News From Go Plymouth Foam

Is Expanded Polystyrene Biodegradable

Last month we received a message from our friends at the EPS-Industry Alliance titled, Positive Coverage on EPS – New Study Debunks “Forever” Myth.
In an ongoing partnership to showcase the benefits of using polystyrene, we are excited to further promote not only the article and American Chemical Society, but the findings associated. Please take the time to read the following:
A newly released study by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI), the world’s leading ocean research organization, shows that sunlight can naturally degrade polystyrene in just decades or centuries.
This research thoroughly debunks the common argument that PS “lasts forever” in the environment. Sunlight Converts Polystyrene to Carbon Dioxide and Dissolved Organic Carbon was published today in Environmental Science and Technology Letters.
And there’s more good news from the study – sunlight doesn’t cause PS to just physically break down, it also causes it to degrade chemically.
Using a sun-simulating lamp the WHOI scientists found they could chemically degrade polystyrene slowly, releasing organic carbon and trace amounts of carbon dioxide. The scientists believe for latitudes from the equator to the southern border of Canada (0° to 50° N), this degradation process would take decades. For complete oxidation to carbon dioxide, it would take centuries.
Past studies have focused on the role microbes play in degrading PS, rather than considering other factors like sunlight. While microbes would eat plastic, they can be selective, and the complex and bulky structure of PS makes it unappealing for bacteria. WHOI lead research Dr. Collin Ward says, “Although the ring-based backbone of polystyrene makes it a difficult target for microbes, it’s the perfect shape and size to catch certain frequencies of sunlight.”
The study also found that additives (such as color) play a major role in breakdown as they absorb different frequencies of sunlight, which influences how fast the PS breaks down.
EPS-IA will develop messaging around this exciting new study. Stay tuned for updates.

For more information contact us at
info@goplymouthfoam.com

EPS and the ENVIRONMENT: What are the Facts?

Airpop® EPS protects temperature sensitive pharmaceuticals, insulates refrigerated food, keeps hot food hot, insulates your home, and protects delicate finished products during shipment.
Plymouth Foam wants you to know the facts about Airpop® EPS so that you can sort through misconstrued information; looking at the environmental impact of any material requires considering all the facts. We need to look at how the material functions, what are the total energy costs to produce, and how the material is recycled.How much EPS Insulation is Recycled
Some people claim EPS is bad for the environment but they have not taken these facts into account:
  •       EPS is recyclable and recycling rates are climbing especially post-consumer recycling. Chemical recycling increases the ability to recycle contaminated EPS waste. There are more paper cups than EPS foam in landfills.
  •       Alternatives require more energy to produce, creating an even greater environmental impact. The American Chemistry Council sponsored a study showing the environmental cost of alternatives is 4 to 5 times more.
  •       EPS alternatives don’t function the same. You’ll see consumers “double-cup” hot coffee in paper cups or use an extra cardboard coffee sleeve. Businesses pay higher transportation costs for heavier packing materials that lack the same cushioning and impact resistance resulting in potential damage to the finished product. Perishable food would be wasted if not for the insulating benefits of EPS.
We all want a better, cleaner environment for our children. Any change we make in our packaging, storage, and shipping solutions have consequences. We need to focus on the big picture and have the full story when we make personal and business decisions about the types of products we buy and the types of packaging we use.

Contact Plymouth Foam when you need a collaborative solution for your delicate packaging and temperature sensitive storage solutions.

Contact
GoPlymouthFoam for Construction questions or solutions.

Reprint from Plymouth Foam - July

Is Your Foam Safe? - EPS is!


