Thermal Loss Thwarted

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

By:  Alan Weis, Contributing Writer


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.


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.”


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


2012 IECC Code Changes: Insulation of Radiant Heating Systems

2012 IECC Code Changes

2012 IECC Code Changes


Don’t get caught out in the cold as the new 2012 IECC takes effect.  Make sure you plan for cost effective solutions to your insulation concerns.

Read more in significant code changes to the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code, Insulation of Radiant Heating Systems (pdf)

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



Ram Mayilvahanan

Contact Ram Mayilvahanan, Insulfoam’s Product-Marketing Manager

Energy Efficient Construction at World of Concrete

EVENT:  World of Concrete, Las Vegas   |   DATE:  February 5-8th   |   BOOTH:  N2915


The future of architecture and construction is not only going to expand and grow at a rapid pace this New Year, but it is also becoming one of the r-tech_blog copybest industries in regards to saving the environment. When it comes to ultimate respectability in the industry, two names have come together to form one truly amazing ‘gift’ for all the building-owners and contractors out there. The name, Insulfoam, is synonymous with the creation of quality polystyrene-based engineered insulation products that have become even better than before. In addition,Carlisle Construction Materials has been known in all areas of architecture and construction for single-ply roof systems and waterproofing products that are unmatched in quality, durability, and savings. With Insulfoam, the largest manufacturer of expanded polystyrene in all of North America, being a part of Carlisle Construction Materials for several years now, these two powerhouses have shown the rest of the industry that they are not only still among the most respected names in construction, but are also constantly looking out for everyone from architects to building owners to contractors. With this ‘team,’ everyone has the ability to purchase and utilize energy-efficient construction products that are a ‘must-have’ in this ‘greener’ world. Insulfoam’s products insulate buildings, from the foundation to the roof and everything in-between. Versatility is a key word when it comes to these products. Not to mention the product line is 100% recyclable. Being leaders and visionaries when it comes to new product development, the latest in technology, and code approvals, the brands of InsulFoam® and R-Tech® also contribute immensely toward LEED® credit requirements, which is one of the biggest and most important issues to address nowadays. Insulfoam products, which have warranted long-term stable R-values with no thermal loss, are built upon sustainable manufacturing practices. Dye-free, free of formaldehyde and HCFCs, no toxic chemicals or heavy metals are leeched, and prevention of mold or mildew growth, are just a few of the benefits that come with these products. Offered under the InsulFoam® and R-Tech® brands, Insulfoam’sexpanded polystyrene (EPS) products for under-slab and below-grade applications insulate foundation walls, protect water and/or damp proofing, and can be used during backfilling in both commercial and residential projects.

roofing copyStudies have shown that R-Tech® below-grade insulations have some of the lowest levels of long-term water retention among below-grade insulation products. Combined with high compressive strength and long-term stable R-values, these properties make Insulfoam’s products among the most efficient in below-grade insulation. When speaking about wall installations, Insulfoam offers a variety of insulations that cover applications ranging from exterior, interior and cavity wall applications to tongue-and-groove sheathing, whole wall, and gable end applications. Not to mention, these products are extremely lightweight and have physical properties that are well ahead of their time. But below-grade and wall installations are not all that Insulfoam is renowned for. It also makes GeoFoam, a geo-synthetic structural fill that literally exceeds the requirements of ASTM D6817 Standard Specification for Rigid Cellular Polystyrene Geofoam. This is a fantastic alternative to other fill-materials, providing excellent lateral-load support and dimensional stability as a soil and slope stabilizer in various engineered applications.  And, yes, before one asks – roofing applications are also completely covered by offering roof insulation panels that help reduce overall energy consumption, and end up creating a fantastic and comforting environment for the occupants of the building. The company has a wide-range of code-approved composite roof insulations that work with fully adhered, mechanically attached and ballasted roof systems without the need for coverboards or slip sheets. Insulfoam’s high-density composite has code approval for direct-to-combustible decks without a thermal barrier, an excellent illustration that Insulfoam products work for virtually every type of roofing system. And what’s one of the most important words to hear when it comes to building and construction products? Cost-effective! Insulfoam’s products provide some of the best R-values per dollar. These products resist almost everything, which makes these products necessary for a long list of projects ranging from highway retaining walls to parking structures to foundations, loading docks, levees, underground utility protection, railways, runways, and so much more. Are you working on an entertainment construction project that will involve theater or stadium seating? This is what you need. Working on creating that pool with deck outside? …Need I say more? Even the website that is available discussing each and every one of these products proves how efficient and up-to-date this company is. Data, research, analysis, facts, figures – even instructional and technical information is offered on each one of these products, leaving absolutely nothing to doubt. And this includes questions and data regarding global warming, RA standards and the true goal that Insulfoam and Carlisle have to decrease our ‘carbon footprint and make this a healthy place where the next generation can thrive! For more information, head to this amazing website now and get to work making that next project the absolute best and ’greenest’ it can possibly be.

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


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


  • 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

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


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!