The environmental impact of the materials that human’s use as part of their everyday activity is of growing concern and importance. Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) is a light and rigid foam that is widely used in the worldwide building and construction industry, mainly as a thermal insulant.
EPS does not, and has never, contained either CFCs [chlorofluorocarbons] or HCFCs [hydrochlorofluorocarbons] gases, which diminish the ozone layer. Additionally, EPS is fully recyclable and no waste is created in its manufacture.
EPS is an excellent example of the efficient use of a natural resource since the transformation process uses very little energy. The use of EPS for thermal insulation in the construction industry leads to significant energy savings on heating and cooling buildings and a dramatic reduction in the emission of polluting gases. It, therefore, contributes to alleviating the greenhouse effect and acid rain.
The manufacture and use of EPS does not generate any risk to health or the environment. Moreover, life cycle analyses have shown that expanded polystyrene has far less of an impact on the environment than other competitive materials manufactured for the same type of usage.
Expanded Polystyrene ( EPS ) always scores well in relation to the protection of the Earth’s ozone layer, since neither chlorofluorocarbons [CFCs] nor hydrochlorofluorocarbons [HCFCs] are used in its manufacture nor are these ozone-depleting components emitted whilst EPS is in situ.
Therefore, EPS passes an obvious first test of its suitability for a role in environmental protection and obtains a Zero Depletion Rating (Zero DP) and thus achieves a BREEAM credit. The Global Warming Potential (GWP) figure is required under the Ecohome Assessment procedure for one area only (pollution) which is part of the multi-step procedure; the other areas being energy, transport, materials, water, ecology, land use and health and well being. GWP is weighed by the insulant gases and EPS scores zero overall [over 100 years], therefore is not a high-risk material and can be specified with confidence.
The Green Guide to Specification awards EPS an A+ rating that takes into account all the above criteria.
Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) is one of the few building materials that can truly claim to be 100% recyclable. It can be reused in the manufacture of new EPS products, soil improvements and auxiliary compost material, as well as being added to other building materials. Also by fusion and granulation, it can be turned into simple products such as coat hangers and pens.
Lifecycle analyses have shown that expanded polystyrene has far less of an impact on the environment than other competitive materials for the same use.