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Can We Replace Foam Insulation?


If you’ve ever held a Styrofoam cup comfortably in your hand, only to scorch your tongue sipping the piping-hot coffee inside, you know that plastic foam is a really good insulator. It’s also lightweight, generally impervious to moisture, relatively cheap, and strong.

With all that in its favor, it would take some effort to find a contemporary, high-performance building that doesn’t incorporate foam insulation into key parts of its assembly. But a dark side to foam has come into focus over the last decade. To name a few issues, its manufacturing process can be polluting, its global warming impact can be stratospheric, it is laden with toxic flame retardants, and it is highly flammable, even with those chemical additives.

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