built with EPS.  It continues to be a testimony to well-engineered flotation insulation.  Projects like this help establish the ability of manufacturers to deliver quality product.

Mr. Bond’s observation is a timely reminder for us building professionals that it pays to make sure the right product gets to the job site.

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

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)

EPS IA March 2014

EPS Below Grade Series 105, March 2014

A test program conducted in August 2008 evaluated the field performance of expanded (EPS) and extruded (XPS) polystyrene foam insulation in a side-by-side, below grade application following a continuous 15-year installation period.  When water and R-value retention were compared between EPS and XPS, the results demonstrated that EPS insulation outperformed XPS insulation with better R-value retention and a lower moisture absorption.

In 2013, an independent testing laboratory was again commissioned to evaluate the R-value and water absorption from XPS insulation samples extracted from several field locations and applications. A summary of the 2013 test results reconfirm there is no correlation between the results from standardized laboratory test methods and actual field exposure for XPS water absorption.  Further, the significant loss of R-value associated with XPS water absorption is shown in the summary.  

Read Full Technical Bulletin Summary (pdf)

“Studies show that as much as 25% of energy loss from a structure can be attributed to a lack of insulation. Insulation R-value is directly correlated to maximum energy efficiency in a building envelope; higher R-values translate into increased savings. It is important to understand that in-situ water absorption can diminish the thermal performance of building materials and designers must account for this when evaluating different insulation choices.”

 

Read more on the technical background expanding on the moisture resistance comparison between EPS and XPS conducted in the 2008 test program:

Applications, Design & Construction Considerations for EPS Geofoam

Originally posted on CE News online in Progressive Engineering

Geofoam: A lightweight fill alternative

Pacific Bridge

To widen the Pacific Street Bridge over I-680 in Omaha, Neb., Hawkins Construction excavated the soil between the existing abutment wall using EPS geofoam as lightweight backfill for the bridge approach.

Geofoam is a rigid, engineered, lightweight fill material typically made of expanded polystyrene (EPS). For fills, a key advantage of EPS geofoam is its low weight — approximately 1 to 2 percent the weight of soil. Typical densities for EPS fill are between 0.7 and 2.85 pounds per cubic foot, therefore maintaining a predictable compressive strength that is suitable for many structural applications (see “Geofoam physical properties”).

Today, geofoam is fully recognized and accepted as a lightweight fill alternative and has seen increased use in commercial and residential applications. Since the first installation of geofoam in 1965 (see “A short history of geofoam”), numerous projects around the world that have relied on the material to solve construction problems.

Given EPS geofoam’s low weight, strength, and ease of use, more project teams are using it to solve regular construction challenges in five basic applications.  Read the full article featured on CE NEWS as our Geofoam Specialist, Nico, discusses:

  • The five basic applications and specific project examples:  1.)  Lateral load reductions on structures  2.)  Soft soil remediation  3.)  Slope stabilization  4.)  Lateral and dead load reductions over buried utilities  5.)  Lightweight structural void fill.
  • Geofoam physical properties
  • Short history of geofoam
  • Construction considerations
  • Cost saving advantages

INSULFOAM GEOFOAM QUESTIONS

Nico Sutmoller, Insulfoam Geofoam Specialist

Nico Sutmoller, Insulfoam Geofoam Specialist

Contact Nico Sutmoller, Below-Grade & Geofoam Specialist

nico.sutmoller@insulfoam.com

Ask Nico to Connect on LinkedIn  |  Follow Insulfoam on LinkedIn

Read more on Insulfoam.com

Product Feature: Durable, Energy-Efficient Composite Insulation

HD Composite

InsulFoam HD Composite

InsulFoam HD Composite roof insulation system combines lightweight EPS with high-density polyisocyanurate for use in adverse weather.

FULL PRODUCT DATA SHEET

Our composite insulation panel is ideal for new or retrofit roof systems requiring resistance to misuse, abuse and sever weather.  The HD Composite panel is a closed-cell, extremely lightweight and resilient EPS foam factory bonded to high-density polyisocyanurate cover board.  The factory laminated composite insulation provides significant field labor savings, a cover board offering high compressive strength (100 psi), and high thermal efficiency that is not available with traditional foam insulation.

