Sustainable home construction and polystyrene
The aim of sustainable home construction is to create a comfortable home with low impact on the environment which is economical to run, healthier to live in, and adaptable to your changing needs.
Sustainable home design and construction has put a new emphasis on the use and benefits of expanded polystyrene insulated homes. The demand for more efficient, energy saving and sustainable homes has led to great innovations using expanded polystyrene.
History of use and innovation
Since the 1950s, expanded polystyrene (EPS) has been well regarded as a mainstream insulation material. More and more, EPS is becoming the material of choice for green building design, offering environmental advantages that can maximise energy efficiency and provide improved indoor environmental quality. Polystyrene foams are durable materials, designed to offer superior, constant insulation performance over their entire service life of more than 50 years for enhanced durability.
Meeting the criteria for sustainable home construction
Buildings insulated with polystyrene achieve optimum levels of energy efficiency and comfort, meeting the core criteria for sustainable home construction.
When compared to brick veneer, there’s no doubt that expanded polystyrene has superior thermal properties. This is quantified through the “R-value” of the two materials, or thermal resistance, which is an approximate measurement of how much the material impedes the transfer of heat.
According to the Australian Government’s Your Home website, traditional brick veneer walls offer a R-value of 0.45, which does not meet the recommended levels of thermal resistance according to Choice. Depending on your choice of thickness for expanded polystyrene, this translates to being only between 18% and 45% as effective as expanded polystyrene which has an R-value of up to 2.78.
The energy saving qualities of expanded polystyrene include:
- Fully recyclable to reduce waste in the environment
- Insulating properties to reduce energy for heating or cooling
- Water resistance to reduce spoilage
- Comprised of about 98 percent air resulting in efficient use of raw material
- Lightweight to reduce consumption of transportation fuels
- Resilient to reduce breakage
- No CFC's (Chlorofluorocarbon)