Geofoam Saves Time, Money During Three Projects

Originally posted on Better Roads Magazine

I-80 / I-65 Interchange, Gary, Indiana

I-80 / I-65 Interchange, Gary, Indiana

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has promoted the use of expanded polystyrene (EPS) geofoam as a lightweight embankment soil alternative for a number of years.  In a 2006 report, the agency’s Technical Service Team described the material as a “field-tested, budget-friendly winner.”  Why?  FHWA engineers list the following benefits:

  • Accelerated construction
  • Payroll, transportation and equipment cost savings
  • Reduced labor time for construction
  • Exerts little or no lateral load on retaining structures
  • Easily constructed in limited right-of-way situations
  • Allows application in adverse weather conditions.
Trinidad

Trinidad

The material is approximately 100 times lighter than soil, which save time.  Additionally, a single truck can carry approximately 120 cubic yards of goefoam versus 12 dump truck loads needed for an equivalent volume of earthen fill.  This reduces hauling costs, both in fuel and labor.  Geofoam is easy to install by hand, so it reduces expenses for heavy equipment.

Following is a discussion of tangible benefits derived from geofoam usage in real-world applications such as:

I-80 / I-65 interchange, Gary, Indiana:  FHWA recommended a net-zero load methodology for the roadbed to prevent post-construction settlement.

To reduce the amount of excavation of the high-organic content soils, the contractor, Walsh Construction, used EPS geofoam blocks.  A six-member crew installed 700 cubic yards of geofoam in one week working four- to five-hour days. The geofoam was delivered to the job site on 32 flatbed truckloads, whereas traditional fills would have required more than 400 dump trucks in the highly congested project area leading into and out of metro Chicago.

Highway Interchange, Valsayn, Trinidad:  The project team for an interchange between Trinidad’s Churchill-Roosevelt Highway (CRH) and Uriah Butler Highway (UBH), the island nation’s primary highways, used an EPS geofoam sub-base to solve an engineering challenge and save time in the process.

Highway geometry required placing new lanes adjacent to both sides of an existing fly-over ramp’s support pier. The grade for the lanes required placement of about 10 feet of embankment fill on top of the pier’s pile cap. Engineers determined that traditional fills would have caused unacceptable settlement of the compressive layers located below the fill.

To build the embankment while keeping loads down on the pile cap, Vinci Construction Grands Projets specified EPS geofoam as a lightweight fill, which provided an 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.

The geofoam resulted in lower and smoother post-construction differential settlements of the roadway in both the transversal and longitudinal directions. It also eliminated the need for additional geotechnical investigation for potential additional piles. The ability to place the EPS geofoam during the rainy season was crucial to keeping the project on schedule. Crews placed 2,100 cubic yards of EPS geofoam in only 3.5 days.

Lake Cataouatche Pump Station Bridge, New Orleans, Louisiana:  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers used EPS geofoam when it needed to build a service bridge over above-ground outlet pipes at the Lake Cataouatche pump station near New Orleans.

The bridge abutments are over extremely soft soil (compressible peat). A traditional soil embankment would have added substantial load to the underlying soils. To minimize loads on the soft soils, the project team used EPS geofoam under the bridge abutments.

Final thoughts

In addition to being lightweight, EPS geofoam has predictable elastic behavior and will not decompose. Further, unlike other lightweight fills such as shredded tires or wood chips, EPS geofoam blocks are homogenous, which provides uniform load transfer and eliminates differential settlement. All of these factors combine to make the material an ideal choice in many road sub-base applications at the federal, state and local levels.

Rigid Foam Spells High Performance

Originally Posted in Commercial Building Products Magazine, October 2013

Commercial Building Products Magazine, October issue

Commercial Building Products Magazine

With increasing focus on high-performance building envelopes, it is hard to believe insulation once involved layering mud between logs, stuffing old newspapers into wall cracks, or using other ad hoc methods to seal air leaks and keep heat inside structures. Today’s building professionals can choose from a wide range of insulations, but this proliferation of choices makes selecting appropriate insulation products more challenging.