InsulFoam HD Composite, Product Data Sheet

InsulFoam HD Composite, Product Data Sheet

Substantially less expensive than similar Iso composite products, the lightweight InsulFoam HD composite insulation system makes an entire fully adhered single-ply roof system more resistant to abuse.  Widely compatible with a range of roofing membranes – including EPDM (M-class rubber), TP (thermoplastic polyolefin), PVC (polyvinyl chloride), CSPE (chlorosulfonated polyethylene), and low-sloped, built-up and modified bitumen membrane systems – it is also a suitable insulation underlayment for metal roofing.

The product has a full array of UL approvals, and is available in standard 4′ x 8′ panels, with thicknesses ranging from 1.5″ to 7″.  We also produce custom lengths and widths with little or no impact on lead time.

“InsulFoam HD Composite insulation brings together the best features of two leading roof insulation materials for an extremely competitive price.  The R-values of the EPS remain stable over time for exceptional long-term insulation, and the polyiso caps that off with additional insulation and a protective layer.  The product is substantially more lightweight than gypsum and OSB for fast install, while standing up to abuse.  It provides long-lasting, energy-efficient roof insulation in a range of harsh climates.”  – John Cambruzzi, Regional Sales Director

 

FULL PRODUCT DATA SHEET

 

Utilizing Geofoam in Foundation Design for Steep Sloped Lots

Foundation Design Layout

Foundation Design Layout

A custom high end home was built on a very steep hillside lot overlooking Lake Washington near Seattle.  The owner of this home owns an excavation/gravel business.  He has all of the heavy equipment and free soil he could ever want, yet he chose to backfill three foundation walls with geofoam.  This project was originally designed with a compacted soil backfilled MSE wall that would have to be trucked down 95′, through a country club and from the top of the hill.  The amount of concrete, reinforcement, tie backs and forming costs that were removed from the foundation design more than paid for the geofoam and reduced the total weight of the import fill material by over 2 million pounds.

 

Geofoam Installation, Lake Washington Residence

Geofoam Installation, Lake Washington Residence

Benefits that lead to overall project cost savings by using geofoam as an alternative to traditional soil fill:

  • Geofoam is easily installed and the lightweight nature of geofoam allows it to be maneuvered by hand and used on projects with tight construction access where the use of larger mechanical equipment may not be feasible.
  • Shotcrete, Gunite, or soil can be placed directly against geofoam eliminating the need for expensive forming.
  • Construction traffic and import costs are minimized, as 1 flatbed truck of geofoam is equivalent to approximately 12 dump truck loads of traditional fill.
  • Congestion on the roads or road closures leading in and out of a project site is minimized.
  • The construction time of a project is reduced as several feet of geofoam can be placed in a fraction of the time that it would take to the place and compact traditional soil fill in the required 8 to 12-inch lifts.  As an added incentive, geofoam does not require compaction testing like tradition fill.
  • Decreased maintenance costs as a result of less settlement issues from the low density geofoam.
  • Tight construction scheduling can easily be maintained using geofoam as it can be installed during any type of weather or site conditions.
  • Geofoam is extremely eco-friendly and geofoam blocks can be re-used in other projects or be recycled.
Geofoam Installation, Lake Washington Residence

Geofoam Installation, Lake Washington Residence

Geofoam Installation, Lake Washington Residence

Geofoam Installation, Lake Washington Residence

INSULFOAM GEOFOAM QUESTIONS?