Frequently asked questions. As an industry leader, we feel it is important to share our expertise as well as continue to educate and inform others of Plymouth Foam’s materials capabilities and industry trends.
Within the last few weeks, our industry has been in a negative light regarding the recent New York City ban of Airpop® EPS single-use containers. Store and restaurant owners can no longer use Airpop® EPS containers or packing peanuts.  We want to remind our followers that Airpop® EPS is safe for you and your family. Here are a few details for you to read!
There have been many studies completed for different applications of Airpop® EPS. On FoamFacts.com, single-use food service packaging products are more sanitary than reusable china and glassware! Explained on FoamFacts.com, they share the following research; “ Las Vegas found 18 percent of reusable items tested had higher than acceptable bacterial counts. A similar study in Sacramento County found nearly 30 percent of reusable items tested had higher than acceptable bacterial counts. And a third study in Wisconsin discovered that unprotected tables and trays had up to 23 times higher bacterial counts than those with single-use place mats and tray covers.”
In the U.S., the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) strictly regulates all food packaging materials,  including polystyrene. For every material used in food contact, there must be sufficient scientific information to demonstrate that its use is safe. The FDA has determined that Airpop® (EPS) is safe for use in food contact.
We would like to remind our followers, our Airpop® (EPS) material is made of 98% air and polystyrene does not carry harmful chemicals during use or disposal. Please keep in mind that the material has to be stamped with the #6 PS logo to recycle.
So YES! Airpop® EPS is safe for you and your family!

Reprint From Plymouth Foam

EPS and SIPs - Go Together Just Like Peanut Butter and Jelly

The performance record of Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) have elevated them to be the top wall and roof structural system on the market today. No other system offers energy efficiency with such ease of design and installation.

Many contractors have an impression that SIPs are hard to install or are expensive. Someone has given them bad information. Let’s explore the real truth about Structural Insulated Panels.

Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) SIPs account for about 90% of the SIPs market. EPS SIPs is one of the easiest and quickest energy efficient structural systems that is available and code approved in the United States. Notice, I said, “EPS SIPs.” EPS SIPs are easy to install.

SIPs design economical fast


What can make installing some types of SIPs more difficult? The difficulty of “field modifications” such as a window opening change. For the EPS SIP, modifying a window opening (example: moving it over 2 inches) is fairly simple. The foam and OSB is easy to cut and move. What makes EPS SIPs so simple is the that the foam is easy to manipulate and cut. Even installing electrical wiring through EPS SIPs is extremely easy.
(Click to learn more)

The people that may say SIPs are hard to install are most likely talking about urethane SIPs - the yellowish insulation. Yes, this type of SIPs panel are harder to work with as the insulation is hard to manipulate and modify. Modifying electrical wiring is also very difficult. The bottom line is very few of these Urethane SIPs are sold. It is probably best to stick with EPS SIPs and avoid the hassle.

Finally, what about SIPS being expensive? EPS SIPs are not expensive, most of the time they are misunderstood. (
Click and review the five elements of SIPs cost) No other structural energy efficient system on the market is faster to install and more economical. Studies have show that to get the same performance from other systems, many more steps are needed and they are never quite as good.

If you have never tried using SIPs before or it has been a long time, this may be the year that you discover what makes them so impressive.

Do you have plan that you want to explore, have a question or need panels,
contact us.

Roof Drainage: Keep your standards up and your costs down

Water removal has become a pillar tenant for good roofing practices. The faster the water is off the roof the better. The old rule of thumb, “… it should be off the roof within 48 hours or it is considered ponding water.” Why when I look at Google Maps satellite, do I see so many building with ponding water? Maybe the drains are plugged ? Really? I don’t think so.

Tapered EPS Roof Insulation Keep Standards up costs down


Before we delve into the “whys” we really should look at the effects of ponding water on the roofing system. Ponding water can have the following effects:

- additional loading to the structure
- additional time for moisture pathway to open and allow intrusion
- accelerated material degradation including reflectivity and sunlight magnification
- freeze/thaw pressure from moisture seeping into cracks
- insulation compression
- dirt and debris build up that can cause mold or plant growth
- safety issues - electrical or slipping and falling
- voids warranties

The effects of ponding roof can be a safety issue as well as a serious financial issue. If most roofers are aware of the hazards of ponding water then why are there so many roofs that do not drain well? What are the common causes for poor drainage?
- structural deck deflection
- weep hole’s on connected building sections too low
- no or poor structural slope
- poorly designed tapered insulation system
- cost cutting
- poor detailing
- drains/scuppers/gutters plugged

Drain too high Deck Deflection

After walking and inspecting millions of square feet of roofing, I have come to the conclusion cost plays a sad, but significant role. I believe roofers feel cost pressure from owners that do not fully understand the ramifications. I will share some examples.

