When it comes to high-performing building protection, expanded polystyrene (EPS) and extruded polystyrene (XPS) are commonly used insulation materials for commercial buildings. While both of these options can create a highly insulated building envelope for your space, EPS is often the top choice for architects and designers.
Let’s take a look at how EPS and XPS insulation products are manufactured and what may make EPS the most ideal choice for your next commercial project.
EPS and XPS — What You Need to Know
When selecting building insulation, achieving the right comfort level is always a consideration, but you should also consider energy and cost efficiency when choosing your insulation products. According to Green Building Solutions, both EPS and XPS are suitable materials that help building owners achieve these levels of efficiency. Although both types of insulation are closed-cell polystyrene foam, the end result is achieved using different manufacturing methods.
Expanded Polystyrene Insulation (EPS)
A solid polystyrene is used to manufacture EPS insulation. The polystyrene, which contains a hydrocarbon blowing agent, is expanded and molded with steam into polystyrene blocks or shape-molded panels.
EPS products are available as rigid board, fanfold, or molded shapes and come in a variety of strengths ranging from 10 to 60 psi, making them a versatile product for many types of buildings.
Typically EPS applications include roof, wall, below-grade insulation, geofoam (commercial construction, transportation, landscape — roads, sports arenas, storage tanks, roofs), packaging, and OEM components.
Extruded Polystyrene Insulation (XPS)
XPS insulation is created using an extrusion process where HFC blowing agents, colorants, and other additives are melted together to form a liquid. That liquid is extruded through a die, and when cooled, it forms a rigid insulation panel.
These products are available as rigid board or fanfold and are known for their insulation properties, high density, durability, and versatility. XPS insulation is most often used in packaging, interior, and exterior construction.
Understanding what’s needed for a high-performing, code-compliant building envelope should help you determine which insulation you choose. While both options work to achieve a highly insulated building envelope, EPS insulation is formed from the use of a hydrocarbon and an HFC blowing agent is used to make XPS insulation. This gives EPS insulation an environmental advantage over XPS, so let’s explore the benefits of EPS insulation more in-depth.
Benefits of EPS Insulation
Because it is lightweight and easy-to-install, EPS insulation has the ideal physical characteristics and mechanical properties for several types of insulation needs. It is most often used as a building envelope insulation for walls, roofing and below-grade applications.
Energy Efficiency: EPS insulation is environmentally-friendly by helping reduce energy loss in buildings and preventing thermal bridging.
Moisture Protection: EPS insulation is successful at keeping buildings comfortable, and exposure to moisture does not compromise its performance. It is resistant to fungus, bacteria and rot.
- Continuous Insulation: All types of EPS insulation have the capability to protect the integrity of a space, covering all building components. Using EPS:
Reduces heat loss caused by thermal bridging, thus increasing the energy efficiency of the building.
Spaces stay warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
Reliability: Aging has no impact on the long-term thermal resistance of EPS insulation, making it a durable material that is suitable for applications across numerous climate zones.
EPS Insulation Materials That Support Your Sustainability Goals
Overall, EPS insulation is one of the most environmentally-sound insulation solutions. Both recyclable and reusable, this is a building material that helps to build sustainability into any commercial project.
When it comes to helping reduce global warming, EPS insulation can return up to 200 times the amount of energy required to produce it, and reduce emissions by up to 100 times the volume produced during the manufacturing process. In fact, EPS building materials can contribute to one or more credits in some LEED® categories.
A high-performance and cost-effective insulation option, ThermalStar® Rigid Insulation by Atlas Molded Products offers EPS solutions that come in a variety of applications for whatever your building requires to stay protected.
HFC- and HCFC-free polystyrene insulation panels have a low Global Warming Potential (GWP), recovering the energy used to produce them.
The insulated cells of ThermalStar® products simply contain air, which means almost zero GWP.
ThermalStar® products provide a stable R-value for 50 years.
ThermalStar® products can withstand exposure to moisture.
ThermalStar® products are available in 10, 13, 15, 25, 40 and 60 psi to meet all your application needs.
Choose Atlas Molded Products for Your Commercial Projects
Choosing polystyrene solutions from a trusted brand helps your commercial project meet its true potential. For outstanding building protection, sustainability and safety, EPS Insulation by Atlas gives designers and builders an easy, energy-efficient, cost-effective answer to their insulation needs.
Our team will help ensure you get the best possible product for your budget. Find out more about how Atlas Molded Products can protect your commercial design and improve your next project by clicking here to contact us.