Rigid-foam insulations are now a mainstay of energy-efficient buildings, whether commercials, institutional, or residential. Products in this category include expanded polystyrene (EPS), extruded polystyrene (XPS), and polyisocyanurate (polyiso). Careful attention to product attributes in field applications is needed to ensure high thermal performance at a reasonable cost.

“Rigid-foam insulation is a mainstay of efficient building envelopes, but the correct product must be chosen for high thermal performance at a reasonable cost.” – Ram Mayilvahanan, Insulfoam Product-Marketing Manager

Continue reading the full article, Rigid Foam Spells High Performance in Commercial Building Products Magazine and learn about:

  1. Basic types and applications for EPS, XPS, and Polyiso
  2. Performance characteristics such as R-value stability, compressive strength, and moisture resistance
  3. EPS provides the highest R-value/dollar, is highly customizable into different thicknesses, compressive strengths, and shapes; and can be engineered to fit job specifications.  Read more on EPS product options such as flat stock, faced panels, fan-fold bundles, flute-fill EPS, and composite insulation
  4. How EPS reduce labor and material costs
  5. Considerations when choosing an insulation supplier

EPS QUESTIONS?

Ram

Ram Mayilvahanan

Contact Ram Mayilvahanan, Insulfoam’s Product-Marketing Manager

Rigid Foam Insulations for High-Performance Building Envelopes

Originally posted in Construction Canada, July 2013

Keeping the Outside Out and the Inside In:  A look at rigid foam insulations for high-performance building envelopes

By Ram Mayilvahanan, Insulfoam Product Marketing Manager

ConstructionCanada_coverIf the concept of building science could be distilled to one essential sentence, it would be the now-famous aphorism of Joseph Lstiburek, PhD, P.Eng., building science expert and adjunct professor of civil engineering at the University of Toronto.

“The perfect wall is an environmental separator- it has to keep the outside out and the inside in,” he wrote .

Lstiburek’s “perfect wall” (or roof or slab) includes four primary layers:

  • rain control;
  • air control;
  • vapour control; and
  • thermal control.

For the last category, specifiers can select from numerous insulation types; fiberglass batts to spray foam and rigid foam boards, as well as integrated systems such as structural insulated panels (SIPs).  This article examines the various performance attributes and product options for expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation in high-performance building envelopes.

Read the full article  in Construction Canada’s feature article, Keeping the Outside Out and the Inside In.

See more in Construction Canada’s July digital issue

New Product Release: continuous insulation for combustible decks

Press Release originally published in Healthcare Facilities Today

Insulfoam, a leading supplier of engineered insulation products, is pleased to announce the development of InsulFoam HD Composite, a continuous above deck insulation, for use on combustible decks.

InsulFoam HD Composite consists of a closed-cell, lightweight, resilient expanded polystyrene (EPS) bonded to a high-density polyisocyanurate cover board.  This product achieves a UL Class A rating on a combustible deck without gypsum or any other coverboard, and since it is continuous above the deck, it satisfies Title 24 requirements at a lower R value.

InsulFoam HD Composite offers significant cost savings over other cover boards and traditional insulations, and is a very effective insulator – since it is installed above the combustible deck, there is no interruption due to joists.  Its lightweight, factory-bonded panels make installation easy, it is compatible with all fully adhered or mechanically fastened EPDM, TPO, and PVC membranes, and it has a UL Class A rating for combustible and non-combustible decks.  InsulFoam HD Composite will meet or exceed the requirements of ASTM C578 and is an excellent choice for new or retrofit applications where high thermal efficiency and maximum durability are necessary. It is available at Insulfoam locations across the country.

San Francisco 49er’s Find EPS Geofoam Useful in Future Home

 

EPS Geofoam

EPS Geofoam

Candlestick Park was built in 1960 and has been the home of the San Francisco 49ers NFL team since 1971.  “The Stick” was originally built as a baseball stadium for the then New York Giants baseball team to convince them move to San Francisco.  Due to the wide spread popularity of the “Niners” football franchise, a new stand alone stadium in Santa Clara was approved and a groundbreaking ceremony was held in April of 2012.  The project has a very demanding schedule that requires engineers and contractors to employ many methods to speed the construction phasing due to the fact that the new stadium is scheduled to open for the 2014 NFL season.  View the 49er’s blog where you can see aerial photo gallery of the new stadium.

