What’s the first material that comes to mind when considering insulation materials?  Rock wool?  Mineral wool? Polyurethane? How about expanded polystyrene? If you’re not aware of the latter, then the article that follows is perfect for you.

As part of the wider energy efficiency topic, insulation is a political hot potato at the moment.  With bank accounts dwindling, benefits being reigned in and energy prices rising, there’s never been a more important time to ensure a building is energy efficient. And one of the key elements of energy efficiency is of course insulation; whether that’s in a roof, floor or wall.

That’s not to say that insulating a building will immediately result in energy efficiency. Indeed, choosing the right material for your project can be a bit of headache even before the planning phase is complete. This brings us neatly back to the opening question and the subject of expanded polystyrene insulation.

Without going into too much scientific detail, EPS is a rigid cellular plastic based polystyrene material containing an expansion agent; simple as that.  Due to its many inherent qualities (not least strength), in addition to insulation, it is also used for large scale construction projects such as rail embankments, bridge foundations and clay heave protection.

But if it’s used to strengthen bridges and rail embankments, why should EPS be considered your insulation material of choice?

Well, firstly, as evidenced by strict thermal conductivity testing, EPS has well established insulation values meaning that it’s perfect for the aim of making a building energy efficient.   Perhaps just as important to many home owners in particular, EPS offers excellent value and is usually cheaper than other insulation materials.

In direct contrast to some other insulation materials, expanded polystyrene is friendly to the environment and offers excellent sustainability values; this fact amplified by its A+ rating in the BRE Green Guide.  In addition, EPS is easy to install in both small and large construction projects, it is rot and rodent proof, and has high water resistance qualities.

Of course, that’s not to say that other insulation materials don’t have a number of their own advantages and when placed in the wider context of energy efficiency, there are many… many shades of grey.

Nevertheless, when considering the price, performance and sustainability of EPS, it’s maybe easier than you think to avoid that headache.

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