  • A roof that has deck deflection issues, retrofitted for cost savings instead of torn off and the deflection was not addressed properly.
  • I referred “poor detailing” but what I really meant was that the good detailing was too expensive and the standard detailing was used as it was ok in the book. (example of this, HVAC units that stop the flow of water drainage and needed to be raised and saddles installed to divert water around the unit - not done… not in bid or too expensive or a pain/time to disconnect.)
  • Another one I hear is that Polyiso tapered insulation is to expensive and I can go with a 1/8” pitch, that should work.
  • Weep holes, I can’t go above the weep holes, its too expensive to modify or change.

I understand the competitive world of bidding but I have some recommendations that can
Keep Your Standards Up and Your Cost Down. I hear building owners constantly saying, “ I want things done right.”

RECOMMENDATIONS: Keep Your Standards Up and Your Cost Down
  1. Instead of using overpriced Polyiso, value engineer and use EPS for the tapered. - save money. Learn about cost saving in EPS
  2. Use 3/8” tapered as a minimum instead of standard 1/4” as it moves the water better and can overcome many of the detail or structural slope issues. Learn More
  3. Disconnect units and other projections for proper height requirements and proper water flow.
  4. Learn how to move weep holes which can offer the ability to increase insulation heights and have better drainage.
  5. Use EPS saddle and crickets to make sure water moves around units, projects and even between drains. Saddles can be a roofers best friend.

Christmas is the Time of Giving and Recycling

‘Tis the season to create more garbage. That's right, American’s throw away 25% more trash between Thanksgiving and New Years than any other time of the year. Just think of the holiday cards, shipping boxes and even gift wrapping most going into the garbage.

I noticed this year, Home Depot is making a big deal out of trying to reduce EPS (“styrofoam”) out of some of they're packaging and just substituting other plastics. They think it is great, I think it is foolish. That new packaged Home Depot Christmas gift that doesn’t have EPS but cardboard and plastic, where does that packaging end up? After Christmas this year, look though people’s trash and you will discover that much of the paper and cardboard that can be recycled is not. Why? What did Home Depot gain?

New packaging

Let’s talk about EPS for just a minute. There are recycling centers all over the US just for EPS. In fact, there are over 200 EPS collection centers and growing. Last year in 2016, over 118 million pound of EPS was recycled. That is a ton considering EPS doesn’t weigh that much as 98% of the product is air.

They say, Americans are lazy and we need stuff that is biodegradable to put in the landfills. They don’t think we are smart enough or motivated enough to recycle EPS. I think Americans are smart enough but we certainly could do a better job of educating the public on all these EPS recycling centers. We could do a better job of letting the public know that EPS is a resource rather than garbage. That EPS is 100% recyclable just like aluminum cans. We need to push our local municipalities to add
Number 6 to our recycle bins. (Click on the Video below, it is really eye-opening.)

So this Holiday Season, I am adding to the phrase “Peace on Earth” to Peace on Earth and please recycle your EPS.


Learn More Plymouth Foam Recycle Center
Nation Wide Drop Off Centers
Video Recycling EPS


Peace on Earth please recycle your EPS

Stopping Condensation in Metal Roof - What's the Secret?

Metal roofs over the past 10 years have exploded onto the construction sites. The ongoing problems and frustration for building contractors and design professionals of condensation in metal roofs has only increased exponentially. Solving this issue can be very difficult. Let's explore the benefits to rigid insulation and a secret, not known by many, in the building industry.

The biggest concern of condensation and its effects can be quit worrying for building owners and construction professionals. Water that forms in a system can cause damage such as:
Corrosion of metal panels and components which can structural weaken the system
Degraded and wet insulation reducing thermal performance
Mold and/or mildew growth that can increase health risks
Insect infestation which can contaminate systems

Condensation tends to occur in noticeable quantities and cause problems at surfaces where there is a sudden change of permeance, which causes an increase in local relative humidity sufficient to create dew point conditions. Condensation in metal roofs can be caused by air leaks around units, holes in vapor barriers/retarders, gaps in insulation just to name a few and no system is bullet proof. “Moisture moves by several mechanisms, including bulk drainage, diffusion (absorption), surface diffusion (absorption), capillarity, osmosis and convection.”