EPS Geofoam

EPS Geofoam

The open air football stadium employs thousands of stepped/ pre-cast concrete panels that will serve as the foundation for the fan seating areas.  These pre-cast structures are steel reinforced and manufactured off site to reduce the forming cost/time on site and increase the consistency of the “skin on the bones” of the steel structure.  These stair stepped panels were installed in late 2012 after a record breaking steel erection timeframe of the super structure.  As part of the overall seating and viewing area plan, hundreds of flat platforms were included in the design to accommodate ADA ramps, wheelchairs, TV cameras and various other uses.  Engineers with HNTB, one of the world’s foremost firms specified the use of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Geofoam to constitute the structural void fill to support the ramps and platforms.   They chose EPS Geofoam due to its’ extreme low density and high bearing capacity to support the concrete topping slabs.  By using an ultra-lightweight soil replacing fill material, EPS Geofoam significantly reduced dead and lateral loads on the pre-cast panels by adding elevation and slope without a lot of weight.

 
EPS Geofoam

EPS Geofoam

Conco Company of Concord, CA worked as a sub-contractor to Turner and Devcon Construction, the prime contractors to furnish and install the Geofoam as part of their large concrete package.  Conco workers installed 3,500 cubic feet of EPS39 and 25,000 cubic feet of EPS15 for various ramps and platforms throughout the new stadium.  The lightweight fill was provided by Insulfoam of Dixon, CA along with electric hot wire tool kits to allow workers to cleanly and easily fabricate the blocks on the jobsite.  The single largest benefit to concrete contractors when using Geofoam is the ability of the material to constitute half of the form and the fill simultaneously which completely eliminates the concept of a two pour operation.

 

INSULFOAM GEOFOAM QUESTIONS?

Nico Sutmoller, Insulfoam Geofoam Specialist

Nico Sutmoller, Insulfoam Geofoam Specialist

Contact Nico Sutmoller, Geofoam Specialist

nico.sutmoller@insulfoam.com

Ask Nico to Connect on LinkedIn  |  Follow Insulfoam on LinkedIn

Read more on Insulfoam.com

How to change an existing sloped elevation in a building

Northwest Hospital Auditorium

Northwest Hospital Auditorium

The University of Washington operates the Northwest Hospital & Medical Center on the north end of Seattle.  Recently a remodel of one of the buildings included a change of use for an existing sloped floor lecture auditorium.  The space was redesigned to serve as a state of the art surgical facility to improve care and offer additional professional services for patients.  Part of the construction process involved changing the existing sloped elevation of a slab on grade floor to create a flat usable space for the new surgical suite.  The project Engineers specified InsulFoam GF EPS15 as a structural void fill to reverse the slope.  One of Insulfoam’s territory sales managers, Dan Michaels worked with the contractor to design a custom factory cut puzzle with shop drawing to minimize field fabrication on the job-site   Due to no access for heavy equipment and a prohibition of mechanical compaction noise required with standard soil fill, EPS Geofoam served as an excellent alternative lightweight structural fill material that provided a strong, stable sub-base for the new concrete floor slab.

Northwest Hospital Auditorium Leveling

Northwest Hospital Auditorium Leveling

Prior to this installation, the project manager with Abbott Construction of Seattle had not yet been involved with an EPS Geofoam project.  They received several furnish and installation bids from various sub-contractors as part of the prime bid package.  Abbott received several F&I bids as high as $23,000 from the sub-contractors.  Once the contract was awarded, the GC was considering a value engineering change order to eliminate the Geofoam due to initial high cost of the bids.  The PM contacted one of Insulfoam’s Geofoam Specialists for consultation and soon learned the EPS material package would cost less than $5,000.  Insulfoam provided the contractor education and installation techniques that demonstrated the low labor costs and the GC decided to self-perform the installation.  The PM was very happy to discover how simple the factory cut pieces went in less than 1 day and appreciated the service and fabrication tools that the Insulfoam representatives provided to ensure a smooth installation.
Northwest Hospital Auditorium Leveling

Northwest Hospital Auditorium Leveling

Northwest Hospital Auditorium Leveling

Northwest Hospital Auditorium Leveling

INSULFOAM GEOFOAM QUESTIONS?

