Polystyrene to drive housing insulation improvements in Australia

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Australians on the whole aren’t the best at insulating houses. Our residential buildings are notorious for ‘leaking air’, allowing the uncontrolled flow of heat into and out of our dwellings. Our answer has been to install more and more heating and cooling in the form of air-conditioning.

Europeans, who have to deal with much more extreme temperature, are far more concerned about energy efficiency and have developed better standards, such as Passive House certification.

 

Green building trends

According to the World Green Building Trends 2018 Report [1], Australia has a relatively mature green building market. 94 per cent of survey respondents do at least “some” green building projects, and 67 per cent reported a “moderate” level of green activity. But despite this, air-conditioning sales continue to rise, and electricity providers are struggling to keep up with peak load requirements.[i]

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.

 

What is Passive House certification?

Certified Passive House (often known by its abbreviation CPH) is a voluntary standard for constructing buildings that deliver a healthy indoor environment that is comfortable in temperature and humidity while using very little energy.

And perhaps Passive House could be the next big thing in Australia. While it’s a relatively new idea here, it’s been popular in building and construction in Europe for a couple of decades.

Originating in Germany in 1992, where it is known as ‘Passivhaus’, Passive House has proven to be a very useful means of enabling buildings of all types (not just residential) to provide high quality, low energy indoor environments.

Contrary to popular misconceptions, Passive House is not enforced sealing up of the building where windows and doors are never opened. On the contrary, you can live in a Passive House as you would in any other house – opening doors when the weather is nice, closing them when it is too hot or too cold.

The difference is that when you close the house, it really is closed, and it looks after the indoor environment to a very high standard of health and comfort.

One of the key principles of Passive House is eliminating thermal bridges, which are the points at which conventional houses lose energy.

 

What role can polystyrene play?

Polystyrene helps to achieve the highest results in insulating homes and can also deliver 6 star performance at a significantly lower cost than other building products. One of the most cost-effective ways to achieve optimum insulation in walls, roof and floor slabs, polystyrene insulates by minimising thermal bridges between rooms and the exterior.

Central to the home’s performance is its airtight envelope achieved through attention to insulation and membrane detail in the slab, timber framing, roof and, most importantly, all the junction points.

Foamex’s Styroboard XPS is a resilient and robust polystyrene construction material boasting a high compressive strength and a superior thermal performance. Its high-density cell structure also makes it practically impervious to water. When insulation comes into contact with water it loses its thermal abilities, even when facing extreme weather conditions.

 

The insulation properties of Styroboard XPS

Our Styroboard XPS is ideal for perimeter insulation because is surrounds the shell of a building without forming any thermal bridges. Perimeter insulation helps a slab retain warmth, further reducing the amount of heat lost through the building’s foundations. Suitable for use in pervious, semi-pervious and impervious soils, Styroboard XPS extruded polystyrene sheets deliver excellent thermal insulation.

The manufacturing of Styroboard XPS by Foamex is also environmentally friendly because it is produced with zero ozone depleting substances or volatile organic compounds. Foamex preference blowing agents that are hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) and Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) free. This means that Styroboard XPS can help architects, specifiers and builders, achieve Green Star ratings for their projects.

To learn more about the insulating properties of Styroboard XPS or for more information on Foamex’s wide range of polystyrene products click here.

 

How we can help you

An Australian owned and operated company, Foamex has branches across New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, and South Australia and has been supplying polystyrene products to the Australian market since 1982. We have built strong relationships with builders, engineers, architects, designers, and specifiers across the country. Contact us today to discuss your polystyrene requirements.

 

[1] https://www.worldgbc.org/news-media/world-green-building-trends-2018-smartmarket-report-publication

[i] https://emarketing-au.s3-ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/92983/ynybvwym2hIzeY8Arevt18E3AowPBZbvE3Vhg9K2oFY/1701327.pdf

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