Condensation and metal roofs

Condensation can occurs on a hygroscopic surface, such as wooden sheathing or insulation, then moisture is absorbed, lowering the vapor pressure and increasing the vapor pressure gradient, driving more moisture toward that surface.

Picking an insulation that is resistant to moisture and help stop condensation is important, but no insulation is 100% waterproof. When Polyisocyanurate (Polyiso/ISO) or Extruded Polystyrene (XPS) gets wet, they dramatically loss their thermal effectiveness. Engineered Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) has the ability to resist moisture but when it get wet has the ability to expel moisture. Most metal roofing systems are not waterproof but rather watersheds. Therefore, air can travel and flow through the upper metal roof system allowing drying to occur. Learn More Here is the Secret: EPS is the BEST Insulation Solution for Metal Roofs because it can expel moisture caused by condensation. EPS's R-value will stay stable and be an overall better value.

View our Metal Roofing Products

The Perfect Continous Insulation System

The push for higher energy efficiency in commercial buildings is growing, driven in part, by the new energy codes. Another factor has been the Department of Energy studying of R-value in various wall systems and disseminating that information. The study called “Whole Wall R-value,” has lead to a better understanding and promotion of Continuous Insulation.

Continuous Insulation, is defined as, “insulation that is continuous across all structural members without thermal bridges other than fasteners and service openings.” More important is the fact that Continuous Insulation increases R-value performance due to the non-interruption of wooden or steel studs.

Gold-Wall Cut Away Drawing 2

“Furring out” a wall with studs or furring strips and then filling in the gaps with insulation is still a common method used on interior and exterior walls. Every stud used, lowers the R-value and thermal loss and/or thermal bridging occurs at this intersections. Advancement in understanding performance R-value through continuous insulation has lead to the importance of Gold-Wall. The advantage of Gold-Wall is not only a Continuous Insulation system, but it has the built in ability to allow for finishing attachments. These finishing attachments can be interior drywall or exterior clad siding like vinyl or steel. The possibilities are almost endless.
Gold-Wall, with its built in surface attachment stud, can be installed easily to most type of masonry walls. Gold-Wall can also be attached to steel studs, wood framing or even OSB/Plywood surfaces. Gold-Wall comes with a high performance poly facer laminated to the moisture resistant EPS foam board which increases durability, fastener holding and impact resistance.

Gold-Wall may be perfect for your next Continuous Insulation project.
Learn More

The Secret Moisture Control Leak - a dynamic new strategy.

The majority of recent technical discussions in building construction have been around Moisture Management. Many articles have been written on drainage plains, building enveloping and vapor retarders. The goal for moisture management is to keep a building lasting longer and performing properly. One area of moisture control or moisture management that has been neglected is foundation insulation.

Foundation insulation may be easy to overlook as many building professionals may be going under to old adage, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." The serious reality is that in cold weather climates any structure that has a foundation that touch soil such as basements or frost walls needs to viewed differently in regards to moisture management.

Foundation insulation can be used for a variety of reason but the most important is R-Value. This is where it gets interesting - what does Moisture Management have to do with R-Value? Its all about building performance in real world applications.

We can explore permeability and the Laws of Thermodynamics and go very technical but for now most people know that when insulation gets wet, the R-Value of the insulation is reduced. This lowering of R-Value is a performance issue.

Moisture Management Stop the insanity

A new way to view and understand foundation insulation comes from a moisture study. This study looked at the two most commonly used insulation for below grade - XPS (Extruded Polystyrene - pink or blue) and EPS (Expanded Polystyrene - white). Three relevant items of note come from that study. First, XPS lost about 1/2 of its R-Value below grade and EPS held almost all of its R-Value. Second, it was found and further studied that EPS takes on a little more moisture than XPS but EPS insulation has the ability to dispel it. Third, for some anomaly in physics, that we don’t quite understand, EPS even with moisture, tends to hold its R-value. (Learn More from the research)

So now that we know what happens to insulation below grade how does that all tie back into Moisture Management? If you are not going to 100% envelope or water proof your below grade insulation or below grade wall system,
EPS insulation should be used 100% of the time. Remember, the goal of Moisture Management - keeping a building lasting longer and performing properly - Its all about performance. If you want your below grade insulation performing properly and its going to be left “unenveloped," the best Moisture Management choice is EPS.