Nico Sutmoller, Insulfoam Geofoam Specialist

Nico Sutmoller, Insulfoam Geofoam Specialist

Contact Nico Sutmoller, Geofoam Specialist

nico.sutmoller@insulfoam.com

Ask Nico to Connect on LinkedIn  |  Follow Insulfoam on LinkedIn

Read more on Insulfoam.com

Reduce Material & Labor Costs with EPS Roof Insulation

Professional Roofing, January 2013

Professional Roofing, January 2013

More than any other part of a building, its roof system components must complement each other.  From the deck to the insulation to the membrane, careful selection and installation of all roofing materials are necessary for a high-performance roof assembly.

Because insulation contributes to a roof system’s thermal performance and overall durability while providing a substrate for the roof membrane….decision of which insulation type to use can profoundly affect your profitability.

Read the full article featured in Professional Roofing magazine’s January issue, Foam Up Top.  John Cambruzzi, Insulfoam director of sales and national accounts,explains that expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam insulation is one insulation type that should be considered with the wide range of products available and the ways EPS can help reduce labor and material costs.  John takes you through EPS insulation product selection options and installation considerations.

Cold Climate Housing Research Center uses EPS Foam to Save on Costs & Energy

Written by:  David Shong, Insulfoam Architectural & Engineering Technical Specialist

CCHRC Expansion, Alaska

CCHRC Expansion, Alaska

The Cold Climate Housing Research Center, CCHRC, in Fairbanks, AK constructed an addition to their facility in the spring of 2012.  The project Engineers specified 12″ of InsulFoam GF EPS39 which has a minimum compressive resistance of 2,160 psf @ 1% strain as a sub-base and below slab insulation.  EPS39 was placed around the perimeter under the exterior wall footings and within the zones of influence of interior columns that required higher bearing capacity to withstand the axial loads of the walls,roof and snow load.

The rest of the areas that were simply supporting the 6″ floor slab used 12″ of EPS22 (1051 psf @ 1% strain).  They were originally considering only 9″ of EPS46 (2,678 psf @ 1% strain) for the entire building footprint, but were happily surprised to hear the idea of using a lower density under the floor slabs where the decreased dead loads justified a lower EPS density.

They ended up being able to install 12″ of EPS under the entire footprint for less than the original budget which provided more insulation while saving on initial costs as well as long term energy expenditures.

CCHRC Expansion, Alaska

CCHRC Expansion, Alaska

CCHRC Expansion, Alaska

CCHRC Expansion, Alaska

Roof Insulation Systems With The Most R-Value Per Dollar

PROVEN AND TESTED RIGID INSULATION.  MOST R-VALUE PER DOLLAR.

Roofing-Sub-Chart_blogWhy Insulfoam EPS?

With a broad range of insulation types available, it’s easier than ever for contractors to construct an energy efficient roof system.  Insulfoam EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) rigid foam insulation has been used for decades by smart industry professionals looking to achieve high thermal properties for a cost-effective price.  The benefit of lightweight EPS goes far beyond price, since it also helps decrease material and labor expenses.  And, unlike other rigid insulations, your roof insulation will remain stable, as Insulfoam R-Values don’t drift or fade over time.  Backed with a 20-year thermal performance warranty, you can be confident that Insulfoam’s EPS products are the best option for your project.  Read on to find what Insulfoam project best fits your roofing or reroofing insulation needs.

