Is it just us, or does it seems just about every other week there is a story on the news about the latest natural disaster? Be it floods, tornadoes, hurricanes or earthquakes, natural disasters are affecting everyone, no matter what geographical region they live. These catastrophes can cause millions – even billions – of dollars and take years to clean up (Not to mention those the loss of autographed baseballs, grandma’s jewelry and other prized possessions).
What if that damage could be avoided or minimized? What if an earthquake could rumble into a city, measure a 6 on the Richter scale, and yet leave behind buildings that are still standing? How could any of that be possible? What else… EPS to the rescue!
Believe it or not, expanded polystyrene insulation can be used to provide strength (among many other qualities) in disaster resistant buildings. Plus, a home built with EPS can save up to 50% on heating and cooling costs! (it’s tough to beat that). There are three different EPS systems that are being used for this disaster prevention:
The first is Insulating Concrete Forms (ICFs), which are large wall-forms that are filled with concrete. They are so large and heavy (about 400 pounds), that they can withstand extremely strong wind and hurricane waves off the ocean. Also, these ICFs are bound to the foundation with structural reinforcing steel. This provides extreme strength, especially when you consider how important a building’s roof is to it’s structure. The ICFs can support a sturdy concrete roof system to provide the protection the building really needs in the midst of a disastrous storm.
The next system is Structural Insulating Panels (SIPs) and the most common panels have EPS foam insulation between two oriented strand boards (OSB) or steel. Not only that, these panels can be cut very easily and effectively so they are easy to maneuver and build. Once constructed, these panels can resist wind gusts up to 200 mph. Also, due to their light weight, they don’t gain momentum during an earthquake, so they don’t shake as much and therefore don’t allow as much damage in the inside of the building.
The final system is Concrete Structural Insulated Panels (CSIPs) which are a combination of the previous two. The CSIPs can be used to construct the foundation, floors, walls and roof and are basically made of two 3″ concrete skins that cover a layer of 2″ EPS foam insulation (now that’s strength!) After the panels are easily and quickly constructed; exterior design options that include brick and lap siding, so your home can be extremely sturdy yet stylish.
Natural disasters are inevitable. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has estimated that 75% of American homes are in disaster prone areas! With a significant number like that, it’s important for us to become better educated on how to protect ourselves against these catastrophes. EPS is a great place to start. With three unique insulation systems, EPS can provide durability and energy efficient protection at an affordable cost.