Energy, environment concerns driving EPS growth
The high cost of energy is one factor behind the double-digit growth of expanded polystyrene in construction applic...
The high cost of energy is one factor behind the double-digit growth of expanded polystyrene in construction applications, says John Quinlan, EPS product manager at Nova Chemical. The growth is a result of conversions from traditional wood-frame construction to methods incorporating the use of insulated concrete forms (ICF) and structurally insulated panels, both which employ EPS as a base material.
"Energy conservation has traditionally been a bigger issue in Europe, but now it’s become more important in the North American market," notes Quinlan.
Quinlan says a slowing U.S. economy has not affected demand for EPS building products. He said ICF manufacturers and suppliers had a major presence at the recent International Builders Show in Las Vegas. Advances in EPS building systems has even spurred the interest of the U.S. government.
"The Department of Housing and Urban Development is showing a major interest in ICFs and structurally insulated panel," says Quinlan.
In order to meet stringent U.S. air quality regulations imposed on EPS molders, Nova is working toward commercialization of ultra-low and zero-VOC grades of EPS, he reports.