Plymouth Foam Takes on Recycle Challenge

Recycle Today for a Better Tomorrow - Plymouth Foam is living that statement by expanding it's recycling program. Plymouth Foam has always done recycling but now it is opening up a Consumer Recycle Center, in Plymouth, WI to the general public. In fact, it doesn't even have to be Plymouth Foam's Expanded Polystyrene. The new Consumer Recycle Center was opened on April 22, which was Earth Day.

Plymouth Foam Recycle

What if you're a contractor and you want to recycle your foam? Plymouth Foam has a program to help with larger quantities of EPS Foam. (Learn More - How to) Plymouth Foam encourages recycling of construction EPS. "The biggest challenge is educating contractors on how to recycle foam."

Plymouth Foam is working on educating the public that EPS is "the Safe Insulation" and is 100% recyclable. In fact, in 2013 over 34% of post consumer EPS was recycled, that is over 127 million pounds. (
Learn More about Why EPS is so Green)

Plymouth Foam Recycle Center
1800 Sunset Dr.
Plymouth, WI 53073


Swimming Pool Geofoam Project -not too deep to revitalize

Pool 1

The Ashwaubenon Community and School District faced a dilemma - what do you do with an indoor pool that is over 48 years old and has outlived its expected life? Think “outside of the pool” and fill it in with Plymouth Foam’s Durafill GeoFoam and give new life to the building!

Restoring this aged pool was not a viable option as there were too few of lanes and replacement parts were no longer available. The community decided to build a new pool, but what do you do with the old one?

The building that housed the pool was still in good condition. Filling it in with Engineered EPS Foam and pouring 5” of concrete on top “gives this building a new purpose.” This new area will be used as a commons area with tables and chairs for students to eat lunch.

Like all schools districts, needs change. Filling the pool in with foam has a number of possibilities for the district. Foam can be removed and the area can be repurposed for maybe stadium seating or a performance stage. The possibilities are endless.

Pool 2

Filling in a pool sound easy, but reducing in-fill weights and loading pressures of traditional fills such as gravel or stone can be impractical or unachievable. Geofoam to the resue, however filling in a pool with different depths and various slopes is not an easy task.

Boldt Construction’s design team working together with Plymouth Foam Geofoam Consultant, John Calkins, and was able to offer DuraFill Geofoam blocks that were manufactured in various sizes to fit to the contour of the pool. The pieces were labeled and shop drawings were used to install the pieces. Boldt Construction was the general contractor and they “did an excellant job of making the pieces work and come together.”

Using a local contractor and a local manufacturer has many benefits for the local ecomony. Tax money collected for the school district is being spent locally and benefits from the “local multiplier effect.” This multiplier means the money is recirculated 3-5 times in the local economy and is a key tool for creating more local jobs. The school district saved money on transportation cost since the manufacturing facility is less than 75 miles away - now that is “thinking outside the pool.”

Why is Expanded Polystyrene Insulation Market Growing.

Why is Expanded Polystyrene Insulation Market Growing.
GROWING PRODUCT SEGMENT: EPS

 
The article, “North America Building Thermal Insulation Market Worth $10.75 Billion By 2025” by Grand View Research states that there will be a growing insulation demand in residential and commercial applications due to the increasing energy costs driving the demand. In 2015, the North America building thermal insulation market was valued at $7.09 billion creating an increase of $3.66 billion over the next nine years.
 
How can the rising demand for thermal insulation reduce energy costs?
 
Good question.
 
In the sense every building product associated with residential or commercial applications help reduce energy cost; thermal insulation materials assist in reducing heat buildup within the buildings, cutting down on the dependence on air conditioning.
 
EPS has been a popular product in Europe and now has good attention in North America; expecting to be the fastest growing product segment because of the excellent thermal insulation properties and longer life span. EPS accounted for 23.5% of share by volume in 2015 and expected to increase 1.5% by 2025 (shown in the image below).
 

EPS market share

Product market share, by revenue (USD Million), 2015 (USD Million)
 
Having new construction and implementation of energy efficiency codes are likely to result in high industry rivalry perceiving slow but stable growth in the industry.