Nico Sutmoller, Insulfoam Geofoam Specialist

Nico Sutmoller, Insulfoam Geofoam Specialist

Contact Nico Sutmoller, Below-Grade & Geofoam Specialist

nico.sutmoller@insulfoam.com

Ask Nico to Connect on LinkedIn  |  Follow Insulfoam on LinkedIn

Read more on Insulfoam.com

 

Boosting Thermal Performance For A Reroof

Originally printed in Today’s Facility Manager Magazine, January/February 2014

Article (pdf)

Today's Facility Managers, Jan/Feb 2014

Today’s Facility Manager, Jan/Feb 2014

As with new construction, the insulation chosen for a reroofing project can mean a difference of tens of thousands of dollars in material and labor.  With the range of rigid foam insulation products available, it is possible for facility managers (fms) to reduce costs substantially without sacrificing thermal performance.  The key is understanding product options for insulation, and the physical properties of these options.

Many reroofing jobs involve a recover of an existing metal roof.  While fms can save labor and disposal costs by leaving an existing metal roofing in place, the standing seams make it difficult to create a smooth surface for the recover.  One solution can be found with flute-fill EPS (expanded polystyrene) insulation.  A number of rigid foam insulation manufacturers offer these products to fit the spaces between a metal roof’s flanges.  And an advantage of EPS over other insulations is that it can be custom cut to fit any profile or size of flute, with high compressive strength products also available for use in high traffic conditions.

As these flute-fill insulations are light-weight and fit accurately into the flute, roofing crews can readily lay such products into a metal roof’s channels, providing a stable, even base for additional roof layers.  And because the flute-fill insulation fills the flutes completely, heat transfer into or out of a building is blocked.

Another common challenge of reroofing is the need to install a large quantity of smaller insulation boards over the existing roofing.  This can be labor-intensive as crews must carry and place many separate boards.  One way to alleviate this is to use fanfold panel bundles.  Economical, code approved EPS fanfold bundles are available in accordion style sets.  By working with these bundles, crews can handle more material faster.

Such products also help prevent thermal leakage by avoiding multiple joints.  Further, fanfold products come with polymeric and metalized faces that provide enhanced moisture protection.

Another area where the choice of insulation can dramatically impact a reroofing budget is the conversion of a flat deck to a positive sloped roof.  In such cases, the slope is often built up with insulation.  Since most rigid foam insulation is available in sheets no more than a few inches thick, achieving the necessary slope can require stacking numerous sheets on top of one another.  EPS insulation is available up to 40″ thick and can be pre-cut to virtually any slope.  Such tapered EPS can reduce roof insulation costs up to 30% compared to other tapered rigid foam products, through material, labor, and also adhesive or fastener savings.

Insulation choice also impacts a facility’s energy efficiency year after year.  Often, manufacturers report only the initial R-value, when the product comes out of the factory.  However, many rigid foam insulations use blowing agents that boost initial R-value, but diffuse over time, losing up to 20% of the initial R-value while in service.  Fms should look at long-term R-value to ensure there is no thermal loss.  In the realm of rigid foams, EPS offers high insulating R-values.  And engineered EPS is a stable non-degrading product, which leads many manufacturers to provide a long-term warranty of the product’s full R-value.

Article (pdf)

EPS QUESTIONS

Contact Ram Mayilvahanan, Insulfoam’s Product-Marketing Manager

Lightweight Geofoam Fill Supports Highway Construction

Originally posted on SitePrep online, March 2014

Working in the soft soils of Trinidad, the contractor specified EPS geofoam to reduce the load applied to the pile cap under the existing pier on this freeway interchange project.

Working in the soft soils of Trinidad, the contractor specified EPS geofoam to reduce the load applied to the pile cap under the existing pier on this freeway interchange project.

Although greenfield site preparation can involve a host of geotechnical challenges, in urban areas the need to work around existing infrastructure presents its own costly and complex design problems.

A new freeway interchange at Valsayn on the Caribbean island of Trinidad provides a clear example of the potential difficulties.  Traffic growth in the island nation required the development of a new grade-separated interchange between two primary highways – the Churchill-Roosevelt Highway (CRH) and the Uriah Butler Highway (UBH).

One challenge the project team faced was that the north and southbound lanes of the UBH needed to pass adjacent to (and on both sides of) a support column for an existing flyover ramp.  The new lanes required pavement of 9.8 to 10.5 ft. of embankment fill on top of the pier’s pile cap on very soft soils.  A concrete shaft of seismic activity.  The concrete shaft also keeps the pier in depended for the the new fill.