A Truly Green, High-Performance, & Economical Roof Insulation

Cost-Effective

  • More R-Vale per dollar than any other rigid insulation
  • R-Value doesn’t degrade over time
  • Most cost-effective insulation – typically 25-50% less than other rigid insulations
  • Easy to install- reduces install labor costs by more than 50
  • Complimentary 20-year thermal performance warranty available

Engineered for Versatility

  • Available in 1/2″ – 40″ product thicknesses
  • The right product for any job.  Available in multiple densities, a compressive strengths and panels sizes
  • Suitable for use under all major BUR, Mod Bit roofing membranes:  TPO, PVC, EPDM & CSPE
  • Code approved insulation (ICC-ES, UL, Factory Mutual) at an economical price
  • Meets or exceeds 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 25% recycled content
  • High long-term thermal performance (stable R-Value) conserves energy and operational costs
  • Contains no dyes, formaldehyde or ozone-depleting HCFCs
  • ENERY STAR Qualified
  • Contributed toward LEED energy efficiency points
  • Does not support mold 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

Visit Insulfoam website for more information.

Insulfoam Roofing Insulation Products: New & Reroofing Applications

Local Governments use Geofoam to Overcome Common Geotechnical Challenges

US50 near Montrose, CO

Over 100 times lighter than soil, EPS Geofoam continues to prove to be successful in high-volume fill and soil stabilization projects such as roads, bridges, levees and buildings.  Local city and county agencies have used Insulfoam Geofoam in many projects to simplify construction and reduce costs for public works projects.  Geofoam has many features and benefits to help overcome common geotechnical challenges:  high load-bearing capacities, does not decompose, decay, or produce undesirable gases or leachates, fully recyclable, durable and does not require maintenance under normal conditions throughout service life, unaffected by freeze-thaw cycles, moisture, and road salts.

Read more on how the following Geofoam applications were used from project to project in Government Engineering Journal’s article, Geofoam:  A Primer.

Slope Stabilization:

  • US50 near Montrose, CO
  • Highway 12 near White Pass in WA State
  • US101 in Northern CA

Lightweight Void Fill:

  • Fairfeld-Suisun Water Treatment Plant channel walls in Solano County, CA
  • Idaho Transportation Department

Lateral load reduction on Retaining Structures:

  • Pacific Street Bridge Widening in Omaha NE

Soft Soil Remediation:

  • Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement in Seattle, WA
  • I-80/I-65 interchange widening in Gary, IN
  • North Creek Levee raising in Bothell, WA

 

Insulation Solutions at Greenbuild

Greenbuild 2012 We are in full swing with final preparations for Greenbuild 2012 in San Francisco Nov 14-16, the largest international conference and expo dedicated to green building.  With 35,000 participants expected this will be one of the largest Greenbuild shows ever.  Exciting!

1,000+ exhibitors, how do you decide what booth to go to, who to talk to?  Ok, we aren’t Kohler who seems to have one of the BEST booths possible every year (and the one booth I always make sure to sneak away and visit), but  we do have plenty of good information to help you with your next insulation project and meet your energy efficiency goals.  Insulfoam (booth #3169N) provides insulation solutions from roof to foundation and everything in between.

High Performance.  Lower Cost.  Most R-Value Per Dollar.

With a broad range of insulation products available, it’s easier than ever for designers to create an energy efficient building project.  InsulFoam EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) rigid foam insulation has been used for decades by smart industry professionals looking to achieve high thermal properties for a cost-effective price.  In fact, EPS offers more cost savings and higher R-Values than any other rigid insulation.  The benefit of lightweight EPS goes far beyond price, since it also helps contractors significantly decrease material and labor expenses.  EPS is also one of the most versatile engineered insulations, making it a designer’s dream product.  You tell us what you need and we make it fit within your design.  Not limited by stock sizes InsulFoam blocks can be molded, cut, shaped, tapered into virtually any design need, regularly solving challenges for contractors on the jobsite.

InsulFoam EPS is the only rigid insulation that does not experience “thermal drift” (loss of R-Value over time).  In fact, the R-Value is backed with a 20-year non-prorated thermal performance warranty.  ISO and XPS rigid insulations don’t come close in warranty, so you can be confident that Insulfoam’s EPS products are the best rigid insulation option for your project.

