Building & Construction

Construction Applications

EPS has been used in the building and construction industry for more than 50 years and has a strong proven track record of success in insulation applications. EPS construction applications range from decorative molding to thermal insulation and wall sheathing to ornamental hotel facades. Over time, innovative ways to utilize the performance and versatility of EPS have evolved to include applications such as Insulating Concrete Forms (ICFs), Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs), and roofing applications that incorporate slopes formed from the foam.

Along with its superior insulation properties, EPS can also provide mold resistance, flame resistance and easy installation with its varying thicknesses and low-weight property. Although many of these uses were pioneered 30 years ago, EPS building systems are becoming increasingly more popular as a standard construction method, with their utilization being sought across the United States, Latin America and in other growing regions. Third party certification assures that NOVA Chemicals EPS resins used in construction applications comply with building code requirements, such as compliance with ASTM C578.

Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs)

Insulating Concrete Forms are one of the fastest growing systems for foundations and above-grade walls in commercial and residential construction. ICFs are engineered blocks that are stacked to create a concrete form the size of an entire wall and used for basements, foundations and building structures. Unlike typical plywood concrete forms, ICFs remain in place after the concrete is set, to provide substantial thermal mass, as well as thermal insulation properties for the building.

Benefits include:

  • Superior thermal and acoustical insulation properties
  • Potential for labor reduction
  • Concrete thermal mass
  • Value-added system for overall energy savings
  • Superior durability and resistance to storm-force winds

Structural Insulated Panels (SIP)

Structural Insulated Panels consist of EPS foam bonded between two oriented-strand boards and are typically used for wall, floor or roofing applications. The SIPs structure provides substantially increased thermal insulation compared to conventional frame homes, while providing a structurally sound building.

In special applications, the EPS foam is covered with aluminum or steel sheets resulting in a nearly indestructible panel that also has a high exterior finish quality. This type of SIP is commonly used for walk-in refrigerators and freezers.

Benefits include:

  • A structure that provides excellent insulating properties
  • Heating and cooling costs are reduced substantially compared to standard construction methods
  • Rapid construction
  • Potential for reduced labor costs

Roofing Insulation Systems

EPS is used as the insulation component in many commercial roof assemblies. The roofing deck system is generally comprised of a roof deck, waterproofing membrane and insulation material. EPS is well suited as the insulation material and is used for both new construction and re-roofing applications, providing substantial benefits including excellent R-value and cost-effective performance.

Benefits include:

  • Mold resistance
  • Superior insulation properties with stable R value
  • Low cost
  • Proven performance
  • Building code specification


Geofoam is an application where EPS blocks are used in civil engineering geotechnical applications, primarily as an alternative fill material for road construction projects. For construction projects under time constraints or when soil conditions will not support the weight of a conventionally built road, geofoam is a material of choice due to the speed of installation and the reduced settling time. EPS is significantly lighter than soil and other lightweight fills and is exceptionally fast to install, giving this EPS application a proven performance record in road construction projects for more than 30 years. While its light weight does not disturb fragile underlying soil, the strength of properly engineered geofoam can support roads, traffic and buildings. The quality of EPS block geofoam is governed by ASTM D6817.

NOVA Chemicals EPS resins specifically designed for Geofoam applications have greatly improved the processing and pre-puff aging time for a broad range of densities, shortening overall block production time and reducing the productivity barriers imposed by limited space in aging silos.

Geofoam applications include:

  • Embankment construction over soft ground
  • Protection of underground structures
  • Reduce lateral load on walls and abutments
  • Slope stability remediation
  • Airport runway stabilization