Designing infrastructure to mitigate earthquake damage is crucial in Trinidad, which lies near the boundary of two tectonic plates.  The island has been impacted by five earthquakes greater than magnitude 7.0 since the 1700s, including a 7.3 quake in 2007.

To reduce the load applied to the pile cap under the existing pier, and to avoid any modification of the pier’s seismic behavior, contractor Vinci Construction Grands Projects specified InsulFoam GF expanded polystyrene (EPS) geofoam as a lightweight fill.  Goefoam offers high compressive strength and predictability, yet weighs up to 100 times less than traditional soil fills depending on the EPS density selected.

EPS geofoam fill provided a cost-effective alternative to building a concrete slab founded on piles to support the load from the road and transfer it away from the pier pile cap.

EPS geofoam fill provided a cost-effective alternative to building a concrete slab founded on piles to support the load from the road and transfer it away from the pier pile cap.

Vinci Construction Grands Projets crews placed 2,100 cu. yds. of EPS22 geofoam fill in an 80 by 89 ft. area surrounding the pier in only three-and-a-half days. “Because of the ease and speed of installation, using geofoam allowed us to build this fill two times faster than a regular sand fill, especially in Trinidad where heavy rains can interrupt back filling activities for days,” says Cecile Huillard, construction engineer with Vinci Construction Grands Projets.

Huillard notes the use of EPS geofoam fill provided a cost-effective and simple alternative to building a concrete slab founded on piles to support the load from the road and transfer it away from the pier pile cap. No heavy equipment was needed for the fill placement, as crews were able to install the geofoam blocks by hand. Additionally, the geofoam resulted in lower and smoother post-construction differential settlements of the roadway in both the transversal and longitudinal directions. The use of geofoam also eliminated the need for additional geotechnical investigation for potential additional piles.

Using EPS geofoam as a lightweight fill reduces labor and material costs without the need for over-excavation.

Using EPS geofoam as a lightweight fill reduces labor and material costs without the need for over-excavation.

EPS geofoam does not typically require surcharging, preloading or the staging often necessary with other fills. It resists moisture, freeze-thaw damage, insects, mold and decomposition. The product is inert, does not emit undesirable gases or leachates, and is reusable or recyclable. EPS geofoam is available in multiple strengths suitable for a wide range of engineered applications. The EPS22 geofoam specified in the CRH/UBH interchange project has a compressive resistance of 1,051 psf at 1-percent deformation.

In addition to soft soil remediation and reducing vertical loads on existing infrastructure and utilities, engineers have used EPS geofoam to solve a range of other geotechnical challenges, as outlined in the adjacent article, Applications for Lightweight Geofoam Fill.

Applications for Lightweight Geofoam Fill

Given EPS geofoam’s low weight, strength and ease of use, more project teams are using it to solve regular construction challenges in five basic applications:

1. Eliminate or reduce lateral loads on structures.

2.     Create a zero loading factor for soft soil remediation.

3.     Lighten the driving block of a landslide for slope stabilization.

4.     Reduce lateral and dead loads over existing or newly buried utilities.

5.     Use as lightweight structural void-fill for numerous concrete and landscaping applications.

STRUCTURE LOAD REDUCTION

EPS geofoam significantly reduces lateral loads on retaining walls and building foundations. The material has an extremely low Poisson’s ratio (.05) and high coefficient of friction (.6), which helps enable placement of blocks in a way that replaces the sliding soil wedge above the angle of repose. By replacing the active wedge with EPS geofoam, which can be completely freestanding and self-supporting, project teams can save up to 75 percent of total project costs compared to traditional concrete walls designed to retain soil.

Using EPS geofoam also reduces labor and material costs without the need for over-excavation, and requires much less robust forming, reduced structural steel and concrete wall thickness, and fewer footings. The material can also reduce or eliminate the need for geo-grids and/or mechanical tiebacks. Project teams are able to construct a retaining wall with EPS geofoam paired with a lower-cost fascia (which acts more like a fence).

