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Is EPS Insulation Recyclable?

Expanded polystyrene (EPS) is a common insulating material that has a bad reputation. EPS is notorious for how long it takes to biodegrade and its difficult recycling process. For buildings, EPS is a commonly used insulation solution. For facilities striving to be green, it’s important to exercise good source control and follow through with best practices when you are replacing insulation. Are you able to recycle EPS? Inconsistent Laws on EPS Recycling There is little consensus when it comes to the recyclability of EPS materials. Municipalities are split down the middle on this issue. New York City passed a ban…


Calculate Envelope Air Tightness with New Tool

A new tool developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) now addresses one of the most overlooked energy issues facing commercial buildings: building envelope air tightness. The laboratory’s new web-based energy savings calculator now offers FMs and other building professionals the ability to see firsthand how envelope improvements might be able to reduce costs in their particular facilities. The calculator, which was developed in conjunction with the Air Barrier Association of America and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, looks particularly at the practice of introducing air barrier systems into buildings, as air leaks can significantly harm energy efficiency.…


Asbestos is Killing Families of Affected Workers

Researchers from the University of Trieste in Trieste, Italy, have uncovered a bit an unfortunate bit of news relating to people who have family members in the asbestos industry or custom building retrofitting at large. The report, using data from the Italian Mesothelioma Register, determined that laundering clothes, touching equipment or even hugging someone who has worked with asbestos can result in a diagnosis of malignant pleural mesothelioma years later. “Our data confirms that household exposure increases the risk for pleural mesothelioma amongst women with no history of occupational asbestos exposure,” says Lead Researcher, Flavia D’Agostin. While mesothelioma diagnosis due…


Evaluating Options for Insulation Retrofitting

Alphagraphics, a printing company in Nashua, NH, works out of a three-story, 29,000-square-foot building that underwent a thermal upgrade consisting of HVAC upgrades, air sealing and an insulation retrofit through New Hampshire’s Better Buildings Program, funded by the DOE’s Better Buildings Neighborhood Program. Using spray foam in the building’s attic among these other thermal improvements, the roughly $30,000 retrofit project (pre-rebate) now saves the building 15.6% in annual energy usage and provides an estimated electricity savings of nearly 30,000 kWh each year. Improving your building’s insulation can help your building cut back on energy costs considerably, as it has at…


Vacuum Insulation Could Save Department of Defense $200 Million

Substantial energy savings could be realized by the Department of Defense with the deployment of a low-cost vacuum insulation panels according to researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. A team led by Kaushik Biswas is determining how wall retrofit solutions can cut in half energy loss through walls. The innovative manufacturing approach achieves vacuum insulation performance without the need for multi-stage low-pressure vacuum pumping. This evaluation, enlisted by the Department of Defense to combat the estimated $200 million per year in energy losses at its facilities, is being conducted at a classroom building in Fort Drum, New York. Initial analysis…


Certification Spotlight – GreenCircle

Feeling dubious about a product’s green claims? When buzzwords such as natural and eco-friendly don’t have a regulated definition, manufacturers are free to use these terms without any supporting performance data. To combat unverified marketing claims, GreenCircle Certified uses a third-party assessment to substantiate a product’s environmental benefits. Learn how this label can simplify your purchasing policies. Scrutinize Green Claims When pressured to secure an ROI or document the benefits from going green, building managers shouldn’t have to second-guess whether a product will deliver sustainable advantages. GreenCircle Certified, launched in 2009, is a concerted effort to ensure that product marketing…

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