The following Insulfoam product lines will be highlighted in our Greenbuild booth with specialists to talk you through technical attributes  applications, projects and more.  And not to mention we got some pretty great and easy to talk to guys!  As you gear up for planning mode this coming week, put Insulfoam’s booth #3169N on your route.

Premier SIPs by Insulfoam

FRAMING SYSTEMS:  Premier SIPs by Insulfoam:  Structural Insulated Panels are an extremely strong building panel that need no additional frame of skeleton for support.  Premier’s large, pre-fabricated SIPs make the framing process faster than other building methods and enable a more airtight, well-insulated building for high energy efficiency.

Insulfoam Below Grade Insulation

BELOW GRADE INSULATION:  Insulfoam’s Below Grade Insulation products are designed to insulate the foundation wall or slab and protect the waterproofing or damp proofing, especially during backfilling for both commercial and residential below-grade applications.  Compressive strength, moisture protection and thermal stability.

ROOF INSULATION SOLUTIONS:  Insulfoam’s roofing insulation applications are green, high-performing and economical products that help reduce overall energy consumption, create improved comfort for the building’s occupants and provide an excellent substrate for a new or retrofit roofing system.

Insulfoam Roof Insulation Solutions

INSULFOAM GEOFOAM:  InsulFoam GF provides structural and architectural void fill  applications that are lighter, easier to handle and faster than soil.  Hardscapes, landscapes, soil remediation and load reduction.

Insulfoam Geofoam

For real time updates before, during and after the expo follow us on Twitter:  @PremierSips @Insulfoam @InsulFoamGF.  Be sure to also check out Greenbuild’s official twitter feed, @Greenbuild and conversation at #Greenbuild.

For more event information:  Greenbuild Schedule  |  Greenbuild Expo Tools & Map

Saving money with EPS Insulation

Did you know that hospitals spend more on energy per square foot than all other building types (except for food service and food sales)?  And U.S. schools spend more on energy each year than they do on computers and textbooks combined.  So how do hospital and school facility managers, architects and contractors find ways to lower energy usage costs?  Given that heating and cooling account for a large share of electricity and natural gas consumption in buildings, insulation is crucial for energy efficiency by keeping heat/cool in and out via the right type of building and roof insulation.  There are many insulation types, Facility Management and Insulfoam’s Director of Sales and National Accounts, John Cambruzzi, outline why expanded polystyrene (EPS) is growing in popularity by reducing material and labor costs while meeting energy efficient goals for hospitals and schools.

Read more at Facility Management, Tips for cost-Effective High Thermal Insulation.   In this article you will learn:

  • EPS Insulation in Short:  what is EPS and it’s key performance attributes
  • Ways To Save Money With EPS Insulation:  EPS product options and their cost saving benefits
  • More Solutions:  what other capacity EPS can be used in

Learn more about Insulfoam’s EPS Insulation and view project photos.

Reduce insulation material & labor costs from ground to roof

Construction Specifier, September 2012

The Construction Specifier, September 2012

Despite the advent of high-efficiency window, lighting, and HVAC systems, insulation remains one of the most critical building components for reducing energy use.  While building professionals often have a preferred insulation type based on past experience, re-examining material choices can open up new alternatives that might provide even greater benefits- from lowered operating costs to improved occupant comfort.

Read more about reducing insulation material and labor costs from ground to roof in September’s issue of The Construction Specifier:  Specifying Rigid EPS Foam

 

University of Alaska at Fairbanks…. wrapped in R-Tech!

University of Alaska at Fairbanks Wrapped in R-Tech!

Newest building on the University of Alaska at Fairbanks campus is looking good, interior finishes are being made! Look at all the R-tech on the building- beautiful!

Nation’s first Passive House Retrofit Uses 80% Less Energy and Insulates with Insulfoam!

Our Sonoma CA project, 1st Passive House in the country, made the cover of American Solar Energy Society‘s March/April edition of SOLAR TODAY Magazine! Great article with great green stats on page 18 of the link below! This certified Passive House uses 80% less energy than an average CA home!  http://www.solartoday-digital.org/solartoday/20120304#pg18