Another key advantage of using the material in retaining wall applications is the allowance for taller walls in narrower rights-of-way. This reduces time and cost spent on property acquisition, as well as minimizes lane closures and encroachment into wetlands or neighboring properties.

SOFT SOIL REMEDIATION

Ground with soft soils or soft clay makes construction difficult. These soft surfaces are notoriously poor foundations for many projects, and can require extensive remediation.

Instead of choosing costly (surcharging) and time-consuming remediation of soft soils, projects of all sizes can install EPS geofoam, which provides high load-support while maintaining a low weight.

SLOPE STABILIZATION

EPS geofoam’s low weight makes it an excellent option for stabilizing steep slopes, without the need to change the final slope geometry. As 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 slope failures.

Additionally, since slope stabilization generally happens on steep and uneven terrain, using EPS geofoam simplifies construction, because crews can move and place it without heavy earthmoving and compaction equipment, thus greatly speeding up the construction schedule.

UTILITIES LOAD REDUCTION

Throughout the world, existing buried utilities create challenges for new construction. Notably, utilities frequently are not designed to have additional loads placed upon them. So, utilities either have to be moved or upgraded at high expense.

Instead, geofoam can be an ideal option to reduce dead and lateral loads on underground pipes, culverts and tunnels, while at the same time providing high thermal insulation values that protect against temperature fluctuations.

Another advantage is geofoam can protect utilities during seismic activity by reducing in-situ vertical/lateral stresses.

STRUCTURAL VOID FILL

Given its low weight, EPS geofoam is also well suited as a structural void fill in concrete forming operations. Crews can easily fabricate virtually any shape or slope, and the material eliminates separate concrete pours for vertical wall sections and topping slabs.

Applications include bridge column formwork, stadium seating in auditoriums and sports arenas, stairways, podiums, loading docks and rooftop pool decks. EPS geofoam can be manufactured into custom-cut blocks in various shapes and sizes to enable contractors to quickly build up these and other similar features.

Article featured on SitePrep 

“Because of the ease and speed of installation, using geofoam allowed us to build this fill two times faster than a regular sand fill, especially in Trinidad where heavy rains can interrupt back filling activities for days.”  – Cecile Huillard, Construction Engineer, Vinci Construction Grands Projects

INSULFOAM GEOFOAM QUESTIONS?

Nico Sutmoller, Insulfoam Geofoam Specialist

Nico Sutmoller, Insulfoam Geofoam Specialist

Contact Nico Sutmoller, Below-Grade & Geofoam Specialist

nico.sutmoller@insulfoam.com

Ask Nico to Connect on LinkedIn  |  Follow Insulfoam on LinkedIn

Read more on Insulfoam.com

Register Now! NYC/Long Island Area Contractor Lunch & Learn Event: Wed. March 12th

Empire Sales Group

Empire Sales Group

In partnership with Empire Sales Group, join us on WEDNESDAY, MARCH 12TH over lunch to learn more about building with Insulfoam products.  These type of training sessions are the perfect opportunity for our sales managers to partner with our customers to help them understand how the Insulfoam product is used… so in return customers can grow their business.  

REGISTER NOW to secure your seat, must register by Tuesday, March 11th.  Training will include information on:

  • Code approvals (including UL Class A, FM Class 1, and NFPA285)
  • Water absorption rates
  • R-value retention
  • Compressive strength
  • How EPS products compare/contrast to XPS

TRAINING DETAILS

WHAT:  “LITSCO University” training event with Insulfoam

WHEN: Wednesday, March 12th at 11AM  |  LUNCH WILL BE PROVIDED!

WHERE: Long Island Tinsmith Supply Corp (LITSCO)  |  76-11 88th Street, Glendale, NY 11385

RSVP:  Briana@empiresalesgroup.net  |  732-381-3804

Insulfoam, a division of Carlisle Construction Materials, manufactures high performance/high quality/high density insulation.

  • No R-value drift
  • Any thickness or size
  • 25, 40 and 60 PSI product
  • Near identical physical properties as extruded (XPS)
  • Big cost savings

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

 

Roof Assembly Insulation: The Case for EPS

Originally printed in Architectural Products Magazine, On Spec, Insulation, Nov 2013

Read full article (pdf)

Architectural Products, Nov 2013

Architectural Products, Nov 2013

Design professionals typically want to use as much insulation as possible, not only to comply with building codes, but also to build to the highest standards.  Building owners want enough insulation to keep heating and cooling costs down, without having to ‘pay through the roof’ in upfront costs.  Performance vs. cost:  where is the middle ground that makes sense for both parties?

To answer that question, it is important to look at how insulation is designed.  For many years, the use of rigid foam insulation was based not the R-value per inch – the higher the better.  Today, well-informed design professionals are cognizant of the design optimum and the realization that insulation suffers from the law of diminishing returns.  Any insulation installed beyond the design optimum provides little additional energy savings, but costs a lot of money.  Efficient insulation design comes down to choosing the product that balances upfront costs with the energy savings offered over the life of the building.

So, which insulation gives the best ‘bang for the buck?’  To understand performance vs. expenditure across different rigid insulations, it is important to consider the R-value per dollar spent on both materials and labor.

Because material and labor costs for insulation vary by market, specific R-value per dollar figures often shift, but EPS consistently rates highest when compared to other rigid foam insulations.  Also, EPS comes in much higher thicknesses (up to 40 in.) in a single-layer than does XPS or polyisocyanurate, so higher R-values can be achieved with fewer layers, lowering on-job labor time and cost.  Plus, EPS does not suffer any loss in R-value over the life of the building, so the design R-value for EPS is the long-term R-value.

With that in mind, here are some increasingly popular applications in which design professionals use EPS to comply with building codes while reducing material and labor costs for roof insulation.  Read full article (pdf) to learn more about:

  • Roof recovers requiring a separator board
  • Metal roof recovers
  • Bilt-up sloped roofs
  • High-traffic areas
  • Comparison of common rigid foam insulations

“In the end, the right insulation product is the one that offers the optimum balance of performance and economy.  Such a product satisfies both the design professional and the building owner, leading to a building that is code compliant, built to high performance standards and economical enough to deliver lifetime energy savings that justify the upfront costs.”

Thermal Loss Thwarted

Originally printed in Architectural Products Magazine, Features Special Report, Insulation, Nov 2013

By:  Alan Weis, Contributing Writer

INSULATION- APPLIED AND INSTALLED PROPERLY- CAN BE AN INTEGRAL MEASURE IN CREATING AN EFFECTIVE AND EFFICIENT ENVELOPE.

FULL article (pdf)

Architectural Products, Nov 2013

Architectural Products, Nov 2013

When it comes to insulation, R-value- the measure of thermal resistance – seemingly rules.  In other words, the higher the R-value the better the thermal resistance.  But there’s more to the story than that according to industry experts.  “An insulation product’s R-value is only a starting point for understanding how well it works, says James Hodgson, general manager for Premier SIPS.

In fact, Hodgson says it’s crucial to evaluate the whole-wall R-value of the assembly, since the insulation is only one part of creating a tight, well-insulated envelope.  For example, he claims DOE research shows that a 4.5-in. structural insulation panel (SIP) wall rated at R-14, out-performs a 2×6 stud wall with R-19 fiberglass insulation.  “It comes down to significantly less air leakage, thermal bridging and convective looping for a better performing assembly,” says Hodgson.

Insulation, unfortunately, is too often treated as an afterthought, as Hodgson says it ends up getting fit around the structural systems instead of being an integral part of them, making it difficult to seal leaks.  SIPs, he notes, address this by incorporating both in one assembly.

NOW VS. LATER

Longevity is another consideration when it comes to R-values.  “It’s common for building professionals to look at R-value per inch at the time of installation, “says Ram Mayilvahanan, product marketing manager with Insulfoam.  “Yet, it makes more sense to evaluate insulation’s long-term thermal performance and the return on investment.”

R-tech

Insulfoam EPS insulation not only offers a high initial R-value, it also doesn’t lose R-value with time.

His company manufactures HD composite roof insulation, which bonds expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam to a high-density polyiso cover board, a combination that has high thermal efficiency and provides significant field labor savings.  Plus, Mayilvahanan says it can be used to achieve UL Class A fire ratings on combustible roof decks without the use of gypsum or other cover boards.

“Many rigid foam insulations experience thermal drift, which is a loss of R-value over time as insulating gases within them dissipate and are replaced by air,” Mayilvahanan continues.  “Some materials lose up to 20% of their insulating capacity during their time in service.”  One the other hand, EPS insulation, he explains, not only offers a high initial R-value, it also doesn’t lose R-value with time.  And, it can be used in wall, roof, below-grade and under-slab applications.

Continue to read FULL article (pdf) where further insulation consideration and types are described by industry experts.

“The push toward comprehensive green design has raised awareness that many building systems must work together for optimum performance,” says Mayilvahanan.  “It’s not just insulating the structure appropriately, but also right-sizing the HVAC systems and educating owners and occupants on how to operate the building for high energy efficiency.”

 

More info on Insulfoam:  Website  |  Read blog articles  |  Follow on LinkedIn

More info on Premier SIPs by Insulfoam:   Website  |  Read blog articles  |  Follow on LinkedIn

 

Insulation Choices: EPS or XPS?

Originally posted in Concrete Construction

As a specifier, architect and contractor….you must make well-informed decisions when it comes to below-grade, under slab, and cavity wall insulations in your projects.  Below are two informative articles listing the similarities and differences between both EPS (expanded polystyrene) and XPS (extruded polystyrene) insulations.

Insulation Choices:  Whether to use EPS or XPS can be a matter of cost.

Originally posted in Concrete Construction, November 2013, written by Mayilvahanan, Insulfoam’s Product-Marketing Manager

EPS insulation helps reduce heat loss through concrete foundations and floor slabs.

EPS insulation helps reduce heat loss through concrete foundations and floor slabs.

What’s the difference between XPS insulation and EPS insulation, other than a single letter? For installation on concrete foundations and under floor slabs, the rigid foam insulation you choose can make a difference of tens of thousands of dollars on a project. A careful evaluation of these materials’ performance attributes against the project’s needs can dramatically shrink labor and material costs. The savings could mean the difference between a profitable job and one you just have to chalk up to experience.

When it comes to concrete and insulation, contractors tend to be most familiar with extruded polystyrene (XPS). Yet, expanded polystyrene (EPS) performs as well or better than XPS, and at a substantially lower cost. Below are three important factors to consider when comparing these two insulations for any belowgrade or under-slab applications, read FULL article to see more side by side comparisons of EPS and EXP for these insulation factors:  1.) Compressive strength  2.) Moisture retention  3.) Insulating capability.

Full Article:  Insulation Choices

EPS vs XPS:  Insulation industry advances with EPS developments

Originally posted on Concrete Construction, February 2014, written by Frank Keisecker, ACH Foam’s VP of Sales and Marketing

There is much competition among polystyrene insulation manufacturers for the below-grade, under slab, and cavity wall insulation market. Claims made by the XPS (extruded polystyrene) industry are conflicting with that of EPS (expanded polystyrene) manufacturers. The validity of some claims is debatable. Specifiers, architects, and contractors must make well-informed decisions.

Read FULL article to thoroughly understand the similarities and differences between EPS and XPS insulations.  Key differences include: 1.) Moisture resistance 2.) Environmental impact  3.) Long-term R-value  4.) Compressive strength   5.) Panel sizes  6.) Cost per R-value.

Full Article:  EPS vs XPS

EPS QUESTIONS

Ram Mayilvahanan

Ram Mayilvahanan

Contact Ram Mayilvahanan, Insulfoam’s Product-Marketing Manager